Southern Virginia University Receives Regional Accreditation

Read more in the Deseret News

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges — the oldest, largest and most prestigious accreditor of colleges and universities in the southern United States — today awarded regional accreditation to Southern Virginia University.

The Commission on Colleges based its decision on the findings of a site visit in October 2011, during which an external team of university administrators evaluated Southern Virginia’s 256-page written compliance report, examined hundreds of supporting documents, and interviewed numerous students, faculty, administrators and trustees.

“This is one more external validation of the quality of the Southern Virginia educational experience,” said Southern Virginia University President Paul K. Sybrowsky. “This seal of approval is an additional signal that the university is on firm ground and will continue to offer the finest liberal arts education available in the letters, arts and sciences within a wholesome LDS environment.”

At the conclusion of the site team’s October visit, the chairperson reported to Southern Virginia’s senior administrators that the team had “no recommendations,” meaning that their review revealed nothing that should prevent Southern Virginia from receiving regional accreditation.

“Although regional accreditation changes nothing for our students in terms of the excellent education they receive from our highly qualified faculty, it may open a few doors to the university that previously were closed,” said Provost Madison Sowell. “This is an important step toward our goal of offering a teacher licensure program, applying for NCAA Division III membership, and joining an athletic conference.”

Along with its newly awarded regional accreditation, Southern Virginia University retains its rigorous and prestigious national accreditation from the American Academy for Liberal Education.

“As a university we have worked hard over many years to document our compliance with the Commission’s standards,” said Associate Provost John Armstrong. “Our research for this mammoth undertaking revealed areas in which the university performs at the highest levels and areas in which we can improve. We will continue to rely on our robust system of institutional assessment and reporting that we have developed over the last several years.”

In addition to its regional and national accreditation, Southern Virginia is certified by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia to operate and grant baccalaureate degrees.

“It takes great effort to meet the rigorous standards of accrediting bodies,” said President Sybrowsky, a former commissioner of the Northwest Accreditation Commission. “I wish to recognize and congratulate the entire university community for every effort undertaken over the last 16 years that has made this possible. I commend each faculty and staff member — past and present — who has been a part of this university-wide effort. We all share collectively in the blessings and recognition brought to the university today.”

Southern Virginia University’s Accreditation Timeline

1996 — SACSCOC withdraws regional accreditation from Southern Virginia College for financial reasons

Fall 1996—Southern Virginia College reopens with 74 students and a mission to serve Latter-day Saints

2000—Southern Virginia College receives pre-accreditation (candidacy for accreditation) from the American Academy for Liberal Education

2001—Southern Virginia College changes name to Southern Virginia University

2003—AALE grants full institutional accreditation to Southern Virginia University

2007—Southern Virginia submits application to SACSCOC for initial candidacy

2008—AALE renews Southern Virginia’s accreditation for five years

Feb. 2010—SACSCOC candidacy committee visits Southern Virginia

June 2010—SACSCOC board grants initial candidacy to Southern Virginia

Sept. 2011—Southern Virginia submits compliance certification for full membership to SACSCOC

Oct. 2011—SACSCOC accreditation committee visits Southern Virginia

June 2012—SACSCOC board votes to award regional accreditation to Southern Virginia