Reaccreditation looks to be within reach


Ethan Dennis and Ethan Dennis

Whether kayaking or canoeing, everyone loves smooth sailing on the bayou. Prospects for calm waters seem likely to stay, since ULM’s reaccreditation visit went well.
“The on-site visit went very well, and we were pleased that the team recognized ULM’s strengths. We will wait for the official decision in Dec. from the SACSCOC Board of Trustees but we are confident of the positive outcome,” President Nick Bruno said.
Accreditation by the Southern Association for Colleges and Schools Commission on College is required every 10 years. This accreditation signifies a college has an appropriate higher education mission, and the necessary resources, programs and services sufficient to accomplish and sustain that mission, according to SACSCOC’s Principles of Accreditation handbook.
Bruno said the board was very positive towards ULM’s Quality Enhancement Plan during their visit in late March.
“They expressed that they are excited to see the results that will be generated by the QEP,” Bruno said.
Centered around its mission and vision, each university develops a QEP to enhance student learning in a specific area. ULM’s QEP this year is “FOCUS on Biology” which was created by a planning committee of students, faculty and staff. FOCUS stands for formulate, observe, communicate, use and synthesize.
The plan involves a curriculum change in two gateway biology courses- Biology 1014, Fundamentals of Anatomy and Physiology I, and Biology 1020, Principles of Biology. This won’t change the lecture and labs; it will add onto the understanding of the lecture material.
“The students will just come to a FOCUS section once a week with a teacher, a graduate assistant and hopefully some peer mentors who have been successful in the class,” said Mallory Benedetto, the QEP coordinator and biology instructor.
These FOCUS groups will take place every week outside of class. This model has been partially based on the Supplemental Instruction (SI) model already offered here at ULM.
If approved in Dec., the first FOCUS sessions will be implemented in Biology 1020 starting in spring 2020. In fall 2020, all sections of both Biology 1020 and Biology 1014 will have FOCUS sessions.This will hopefully increase the success rates and thinking skills for students in these classes so that the success in upper-level biology classes will improve and not be as difficult as it is now for many students.
Junior biology major Princess Ayika said the QEP will help incoming students be more prepared, even non-biology majors.”This plan would’ve prepared me more and made classes I’m taking now much easier for me,” Ayika said.