Development of the Compliance Report

Development of the 
Compliance Report


Francis Marion University’s Compliance Report establishes the University’s compliance with the requirements set forth by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools - Commission on Colleges.


The Leadership Team initiated the development of FMU’s Compliance Report by:


·        Developing a detailed timeline of activities and deadlines from the beginning of the reaffirmation process through spring 2009, noting specifically the person(s) responsible and the deadlines for each component of the Compliance Report.


·        Identifying subject experts and content providers for each requirement, standard, and federal regulation.


·        Determining reasonable timelines for content providers to collect data and to draft reports providing evidence of the University’s compliance.


·        Selecting a facilitation team comprised of faculty and staff to review content provided by subject experts and to ensure consistency in:


>         breadth and depth of supporting evidence

>         narrative style

>         organization

>         format.


The Leadership Team is comprised of the President, Provost, Vice President for Administration, Faculty Chair, Director of Institutional Research, and the Faculty SACS Coordinator.


The Oversight Committee is made up of faculty and staff elected by the General Faculty.  This committee was charged to:


·        Review SACS planning documents.

·        Identify the elements of each accreditation requirement.

·        Review and make recommendations on narratives written by subject experts and content providers across campus.

·        Review and make recommendations on the focus of the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP).

·        Review proposed implementation plans that address the focus of the QEP.


In general, the Content Providers and other subject experts for the Compliance Report were faculty and staff members who have experience with the matters covered by our SACS requirements.  For example, Dr. James Faulkenberry, Dean of the School of Education, served as a content provider for documents concerning programs in education.  Similarly, the registrar and her staff served as subject experts on matters such as enrollment, transfer credits, and graduation rates.  The tasks of content providers included:


·        Reviewing SACS requirements and related documents.

·        Gathering the information that addresses each requirement.

·        Drafting reports addressing FMU’s compliance.

·        Listing the supporting documents and selecting appropriate passages to cite.

·        Making a judgment on FMU’s compliance.

·        Sending each narrative statement to the designated facilitator for further review.

·        Providing clarity and additional information, as needed.


The Facilitation Team, comprised of faculty and staff, solicited compliance data from content providers.  Serving also as the first reviewers of each draft, the team identified areas that required additional development and assisted with formatting and developing content, as needed.  They also:


·        Monitored timely responses to data deadlines.

·        Reviewed and approved content and compliance judgments.

·        Requested and monitored revisions by content providers.

·        Reviewed and made recommendations on the focus for the Quality Enhancement Plan.


The Writing and Editing Team was comprised of current students and recent graduates led by Dr. Lynn Hanson, Director of the Professional Writing program and SACS Coordinator.  After studying SACS requirements, accreditation processes, and style guidelines, members of this team reviewed all Compliance Report drafts for:


·        Clear, complete, accurate content.

·        In-text source citations that are smooth and helpful.

·        Complete bibliographic citations that help reviewers find the text they want to see.


Additional writing and editing tasks included:


·        Flagging areas that required further development, identifying specific content revisions, and tracking down the information needed.

·        Reworking and revising text, as approved by the SACS Coordinator.

·        Editing and formatting drafts to ensure consistency with the report template and style guidelines developed by the coordinator.

·        Compiling paper and electronic libraries of SACS documentation.


After multiple revisions within the Writing and Editing Team, all drafts were returned to content providers and facilitators for review and approval.  When the documents were considered complete, they were sent to the Oversight Committee for review. 


If members of the Oversight Committee required revisions, they returned the draft to members of the Writing and Editing Team, who contacted subject experts as needed to complete the narratives.  The Writing and Editing Team, Content Providers, Facilitation Team, and Oversight Committee continued the revision process until each compliance analysis was ready for the final level of review.


The Leadership Team and Board of Trustees also reviewed and approved the completed Compliance Report.  Ultimately, the President of the University and SACS Liaison signed off on the document, and the report was submitted to SACS reviewers as scheduled by the Commission on Colleges.


An overview of the development process is shown in the figure below.


Francis Marion University's Compliance Report Writing Process




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