The University of Texas-Pan American has received official notification from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) that it has been approved for an increase in its level of accreditation.
Meeting in Atlanta June 22-24, the 77-member Commission on Colleges of SACS, the regional accrediting agency for educational institutions, voted to approve a change in UTPA's status to Level V, an institution offering the doctoral degree as a the highest degree.
"We are very pleased that the Commission on Colleges raised our accreditation status to that of a doctoral degree-granting institution," said Dr. Miguel A. Nevárez, president of UT Pan American.
"Its decision is a statement from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools that UT Pan American is offering a high-quality doctoral program," he said. "This is something that we have been working toward for a number of years, and it is another important milestone in our evolution to a comprehensive, doctoral institution for South Texas."
UT Pan American requested the change in its level of accreditation, which previously was Level III, an institution with the master's degree as the highest degree offered. A committee from SACS' Commission on Colleges visited the campus in April to assess the university's readiness for the change in its level of accreditation.
At an exit conference at the end of their visit, the committee members, who were drawn from higher education institutions throughout the region, commended UT Pan American on its commitment to students' scholarly activity from the onset of their doctoral program and on the high level of faculty competence in the College of Business Administration with respect to teaching and research.
UT Pan American offers a doctorate in business administration with an emphasis in international business, which had its first graduate, Dr. Cynthia Brown, receive her degree in May. The university also has a cooperative agreement with The University of Texas at Austin to offer a doctorate in educational leadership at the Edinburg university.
SACS' accreditation of the entire university was reaffirmed in early 1997. Accreditation with SACS is reviewed every 10 years.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools is the major accrediting agency for elementary and secondary schools and colleges in the southern United States.
More than 11,000 public and private institutions - universities, senior colleges, community colleges, high schools, junior high schools, middle schools, elementary schools and early childhood centers and kindergartens - enrolling nearly 11 million students are accredited by SACS.
Founded in 1895 and headquartered in Decatur, Ga., SACS is one of six regional accrediting bodies in the United States and works with schools and colleges in 11 southern states from Virginia through Texas, in Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Accreditation is a nongovernmental and voluntary process concerned with improving educational quality and assuring the public that member institutions meet established standards.