Transitioning from Compliance to Innovation
Creating a culture for continuous improvement with academic programs is a challenge. As my institution—Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas—prepared for our decennial accreditation review, I found it difficult to motivate faculty to complete the required program reviews for the compliance report. With some cajoling, 41 faculty reluctantly agreed to take charge of the university’s 53 academic programs, but they continued to have a level of detachment. After earning the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges’ reaccreditation in 2018, I was determined to not face this same challenge for the next review. Like all universities, I was searching for a way to maintain these best practices over time and not let academic programs fall into benign neglect. I was eager to transition from a state of mandatory compliance under pressure to a mindset of academic excellence. I was looking for ways for faculty leaders to be inspired to continue their work with academic program reviews and introduce innovation in the programs in a more open environment.