The Daily Gamecock

Recap: USC no longer under monitoring status by accreditation board

Provost William Tate speaks to the audience during the board of trustees meeting on Nov. 13, 2020.
Provost William Tate speaks to the audience during the board of trustees meeting on Nov. 13, 2020.

The university has been removed from the monitoring status of the regional accreditation agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the board announced during its annual retreat.

At last year's retreat, the board was subject to a review by an outside consulting firm, the Association of Governing Boards (AGB), who said the board had "a fundamentally misguided governance culture." The review from the AGB and scrutiny from SACSCOC came after the 2019 presidential search was found to be affected by "undue influence."

The university was informed of the change on Jan. 5 by SACSCOC President Belle Wheelan. 

"Our university leadership has demonstrated a clear commitment to sound governance and continual improvement," university President Bob Caslen said in an email. "Working together, we will continue to deliver on our critical mission as the state’s flagship university.”

There are also plans to expand the university's online offerings. Provost William Tate said he aims to put all Carolina Core classes online, which would allow students to complete their degrees while being fully online. About 42% of the core is online at the moment, according to Tate. Students must complete the Carolina Core to obtain a degree from the university.

"If the totality of the Carolina Core is online, it then positions us to offer online degrees in every single area," Tate said. 

Tate also said he did not want the modality of classes to change throughout the spring semester and that changes in the manner of teaching were not supposed to happen. The only reason a class should change modality, he said, is if a professor teaching a class is sick with COVID-19 or if one of their family members is infected.

"You had two examples of people who signed up for one modality, and when they got there it was different. That is not supposed to be happening," Tate said. "That is not what we promised. What we put in that registration bulletin is almost like an oath, we're saying we're going to do one thing, and we got to do exactly what we say we're going to do."

According to the chief financial officer of the university, Ed Walton, USC will need to loan a "significant amount of money" to the Athletics Department as it "suffered mightily" this year. He said the Athletics Department's revenue will not be fully recovered until 2026.

"It's a long road to get back from such a crash for athletics," Walton said. 

Doug Foster, the president of information technology at USC, said he wanted to increase the "recurring funding" for the university's information technology projects, instead of making occasional single purchases. 

"This is really going to drive a lot of the future of the university, where we're going to go, how we are going to compete in the future. Much more of this is going to start becoming technology-based," Foster said. 

This was the first day of the annual board of trustees retreat, check back later for more coverage.

Makayla Hansen, Marina Catullo and Christine Bartruff contributed to the reporting in this article.