During its meeting on June 11, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) Board of Trustees approved the accreditation of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) as a separate university, UTHSC Chancellor Steve J. Schwab announced today. UTHSC is now independent from the “Big Orange” conglomerate, which had previously included UTHSC. SACSCOC is the regional body charged with accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the southern states. “Big Orange” still consists of UTK (Knoxville), UTIA (Institute of Agriculture), UTSI (Space Institute) and UTIPS (Institute for Public Service), and is itself accredited by SACSCOC.
Several years ago, in examining the governance structure, resources available, annual budget, geographic location, and relative autonomy from UTK, SACSCOC leadership determined that UTHSC should be a separately accredited institution within the UT System.
“For several years, UTHSC has been working toward independent accreditation as a stand-alone university; and we are extremely pleased that the extensive SACS peer review process resulted in no adverse findings or recommendations,” Chancellor Schwab said. “The completion of this process to independent university status in a rapid and efficient manner is both a remarkable and laudable achievement.”
As an independent university, UTHSC will be required to complete its first reaccreditation compliance certification in five years. Thereafter, the university’s accreditation will be evaluated and reaffirmed every 10 years.
“We remain an integral component of the UT System of universities overseen by President DiPietro and governed by the Board of Trustees of the University of Tennessee,” the Chancellor said, noting, “I want to thank the leadership of the institution and all those who contributed both directly and indirectly to this strategic effort. The independent institutional accreditation of UTHSC reflects the ongoing high level of activity and myriad contributions of UTHSC faculty, students and staff.”
With some 3,000 students enrolled annually, 1,200 residents and fellows in training across Tennessee, more than $200 million in sponsored program revenue (all-source external grants, contracts and awards) and nearly 4,000 faculty and staff on four major campuses (Memphis, Knoxville, Chattanooga and Nashville), UTHSC has a statewide economic impact of more than $2.7 billion each year. UTHSC is also responsible for contributing more than 26,700 jobs across the state of Tennessee.