Compliance Certification Audit Process
On October 1, 2007, Texas State conducted a yearlong Compliance Certification audit in preparation for the September 10, 2009 submission of the Compliance Certification Report to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). This audit was implemented in order to identify areas in which the institution may have compliance issues or where there may be insufficient evidence to support compliance with any core requirement, comprehensive standard, or federal requirement.
Members of the Compliance Certification Team were assigned responsibility for specific requirements and standards. This responsibility included contacting and meeting with persons responsible for initiatives related to the requirement or standard, gathering documentation to support narratives that were to be written, and identifying any problems that needed to be addressed before we began the actual process of composing narratives for the Compliance Certification Report. All problematic issues were shared with the Leadership Team to ensure that there was a consistent feedback loop that involved appropriate persons in the improvement process.
Members of the Compliance Certification Team also led the discussions on processes related to composing and communicating narratives for the Compliance Certification Report. During the audit, Information Technology conducted research on the best methods to communicate electronically the narratives and related documentation. All team members provided input into what became the system we used to create, modify, and provide documentation for reports, as well as the official Texas State SACS website.
The early audit yielded many positive outcomes. By identifying problems early, we were able to create new processes that addressed problems in ways that actually improved how we do business at Texas State. In many cases we also confirmed that we have good processes in place to serve university stakeholders. Most importantly, the audit provided focus and a framework within which we were able to address Compliance Certification with the insight and tools needed to be successful, not only in creating the report, but in making actual improvements that support the notion of the “Quality Enhancement” so fundamental to SACS Principles of Accreditation.