The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has been accredited since 2009 and just recently became re-accredited. Mary Elizabeth Woolery, Concurrent Enrollment Coordinator at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UA Little Rock), shares some of the reasons that the UA Little Rock achieved its accredited status with NACEP.
When Mary Elizabeth Woolery started at UA Little Rock, she immediately set to work. Diana Johnson, NACEP Board member and Executive Director of High School Relations at NorthWest Arkansas Community College said,“The job was much more detailed than expected, because the program had not been run to meet NACEP standards. Mary Elizabeth spent the first nine months researching it and the next 2 years implementing policies and processes to bring the program back to NACEP standards.”
“One of our unique features is that we offer on-site registration which allows us more student interaction and increases our customer service. Another aspect of our program is that we work with our partners to offer many AP blended courses,” noted Woolery.
The accreditation review presented commendation for UA Little Rock’s policies and procedures regarding all student standards. Specifically, reviewers were impressed with the continuity among the policies, handbooks, and communication that supports student success.
Three years ago, there were no set policies, procedures, handbooks, memos, and very little interaction between the institution, coordinators, parents, and students. So Woolery set about setting up these important standards. “I was hired late in 2013 to bring cohesive and more efficient processes to this program. After nine months of studying the program, I began writing policies and processes. To see them implemented and our institution be re-accredited is no small feat. Accreditation as a whole brings pride to our current team, but also a sense of accomplishment to me as an individual who began this journey alone,” Woolery commented.
“We review our policies and procedures to make sure they are cohesive in all aspects between what we verbally communicate to the students, what we print, and what we publish on the web. All mediums are covered and we don't stop there. We set and publish clear guidelines for teachers and campus coordinators to ensure that students meet program and course qualifications and prerequisites,” explained Woolery, “Although we love our face to face interaction with the students, when we offer guidance to help students through the application and registration process, we know that the teachers and coordinators on their campuses are their primary points of contact. Therefore, training and communicating our program expectations with the coordinators is essential. Our teachers and coordinators receive a memo with these expectations prior to the fall semester, and they must sign and return them before the semester begins in order for us to document that they have received, read, and agree to the expectations. These documents are modified each year to meet the ever-changing institutional, state, and national standards and/or policies.” The department has a parent and student manual which is "comprehensive, yet very user friendly" according to the NACEP Accreditation Commission’s comments, and aligns well with the faculty and coordinator expectations. “We have truly come a long way in three years,” Woolery said.
Woolery said programs thinking about going through the accreditation process should keep good records and be organized. “As you work through each standard, make sure you cover each component. It's also wise to work with other institutions (especially in your state) and garner any advice or comparison material,” she said.