UWA waits

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 6, 2004

LIVINGSTON — A state university, situated near the Alabama state line, stands a very good chance of receiving bad news from its accrediting agency this weekend.

Thankfully, that university is in Lee County, not Sumter County.

Both the University of West Alabama and Auburn University will receive reports on Tuesday from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Both institutions were placed on academic probation one year ago, and both must answer for corrections they’ve made to noticeable governance problems.

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While Auburn University appears strangled in a power struggle that could harm the institution’s reputation, the University of West Alabama has apparently satisfied members of SACS.

“I guess all I can say right now is that I’m confident we’ll get good news,” said Dr. Richard Holland, president of UWA.

Holland was scheduled to leave for Atlanta on Saturday to attend a four-day SACS conference. And in the eyes of the administrator, the final day — Tuesday — will be the most important.

“The [SACS] business meeting will be held from 10 a.m. until noon on Tuesday, and that’s when SACS will make its decision,” Holland said. In other words by 11 a.m. CST, faculty, staff and students at UWA will know whether they’ve been removed from academic probation.

According to a preliminary report from SACS, released last month, UWA’s chances of being removed from probation are quite good.

“The UWA Board has made significant progress toward resolving the divisive and destructive governance issue which required visits by two SACS Special Committees…,” said the preliminary report from SACS.

On Tuesday, the full Review Committee will consider the report and make a decision on UWA’s probation.

According to Holland, the first two days of the SACS conference are filled with seminars. On Tuesday, the Special Committee’s report will be reviewed by a 12-member Review Committee made up of university presidents.

At that point, the Review Committee will make a recommendation to the general membership of SACS and UWA’s fate will be determined at that point.

“At this point, we’ve done everything they’ve asked of us,” Holland said on Friday. “There’s not much left for us to do now.”