The Fisk University family has struggled for three years to prove to its accrediting body that it is well enough to fully function and fulfill its mission. Fisk President H. James Williams reports that the dark days of probation and doubt are done and bright days of full accreditation and continued academic excellence are on target to sustain the motto “Fisk Forever!”
Under the leadership of President Williams, who took the helm on February 1, 2013, the University engaged in a series of strategic initiatives to address all of SACSCOC’s concerns, and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) reaffirmed its accreditation and removed a probation sanction.
“Today is sort of another ‘Jubilee Day’ for Fisk University. October 6, 1871 was the day our original Jubilee Singers left the campus on a fundraising mission to save Fisk. December 10, 2013 marks the day that Fisk received its reaffirmation without a blemish and enables Fisk to continue the excellent work it has performed for almost 148 years. We began our Fisk Renaissance in February, and now that our accreditation has been reaffirmed, we will move forward full steam ahead,” he said.
Dr. Williams indicated that the entire Fisk University family is jubilant that SACSCOC recognized their Herculean efforts to assure a positive outcome. SACSCOC is the regional commission responsible for accrediting degree-granting institutions in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and some institutions in Latin America. To gain or maintain accreditation, an institution must comply with Commission policies and with all standards contained in the Principles of Accreditation.
“In the past couple of years we had deficits and had to make the case of why we had deficits,” he said. “This time, we’ve finished the 2012-13 year in the black, exceeded our fundraising goals for 2013, and increased our enrollment in Fall 2012 and Fall 2013. We’re in the black for the first quarter of this fiscal year (2013-14) and have made a number of fundamental changes in how we handle our financial affairs,” said Dr. Williams.
Noting that the University’s fiscal operations, recruitment, retention, fundraising and communications/public relations efforts have all been recalibrated to function more effectively, Dr. Williams said, “At the end of the day, SACSCOC expects institutions to show that they are in compliance with the Principles of Accreditation and are financially viable. Fisk University is, in fact, in full compliance and financially viable.”
Fisk University is Nashville’s first institution of higher education, founded in 1866, and currently ranks in the top 20% of all liberal arts institutions in the nation according to The Washington Monthly. Fisk is the fourth highest ranked institution in Tennessee and the highest ranked Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in Forbes magazine’s 2013 edition of “America’s Best Colleges.”
Fisk has been ranked in The Princeton Review’s “Best Southeastern Coll-eges” publication for 21 consecutive years. Accord-ing to the National Science Foundation, Fisk produces more African-Americans who go on to earn doctoral degrees in the natural sciences than any school in the nation. For more information on Fisk University, please visit www.fisk.edu.