Howard Payne University has hired a dean of nursing who is preparing a new proposal to the Texas Board of Nursing for a pre-licensure nursing program, HPU President Dr. Bill Ellis said in a statement on HPU’s website.
    Ellis included those details in an expanded statement in response to an accreditation board’s decision to place HPU on “Warning” status because of its cancelled bachelor of science in nursing program. Ellis said he’s confident HPU will maintain its accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), which in June placed HPU on warning for 12 months
     Ellis confirmed that the Warning status was based on concerns arising from HPU’s efforts to begin a pre-licensure nursing program.
     “While we take the SACSCOC action seriously, recent media reports have generated some concern, and I am taking this opportunity to share more details and address specific issues,” Ellis said in the statement.
    The Bulletin is publishing excerpts of the statement, which can be viewed in its entirety at http://www.hputx.edu/news/statement-dr-bill-ellis-hpu-president-recent-accreditation-action/
    What is SACSCOC?
    It is one of six regional accrediting bodies in the United States. These organizations accredit the entire operation of colleges and universities, not individual majors or academic programs within colleges or universities. Membership in SACSCOC is voluntary and compliance with all regulations is verified through a peer-review process. HPU was first accredited by SACSCOC in 1948, and has remained so ever since, with most recent reaffirmation of accreditation in December 2014.
    How close is HPU to losing accreditation?


    We are confident that we will be able to maintain our accreditation and are taking the necessary steps to ensure our standing with SACSCOC. Although any of the regional accrediting bodies may remove an institution from its membership at any time for serious noncompliance with the accreditor’s rules and regulations, the normal process by which SACSCOC would remove an institution from membership would be following a monitoring period of 12, 24 or even 36 months. During such time, an institution could be on Warning, Probation or Continued for Good Cause.
    Following a review of the post-licensure nursing program in September 2016, during its regular board meeting in June 2017 SACSCOC placed HPU on Warning for 12 months and requested the university clarify specific issues that occurred during the recent attempt to introduce a pre-licensure nursing program.
    What does this mean for new and returning students?


    HPU remains accredited. Classes will begin Aug. 21 as planned.
    What are the next steps?
HPU has already begun addressing the concerns of SACSCOC. A report will be forwarded to a visiting committee that will review the specific nursing issues stated in SACSCOC’s notification letter on-site prior to April 2018.
    What are the future plans for HPU’s nursing program?
HPU has employed a new dean of nursing who is preparing a new proposal to the Texas Board of Nursing (TBON) for a pre-licensure nursing program. The university looks forward to meeting all the requirements of the TBON in this process.
    Conclusion: Integrity and rigorous academic standards have been hallmarks of HPU’s identity since its founding in 1889 and will continue to be as the university moves forward.
     Recognition of HPU’s academic credibility is vital to the health of our institution, and we remain committed as always to ensuring the university’s good standing. We will continue to cooperate fully with SACSCOC and I am confident we will address the organization’s concerns well before the April site visit.