Dear Southern Association of Colleges and Schools:
As you may be aware, you are the primary accrediting authority of all schools below the Mason-Dixon Line and east of the Mississippi. A fact I do not know if you are aware of is all schools in your division teach common sets of courses, but all with different names and course identifiers. I challenge you to take all of these catalogs and discover the commonalities, then assign each of the sets of identical courses a serial number. Schools will take your serial number and use them for transfer, and not an arbitrary “equivalency chart” that holds no real value. Many transfer evaluations are handled by department chairs that may have a desire to lure students in by issuing them a lot of transfer credits, even if they have not truly earned them. Other department chairs have pride issues and will withhold credit where credit is due in an attempt to force students to take their version of a course. Some departments have set policies based on having a highly structured industry affiliation, for example, all psychology courses are essentially defined by the American Psychological Association, with each institution simply applying their focus (research, clinical, historical, etc) to them.
There are so many courses at institutions that are equivalent, but there is no common course library to define them as being the same. Registrars, admissions directors and counselors do not have the capability to know how to evaluate every course, and even if they did, it would cause so much administrative overhead that other areas of their duties would suffer.
I believe that it is within the scope of responsibility of SACS to create a universal course library to ensure the integrity of a student’s course portfolio, even when it is transferred between institutions. I would recommend the Common Course Library of the North Carolina Community College System for the departments that are part of the Comprehensive Articulation Agreement of the University of North Carolina System as an example of how such a catalog might operate.
Curtis M. Kularski
Student, Gaston College
Student, Central Piedmont CC
Student, UNC-Chapel Hill
Student, Fayetteville State University