Institutional Planning and Effectiveness

Simply stated, assessment tells the story of how well we do what we do. It is the process by which we measure the level of achievement at SMU. Assessment allows us to articulate student learning outcomes and/or program goals, collect data using varied assessment methods, and use the findings to improve student learning and all administrative, academic and student support services. It is an important driver of continuous improvement and data-based decision making for the institution.

The Office of Institutional Planning and Effectiveness at SMU is charged with helping the university maintain compliance with all principles, requirements, standards, and policies of SACSCOC and the U.S. Department of Education. Assessment is “the systematic collection, review, and use of information about educational programs undertaken for the purpose of improving student learning and development.”

SMU employs a three-pronged process that assesses our University Curriculum, Educational Programs, and University Support Programs. SACSCOC measures the institution’s performance on the Institutional Effectiveness component by observing how well we use our assessment findings to accomplish continual improvement. This repeated and full cycle of setting goals, assessing progress and strategic planning is absolutely integral to continued accreditation and key to continuous improvement in every area of SMU.

SMU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award baccalaureate, masters, and doctorates. SMU also may offer credentials such as certificates and diplomas at approved degree levels. Questions about the accreditation of SMU may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (

Reaffirmation of accreditation occurs every ten years, with a five-year interim review.

SMU's last reaffirmation of accreditation was conducted in 2021.

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