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For Starkville Daily News
The president of Mississippi State University is a newly elected executive council member of the top accreditation body for regional institutions of higher learning.
Mark E. Keenum recently was elected to a term on the Southern Association of Colleges and Schoolsâ€™ Commission on Collegesâ€™ Executive Council. The 13-member council is the executive arm of the Board of Trustees with primary responsibility for interpreting commission policy and procedure. It also functions on behalf of the commission between sessions.
In 2011, Keenum was elected to a three-year term on the SACS board of trustees. He will serve through 2013 on the 77-member body representing some 800 institutional members. Keenum is in his fourth year as the 19th chief executive of MSU, from which he holds bachelorâ€™s, masterâ€™s and doctoral degrees in agricultural economics. Prior to being named president in late 2008, he was under secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
As a commission trustee, Keenum helps determine policy, and review and make decisions regarding the accreditation of member institutions awarding associate, baccalaureate, masterâ€™s or doctoral degrees.
SACS is the recognized regional accrediting body in the 11 U.S. Southern states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia) and in Latin America for those institutions of higher education that award associate, baccalaureate, masterâ€™s or doctoral degrees. The Commission on Collegesâ€™ Board of Trustees is the representative body of the College Delegate Assembly and is charged with carrying out the accreditation process.
To gain or maintain accreditation with the Commission on Colleges, an institution must comply with the standards contained in the Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement and with the policies and procedures of the Commission on Colleges. The Commission on Colleges applies the requirements of its Principles to all applicant, candidate and member institutions, regardless of type of institution (public, private for-profit, private not-for-profit).
Mississippi State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate, masters, specialist and doctorate degrees.