‘A clean bill of health’

SGA hears accreditation, Sodexo update

Katherine Draughon and Lamar Patterson visited Student Government Association last week to update the members on accreditation and the Sodexo.

Representatives from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), one of the six national accrediting agencies recognized by the Department of Education, will visit USI from Sept. 11-13 for a reaffirmation of its accreditation.

Sodexo, the food service company, rushes to make adjustment to the Chick-Fil-A and Steak ‘n Shake after a busy two weeks.

Accreditation is the certification of an institution to meeting all formal requirements including academic excellence, curriculum and facilities among other criteria.

“One of the reasons accreditation is important is our reputation,” said Executive Director of Planning, Research and Assessment Katherine Draughon. “It also makes your degree worth something, so it gives legitimacy to your degree.”

Draughon said if the university is not accredited it won’t be able to manage the over $50 million in financial aid that it handles every year.

The University of Southern Indiana has been accredited with the HLC since 1974 and must complete a reaffirmation of its accreditation every 10 years. Administrators have submitted a comprehensive report of policies and procedures over the past decade to the HLC.

Four faculty members from other schools representing the HLC will be on campus to confirm the report. The representatives are expected to conduct random student interviews during their time on campus.

Throughout the review, the HLC will focus on a number of criteria: mission, integrity, teaching quality, resources, learning support, evaluation, improvement, planning and institutional effectiveness.

“A lot of it is just making sure we are transparent about what we do and what happens when a student does something they are not supposed to do,” said Draughon. “(They also check to) make sure it is clear to students how financial aid works, what you need to do to get a refund and if you have any grievances.”

During HLC’s last reaffirmation of USI in 2006, they made a few recommendations regarding the assessment of student learning, which have been corrected by the university with the installment of an assessment day, but the university has not typically struggled with these criteria.

The HLC will release their decision to approve or not approve to the university eight weeks after the review.

“I’m counting on us getting a clean bill of health for another 10 years,” she said.

The other talking point on last week’s agenda for SGA was on update on the new restaurants in the University Center.

The two new restaurants, Steak ‘n Shake and Chick-Fil-A, have seen success in their first two weeks, more than doubling the average weekly revenue of the restaurants they replaced, Burger King and Archie’s Pizzeria.

Steak ‘n’ Shake staffs around 15 workers during the lunch rush compared to 5-6 at Burger King.

Sodexo’s mission is to get customers through the lines as quickly as possible. Chick-Fil-A’s line speed averages to around a minute, while Steak ‘n Shake speed is 3-5 minutes because of its cook-to-order corporate policy.

With the installment of Steak ‘n Shake, the former restaurant in that area, Archie’s Pizzeria, was removed, but it has not ceased to deliver.

The pizzeria is now located in the Eagle Express Convenience store and students can place delivery orders during their hours of operation from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 3 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

“We want to make sure we get the word out to students to let them know that we still do have pizza delivery on campus and it will be offered at the C-store,” said Sodexo General Manager Lamar Patterson.

Another point of emphasis for Sodexo has been their expansion both online and through apps such as the Bite app and Tapingo.

The Bite app in particular has various information about the Loft including hours of operation, menu items, calorie counts and ingredients.

“It’s really a good program, and a good tool for students who are looking to watch what they eat and look at those things.” Patterson said.

Patterson said Sodexo would like to expand the app coverage to include the information about the other restaurants across campus.

The other app, Tapingo, is a food ordering app that allows users to order carry out items they can pick up and go without waiting in line.

The app, which was originally scheduled to be in operation for the university Sept. 12, will not be set-up until October due to university changes in the system.

“We need to make sure that we actually have security and we didn’t want to start the program and have people start using it and then later on have to redo that whole program,” he said.

Patterson said the reason he believes this app will be a successful is because he thinks students will utilize it during the busy lunch rush to avoid long waiting lines.

“This program has been used on a lot of campuses,” he said. “It really does save time in the busy lines.”