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Internal Review of NOVA's SACSCOC Compliance Certification 

The following internal reviewers have begun to review four sections of the Compliance Certification:

  • Section 2 (Mission) and Section 3 (Basic Eligibility Standard): Molly Lynch and Nicole Reaves
  • Section 4 (Governing Board): Pam Hilbert and Julie Leidig
  • Section 11 (Library and Learning/Information Resources): Jen Daniels and Kat Hitchcock
  • Internal reviewers have been advised to review the following documents:
    • Resource Manual for The Principles of Accreditation
    • Original Narratives for the Section
    • Consultant’s Feedback
    • Revised Narratives

In addition, internal reviewers will submit a Score Sheet for each standard to report on the clarity, completeness, strength, and relevance of the narratives and supporting documentation.

  • The deadline to complete the first set of internal reviews is August 31, 2020.
  • The next sections to be reviewed include the following:
    • Section 6 (Faculty)
    • Section 9 (Educational Program and Structure)
    • Section 13 (Financial and Physical Resources)
    • Section 14 (Transparency and Institutional Representation).


These three sections will be distributed to the internal reviewers the week of August 24, 2020.

  • The final five sections will be reviewed beginning the week of August 31,2020:
    • Section 5 (Administrative and Organization)
    • Section 7 (Institutional Planning and Effectiveness) and Section 8 (Student Achievement)
    • Section 10 (Educational Polices, Procedures, and Practices) and Section 12 (Academic and Student Support Services)

Quality Enhancement Plan Development Timeline

Student Academic Success Services (SASS) has emerged as the topic for NOVA’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). The next step in the process is to assemble a diverse, multi-campus, multi-unit QEP Development Team to build on the work started by the QEP Subcommittee.

With their leadership, NOVA will develop a QEP that:

  • Has a topic identified through its ongoing comprehensive planning and evaluation processes;
  • Has broad-based support of institutional constituencies;
  • Focuses on improving specific student learning outcomes and/or student success; and
  • Includes a plan to assess

NOVA’s QEP will include a literature review of promising practices, the development of specific goals, implementation steps, performance outcomes, and a plan to assess the QEP. Over the next academic year, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to learn more about the QEP and provide feedback, as outlined in the timeline below.

  • July 2020: Announcement of QEP Topic
  • July 2020: Formation of QEP Development Committee
  • August 2020: QEP update to College
  • December 2020: First draft of QEP due to Steering Committee
  • January 2021: QEP document shared with College for feedback
  • May 2021: Final draft of QEP due to Steering Committee
  • July 2021: QEP Lead Evaluator nominees submitted
  • August 2021: QEP submitted to On-Site Review Committee
  • Fall 2021: On-Site Review of QEP
  • June 2022: Decision by SACSCOC Board of Trustees
  • 2027: Impact Report submitted as part of the Fifth-Year Interim Report

This document provides a progress update on the Objectives for 2020 submitted on January 28, 2020.

SACSCOC Process Updates

  • By May 30, 2020, stakeholders for all 14 sections in the Compliance Certification completed the narratives for their areas and submitted their documents in Compliance Assist. The consultant completed the first read and returned the documents to the Standard owners who are in the process of revising their document.
  • The Standard owners will send their second drafts to the Steering Committee leadership team with the expectation that these revised documents will be reviewed by one of the eight members who have been selected as internal readers: Molly Lynch, Julie Leidig, Pam Hilbert, Katherine Hitchcock, Jennifer Daniels, Charlotte Calobrisi, and Anne Kress. The eight members will be given the revised Standards to review and recommend changes before sending them to the consultant for the second read. This process will take place from July 15, 2020 to September 15, 2020.
  • On September 15, 2020, the senior leadership along with the Steering Committee will determine whether the Compliance Certification, after the second review and revision, needs to be sent to an external reviewer.
  • By November 30, 2020, the document and reference links will be formatted and uploaded to Compliance Assist.
  • The Compliance Certification is due to SACSCOC on March 1, 2021.
  • The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) is expected to be submitted two months prior to the visiting team’s arrival at the College. The anticipated submission date is August 1, 2021. 

Quality Enhancement Plan Development Update

  • On June 9, 2020, the Administrative Council approved the proposed QEP topic for further development.
  • After a wide consultation, College faculty, staff, and administrators were recommended to be included in the QEP Development Committee. The list is below.
  • The Administrative Council is expected to review the list and make changes to finalize the QEP Development Committee. The QEP Development Committee is expected to include 22-24 College stakeholders. Of these members, 10-12 individuals will be asked to be a part of the QEP Development Executive Committee.
  • The QEP Development Committee, led by the QEP Development Executive Committee, will develop the QEP and provide regular updates on the progress of the QEP to the Administrative Council and Steering Committee.

SACSCOC recommends that the QEP has “broad-based input for development from a cross-section of stakeholders involved.”  Further, the SACSCOC QEP Evaluative Framework states that the “QEP identifies important constituent groups engaged in developing and initiating the plan. Stake-holders are well-informed and appropriately engaged in the implementation and assessment of the plan.”

The following is a diverse group of 31 faculty and staff from a variety of College units, representing all campuses and College staff.  (There are 3 additional TBD to increase representation of College units.) The proposed list includes staff and faculty who submitted proposals related to the QEP topic of Academic Success Support (*), currently serve in a role that supports academic success or equity, served on the QEP subcommittee for topic identification (#), and/or serve on the SACSCOC Steering Committee (%).

  • Amany Ahmed (MA MSTB CHM) *
  • Breana Bayraktar (WO LASS ESL) *
  • Denise Bausch (WO LASS ENG) *
  • Kathy Bohnstedt (WO LTR Dean) #
  • Veronica Carlan (AL MSTB MTH)
  • Julie Combs (LO Librarian) *
  • Vanessa Diaz (AL Director of Academic Success and Student Engagement)
  • Karen Doheney (LO LASS ENG) *
  • Joan Ehrlich (Disability Services) *
  • Christopher Eninger (MA MSTB BIO) *
  • Pat Gordon (AL PtB advisor)
  • Shonette Grant (AL Associate Dean) #
  • Victoria Hill-Megginson (MSTB MSTB ADJ) *
  • Kat Hitchcock (LO LASS Academic Dean) *%
  • Ritu Kansal (AN MSTB CHM) *#
  • Jill MacDiarmid (MA Testing Center) *
  • Maureen Madden (NOL instruction designer; accessibility liaison) *
  • Emily Miller (MEC Writing Center)
  • Nicole Munday (WO Tutoring Center Director)
  • Bridget Page (MEC Student Services Coordinator)
  • Cynthia Pascal (NOL)
  • Zahra Rafie (AN LASS SOC)
  • Kevin Simmons (AN Library)
  • Cheri Spiegel (AN LASS ENG) *
  • Nicole Tong (AN LASS ENF) *
  • Phi Phung Trinh (LO Math Lab Staff)
  • Rebecca Walter (AN LASS CST)
  • Ashlie Warnick (MA LASS ECO) *
  • Tamara Warren-Chinyani (WO LASS CST) #
  • Tracy White (AN Career Counselor)
  • Debbie Wyne (LO Dean of Students)
  • TBD – IET Academic Coach
  • TBD – IET faculty (AL, LO or WO)
  • TBD – Student Services Advisor or Counselor (AL, MA and/or MEC)

Goal: Identify the QEP topic

“Quality Enhancement Plan”: notes from SACSCOC Vice President Dr. Steven Sheeley

  1. Assemble your QEP development team
  2. Assent and approval not required for every institutional constituency
  3. Broad-based input for development from a cross-section of stakeholders involved
  4. “QEP identifies important constituent groups engaged in developing and initiating the plan. Stake-holders are well-informed and appropriately engaged in the implementation and assessment of the plan” Reviewing the QEP: An Evaluative Framework, SACSCOC
  5. Living document and process, open to improvement and appropriate changes throughout the life of the plan
  6. Hypothesis about improving student learning outcomes and/or student success
  7. Strategies proposed based on sound practice
  8. Maintain focus on the desired improvements in outcomes


  1. Topic Identification
    1. September 2019 – Invitation for participation
    2. October 2019 – Preliminary meetings at campuses and call for proposals
    3. December 2019 – Deadline for QEP topic proposals; formation of QEP Subcommittee
    4. January 2020 – QEP Subcommittee identifies emerging QEP topics develops themes; presentation of initial themes to Steering Committee
    5. February 2020 – Feedback on themes from College and Steering Committee; refinement of themes by QEP Subcommittee
    6. March 2020 – Presentation on QEP themes to the Administrative Council
    7. April 2020 – Refinement of theme by QEP Subcommittee
    8. May 2020 – Presentation of refined themes to Administrative Council; identification of QEP topic
  2. Topic Development
    1. May 2020: Formation of QEP Development Committee
    2. August 2020: QEP update to College
    3. December 2020: First draft of QEP document
    4. January 2021: QEP document shared with College for feedback
    5. May 2021: Final draft of QEP due to Steering Committee
    6. July 2021: QEP Lead Evaluator nominees submitted
    7. August 2021: QEP submitted to On-Site Review Committee
    8. Fall 2021: On-Site Review of QEP
    9. June 2022: Decision by SACSCOC Board of Trustees
    10. 2027: Impact Report submitted as part of the Fifth-Year Interim Report
  1. The consultant has completed a first review of six of the 13 sections (2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 13).
  2. Recurring issues include a) missing evidence or evidence which is not directly connected, and b) formatting issues.
  3. The consultant has had discussions with the owners of the sections.
  4. Five owners have designated Points of Contact (POC) to assist with the narrative and/or gathering evidence/supporting documentation.
  5. By the end of this week, Sections 9 and 11 will be sent to the consultant for the first review.
  6. Sections 5 and 6 will go to the consultant for the first review during the week of May 18, 2020.
  7. By May 25, the remaining sections (10, 12, and 14) will be sent to the consultant for the first review.
  8. By the end of May 2020, the consultant will have completed the first review of all sections of the Compliance Certification, and the owners will make necessary revisions.
  9. During the months of June 2020 and July 2020, the revised sections will be submitted for the second review. The consultant will provide feedback by the end of July 2020.
  10. During August 2020 and September 2020, owners will finalize the sections and enter revised narratives and evidence/supporting documentation into Compliance Assist.
  1. Of the 13 standards currently under review, the consultant has completed a first review of Standards 2, 3, and 4.
  2. An important aspect of the feedback has been the issue of the structure of the narratives and adequacy of evidence and supporting documentation in support of establishing compliance with the particular standard. Additionally, the consultant frequently pointed out the importance of a consistent format and style guide across the narratives. Deciding on a specific style guide and arrangements for copy editing will need to occur much earlier than anticipated.
  3. The consultant’s feedback on Standards 2, 3, and 4 will be shared with all the owners of the standards this week. The owners of the standards will review their narratives and make necessary corrections before the consultant begins the second round of review.
  4. Feedback from the consultant is being used to determine a consistent approach to documenting the evidence and supporting documentation and will be shared with the owners of the narratives.
  5. As we receive feedback from the consultant in the next few weeks, the standards will be returned to the owners for revisions. If the owner of the narrative needs to discuss feedback with the consultant, arrangements will be made to do so.
  6. Once the revisions have been completed, a subgroup of the Steering Committee will review the work to ensure the appropriate changes have been made before the consultant begins the second round of review.

Compliance Certification

  • All owners of Standards will upload their assigned narratives to Compliance Assist by April 20,
  • Members of the Steering Committee are in the process of reviewing some of the Standards and providing feedback to the owners of the
  • NOVA has retained a consultant, Marty Sharpe, to review the Standards to ensure the narratives make the case for compliance and include sufficient supporting documentation.
    • The consultant will perform two rounds of
    • Round 1 is expected to be completed by the end of June
    • As of April 10, 2020, the consultant is reviewing Standards 1 through
  • Nine Administrative Council members are also members of the Steering Committee. After the consultant’s first round of review, these members will have an extensive discussion with the consultant to evaluate the level of preparedness at that
  • If there are early signs in the Compliance Certification that a specific Standard is problematic, there will be a discussion at the senior leadership
  • As needed, Dr. Kress will determine whether she requires an update from the consultant regarding the status of the Compliance Certification.
  • From July 1 to September 30, 2020, the consultant will perform the second round of review of all
  • If there are Standards that need additional work, owners will address the issues from October 2020 through the end of November
  • Beginning in October 2020, a copy editor/writer will review all the narratives of the Standards, edit, and enhance the
  • NOVA will submit the Compliance Certification to SACSCOC by March 1,

Quality Enhancement Plan

  • Based on the Administrative Council discussion on March 31, 2020, the topic of the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) will be revisited to include a focus on academic support
  • On April 28, 2020, a revised QEP proposal will be shared with the Administrative Council for
  • The QEP will be submitted by September 13, 2021, six weeks prior to the On-Site Reaffirmation Committee visit in October

Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) Update

Drs. George Gabriel and Alison Thimblin shared the QEP update with the Council members. They focused on the QEP Topic Identification document previously submitted to the Administrative Council. The document included a summary of the proposal process and theme development, feedback from the College and the Steering Committee, and preparation for the 2021 SACSCOC visit. Special attention was placed on Section 4 of the document, which included the goal to improve written communication/performance and general education competencies across disciplines through a writing-focused initiative. Dr. Thimblin stressed the Administrative Council Meeting March 30, 2020 Page 2 of 3 importance of this goal and the equity of services across the campuses, in order to target populations that have demonstrated lower success rates. The document also referenced NOVA’s Strategic Plan - focusing on successful transfer to four-year institutions and career readiness, the importance of written communication across disciplines and programs which serves to improve economic mobility, progress, and completion. The Council members also discussed the next steps in the process which include a focus on academic support services, approval by the Administrative Council, and formation of a QEP Development Leadership Team to complete a final QEP document, and prepare for the SACSCOC visit in fall 2021.

  1. Section 7.2 - Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP)
  2. QEP Subcommittee
  3. QEP Topic Identification Process
  4. QEP Timeline for Topic Identification
  5. Proposals Submitted
  6. Proposal Rubric
  7. Themes Developed
    1. Academic Support Services
    2. Access and Equity through Advocacy and Support
    3. College Success Strategies
    4. Global and Social Engagement
    5. Improving Writing Performance
    6. Information Literacy and Critical Thinking
  8. Gathering Feedback
  9. Review of Themes and Initial Feedback
  10. Next Steps