Dr. Michael Dauphinais, Chair and Associate Professor of Theology, on AMU’s liberal arts education, core curriculum, & distinguished faculty.



Ave Maria University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Ave Maria University.

Inquiries concerning Ave Maria University, such as admission requirements, financial aid, educational programs, etc., should be addressed directly to Ave Maria University and not to the Southern Association of Colleges and School Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).  The Commission should be contacted only in the instance there is evidence of significant non-compliance with a SACSCOC requirement or standard.

Ave Maria University’s regional accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), is required by the federal government to monitor compliance with the substantive change policy and to approve any major changes. Ave Maria University’s responsibility is:

        • to notify SACSCOC of substantive changes in a timely manner, and
        • in many cases to seek SACSCOC approval up to six months before implementing the change.

The types of substantive change and the procedures for addressing them may be found in the Commission’s policy on substantive changeExternal link.


Please contact the University’s SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison, Dr. Michael Dauphinais, for more information and for procedures to follow to obtain the necessary approvals prior to implementation of the proposed action.

Organization of Reaffirmation Process
“The below information is presented as it was effective during the summer of 2014.  It has not been updated with current positions and titles to show the institutional involvement in the development of the Compliance Certification document and the Quality Enhancement Plan as it was at that time.”


Leadership Team

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) requires that institutions establish a Leadership Team to manage and validate the internal institutional assessment of compliance with all Core Requirements, Comprehensive Standards, and Federal Requirements. The team should include individuals who have the skills, knowledge, and the authority to lead in this total institutional effort. The team should not be large, but its membership would normally include the chief executive officer, the chief academic officer, the accreditation liaison, and a representative faculty member. The responsibilities of the Leadership Team include, but are not limited to:

  • Coordinating and managing the internal review process, including developing the structure and timelines for ensuring the timely completion of all tasks and attending the Orientation Meeting conducted by the Commission on Colleges. The Orientation Meeting is limited to five people from each institution, including the institution’s finance officer.
  • Coordinating the completion of the Compliance Certification by overseeing the institutional review of the extent of compliance with the Principles of Accreditation and the documentation of evidence supporting the extent of compliance.
  • Ensuring that the institutional community is engaged in the review process and is informed of the progress of the review.
  • Overseeing the completion and ensuring the accuracy of the Institutional Summary Form submitted at the time of the Orientation Meeting, included with the Compliance Certification, and updated for the On-Site Reaffirmation Committee.
  • Developing the Focused Report, if the institution so chooses.
  • Overseeing the development and implementation of the Quality Enhancement Plan.
  • Overseeing arrangements for the on-site visit.
  • Ensuring that the appropriate follow-up activities are in place to address compliance issues cited by the Off-Site Reaffirmation Committee, recommendations written by the On-Site Reaffirmation Committee, and requests for subsequent monitoring reports by the Commission.

H. James Towey – President
Michael Dauphinais – Vice President of Academic Affairs/Dean of Faculty
Robert Farnham – Chief Financial Officer
Jorge Calvo – Associate Professor of Mathematics/Chair of IE Committee
Helen Altomari – Coordinator for Institutional Research

Compliance Certification Writing Committee
The primary responsibility of the Compliance Certification Writing Committee is to assist in the compilation of the compliance report. The writing committees are supported by the Leadership Team and the Institutional Effectiveness Committee. This process was completed in the summer of 2014. The Compliance Certification Report was submitted on September 8, 2014.
Committee Chairs
William Kirk – Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel
Jorge Calvo – Associate Professor of Mathematics/Chair of IE Committee
John Colman – Assistant Professor/Chair of Politics
Gregory Vall – Associate Professor/Chair of Theology
Jennifer Nodes – Director of Library Services
Erin Van de Voorde – Residence Director
Robert Farnham – Controller
Stephen Cronin – Associate Professor of Biology

QEP Development Committee
Dr. Keith Houde, Associate Professor of Psychology, Chair
Dr. Jorge Calvo, Associate Professor of Mathematics
Julie Cosden, Vice President for Student Affairs
Dr. Andrew Dinan, Associate Professor of Classics
Dr. Michael Dauphinais, Vice President for Academic Affairs
Dr. Richard Dittus, Director of College Preparedness & Instructor of Mathematics
Mary Hunt, Assistant Professor of Business & Psychology
Dr. Catherine Pakaluk, Assistant Professor of Economics
Helen Altomari, Coordinator for Institutional Effectiveness & Research
Dr. William Riordan, Professor of Theology
Erin Van de Voorde, Director of Residence Life & Alumna
Zachary Crockett, Coordinator for Career Services & Alumnus

The Committee developed the following Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP):
“Sophomore Success: Preparing Leaders for the Third Millennium”

The QEP document was submitted to the Reaffirmation Committee on 13 January 2015. The executive summary may be found here.

Ave Maria University

2014 – 15 Reaffirmation Timeline

June 2013

o    Leadership Team Orientation in Atlanta

o    First draft of Compliance Certification Report

July 2013

o    Second draft of Compliance Certification Report

December 2013

o    Third draft of Compliance Certification Report

o    Attend SACSCOC Annual Meeting

January 2014

o    First Draft of Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP)

June 9, 2014

o    Host visit by SACSCOC VP Michael Johnson

July 2014

o    Complete final draft of Compliance Certification

August 2014

o    Second draft of QEP

o    Submit Compliance Certification Report to SACSCOC

September 10, 2014

o    Compliance Certification Report Due to SACSCOC

November 2014

o    Receive feedback from off-site review of Compliance Certification

January 2015

o    Submit QEP and Focused Report (if necessary) to SACSCOC

February 23-27, 2015

o    Host on-site review team

April 2015

o    Receive SACSCOC on-site review team report

August 2015

o    Submit response to report recommendations (if necessary)

December 2015

o    Attend SACSCOC Annual Meeting and Receive Reaffirmation Action