Catawba's Opening Convocation Marks Institution's 162nd Year
September 4, 2013
Catawba College President Brien Lewis convened the college for its 162nd year of operation at Opening Convocation held August 29 in Omwake-Dearborn Chapel. The occasion was also an opportunity for the students, faculty and staff gathered to learn a little more about the business of how the college stays in business.
Acting Provost Dr. J. Michael Bitzer delivered the convocation address which concerned the process by which the college reaffirms its accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools or SACS. "It is the group that gives Catawba College its accreditation — or the ability to say ‘your education and your degree means something,' " Bitzer told the students.
"SACS gives your education the stamp of approval. Every 10 years, SACS requires that colleges undergo a reaffirmation of their accreditation — to make sure we are actually doing what we set out to do."
Bitzer went on to explain that as part of the college's re-accreditation, Catawba is charged with developing a Quality Enhancement Plan or a QEP.
"What the QEP is designed to do is enhance student learning — meaning, whatever we do should bring about changes in your knowledge, your skills, your behaviors, your values, " he said. Additionally, the QEP must relate in some way to Catawba's mission to deliver "…an education rich in personal attention that blends the knowledge and competencies of liberal studies with career preparation."
Those gathered also heard greetings from representatives of various constituencies.
Darlene Ball '62, chair of the Catawba Board of Trustees, paraphrased "the buck stops here, "a line made famous by President Harry Truman, when she explained that the Board of Trustees is "where the buck stops."
Ball said the 38-member board that she chairs is 1) not involved in day-to-day operations of the college; 2) has responsibility for the hiring of the president and seeing that adequate financial resources are available for operation of the college; and 3) overall responsibility for seeing that students have the best education possible.
Dr. Lyn Boulter, chair of the Catawba Faculty Senate, also brought greetings. She quoted Helen Keller as she reminded students to have both sight and vision, saying, "What a tragedy for those who have sight, but no vision."
Bridgette Gibbs, chair of the College's Staff Council, and T.J. Olsen, executive president of the SGA, also brought greetings and wishes for a successful academic year.