Michael Black Named Director of Institutional Effectiveness at VSU

September 26, 2012

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

Michael Black Named Director of Institutional Effectiveness at VSU


VALDOSTA -- On Aug. 1, Dr. Michael Black became Valdosta State University’s first director of institutional effectiveness.

In this role, Black will help faculty and staff document the progress being made and demonstrate that the university’s mission is being effectively pursued.

Previously, different departments across campus were responsible for the duties related to institutional effectiveness. Black will coordinate these efforts overall. He will work with campus departments to help refine the processes that they already have in place and arrive at new ways of demonstrating that the university is both presently meeting the requirements of its accrediting bodies and making progress toward achieving its goals and objectives.

“So many exciting and important things are happening at VSU,” said the self-described active genealogist and local volunteer. “My colleagues are dedicated to student learning and excellence in support services. I am honored to be a part of the process that documents the effectiveness and success of these dedicated professionals. I will work hard to help make their reporting easier and more reflective of their good work.”

Black’s position was created to ensure and to spur continuous improvement at the university, which is required by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the regional body for accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions like VSU.

Among his many duties, Black will be responsible for helping VSU maintain clearly specified educational objectives that are consistent with its mission and appropriate to the degrees offered and that indicate whether VSU is successful in achieving its stated objectives. He will assist academic departments in maintaining and obtaining professional accreditation.

“Strong assessment practices are of increasing importance to all programs and administrative units,” he shared. “This is evident not only to ensure student learning but to maintain our SACS accreditation and over 20 professional/discipline-specific accreditations.”

The University System of Georgia requires institutions to evaluate their academic programs each year. For VSU, these assessments are important when planning for changes and responding to external constituents, such as legislators and taxpayers.

Black is currently chairman of the University Assessment Committee. He also serves as the institutional representative to the University System of Georgia’s Regents Advisory Committee on Effectiveness and Accreditation. He participated as a committee member in VSU’s 2000 SACS reaffirmation process and attended his first SACS annual meeting two years later.

“As a result, I have developed a keen interest in accreditation and have become acutely aware of the importance of accreditation in education,” he said.

Black has also been working closely with the General Education Council on the continuing assessment of the university’s core curriculum courses, as well as with the Academic Affairs Office on the Comprehensive Program Review (CPR) process, shared Dr. Sheri Gravett, assistant vice president for Academic Affairs.

“In both areas, Dr. Black has been a tremendous asset in helping VSU to coordinate all its various assessment activities, and he continues to work on ways to help these processes become more useful and efficient,” she said.

Black noted that the university and its people have been important to him for a long time. He walked the campus as a child and dreamed that one day he would be a part of the university community.

“I have been affiliated with VSU for over 15 years,” he said, “beginning as a student and eventually becoming a full-time employee. I worked on campus as a student assistant and graduate assistant, but my first full-time employment was as an accountant in the [Division of] Finance and Administration.”

Black earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in finance and Master of Education degrees in higher educational leadership and instructional technology, all from Valdosta State University. He continued his education at Florida State University, where he earned a Doctor of Education degree in higher education and a graduate certificate in institutional research. He returned to VSU as an analyst in the Office of Strategic Research and Analysis, a position he held until he was named the director of institutional effectiveness.

“As a graduate of VSU, it will be rewarding to help ensure that today’s students receive the same high-quality education and support services that I received as a student,” he added.

Black is married to Krystle Kennedy, who studied accounting at VSU and works with Synovus Bank. She recently returned to her alma mater as a graduate student.

Black has written two books on VSU’s history, A Mosaic of People and Events in the History of Valdosta State University’s Business Operations, 1906-2006 (2006) and Sincerely, Frank: Frank R. Reade: Professor, President, and Camp Director (2008). He plans to continue documenting -- and helping to build -- the university’s legacy.

Contact Dr. Michael Black at (229) 333-7831 or mmblack@valdosta.edu to learn more.