SACSCOC approves Voorhees as a graduate degree-granting institution
December 26, 2022
Denmark, S.C. – Voorhees University has been approved to offer graduate degrees by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The approval by the organization’s board of trustees was announced during the SACSCOC annual meeting in Atlanta in early December.
“There is excellence among us and it has been demonstrated by those colleagues who did what was necessary to offer an impressive graduate program in teaching and learning. That effort led to the SACSCOC Board of Trustees approving Voorhees to offer other graduate degrees,” said Ronnie Hopkins, president of Voorhees University. “We are grateful to SACSCOC and to our colleagues who are helping us to expand our degree-offering footprint.”
Voorhees was approved to offer the master of education degree in teaching and learning in December 2021. The university had six months to demonstrate its capacity to provide an effective program. A SACSCOC review team visited the campus in September. The team found that the university’s program had met all of the standards set forth by the accrediting body and recommended that Voorhees be approved to offer graduate programs without condition.
“After the site visit, we were advised that there were no concerns with our teaching and learning graduate degree program. The team determined that we were in full compliance. There were no findings and no need for monitoring,” said Damara Hightower Mitchell, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “The SACSCOC board agreed, and now, Voorhees can offer graduate degrees in various disciplines.
Hightower Mitchell credits Gwenda Richburg Greene, founding dean of the Voorhees University School of Graduate Studies, with providing leadership that led to the success of the teaching and learning degree.
“Dr. Greene has been phenomenal in launching the program and ensuring that we met all of the criteria for compliance. We appreciate her efforts and the efforts of others who have embraced President Hopkins’ challenge to take Voorhees University to the next level of excellence,” said Hightower Mitchell.
There are 29 students in the teaching and learning program, which has two components and is offered online. The concentrations are education systems improvement and PK-12 education. Greene expects that number will grow and is looking forward to expanding graduate programs.
“This team accomplishment rests on the laurels of our founder, Elizabeth Evelyn Wright, who had the audacity to fulfill her dream. One hundred twenty-five years later, we now move her dream towards the next level of excellence,” said Greene. “We will continue to grow and embrace learners with the passion to pursue higher education. The pinnacle of this celebratory accomplishment begins with the first graduating class in May 2023.”
SACSCOC is the body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in Southern states. Its mission is to assure the educational quality and improve the effectiveness of its member institutions.
About Voorhees University www.voorhees.edu.Voorhees University, founded by Elizabeth Evelyn Wright in 1897, is a private, coeducational institution affiliated with the Episcopal Church and the United Negro College Fund. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate and graduate degrees. Its mission is to produce highly qualified graduates who coalesce intellect and faith in pursuit of life-long learning, healthy living, the betterment of society, and an abiding faith in God. U.S. News & World Report has ranked Voorhees as a #1 best value, #3 in social mobility and #33 among regional colleges in the south in 2022-2023; and #26 among Historically Black Colleges and Universities, nationally. Additional information about Voorhees University can be found at