B-CU Administrator Receives Top Honor from Accrediting Agency
Last month, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the regional accrediting body for colleges and universities in 11 southern states, presented its Meritorious Service Award to Mr. E. Dean Montgomery, Bethune-Cookman University’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, in recognition of his service as a peer reviewer in the accreditation process.
The award was presented by Dr. Phillip C. Stone, former chair of the SACS Commission on Colleges, at the organization's annual meeting in Atlanta which was attended by more than 4,000 college and university administrators.
The Meritorious Service Award is the second highest honor given by the organization and is, according to SACSCOC, "presented to those in higher education who have demonstrated extraordinary commitment to and understanding of accreditation processes, who are respected by their peers for their integrity and the meritorious quality of their service, and who are recognized as models of competency, creativity, and accomplishment." Mr. Montgomery was nominated for the award by representatives of the Commissions on Colleges' 800 member institutions who are active in accreditation activities.
"I often say that B-CU has the best chief financial officer in higher education. It is wonderful to see Mr. Montgomery's expertise recognized by SACS in front of thousands of senior administrators from institutions across the south. I can't think of anyone more deserving of such an honor," commented B-CU President Trudie Kibbe Reed.
Peer review is a critical component of the accreditation process. Teams of reviewers made up of college and university administrators and faculty conduct off- and on-site evaluations of institutions throughout the southeast. For each off-site evaluation, reviewers spend three days at SACSCOC headquarters in Atlanta reading written accreditation materials, conducting additional research and drafting reports. On-site evaluation requires the review team to spend two to three days at an institution to gather additional information, conduct more supplementary research and draft a detailed set of recommendations to be reviewed by SACSCOC.
Because of his expertise in financial and physical resource management, SACSCOC frequently calls on Montgomery to participate in review teams. Over the last 16 years, in addition to serving as a special reader for the Commission, Montgomery has served on more than 30 evaluation committees. He has reviewed public and private institutions, both majority and HBCU. Montgomery is also a consultant to institutions he is not reviewing in preparation for their site visits.
"It is an honor to be selected to serve," noted Montgomery about his work with SACSCOC. "Under the SACS standards, one of the most difficult is financial stability. It is one of the toughest standards to meet because you can't easily fix it if there’s a problem."
SACSCOC isn't the only organization recognizing and tapping Montgomery's expertise. Two years ago, the Southern Education Foundation invited him to be a presenter on the SACSCOC accreditation process at a forum held at Harvard University. That presentation led to an invitation for Montgomery to be a guest lecturer on higher education financial management at Harvard's Graduate School of Education (GSE). Montgomery also spent time at Harvard last summer, attending the GSE's Institute for Educational Management.
Montgomery has been at B-CU since 1999.
About Bethune Cookman University:
Founded in 1904 by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) today sustains her legacy of faith, scholarship and service through its relationship with the United Methodist Church and its commitment to academic excellence and civic engagement. B-CU offers more than 40 degrees on its main campus and online college. Located in Daytona Beach, B-CU is one of three private, historically black colleges in the state of Florida. The institution boasts a diverse and international faculty and student body of more than 4,000. For more information, visit www.cookman.edu.