CULLOWHEE -- Gurney Chambers, former dean of the College of Education and Allied Professions at Western Carolina University, received the gavel as president of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools at the association's annual meeting Dec. 4-8 in Atlanta.
Chambers assumed the duties of president following a year as president-elect, working with the 1999 SACS president John T. Casteen III, president of the University of Virginia.
Chambers has held many positions in the association over the years, including chairman of the Standards and Policies Committee, the N.C. Secondary and Middle Schools Committee, and the Common Standards Committee. Since 1996, he has served as state director of the N.C. Secondary and Middle Schools Committee, which works with 461 accredited schools throughout the state. The influential committee, which is responsible for accrediting all state secondary, middle, unit and special purpose schools, has its headquarters at Western.
Chambers retired as dean of the College of Education and Allied Professions in 1998 after serving WCU as a teacher and teacher educator for more than 30 years. A 1961 graduate of Western, he received the Alumni Award for Professional Achievement in May 1998, the Paul A. Reid Distinguished Service Award at Western in 1988, and the Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award at Western in 1971.
A well known speaker across the Southeast on topics related to education, Chambers has served as consultant and teacher in in Jamaica, Swaziland and Colombia. He has held leadership positions with the National Study for School Evaluation, the Teacher Education Council of State Colleges and Universities, the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools was founded in 1895. The largest of the nation's six regional accrediting associations, SACS is responsible for accrediting more than 12,000 colleges, universities and secondary and elementary schools in 11 Southern states.