Commission on Accreditation NewsletterDecember 2022
U.S. Department of Education Recognition – Great News!
On Friday, November 18, we received word that the U.S. Department of Education has approved the ABHE Commission on Accreditation for continued recognition as an accreditor of institutions of biblical higher education for a period of 5 years AND approved an amended scope of recognition for the agency to include direct assessment (competency-based education) programs.
The amended Scope of Recognition is as follows: For institutions in the United States, the accreditation and pre‐accreditation (“Candidate Status”) of institutions of biblical higher education offering undergraduate certificates, associate degrees, baccalaureate degrees, graduate certificates, and master’s degrees, including the accreditation of educational programs offered via distance education and direct assessment.
A five-year approval of recognition with no reporting requirements is the best possible outcome, with the bonus of scope expansion. Praise God with us!
Public Access to Outcomes Data – IMPORTANT
You probably recognized that the fall Directory Update in WEAVE requested some additional information this year—specifically, links to information on your website required by COA policy. You may have received a friendly email from COA staff if something was missing. Thanks for addressing those gaps as soon as possible. Also, please update your webpages with current information!
If you have questions about Public Access to Outcomes Data requirements, begin by reviewing Standard 2: EE 8 and particularly, the Policy on Outcomes (COA Manual, pp. 57-60). Your assigned Commission Staff Representative (CSR) can provide additional clarification if you have lingering questions.
We are now circling back to recheck accredited institution websites for required information. You will hear from us again if we have questions!
Nominations for Commission Service
You received an email on Tuesday, November 1, asking for nominations of individuals to serve on the ABHE Commission on Accreditation. The ABHE Commission is the separate and independent body that exercises authority over accreditation Standards, decisions, policies, procedures, and peer review processes for ABHE. We have three institutional vacancies this year and will need six individuals to run for election to the Commission at the COA Delegate Assembly in February 2023. If you know a highly motivated critical thinker with a love for biblical higher education and a commitment to serve our member institutions, please nominate that person for a position on the Commission on Accreditation! Direct nominations to the Commission chair, Dr. Kevin Hester, at email@example.com.
Peer Evaluator Network
ABHE accreditation processes are empowered by peer review, so YOU can play a crucial role in assuring quality, integrity, and continuous improvement in ABHE institutions by joining the Peer Evaluator Network and serving as a team evaluator. The ABHE Commission on Accreditation seeks knowledgeable higher education professionals currently employed at ABHE-accredited institutions for the following evaluator roles—academic, administrative, resources, faculty and learning resources, and student enrollment and student development. For more information, fill out the interest form at: https://www.abhe.org/peer-evaluator-network/
Comprehensive Review of Standards
A comprehensive review of ABHE Standards for Accreditation is completed every ten years, and the 2022-2023 review is well underway! We had listening sessions on the current Standards at the February 2022 annual meeting and followed up with a Commission survey in April and three virtual listening sessions in May. We asked for nominations for Standards Review taskforces and were SO ENCOURAGED with the response. Sixty-nine individuals on seven taskforces are already at work reviewing the current Standards and making recommendations for improvement. We are planning three discussion forums on specific Standards at the February 2023 Annual Meeting, facilitated by members of the Standards Review Steering Committee. Please plan to attend one or more of these forums in February!
The 2023 Annual Meeting workshop line-up includes at least eight accreditation-related sessions! Go to https://www.abhe.org/annual-meeting/workshops-at-a-glance/ for day and time of the following workshop offerings:
- The Self-Study Process with Elaine Phillips, Family of Faith Christian University (OK)
- The Comprehensive Review with Shane Wood, COA Senior Associate Director
- What’s New in the World of Accreditation Standards and Policies? With Michael Jackson, COA Associate Director
- Engaging with a Proposed Policy on Diversity with Lisa Beatty, COA Executive Director
- Communicating Outcomes to the Public with Michael Jackson, COA Associate Director, and Lisa Beatty, COA Executive Director
- Reporting Assessment Data: Who Needs to Know What We Learned? with Sheri Popp, WEAVE
- Managing Assessment Culture with John Mark Yeats, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (MO)
- Achieving ABHE Assessment Standards with Aaron Profitt, God’s Bible School & College (OH)
Plan to bring several team members to Orlando for the Annual Meeting! Then you can attend every session of interest and not miss any of the valuable information provided. Many institutions gather their teams for meals and debrief what they are learning, making this a great team-building opportunity.
The culmination of the event will be our Celebration Banquet on Friday night with Michael Card in concert. We look forward to your presence with us! Register at www.abhe.org/annual-meeting/.