St. Louis sem receives accreditation extension

Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, President John F. Johnson got word from two accrediting agencies last month that the seminary is receiving a 10-year extension of its accreditation, with no notations.
That is “the highest level of accreditation renewal possible,” says a March 18 seminary news release about the extension.  The renewal is being granted by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS)  and  the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA), after review teams from both agencies visited the campus at the same time last November.
“The longer the accreditation period is extended by the ATS and NCA, the more confident they are concerning the quality, strength and well-being of the institution,” said Rev. Glen Thomas, the seminary’s vice president for seminary relations.
Thomas explained that when the agencies issue notations, they are identifying “areas of particular concern which surface during the review process.”
“We are very pleased to be recognized with such a strong vote of confidence from these two prestigious accrediting agencies,” Johnson said. “It is particularly gratifying that the report did not contain any notations.  Yet, we want to assure the church that we will not become complacent as a result of this … but will continue to work as hard as possible to improve all aspects of our operation.”
The review teams from the accrediting agencies visited the campus Nov. 9-12, meeting with students, faculty, staff and alumni.  Before the visit, Concordia conducted a yearlong self-study, “during which all aspects of the seminary’s operation were reviewed,” Thomas said, adding that the agencies received a 150-page document that resulted from the self-study.
The seminary release says that news of the accreditation extension “comes at a time when the Seminary’s enrollment is dramatically increasing.  This year, [it] had its largest incoming class in 32 years — 178 new students.  In the winter, the seminary’s total enrollment exceeded 800 students for the first time in four decades.”
“As a seminary of the church, we are pleased to communicate to the church that an objective, external review has produced such positive conclusions about the way Concordia Seminary is conducting its mission,” Johnson said.

Posted March 26, 2004

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