Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, has announced the reaffirmation of its accreditations — with no notations — through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the Association of Theological Schools (ATS).
“A potential pastor, Paul says, ‘must be well thought of by outsiders’ (1 Tim. 3:7). That’s one reason why accreditation is very important, so that the transcripts and diplomas of church workers who graduate from Concordia Seminary are credible in the larger world of academia,” said the seminary’s president, Rev. Dr. Dale A. Meyer.
“Accreditation is likewise important within the church, so you can have confidence that your professors and scholars can hold their own in presenting our historic faith and teaching it to coming generations of pastors and deaconesses,” Meyer said. “Thank you to all — faculty, staff and students — who put in uncounted hours for this successful outcome!”
The HLC report documented the seminary’s strengths, such as its exceptional faculty, commitment to quality education and positioning for the future, according to a seminary news release. The report lauded the seminary’s commitment to strategic planning and its approach for identifying long-term priorities focused on meeting the needs of its primary constituent: The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. The seminary also was praised for weathering the recession and its overall financial health.
The ATS report also expressed pleasure with the state of the seminary. The report identified many of the same strengths as the HLC report, noting in particular the seminary’s strong commitment to biblical exegesis, which affirms that emerging pastors will be well-formed in Lutheran theology. The seminary’s focus on improving the capacity for preaching also was noted.
“Of particular note in both reports was our outstanding faculty,” said Provost Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Kloha. “Their academic expertise, commitment to professional development and leadership, and service to the LCMS made a significant impression.”
Also earning high marks with the accrediting agencies were the seminary’s programs designed to connect its strong theological foundation with congregational ministry. “The Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology and MissionShift, our urban-ministry training program, were particular highlights in the reports,” said Kloha.
Both reports noted the seminary’s relationship and missional alignment with the LCMS as key strengths. “Our strong relationship with the LCMS is very important to us,” said Kloha. “I’m so pleased that showed through to the accrediting bodies.”
The seminary’s stewardship of its donor relationships also earned praise in both reports.
“When I first began my work at the seminary in 2005, my attention was directed to the accreditation reports from 2004, noting the institution’s heavy reliance on gift income to operate and the accreditors’ suggestions that we diversify these sources of income,” said Michael Louis, the seminary’s executive vice-president. “Since that time, and through the recession, the seminary has steadily gained financial stability and even strength. Our operations are leaner, our gift income is still strong, but we have also begun that much-needed income diversification. The 2014 accreditation visits and reports recognize and support that.”
Visitation teams from the HLC and ATS were on campus this spring, and their recommendations were received in formal reports released this summer. As a result of the positive findings, the next accreditation reviews will not take place until 2023-24.
Posted Nov. 14, 2014