When economic times are tough, we sometimes don't want to open the mail. But late last week, there was one piece of mail I was happy to receive.
In a letter dated March 5, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) informed me that it removed Claremont School of Theology from probationary status, thereby reaffirming the institution's full accreditation.
According to the letter, the commissioners recognized the School's "considerable progress" over the past two years to restore effective leadership and fiscal integrity. Following a site visit in October 2008 and a hearing in February 2009, the Association found the School in compliance with all its accreditation standards.
You might have heard over the last couple of years that WASC had threatened to remove Claremont's accreditation if we did not come into compliance with the standards. Fortunately, the commission never did revoke accreditation, choosing instead to give the new administration a chance to achieve compliance. We accepted that challenge and are glad that we did!
The School is still under review by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). Coincidentally, a review team is on campus today for a site visit related to many of the same issues initially raised by WASC. We are hopeful that the progress recognized by the regional agency will also be affirmed by ATS.
Claremont's faculty, staff and trustees have worked very hard to repair the foundations of this institution. In the end, the accreditation process has left Claremont stronger than ever and poised for an exciting future.