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Criswell College accreditation reaffirmed by SACS commission

DALLAS (BP)–The accreditation of Criswell College of Dallas has been reaffirmed by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges.

Reaffirmation by SACS, reported during the SACS Commission on Colleges’ annual meeting Dec. 7-10 in San Antonio, shows the school has addressed all SACS recommendations, Cooper said.

“This concludes a process that has involved two-and-one-half years of internal review of all our educational programs, policies and processes,” Lamar Cooper, executive vice president and provost of the school, said. “It is a tribute to the excellent faculty and staff of the college. It is a wonderful affirmation to students that they are receiving a quality education at The Criswell College.”

Cooper described the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools as “highly regarded nationally as an excellent accrediting body.” Noting that the regional accreditation body uses a peer-review process, Cooper said reaffirmation “is not an agency function but the affirmation of educational leaders at peer institutions who evaluate schools that are up for their 10-year review. So it is an affirmation of your peers that you are offering a quality education meeting the high standards established by member institutions.”

Criswell College President Richard Wells said the action by the accrediting association coincides with intentional strategic planning by the school. “For about two years now, we have sensed God leading The Criswell College to the next level. During this same period, we have been immersed in the accreditation process with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools — a demanding process, but a process which has helped us plan for the future we believe the Lord is opening up to us.”

Wells said, “Reaffirmation with SACS signals to our Southern Baptist family, and to all, that God has poised The Criswell College for that future.”

The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) is the primary accrediting body for about 800 colleges and universities in 13 southern states from Texas to Virginia. SACS helps to assure parents, students and employers that an institution is meeting certain standards and stimulating continued improvement. Institutions accredited by SACS go through reaffirmation every 10 years.

In the 10-year review process, Criswell College conducted a comprehensive study of its purpose, programs and services. Faculty, administrators, staff, students, trustees and others served on committees which studied all aspects of the institution, reported their findings and developed plans for improvement.

At the culmination of the self-study, the Commission on Colleges sends a visiting committee of professional peers to the campus to assess the educational strengths and weaknesses of the institution. The written report of the visiting committee helps the institution improve its programs and also provides the basis on which the commission decides to grant, continue, reaffirm or withdraw accreditation.

Criswell College is named after its founder, the late W.A. Criswell, who pastored First Baptist Church of Dallas for 50 years. On the occasion of his 25th anniversary as pastor in 1969, he presented to the church his vision for an institution that would provide biblical teaching that is both intellectually and spiritually sound.

The inaugural programs of study in 1971 included certificate-level studies in Bible and music offered at night. Over the course of the next decade, diploma level studies, a bachelor of arts curriculum, and graduate studies were added, with SACS accrediting all programs in 1985.

With 17 fulltime faculty and 18 part-time and adjunct professors, the school’s enrollment now stands at more than 460 students from more than 30 states and 30 countries. More than 1,200 alumni serve around the world in various leadership roles, including pastors, missionaries and evangelists. TCC is affiliated with Southern Baptists of Texas Convention and affirms the Baptist Faith and Message doctrinal statement of the Southern Baptist Convention.

“The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention is excited to hear of the confidence SACS has once again placed in The Criswell College,” stated SBTC Executive Director Jim Richards. “Even more exciting is the fact that SBTC churches can count on the school to train ministers who will faithfully stand upon the authority of God’s Word as they serve in churches, mission fields and other leadership roles.”

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  • Tammi Ledbetter