From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Accrediting group lifts sanctions from five colleges

From "NewsDesk" <NewsDesk@UMCOM.ORG>
Date Tue, 18 Feb 2003 15:52:00 -0600

Feb. 18, 2003 News media contact: Linda Green7(615)742-54707Nashville, Tenn. 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - A college accrediting body has removed all
sanctions from five United Methodist-related schools, and it has reaffirmed
their accreditation. 

The five schools are Ferrum (Va.) College; Martin Methodist College, Pulaski,
Tenn.; North Carolina Wesleyan College, Rocky Mount, N.C.; Huston-Tillotson
College in Austin, Texas; and Union College in Barbourville, Ky.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in Decatur, Ga., had placed
the colleges on probation, warning or delayed affirmation for financial and
technical concerns. The United Methodist Church's University Senate and
Division of Higher Education worked with the colleges to overcome the

Members of the University Senate discussed the lifting of the sanctions at
their Jan. 15-17 meeting. The senate is an elected group of 25
higher-education professionals who determine what schools meet the criteria
for being listed as United Methodist-related institutions.  

Ferrum, Martin Methodist and North Carolina Wesleyan were among a group of
six that were sanctioned in December 2001. The others were Bennett College,
Greensboro, N.C.; Hiwassee College, Madisonville, Tenn.; and McMurry College,
Abilene, Texas. Each college had six to 12 months to dissolve the concerns
and report to the association for review and action.

During its meeting, the senate learned that the association had lifted all
sanctions against Ferrum, North Carolina Wesleyan and Martin on Dec. 9, after
deciding that the schools had resolved financial and technical concerns.

The sanctions against Huston-Tillotson and Union had been in place since
December 2001.

The association, during its recent meeting, recognized three of the
sanctioned schools - Bennett, Hiwassee and McMurray - for making progress.
Those schools received another 12 months in which to continue improving in
areas of finance and eligibility.  

The senate, established in 1882, is one of the oldest accrediting bodies in
the country. The United Methodist Church has 124 related schools across the
United States, from rural communities to large cities. Student enrollment
ranges from 200 to 15,000.

In addition to being accredited, institutions must meet the University
Senate's standards in the categories of institutional integrity;
well-structured programs; sound management; and clearly defined church

At their most recent meeting, the senators approved seven schools for
continued listing as United Methodist-related institutions. An academic
institution is reviewed once every 10 years - or more often under special
circumstances. Those schools were: 
7	Baker University, Baldwin City, Kan.
7	Boston University.
7	Millsaps College, Jackson, Miss.
7	Mount Union College, Alliance, Ohio
7	Oklahoma City University.
7	Pfeiffer University, Misenheimer, N.C.
7	Willamette University, Salem, Ore.

The denomination's 13 theological schools, plus all other seminaries that
educate the church's clergy, also must have senate approval. Church-related
seminaries are reviewed every 10 years based on criteria in the Book of
Discipline and other factors established by the senate and the Division of
Ordained Ministry of the Board of Higher Education and Ministry. In this
review cycle, the senate approved one seminary - Boston University School of
Theology - for continued listing as being related to the United Methodist

Theology schools that aren't related to the denomination are reviewed every
four years. The senate works with a commission on theological education in
evaluating those, using five criteria: freedom of academic inquiry;
opportunity for growth in the United Methodist tradition; compatibility with
the church's Social Principles; racial and gender profile of faculty and
students; and academic quality. 

During the senate's most recent meeting, 16 non-United Methodist-related
theological schools and seminaries were approved for educating United
Methodist candidates for ordination:
7	Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Ky., and Orlando, Fla.,
7	Ashland (Ohio) Theological Seminary.
7	Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wynnewood, Pa.
7	Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Charlotte, N.C.
7	Harvard University Divinity School, Cambridge, Mass.
7	Louisville (Ky.) Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
7	Luther Theological Seminary, St. Paul, Minn.
7	Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Columbia, S.C.
7	Memphis (Tenn.) Theological Seminary.
7	New York Theological Seminary.
7	Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, Calif.
7	Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.
7	Seattle University, School of Theology and Ministry.
7	University of Chicago, The Divinity School.
7	University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa
7	Vanderbilt University Divinity School, Nashville, Tenn. 

The senate withheld its approval of five seminaries to educate United
Methodist ministers. They are: 
7	American Baptist Seminary of the West, Berkeley, Calif.
7	Houston Graduate School of Theology.
7	Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, Naperville, Ill.
7	Payne Theological Seminary, Wilberforce, Ohio.
7	Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, Ambridge, Pa.

A list of non-United Methodist theological schools and seminaries approved
for educating United Methodist clergy may be found at

The senate also delayed action on Wood College, a two-year liberal arts
school in Mathiston, Miss., until June. The college, which is related to the
United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, has appealed its loss of
accreditation to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The
association had previously said the college fell short of being able to
financially support all of its programs and that it failed to show good cause
for continuing accreditation.  
# # #
Pamela Crosby, a staff member in the Office of Interpretation at the United
Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry, provided information for
this story.

United Methodist News Service
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