Independent Evaluator Reaffirms School’s Compliance
The Association of Biblical Higher Education’s (ABHE) Commission on Accreditation has reaffirmed the accreditation of Bethlehem College & Seminary until 2030. The commission is authorized by the U.S. Department of Education to conduct peer evaluation of educational institutions for the purpose of ensuring an appropriate level of quality. Accreditation figures prominently in the recruitment of students, attraction of faculty, and in the inter-institutional consideration of academic credits and degrees.
Ron C. Kroll, commission director, writing to convey the commission’s decision, stated the reaffirmation comes, “…in light of the Commission on Accreditation’s judgement that the institution substantially complies with the ABHE’s Institutional Accreditation Standards, including documentation of the appropriateness, rigor, and achievement of its stated student learning outcomes.” This ten-year period of continued accreditation is the longest duration currently allowed under ABHE guidelines.
“This is another significant milestone in our history and further evidence of God’s favor toward our mission and school,” said Dr. Timothy Tomlinson, president of Bethlehem College & Seminary. “We were blessed to achieve initial accreditation only five years after our founding in 2009, and may now proceed into a new decade with the confidence having earned this important credential from an independent accreditor and its team of our Christian higher education peers,” he added.
John Piper, Chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary, said, “This is a merciful and amazing providence of our sovereign God. It is not first an accolade or a privilege. It is first a trust given to us for the next ten years. It is a summons to be faithful. Accreditation means credible. And credible means trustworthy. And trustworthy means humble dependence on God to live up to this charge.”
“Tim Tomlinson’s knowledgeable leadership,” Piper added, “together with those who put in countless hours in the accrediting process, has been an immeasurable gift to this young school. It will be no small legacy that Dr. Tomlinson leaves this school—a God-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated, accredited college and seminary in the service of serious joy for the sake of a world in great need.”
The accreditation process involved submission of a comprehensive “self study” requiring the institution to be responsive to hundreds of questions and to supply volumes of data regarding the school’s pedagogy, operations, and academic outcomes. In 2019, a team of official visitors comprised of faculty members and administrators from other colleges and seminaries conducted on-site inspections and interviews with members of the schools board or trustees, administrators, and faculty, as well as observed classroom instruction. Months of subsequent engagement between ABHE and the school ensued before the commission then rendered its reaffirmation at its annual meeting on February 12, 2020.
Bethlehem College & Seminary offers graduate and undergraduate degree programs on its main campus in Minneapolis and at extension sites in Memphis, Tennessee and Yaoundé, Cameroon. Founded in 2009, the school emerged from the ministry of Bethlehem Baptist Church during the pastorate of Dr. John Piper, who now serves as the school’s chancellor. Bethlehem College & Seminary is accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education.
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