Excellence, ABC and Accreditation
Evangel – Spring 2015
Alberta Bible College is in the process of renewing her accreditation with the Association of Biblical Higher Education (ABHE). ABHE is one of a number of accrediting bodies that provincial and federal governments in North and Central America look to for meeting government regulations, particularly around consumer protection. In Alberta, ABHE membership entitles access to student loans, to receiving foreign students, to enhanced credit recognition and transfer, and a variety of other benefits. For ABC this is “a return to the accreditation fold” that we had from 2008 to 2012.
Over two hundred undergraduate Bible colleges belong to ABHE, in addition to a significant number of Bible/theology programs in Christian liberal arts institutions. All of these institutions and programs have a shared commitment to common values, and to the accountability and consultative processes that ensure excellence in education that brings glory to Jesus Christ. Being accredited is not just about saying one’s institution is excellent. It is about having others testify to it, with a primary focus of demonstrating the fruit of one’s work in the lives of students who are growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ, and of alumni who are sharing it.
The accreditation process includes several steps. The first is a self-study designed to describe accurately where we are in relation to the standards determined to be “best practice” by member colleges. We are presently in the midst of this, with twenty-six people, mostly volunteers that include adjunct faculty, Board members, former Board members and others, helping out. By June we will complete step two, by submitting our Compliance, Assessment and Planning documents to ABHE. Third, a “Visiting Team” from the Association will come to campus in the fall to ground the truth of what we are about. Finally, by February 2016, we will know what our status is with ABHE.
It is not just the cultural, nor government demand for credibility and accountability that drives accreditation. It is rather the desire to give, and be our best for our Lord Jesus. That’s what He did for us. And that’s what it means to follow in His steps!