A Word from Your Crossroads Team: This February, The Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) informed Crossroads that we had received our 10-year Reaffirmation of Accreditation. Our process toward reaffirmation involved the disciplined work of many people—all under the skillful leadership of Dr. Joel Badal, Dean of Educational Services at Crossroads. We asked Dr. Badal to share with you why our Reaffirmation of Accreditation is such a celebratory accomplishment. To learn more about our Reaffirmation of Accreditation, visit our website here. And sharing is caring, so tell others by sending them this link: https://bit.ly/CBCABHE
A Freshman Learns about Accreditation
I first learned about the accreditation process during my first semester of Bible College. My alma mater was hosting an accreditation review that semester. As an 18-year-old, I did not understand the whole “accreditation” context. I knew that colleges should be accredited because that would guarantee a program’s credibility.
My advisor asked if I would be willing to sit with one of the representatives on the review team to share with them my perceptions of the school. I remember my advisor saying, “This is really important to the college and for you as a student! It validates whether the college is meeting its standards and expectations!”
I remember entering that room with apprehension and even fear. I did not want to say something wrong. But the gentleman that met me assured that he was only trying to learn how the school was fulfilling its mission and helping the students learn. It turned out that the accreditation experience for my alma mater was a delight.
And it was a delight…and a detailed process for Crossroads Bible College to receive our 10-year Reaffirmation of Accreditation. Celebrate with us as I share about Crossroads’ accreditation process and some personal lessons that I learned along the way.
So…What Is Accreditation All About?
Accreditation is granted to federally recognized Commissions on Accreditation. They extend permission to institutions like Crossroads to grant certificates and degrees. Each Commission has Standards or Criterion that govern the process for accreditation. In addition, there are 22 areas of Conditions of Eligibility which the Department of Education required degree granting institutions like Crossroads to perform. Like all institutions, Crossroads worked through a comprehensive process from being an applicant, to being a candidate, to accredited status.
And…What Are the Benefits of Accreditation for Crossroads?
Crossroads received several benefits through entering into an accreditation relationship.
- Transparency: Accreditation provided Crossroads the opportunity to disclose our practices to our constituents. Through the process, we provided evidence of financials, scores, our institutional history, and educational outcomes. Through this transparency process we made known records to our constituents—you—with written reports through our website, publications, and annual reports.
- Evaluative Process: Accreditation gave Crossroads time to evaluate our systems and practices making sure they are efficient and that we are following best practices for higher education. Our evaluative process led to improvements in teaching and learning at Crossroads.
- Assessment & Strategic Planning: Accreditation ensures that Crossroads is carefully planning and has annual cycles where certain practices of assessment are conducted to improve Institutional life. Data gathered at the assessment level provided us with outcomes or measurements to prove that our plan is working.
- Non-Negotiables: Accreditation assured that Crossroads has a “due north.” Through the process, we established boundaries which we will not violate. Our non-negotiables are mission, vision, and educational objectives.
- Spiritual Growth: Accreditation is a spiritual process especially for Christian Colleges like Crossroads Bible College. We are stewards of God’s resources (1 Corinthians 4:12). In the evaluation process, we collected data, not as an end in itself, but so that we can see spiritual growth in our students, faculty, staff, and administrators.
What Was the Accreditation Process Like for Crossroads?
- Self-Study: Crossroads was required to write a self-study that explained our commitment to the Standards and Essential Elements. In addition, we were required to validate the 22 Conditions of Eligibility that are sanctioned by the Department of Education. The writing process took about 2 years from start to finish.
- Evaluation Team: We received a visit from an evaluation team made up of certified evaluators from our member institutions. The evaluation was a peer-review process and no member receives a stipend. Each team volunteered 3 to 4 days to visit a sister school like Crossroads. The team wrote a summary report comprising of Commendations, Suggestions, and Recommendations. Prior to leaving Crossroads, a report was drafted and submitted to the Commission on Accreditation.
- The Response Report: The Response Report is our response to the Commission’s Action. Like other institutions, we explained how we intended to address any recommendations. We explained the process and scope that we would take to resolve any issues in question.
- Reaffirmation Process: The Reaffirmation process we just completed is for accredited institutions who have already received 10 years of accreditation. There is no difference between accredited status and reaffirmation process. Like all institutions, we had to submit a self-study and the supporting documents to the Commission on Accreditation in order to receive another 10-year validation.
Some Personal Reflections: 4 Lessons Learned
I was honored when President Ware asked me to lead Crossroads through the self-study process. God has been faithful to preserve CBC’s contribution to Christian higher education for the last 30 years. We were praying for another 30 years of faithfulness.
The accreditation process taught me four lessons that have shaped me personally.
- Wisdom: Critical decisions must be made by wise counselors (Proverbs 11:14; Philippians 4:6-7).
- Humility: Humility and grace must occupy our conversation (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:6).
- Dependency: We must continually depend upon on God’s Spirit and wisdom when we don’t know what do (Psalms 86; James 1:5).
- Perseverance: Persevere in the hard work so that we might reap a harvest (Galatians 6:9).
Celebrating God’s Sustaining Work
I learned early in pastoral ministry that God sustains His work. Sustainment for the Christian, or for that matter in Christian organizations, only comes by God’s blessing and enablement. We could not have endured without God’s kindness in this work.
In April 2014, the Institution received a team visit as part of our accreditation process. The team reviewed our documents and they were impressed by our Mission, Values, and Educational Philosophy in training Christian leaders to reach a multiethnic urban world for Christ. At the same time, they identified areas for us to further address.
After receiving the Recommendations, Crossroads worked diligently and expeditiously to make needed changes and institutional improvements. Comprehensive plans were reevaluated and further strengthened. By October 2015, Crossroads received a consultation visit to review our progress up to that point. The review was favorable, but still the final decision was in the hands of the Commission…and our sustaining God.
On February 8, 2016, I traveled to Orlando, Florida, with President Ware and our Academic Dean, Marcus Schrader. On this day we would hear the final decision regarding our accreditation status.
I was nervous, a little fearful of the future, but hopeful in the Lord. We had all worked very hard. We had made certain to cover all the areas of recommendations.
As we entered the room, Dr. Ware reminded us of the great work that the entire Crossroads team had done. We appeared before a panel of fellow peers representing the Commission on Accreditation. The panel was a little intimidating, but I soon realized I was among peers again. They wanted God’s best for our Institution.
President Ware was able to share a few words prior to a series of Commission questions. After satisfying and clarifying the Commission’s questions, we were asked to leave the room for their decision. About five minutes later, we were invited back.
We were commended for our careful attention and expedient diligence to address all areas of recommendations. The Commission unanimously voted to reaffirm Crossroads Bible College for another 10-year accreditation!
This affirmation is by far one of my greatest ministry experiences. Good diligence receives God’s blessing. His blessing allows us to fan the Glory of God. It is a joy to know that God empowers us to be part of an educational community with a mission to glorify God by training Christian leaders to reach a multiethnic urban world for Christ.
Celebrate with us!