THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234

 

TO:

The Honorable the Members of the Board of Regents

FROM:

Johanna Duncan-Poitier

COMMITTEE:

Higher Education and Professional Practice

TITLE OF ITEM:

The Salvation Army School for Officer Training: Initial Accreditation by the Board of Regents and the Commissioner of Education

DATE OF SUBMISSION:

December 20, 2004

PROPOSED HANDLING:

Action

RATIONALE FOR ITEM:

The Salvation Army School for Officer Training has applied for institutional accreditation by the Board of Regents and the Commissioner of Education

 

STRATEGIC GOAL:

Goal 2

 

AUTHORIZATION(S):

 

 

SUMMARY:

 

The Salvation Army School for Officer Training, Suffern, Rockland County, was authorized to award the Associate in Occupational Studies degree in November 2003.  The School offers a single program in Ministry leading to that degree.  Prior to the attainment of degree powers, the School had been approved, since 1976, as a non-degree postsecondary educational institution.

 

The School applied for institutional accreditation in January 2004.  Following receipt of a comprehensive self-study by the School and provision of extensive additional documentation, a site visit team composed of peer reviewers and a staff coordinator visited the School in May 2004.  The purpose of the visit was to assess compliance with the requirements for institutional accreditation in Subpart 4-1 of the Rules of the Board of Regents.  Based on the teamís findings and recommendations, a draft report was prepared and transmitted to the School for review and comment.  The School provided updated information on several of the matters and accepted the teamís recommendations for continuing development in several areas.

 

Following receipt of the Schoolís response to the draft report, a final report, including the Departmentís Summary of the Application for Accreditation and Preliminary Recommendation on Accreditation, was prepared.  The Department recommended accreditation without condition for a period of 10 years.  These materials were transmitted to the Regents Advisory Council on Institutional Accreditation for consideration at its December 10, 2004 meeting. 

 

The Council considered the Departmentís preliminary recommendation on accreditation and the documentation underlying that recommendation.  Representatives of the School responded to Council member questions.  (The Regents Advisory Council is established in ß3.12(d) of the Rules of the Board of Regents.)

 

Following discussion, the Advisory Council agreed with the Departmentís preliminary recommendation that the Salvation Army School for Officer Training is in compliance with the standards for accreditation and endorsed the Departmentís preliminary recommendation on accreditation.  The Departmentís Summary of the Application on Accreditation and Preliminary Recommendation for Accreditation is attached to this item.  Neither the Salvation Army School for Officer Training nor the Deputy Commissioner has appealed the Advisory Councilís recommendation.

 

Regents with a conflict of interest, or the appearance of a conflict of interest, on this application are asked to recuse themselves from participating in this deliberation and decision.

 

Recommendation:    I join the Regents Advisory Council on Institutional Accreditation in recommending that the Regents take the following action:

 

VOTED, that the Board of Regents grant institutional accreditation to The Salvation Army School for Officer Training, effective January 11, 2005 for a period beginning immediately and ending on January 10, 2015.

 

Attachment


December 6, 2004

 

 

 

THE SALVATION ARMY SCHOOL FOR OFFICER TRAINING

 

Summary of the application for accreditation and

Preliminary Recommendation for Accreditation

 

 

          The Salvation Army School for Officer Training, 201 Lafayette Avenue, Suffern, Rockland County, has applied for institutional accreditation by the Board of Regents and the Commissioner of Education.

 

Preliminary Recommendation on Accreditation Action:  Grant accreditation for a ten- year period ending in 2015.

 

Institutional Information:  In November 2003, the Regents authorized The Salvation Army School for Officer Training to award the Associate in Occupational Studies (A.O.S.) degree and, through master plan amendment, permission to conduct a program in Ministry leading to that degree. These actions followed an extensive review of readiness for degree powers.  The review included several peer assessments and institutional responses to them.

 

The program in Ministry is the single registered program of the School.  At the conclusion of two years of study and training cadets are ordained as Salvationist Officers. The School at Suffern is the sole seminary for officer training of the Eastern United States Territory of The Salvation Army.  The Salvation Army was established as a not for profit corporation in New York in 1899 by Legislative Act.  The Salvation Army is rooted in the Methodist tradition, but is an entirely separate religious organization.

 

          The Schoolís enrollment in the fall 2003 was 112.  Students are full-time and live on campus. The Schoolís program completion rate  for the fall 2001 entering cohort was 95 percent.  The School reported a staff of 18 full-time and 31 part-time faculty in the 2003-04 school year.  The School awarded its first degrees in the Spring 2004.

 

Reason for Recommendation:  Following review of self-study materials prepared by the School, after formal application for institutional accreditation by the Regents and the Commissioner, a peer review team visited the School in May 2004.  The teamís assessment was that the Salvation Army School for Officer Training should be recommended for institutional accreditation without condition.

 

Strengths of the School are many.  They include a thorough admissions process that includes assessment of leadership capacity as well as academic skills.  Over half of the admitted students typically have had some college work prior to admission and a substantial number have associate or bachelorís degrees.  The facility, located on a 33 acre campus, is spacious, well equipped, and exceptionally well maintained.  The faculty are well experienced as Salvationist Officers.  Core faculty and administrators have advanced academic training and graduate degrees. Student advisement is comprehensive in scope; each student has a designated advisor during his or her course of study.  The curriculum includes a balance of study in doctrine, evangelical skills, and organizational skills, consistent with the Schoolís stated educational mission.  The School is in strong financial condition.  In addition to support from the Salvation Armyís endowment and trust fund, the school has its own substantial capital reserve and maintenance funds.  The School has comprehensive self-assessment processes.  A result of a recent self-assessment the School intends strengthen faculty development, increase faculty continuity of service and increase outreach to the broader college community in staffing and in curriculum reviews. 

 

 Consistent with the Schoolís planned activities, the team recommended continuing development in several areas, particularly with respect to connecting with the broader college community in the areas of curriculum and faculty development.  These did not, however, rise to the level of specific conditions attached to the recommended accreditation.

 

          The Department transmitted the draft report to the School for review and comment.  In its response the School accepted the teamís recommendations.  Based on the self-study and other pertinent material, the teamís report, and the Schoolís response, the Department makes the same recommendation as the peer review team.