Skip to main content

Meeting of the Board of Regents | May 2008

Friday, May 30, 2008 - 11:00pm

sed seal                                                                                                 







Johanna Duncan-Poitier




Renewal of Institutional Accreditation of Northeastern Seminary


April 30, 2008


Goal 2






Issue for Decision


Should the Board of Regents renew the accreditation of Northeastern Seminary?


Reason(s) for Consideration


              Required by State regulation.


Proposed Handling


The question will come before the Higher Education Committee at its May 2008 meeting, where it will be voted on and action taken.  It then will come before the full Board at its May 2008 meeting for final action.


Procedural History


In 1998, Northeastern Seminary applied for institutional accreditation by the Board of Regents and the Commissioner of Education pursuant to Subpart 4-1 of the Rules of the Board of Regents.  The Board of Regents renewed the Seminary’s accreditation in May 2002 for a term of five years.  The term of accreditation was extended in 2007 to May 2008 to allow for a joint accreditation visit by the Board of Regents along with the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).






Background Information


Northeastern Seminary was founded in 1998 as part of the ongoing ministry of Roberts Wesleyan College.  The Seminary is located within the campus of Roberts Wesleyan in Rochester and is now legally separate from the College.  The Seminary serves approximately 120 adult seminarians and offers the Master of Arts (M.A.) program in Theological Studies, the Master of Divinity (M. Div.) program and the Master of Social Work (M.S.W.).




It is recommended that the Board of Regents accredit Northeastern Seminary for a period of ten years ending on May 20, 2018.


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 the deliberation and decisions.


Timetable for Implementation


If the Board of Regents grants renewal of institutional accreditation to Northeastern Seminary, that accreditation will go into effect immediately.  On the basis of that action, the Department will renew the registration of the Seminary’s programs of study registered for general purposes.  The Seminary will be required to submit accreditation data reports annually and a mid-term self-study report.


Information in Support of Recommendation



Peer Review Visit.  In preparation for this visit, Northeastern Seminary prepared a self-study and supporting materials following the requirements for self-studies in the Handbook of Institutional Accreditation.  On October 21-24, 2007, an evaluation team comprised of representatives from the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and the New York State Board of Regents visited the Seminary.  The team examined the self-study and other materials; met with faculty, students, the president, dean and other administrators, and members of the board of trustees; examined the facilities and other academic resources.  The team found that Northeastern Seminary met all standards set forth in the Regents Rules and recommended accreditation for ten years.


Peer Review Team Recommendation: Accreditation for a period of ten years.


The Department transmitted the team’s draft compliance review report to the Seminary, providing it 30 days to prepare a written response correcting factual errors and addressing any other aspect of the report and any recommendations in it.  The draft report, the Seminary’s response, and the Department’s preliminary recommendation for accreditation action became the final compliance review report.


Regents Advisory Council Review.  As required by Subpart 4-1, the Department transmitted the final compliance review report, including its preliminary recommendation for accreditation action, for consideration by the Regents Advisory Council on Institutional Accreditation (the Advisory Council is established in §3.12(d) of the Rules of the Board of Regents “to review applications for accreditation and renewal of accreditation pursuant to Part 4 of this Title, and such other matters as the department may ask it to review, and make recommendations to the Regents and the commissioner based on its review”).  The Department’s preliminary recommendation was:


Department’s Preliminary Recommendation: Accreditation for a period of ten years.


On April 18, 2008, the Advisory Council met to review Northeastern Seminary’s application and to make a recommendation to the Board of Regents on its accreditation.  In a public meeting, it met with representatives of the Seminary and the staff coordinator of the accreditation review.  Following presentations by the Seminary’s president and the staff coordinator, questions, and discussion, the Advisory Council unanimously made the following recommendation to the Board of Regents on accreditation action:


Regents Advisory Council Recommendation: Accreditation for a period of ten years.


Commissioner’s Review.  Neither the Seminary nor the Senior Deputy Commissioner of Education appealed the Advisory Council’s recommendation.  Therefore, pursuant to Subpart 4-1, the Commissioner adopted the Council’s recommendation as his recommendation to the Board of Regents:




Commissioner’s Recommendation: Accredit Northeastern Seminary for a period of ten years ending on May 20, 2018.


The attachment to this item sets forth the range of accreditation actions authorized in Subpart 4-1 of the Rules of the Board of Regents.       




Rules of the Board of Regents


Subpart 4-1, Voluntary Institutional Accreditation for Title IV Purposes


§4-1.2 Definitions.


As used in the Subpart:


(a) Accreditation means the status of public recognition that the Commissioner of Education and the Board of Regents grant to an educational institution that meets the standards and requirements prescribed in this Subpart.


(b) Accreditation action means accreditation, accreditation with conditions, probationary accreditation, approval of substantive changes in the scope of accreditation, and denial, revocation, or termination of accreditation.


(c) Accreditation with conditions means accreditation that requires the institution to take steps to remedy issues raised in a review for accreditation, and provide reports and/or submit to site visits concerning such issues, provided that such issues do not materially affect the institution’s substantial compliance with the standards and requirements for accreditation. 


(d) Adverse action or adverse accreditation action means suspension, withdrawal, denial, revocation, or termination of accreditation or preaccreditation.


(q) Probationary accreditation means accreditation for a period of time, not to exceed two years, during which the institution shall come into compliance with standards for accreditation through corrective action.