STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY
OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234
The Honorable the Members of the Board of Regents
Higher Education and Professional Practice
The Salvation Army School for Officer Training: Initial Accreditation by the Board of Regents and the Commissioner of Education
December 20, 2004
The Salvation Army School for Officer Training has applied for institutional accreditation by the Board of Regents and the Commissioner of Education
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.
THE SALVATION ARMY SCHOOL FOR OFFICER
Summary of the application for accreditation
Preliminary Recommendation for
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.
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
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.
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
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