Higher Education and Professional Practice Committee



Johanna Duncan-Poitier




Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary: Renewal of Institutional Accreditation by the Board of Regents and the Commissioner of Education



January 23, 2007



Goal 2





Executive Summary


Issue for Decision


            Should the Regents renew the institutional accreditation of Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary?


Reason for Consideration


            Required by State regulation.


Proposed Handling


This question will come before the Higher Education and Professional Practice Committee at its February 2007 meeting where it will be voted on and action taken.  It will then come before the full Board at its February 2007 meeting for final action.


Procedural History


            Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary has applied for renewal of its 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. 


Background Information


            The Board of Regents chartered Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary in 1948, authorizing it to award the Bachelor of Theology degree.  The Seminary is affiliated with a monastic community of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, which is located on the same premises, in Jordanville, New York.  The mission of the Seminary is to prepare its students for service in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.  To this end it offers a five year program of full-time study in Theology, leading to the Bachelor of Theology degree.  In the fall of 2002, the Seminary had an enrollment of 31 students and 16 faculty members (10 of whom are full time).  The Seminary’s certified audit reported net assets of $5.5 million in 2006.




            It is recommended that the Regents renew the institutional accreditation of Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary for a period ending on February 12, 2017.  The Seminary has undergone a self-study, a site visit by a peer review team and has been determined to be in compliance with accreditation standards.  The Regents Advisory Council recommended renewal of accreditation for a period of ten years.


Timetable for Implementation


            If the Regents renew Holy Trinity’s institutional accreditation, the accreditation will go into effect immediately.  On the basis of that action, the Department will renew the registration of its programs of study registered for general purposes pursuant to Part 52 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education.  Holy Trinity is required to submit accreditation data reports annually and to submit a self-study at the mid-point of its period of accreditation.

Information in Support of Recommendation


Peer Review Visit.  Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary prepared a self-study following the requirements for self-studies in the Handbook of Institutional Accreditation.  In October 2006, a peer review team visited the Seminary.  It reviewed the self-study, interviewed faculty, administrators, and students; reviewed documents and other information available on campus; and reviewed physical resources.  The team prepared a draft compliance review report of its findings and recommendations, which included five recommendations to enhance satisfactory practices.  The team found that Holy Trinity met the standards for accreditation and made the following overall recommendation:          


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


            The Department transmitted the team’s draft compliance review report to the Seminary, giving 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, Holy Trinity’s response, and the review team’s 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: Renew accreditation for a seven year period.


On January 5, 2007, the Advisory Council met to review Holy Trinity’s application and to make a recommendation to the Board of Regents on its accreditation.  In a public meeting, it met with a representative of the Seminary and the staff coordinator.  Following presentations by the Seminary and the team, questions, and discussion, the Advisory Council made the following recommendation to the Board of Regents on accreditation action:


Regents Advisory Council Recommendation: Renew accreditation for ten years.  In the Council’s assessment, there were no attributes of non-compliance or the existence of incomplete compliance to support a shortened term of accreditation. 


            Attachment A is the Final Compliance Review Report along with the Item for Consideration by the Regents Advisory Council on Institutional Accreditation which includes the Department’s summary of the application for renewal of accreditation and preliminary recommendation for accreditation action.


            Commissioner’s Recommendation.  Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary did not appeal the Advisory Council’s recommendation.  Therefore, pursuant to Subpart 4-1, the Commissioner adopted its recommendation as his recommendation to the Board of Regents.


Commissioner’s Recommendation: Renew accreditation for a period of ten years ending on February 12, 2017.


            Attachment B sets forth the range of accreditation actions authorized in Subpart 4-1 of the Rules of the Board of Regents.





                                                                                                December 20, 2006



Item for Consideration by the Regents Advisory Council on

Institutional Accreditation


Institutional Accreditation of

Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary


January 5, 2007



            Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary, Jordanville, New York, Herkimer County, has been reviewed for renewal of its institutional accreditation by the Board of Regents and the Commissioner of Education.


Preliminary Recommendation for Accreditation Action:  Renew accreditation for a period of seven years.


            The review team’s recommendations for strengthening satisfactory practice were:



            The team and the Department recommend that the Seminary report on actions related to these recommendations in its mid-point self-study.


            The review team suggested renewed accreditation for a term of seven years because recent transformational changes have relied on the initiatives of a small group of academic administrators.  The Seminary has noted, in response, that as a small institution it is inescapably dependent on collaboration by a limited number of able and committed people.  It also has expanded its base of contacts and support and so has become less dependent on the efforts of a few people.  Third, it has a nearly sixty year record of continuity, and adaptation, as a solid academic institution.  


Institutional Information:  Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary is a Regents-chartered independent college offering a program in Theology leading to the Bachelor of Technology (B.Th.) degree.  The Seminary was authorized to confer degrees in 1948 and has been accredited since 1952 by the Board of Regents.  It is not accredited by any other recognized agency.  In the fall of 2006, the Seminary enrolled thirty-one students in its single degree program.  The faculty included ten full-time faculty and six part-time faculty.


Reason for Recommendation:  Following review of Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary’s self-study, a site visit team visited the Seminary in October 2006.  The team’s overall assessment is that the Seminary is a well managed and academically rigorous institution that effectively implements its stated mission. 


            The team was particularly impressed by the successes of the Seminary in transitioning to new generational leadership, its outreach to the broader academic community of the Russian Orthodox Church, and its self determined plans for institutional development.


The Department transmitted the draft report of its findings to the Seminary for review and comment.  The Seminary accepted the draft report and provided a response.  The final report includes the draft report, the Seminary’s response, and this summary and preliminary recommendation.  Based on its examination of the self-study, the team’s report, and the Seminary’s response, the Department makes the same recommendation as the peer review team.  




December 5, 2006



Institutional Accreditation Site Visit Report

Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary




            On October 9, 2006, a peer review team conducted a full day site visit to Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary, Jordanville, Herkimer County, as part of an evaluation for renewal of the Seminary’s institutional accreditation.  The team members were:


Peter Bouteneff                                                                                               Hee-Gwone Yoo

Assistant Professor of Dogmatic Theology                                                    Senior Librarian, Slavic Department

St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological                                                               New York Public Library



Alexis Klimoff                                                                                                  Robert McHugh, Site Visit Coordinator

Chair & Professor, Department of                                                                  Associate in Higher Education

    Russian Studies                                                                                         NYS Education Department

Vassar College                                                                                               Office of College and University Evaluation



Prior to the visit the team members reviewed a self-study prepared by the Seminary to assess its compliance with the standards for institutional accreditation by the Regents and the Commissioner of Education.  On site, the team members observed classes in all major disciplinary areas; inspected academic facilities, with a focus on the library; talked with students, faculty, administrators and a trustee; and examined student and faculty folders, administrative records, course syllabi, graded student papers, and complaint records.


Team Recommendation:  Accreditation.  The team recommends that the Board of Regents renew the accreditation of Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary for seven years.


Introduction and Summary of Recommendations


            Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary has held degree-granting powers since 1948 and has been accredited by the Regents since that date.  The Seminary offers a five-year program in Theology leading to the Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.) degree.  The Seminary also conducts a summer program in Liturgical Music leading to a Certificate.  In the fall 2006 semester the Seminary had an enrollment of 31 students and a faculty of 10 full-time and 6 part-time members.  All students are male.


General Observations


            Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary is the single institution of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) for the preparation of students for the priesthood and other leadership roles in that Church.  The Seminary draws on students from throughout the world, including the former Soviet Union.  It shares facilities with the Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville but has a separate building for classrooms, library and administrative activities.  Following the prior accreditation review in November 2001, the Seminary promptly complied with the two conditions attached to its subsequent accreditation by the Regents for a period of five years.  The conditions were a need to conduct certified annual audits and publish a complaint policy.  The October 2006 team concluded that the Seminary continues to conduct its programs of study in an academically sound way within a context of changing Church conditions.


            The Seminary has undertaken several initiatives, as an evolving institution, to strengthen academic structure and practices.  It is becoming less embedded structurally in its monastic community, with the decision of Church authorities in the fall of 2006 to establish a separate Board of Trustees for the Seminary.  The Seminary has much enhanced its standing as a resource for research on the history of the Russian Orthodox Church through sponsorship of an annual international conference on Church history.  It has renewed its faculty, drawing on scholars from Germany, Russia and the United States.  It is actively extending its sources of support for institutional development, for example applying for grants from more than 20 organizations in the past several years for specific improvement purposes and developing an annual giving program.


The context for the Seminary’s changes has been the invigoration of ROCOR, the Seminary’s parent organization, following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the vigorous growth of religious expression in Russia.  The Seminary has, in response, undertaken great efforts to forge links with Russia’s resurgent Orthodox Church, a body with which the émigré-dominated ROCOR had refused to deal during the Soviet period.  Today, several of Holy Trinity’s current faculty are recent graduates of Russian theological seminaries, and the yearly scholarly colloquia that the Seminary has been sponsoring have regularly featured the participation of recognized church historians, theologians, and philosophers from Russia.  This new openness, which has simultaneously included friendly contact with other Eastern Orthodox bodies and institutions in the U.S., such as St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, has created some tension and strain within a Church long used to virtually complete isolation.  The initiatives of Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary were regarded by the team as a salutary support for a Church-in-exile that is increasing its engagements with the world-wide community of the Russian Orthodox Church


Summary of Recommendations


·         Review ways to assure satisfactory language competence in both Russian and English as a support for quality in student learning and development for all students, and implement changes deemed appropriate and effective for this end.

·         Examine and apply best practices for effective teaching through peer reviews, collaboration among colleagues on technology-based and other teaching methods, workshops on pedagogy, and other professional development activities.

·         Include, in professional development activities, administrative services and institutional leadership to provide additional backup and depth in these areas.

·         Continue initiatives to broaden the Seminary’s base of financial support, as planned.

·         Continue initiatives to enhance the accommodations and services for the archives and library.


Institutional Mission


            The institution shall have a clear statement of purpose, mission, and goals that shall be reflected in the policies, practices, and outcomes of the institution.


            Findings.  Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary states its mission as the preparation of students for service in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.  To this end it offers a single degree program in Theology for the B.Th. degree, which prepares students for service to the church as clergy, deacons, choir directors, iconographers and lay leaders.  Its policies, practices and outcomes embody and reflect this mission.




None.  The Seminary meets the standard.


Assessment of Student Achievement


            The institution shall prepare and continuously implement a plan for the systematic assessment of its effectiveness in promoting the quality of student achievement and development.  Such assessment plan shall include but need not be limited to: graduation rates and, as pertinent to institutional mission and programs, state licensing examination results and job placement rates.  The institution shall provide to the department on request and in all applications for accreditation and renewal of accreditation, evidence of its implementation of the plan and its effect on the quality of student achievement in relation to its mission and goals.


The institution shall annually submit:


(i)         timely and accurate statistical information as prescribed by the commissioner;  

(ii)        additional specified reports, including data related to persistence and graduation rates, state licensing examination results, job placement rates, and other evidence of the quality of student achievement;

(iii)       record of compliance with its program responsibilities under HEA Title IV (including student default rate data, and the results of audits and program reviews);

(iv)       record of student complaints and their outcomes; and

(v)        other information pertaining to an institution's compliance with the standards prescribed in this Part, as determined by the department.

Findings.  The Seminary continuously assesses, through its tight, structured multiple internal controls, its effectiveness in providing quality in student achievement and development.  The Seminary submits its completed annual data reports and periodic review reports in a timely way.




None.  The Seminary meets the standard.




Integrity of credit


(i)         Each course offered for credit by an institution shall be part of a general education requirement, a major requirement, or an elective in a curriculum leading to a degree or certificate.

(ii)        Credit toward an undergraduate degree shall be earned only for college-level work.  Credit toward a graduate degree shall be earned only through work designed expressly for graduate students.  Enrollment of secondary school students in undergraduate courses, of undergraduates in graduate courses, and of graduate students in undergraduate courses shall be strictly controlled by the institution.

(iii)       The institution shall assure that credit is granted only to students who have achieved the stated objectives of each credit-bearing learning activity.


Curricular goals and objectives


(i)         Institutional goals and the objectives of each curriculum and of all courses shall be carefully defined in writing.

(ii)        Each curriculum shall show evidence of careful planning. The content and duration of curricula shall be designed to implement their purposes.

(iii)       Course descriptions shall clearly state the subject matter and requirements of each course.


Assessment of success in achieving goals and objectives


There shall be a written plan to assess, no less than every five to seven years, the success of faculty and students in achieving institutional goals and curricular objectives and to promote improvement.  Such assessment shall include systematic collection, review and use of quantitative and qualitative information about educational programs, including at least some information that directly addresses learning outcomes, and shall be undertaken for the purpose of improving student learning and development.


Program length, credit, and other requirements for degrees


For each curriculum, the institution shall assure that courses will be offered with sufficient frequency to enable students to complete the program within the minimum time for degree completion for each degree level identified in this paragraph.


(i)         Associate degree programs shall normally be capable of completion in two academic years of full-time study, or their equivalent in part-time study, with an accumulation of not less than 60 semester hours.

 (ii)       Baccalaureate degree programs shall normally be capable of completion in four academic years of full-time study, or, in the case of five-year programs, five academic years of full-time study, or their equivalent in part-time study, with an accumulation of not less than 120 semester hours.


(iii)       Master's degree programs shall normally require a minimum of one academic year of full-time graduate level study, or its equivalent in part-time study, with an accumulation of not less than 30 semester hours.  Research or a comparable occupational or professional experience shall be a component of each master's degree program.  The requirements for a master's degree shall normally include at least one of the following: passing a comprehensive test, writing a thesis based on independent research or completing an appropriate special project.


(iv)       The master of philosophy degree shall require completion of all requirements for the degree of doctor of philosophy except the dissertation, and shall require that the student have been admitted to candidacy in a doctor of philosophy curriculum offered by the institution conferring the master of philosophy degree.


(v)        Doctoral programs shall require a minimum of three academic years of full-time graduate level study after the baccalaureate degree, or their equivalent in part-time study.  Doctoral studies shall include the production of a substantial report on original research, the independent investigation of a topic of significance to the field of study, the production of an appropriate creative work, or the verified development of advanced professional skills.


            Findings.  Curricular Organization.  The Seminary’s program leading to the B.Th. degree extends over five years of full-time study.  The highly structured curriculum covers the following areas: 1) Languages (Russian, English Composition, ESL, Church Slavonic, and New Testament Greek); 2) Russian Literature; 3) History (Russian History, Church History, Russian Church History, and overview of World Civilization); 4) Philosophy; 5) Music (liturgical music courses offered during the academic year and in the summer program); and 6) Theology (Old and New Testaments, Patrology, Dogmatic Theology, Apologetics, Canon Law, Homiletics).  The curriculum is supplemented by continuous practical training for ministerial responsibilities through student service in the church choir, service at the altar, and participation in other activities which graduates are likely to encounter in Church life.  Practical training is also provided by the Monastery’s printing press that publishes periodicals in both Russian and English and to which students contribute as writers, translators, or editors.


The team found that the curriculum is well designed to implement its objectives.  The team visiting in 2001 suggested that, because of the Seminary’s small size and relatively isolated location, it would be desirable to increase the exposure of students to additional perspectives and scholarship.  This has been accomplished through such activities as invitation of guest lecturers whose talks are integrated into the Seminary’s curriculum, the sponsorship of academic colloquia and use of faculty from more varied backgrounds, advanced study at other institutions by Seminary faculty, and continuing revisions in the curriculum.  Recent modifications to the curriculum include addition of a foundations course in philosophy, strengthening of the Greek language component, and use of iconographic art in teaching language.


            There is a standard program of study for each of the five years of the curriculum.  Students can take advanced courses only upon successful completion of lower-level courses.  The academic standing of entering students with prior college-level education in pertinent areas is determined on the basis of placement exams and official transcripts from other institutions of higher learning. 


            The main curriculum-related issue noted during the visit was that, because of the more varied nationalities and the monolingual backgrounds of some entering students (particularly because of the recent admission of more American students), there may be a need of either more English or more Russian language instruction for particular students to be comfortable with the language of instruction and even to persist in study.  While student papers may be written in either Russian or English throughout the program, the team suggested that a specific level of second-language competency might be required for admission and/or that a Russian (or English) intensive language course be required of monolingual freshmen prior to the first year of instruction.  This question of language, including, over the longer term, the degree to which the curriculum must be offered in Russian language, reflects the cross-currents for persistence and change within the Church itself.


            Student Assessment.    All classes are small in size (four to ten students), allowing the instructor to maintain a strong sense of student progress and involvement in learning.  All courses have detailed syllabi outlining course goals and requirements.  The team also noted extensive use of handouts, visual aids, and other supplementary instructional materials designed to facilitate the learning process. 


The assessment of student work and progress is consistently rigorous.  In order to assure maintenance of an appropriate academic level, instructors submit drafts of final examinations for their courses to the Dean for review.  In addition to the final examination, a term paper based on critical analysis of primary and secondary sources is required for the majority of non-language courses.  As a graduation requirement, all students must take a comprehensive exam and also present a thesis.  The team noted that several of the recent final papers and theses they examined resembled master’s-level work in quality and length.  The high assessment standards at the Seminary are also evident in the grading system described in the catalog, in grades on examinations reviewed by the team, and in student transcripts.  There is no tendency toward inflation of grades.


            The team concluded that the focus and scope of the curriculum, rigor in course requirements, instructional quality, and provisions for quality assurance at the Seminary all meet and exceed college-level expectations. 





·         The Seminary meets this standard. However, the team recommended that the Seminary review ways to assure satisfactory language competence in both Russian and English as a support for quality in student learning and development, and implement changes deemed appropriate and effective to this end.




Competence and credentials


(i)         All members of the faculty shall have demonstrated by training, earned degrees, scholarship, experience, and by classroom performance or other evidence of teaching potential, their competence to offer the courses and discharge the other academic responsibilities which are assigned to them.


(ii)        At least one faculty member teaching in each curriculum culminating in a bachelor's degree shall hold an earned doctorate in an appropriate field, unless the department determines that the curriculum is in a field of study in which other standards are appropriate.


(iii)       All faculty members who teach within a curriculum leading to a graduate degree shall possess earned doctorates or other terminal degrees in the field in which they are teaching or shall have demonstrated, in other widely recognized ways, their special competence in the field in which they direct graduate students.


Adequacy to support programs and services


(i)         The faculty shall be sufficient in number to assure breadth and depth of instruction and the proper discharge of all other faculty responsibilities.


(ii)        To foster and maintain continuity and stability in academic programs and policies, there shall be in the institution a sufficient number of faculty members who serve full-time at the institution.


(iii)       For each curriculum the institution shall designate a body of faculty who, with the academic officers of the institution, shall be responsible for setting curricular objectives, for determining the means by which achievement of objectives is measured, for evaluating the achievement of curricular objectives, and for providing academic advice to students.


(iv)       The ratio of faculty to students in each course shall be sufficient to assure effective instruction.


Evaluation and professional responsibilities


(i)         The teaching and research of each faculty member, in accordance with the faculty member's responsibilities, shall be evaluated periodically by the institution.  The teaching of each inexperienced faculty member shall receive special supervision during the initial period of appointment.


(ii)        Each member of the faculty shall be allowed adequate time, in accordance with the faculty member's responsibilities, to broaden professional knowledge, prepare course materials, advise students, direct independent study and research, supervise teaching, participate in institutional governance and carry out other academic responsibilities appropriate to his or her position, in addition to performing assigned teaching and administrative duties.


            Findings.  Qualifications.  Faculty are adequately credentialed and experienced to teach their assigned courses and implement the Seminary’s mission.  There has been a notable strengthening of faculty credentials.  In 2006, thirteen of the 16 faculty  have at least a master’s degree, compared to six of 17 with the master’s degree in 2001.  As in the past, the team’s findings that instruction and student outcomes are clearly consistent with standards for institutions of higher learning suggests satisfactory underlying faculty expertise.


Since the Seminary is closely attached to the community of Holy Trinity Monastery, a substantial part of instruction is conducted by members of the monastic brotherhood.  This adds a unique opportunity to convey liturgical as well as theological knowledge, which comes not only from formal academic study, but also from practical experience and the continuous study of the Russian Orthodox faith.  This continuing immersion in the distinctive religious life of the Russian Orthodox Church is an essential contribution to the proper understanding of theology in support of the Seminary’s mission.


            Adequacy to Support the Program.  The number of faculty members is sufficient for the Seminary’s curricular goals.  The low faculty/student ratio of about 1:2 is one of the strengths of the Seminary.  The residential nature of the institution also assures that students have continuous access to faculty for consultations outside of the classroom. 


            The faculty as a group, have sufficient continuity of service. Despite the generational shift in staffing, eight of the faculty have five or more years of service.  The several visiting professors from institutions in the U.S., Russia, Germany, and other countries contribute much to the assurance of quality in the program.


            Instruction, Evaluation, and Professional Development.  Evaluation does occur continuously, for example through the review of all final examinations before they are given and through student course evaluations. However, the Seminary has not engaged in a comprehensive faculty evaluation process. The team concluded, that a more formal evaluation process is desirable, particularly in the context of professional development with an emphasis on pedagogy.


            The team members observed varied teaching styles and levels of engagement in their visits to classes.  Most classes were carefully prepared and engaged their students, other classes appeared not so well organized in content or thoughtful in delivery.  The quality of teaching was excellent in some instances and satisfactory overall, but mixed.  Accordingly, the team concluded that additional attention should be paid to the development of effective pedagogy for the increasingly diverse faculty.  The team was particularly impressed by the application of technology based pedagogy in a Russian literature class they observed.


            Several faculty members have, in recent years, advanced their professional qualifications by enrolling in graduate programs at SUNY Albany, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, and other graduate institutions. Faculty members also participate on a regular basis at theological conferences both in the USA and abroad and contribute actively to periodicals with a wide international circulation.


            The Seminary’s and Monastery’s production of periodicals and theological publications also complements the theological curriculum.  Many of the faculty members serve as editing or contributing members of these publications, and several are actively involved in research and translations for the Seminary’s journals. 


To ensure that future generations of faculty continue to provide a high academic standard, the Seminary has the following policies:


·         All instructors in the areas of languages and history are expected to have graduate degrees or be able to demonstrate continuing academic work on the graduate level.


·         Faculty members are encouraged to participate in theological or academic conferences pertaining to their specific field of instruction.  (Faculty members do, in fact, regularly attend and contribute to theological and liturgical music conferences in Orthodox communities around the world.)


·         The Seminary encourages and supports continuing faculty education.


The team endorsed these policies as a baseline of good practice and important components of institutional self-assessment and renewal but recommends additional activities to strengthen practice. 




·         The Seminary meets this standard.  However, the team recommended that the Seminary examine and apply best practices for effective teaching through peer reviews, collaboration among colleagues on technology based on other teaching methods, workshops on pedagogy, and other professional development activities.





Fiscal Capacity


The institution shall possess the financial resources necessary for the consistent and successful accomplishment of its mission and objectives at the institutional, program and course levels.


Findings.  The Seminary has adequate financial resources to conduct its academic program.  The Seminary is steadily progressing in its efforts to diversify and extend financial support.  For example, annual giving increased each year from $55.5K in 2002-03 to $97.8K in 2005-06.  Efforts to obtain grants for particular projects are beginning to be successful.  The establishment of a separate Board of Trustees is expected to result in increasing annual giving as well as specific bequests.  The combined net assets of the Monastery and Seminary are about $6.5M in 2006, an increase of about 200K over 2005.




·         The Seminary meets this standard.  The team recommended that the initiatives to broaden the Seminary’s base of financial support be pursued, as planned.




Facilities, equipment, and supplies


(i)         The institution shall provide classrooms, administrative and faculty offices, auditoria, laboratories, libraries, audio-visual and computer facilities, clinical facilities, studios, practice rooms, and other instructional resources sufficient in number, design, condition, and accessibility to support its mission, goals, instruction, programs, and all other educational activities.


(ii)        The institution shall provide equipment sufficient in quantity and quality to support administration, instruction, research, and student performance.


            Findings.  The facilities of the Seminary are adequate in number, kind, and condition.  Though basic in number and furnishing, classrooms and offices in the main academic facility are adequate to support the Seminary’s mission.  As noted in the following section on “Library”, the Seminary’s facility priority is a new or expanded library.  Expansion of this space will free up spaces for teaching and academic services.




·         The Seminary meets this standard.  The team encourages continued initiatives to enhance the accommodations and services for the archives and library.




Library and information resources


(i)         The institution shall provide libraries that possess and maintain collections and technology sufficient in depth and breadth to support the mission of the institution and each curriculum. 


(ii)        Libraries shall be administered by professionally trained staff supported by sufficient personnel. Library services and resources shall be available for student and faculty use with sufficient regularity and at appropriate hours to support the mission of the institution and the curricula it offers.


 Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary’s library is well organized and frequently used by the Seminary’s students and faculty during business hours.  The online catalogue has been updated to be searchable anywhere via the Internet, following the recommendation of a previous review team in 2001.  The Seminary’s library enthusiastically participates in and provides materials for the academic program and international conferences.   


Collection.  The library of Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary is comparable to similar theological seminaries in the Greater New York Metropolitan area in terms of the size of its collections, variety of reference materials, online catalogue system, and physical facility.  When specific collection gaps are identified by faculty, requested materials are purchased and put on the shelf.  Faculty of the Seminary report being satisfied with the library’s provision of class textbooks each semester.  The Seminary’s library has approximately 50,000 volumes, including 325 periodical titles, microfilms and microfiches.  The library currently subscribes to approximately 100 scholarly and theological journals.  It also holds strong retrospective reference collections related to religious and academic themes (e.g., Pravoslavnaia entsiklopediia [Orthodox Encyclopedia], or Russkii biograficheskii slovar [Russian Biographical Dictionary]).  Team members suggested, however, that in the areas of contemporary English translations of Church Fathers and books by contemporary Orthodox theologians, there were some gaps or limitations.


Collection Development.  When specific collection gaps are identified by faculty, the materials are regularly purchased.  In order to regularize its collection development, the Library now has a contract with an outside vendor - the Rudomino Library of Foreign Literature in Moscow - to provide the Seminary with lists of new publications in Russian relevant to the Seminary’s curriculum.  For the English and Russian émigré collection improvement, the Library has also contracted with publishers and vendors in the USA.  In 2005, the Seminary library acquisitioned ca. 350 titles.  All texts for each semester are provided by the Seminary’s library to seminarians at the start of classes; the faculty report being satisfied with this system.  Duplicate items are exchanged with other libraries. 


The Monastery has rich archival holdings of rare books, printed Bibles, and periodicals, some of which are imperial association copies from various Russian royal libraries.  A copy of the Chetveroevangelie [The Gospels] printed in 1564 is one of its greatest rarities.  However, these valuable materials have been stored improperly due to space shortage.  Seminary students have had limited access to these archival resources, but are beginning to help identify and classify them. 


The Seminary’s own archives are located on the third floor of the Seminary building.  This collection totals more than 400 linear feet of documents and personal archives.  Among its rarities are original photographs from the Russian Imperial family.  One faculty member has worked part-time to manage these archival sources.  An inventory of archival lists has been developed, and some materials have been rehoused in acid-free boxes.  However, many of the archival collections are embrittled and in poor condition, and require conservation and proper storage conditions.


            Equipment and Staffing.  The previous review team recommended that the Seminary’s library place a link to the catalog on the Seminary’s home page.  Today, the Library’s Online Public Access Catalogue includes over 75 percent of the Seminary’s library collection, searchable through computers anywhere.  For example, when a reader types the words “Orthodox Eastern Church” as a subject search in the online catalogue, records for 375 items are retrieved.  The Seminary is a member of The Central New York Library Resources Council, known as CLRC, which makes inter library loan available to seminarians.  In addition, through OCLC’s WorldCat database within FirstSearch (a union catalog for libraries), students and faculty are able to conduct advanced searches nationwide for possible interlibrary loan. 


            Nine computers are available for use by students and faculty at the Seminary’s reading room.  Printers and photocopy machines are also provided in the library.  Personal laptops may be connected through the library’s Ethernet ports in the reading room.


            A professional librarian has been recently hired to work approximately 35 hours per week at the library, with responsibility for both copy and original online cataloging, as well as staffing the reference desk.  In addition, a member of the monastic community is in charge of all routine computer duties, such as management of interlibrary loans with other institutions, upgrading the web-site and hardware, and monitoring the e-mail listserv for Slavic librarians (Slavlibs).  


            While adequate to support the Seminary’s curriculum, the library and archives, taken together, need more and improved space for preservation and for use as a resource for students, faculty and the international scholarly community.  The team strongly endorsed the Seminary’s initiatives to obtain grants for archival preservation, organization, and use.




·         The Seminary is in compliance.  However, see Recommendation under Facilities.




         i.            Responsibility for the administration of institutional policies and programs shall be clearly established.

       ii.            Within the authority of its governing board, the institution shall provide that overall educational policy and its implementation are the responsibility of the institution's faculty and academic officers. Other appropriate segments of the institutional community may share in this responsibility in accordance with the norms developed by each institution.

      iii.            Academic policies applicable to each course, including learning objectives and methods of assessing student achievement, shall be made explicit by the instructor at the beginning of each term.

     iv.            The institution shall provide academic advice to students through faculty or appropriately qualified persons. The institution shall assure that students are informed at stated intervals of their progress and remaining obligations in the completion of the program.

       v.            The institution shall maintain for each student a permanent, complete, accurate, and up-to-date transcript of student achievement at the institution. This document will be the official cumulative record of the student's cumulative achievement. Copies shall be made available at the student's request, in accordance with the institution's stated policies, or to agencies or individuals authorized by law to review such records.

Published policies.

The institution shall establish, publish and enforce explicit policies with respect to:

        vi.         academic freedom;

       vii.         the rights and privileges of full-time and part-time faculty and other staff members, working conditions, opportunity for professional development, workload, appointment and reappointment, affirmative action, evaluation of teaching and research, termination of appointment, redress of grievances and faculty responsibility to the institution; and

        viii.      requirements for admission of students to the institution and to specific curricula, requirements for residence, graduation, awarding of credit, degrees or other credentials, grading, standards of progress, payment of fees of any nature, refunds, withdrawals, standards of conduct, disciplinary measures and redress of grievances.


Findings.  Responsibilities and Published Policies.  The requirements for this standard are met, within the context of the distinctive organization and mission of the Seminary.  Academic advice is provided to students, transcripts are maintained and provided, and policies are published.  As noted elsewhere, the Seminary is developing a Board of Trustees separate from the governance structure of the Monastery which has been deemed satisfactory in the past for purposes of compliance with this standard.  The Development of a separate Board is expected to assist in broadening the Seminary’s base of financial and other support and is regarded as salutary by the team.


            Responsibility for the administration of the Seminary rests principally with the Dean and Assistant Dean.  These officers have been remarkably effective in leading a substantial transition in scope of activities, staffing, and student body, while maintaining fidelity to the Seminary’s central mission and tradition.  The team expressed concern that, as a small institution, it has vulnerability to changes in key personnel, particularly in the position of Dean and Assistant Dean, and noted the importance of backup training and planning for continuity in the capable leadership the Seminary has enjoyed.


Recommendation:  The Seminary meets the standard.  The team suggests that, the Seminary’s professional development activities include administrative services and institutional leadership to provide additional backup and depth in these areas.



Admissions and Support Services


(1)        The admission of students shall be determined through an orderly process using published criteria that shall be uniformly applied.


(2)        Admissions shall take into account the capacity of the student to undertake a course of study and the capacity of the institution to provide the instructional and other support the student needs to complete the program.


(3)        Among other considerations, the admissions process shall encourage the increased participation in collegiate programs at all levels of persons from groups historically underrepresented in such programs.


The institution shall assure that whenever and wherever the institution offers courses as part of a curriculum it shall provide adequate support services, taking into account its mission and the needs of its students.


            Findings.  Admission is based on the Seminary’s mission of preparing students for service to the Russian Orthodox Church.  The essential admissions test is an applicant’s commitment to this service.  The Seminary also has clear academic standards for admission, including a high school diploma.  Team reviews of students’ folders found satisfactory documentation and adherence to admissions standards.  In practice, many students enter the Seminary with substantial prior study in institutions of higher education in the United States and elsewhere.


            As an institution of religious education, the Seminary provides intensive personal counseling to all students.  The academic progress of all students also is carefully monitored by individual instructors and academic administrators.  In a small monastic community no student is “lost.”




None.  The Seminary meets this standard.


Consumer Information and Advertising


The following information shall be included in all catalogs of the institution:


(1)        Information shall be provided on financial assistance available to students, costs of attending the institution, the refund policy of the institution, and the instructional programs and other related aspects of the institution.  Information shall include programs of financial assistance from State, Federal, institutional and other sources.


(2)        Cost of attending the institution for each of the cost categories listed below shall be provided.  Estimates, so indicated, may be used where exact figures are unavailable or inappropriate.  Where summary information is provided, an institutional office where detailed information can be obtained shall be identified.


(i)         Tuition and fees. Information shall be provided on all assessments against students for direct educational and general purposes.  A brief description of the purpose of any mandatory fee shall be included if the purpose of such fee is not apparent from its name.  Course fees and lab fees shall be clearly identified.  Conditions under which nonmandatory fees need not be paid shall be clearly stated.


(ii)                Books and supplies.  Estimated costs of textbooks, books, manuals, consumable supplies and equipment, which a student should possess as a necessary corollary to instruction, shall be provided.  Separate estimates shall be provided for major program categories for which such costs vary more than 25 percent from the average for the entire institution.


(iii)       Room and board.  Costs of housing and food services operated by the institution shall be provided where such services are available.  Estimated costs of similar accommodations available in the community shall also be provided.  These figures shall be consistent with estimated student budgets prepared by the institution's financial aid office.


(iv)       Other living expenses.  Estimated cost of personal expenses applicable to students devoting primary efforts to pursuit of educational objectives shall be provided.  This estimate shall be consistent with similar figures defined by the institution's financial aid office.


(3)        The instructional programs of the institution shall be described accurately.


(i)         Degree, certificate and diploma programs.  A list of degree, certificate and diploma programs shall be provided.  The list shall be consistent with the inventory of registered degree and certificate programs maintained by the Department.  The list shall contain at least the official approved program title, degree, HEGIS code number, and shall be preceded by a statement that enrollment in other than registered or otherwise approved programs may jeopardize a student's eligibility for certain student aid awards.


(ii)        Program descriptions.  Each degree, certificate or diploma program shall be described in terms of both prerequisites and requirements for completion.


(iii)       The academic year in which each instructional offering (course) is expected to be taught shall be indicated.


(iv)       Program related facilities.  A general description of instructional, laboratory and other facilities directly related to the academic program shall be provided, in addition to general information describing the total physical plant.  Narrative and/or statistical information shall be provided about library collections and facilities, student unions, and institution-operated eating-places.  Hours of operation, including holiday and vacation schedules, shall be provided.


(v)        Faculty and other instructional personnel.  Regular resident faculty shall be listed by rank, with the highest degree held by the faculty member and the institution by which such degree was granted, and department or major program area to which such member is assigned.  An estimated number of adjunct faculty and teaching assistants in each department or major program area shall be provided.


(vi)       Recruiting and admission practices.  The process and criteria for the recruitment and admission of students to the institution and to specific curricula, as required by subparagraph (iii) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (f) of this section and by subdivision (h) of this section, shall be published.


(vii)      Academic calendar.  The academic calendar of the institution, and of specific curricula, if different, shall be published.


(viii)      Grading.  The grading policy of the institution, and of specific curricula, if different, shall be published.


(ix)       Student retention and graduation.  Information on student retention and graduation rates shall be provided based on a summary of the most recent cohort survival statistics (e.g., percentages of those students enrolled at the end of the spring term, percentages of freshman classes that graduate in four, five and six years) available to the institution for at least full-time undergraduates.  Statistics shall be computed in a manner consistent with data reported to the department through its higher education data system.


(x)        Outcomes for former students.  Summaries of employment outcomes, advanced study, and student professional and occupational licensing examination results compiled by or provided to the institution shall be provided.  The student cohort year or years, or date of examinations shall be included.  Data displays on employment outcomes shall be by major or discrete curricular area.




(i)                  Advertising conducted by or on behalf of an institution shall not be false, misleading, deceptive, or fraudulent and shall be consistent with the provisions of Article 22-A of the General Business Law.  Advertising and promotional material shall not leave false, misleading, or exaggerated impressions of the institution, its personnel, its facilities, its courses and services, or the occupational opportunities of its graduates.


(ii)                The primary emphasis of all advertisements and promotional literature shall be the educational services offered by the institution.  Such advertising and promotional literature shall clearly indicate that education, not employment, is being offered by the institution.


(iii)               Statements and representations in all forms of advertising and promotion shall be clear, current, and accurate.  To the extent that statements of facts are made, such statements shall be restricted to facts that can be substantiated.  Materials to support statements and representations in advertising and promotion shall be kept on file and shall be available for review by the Department.


(iv)              Any endorsement or recommendation shall include the author’s identity and qualifications and shall be used only with the author’s consent.  No remuneration of any kind for any such endorsement or recommendation shall be paid for such endorsement or recommendation.


(v)                References to the New York State Board of Regents in any advertisement or promotional literature shall comply with the requirements of Section 13.11 of this title and subdivision (m) of this Section [§4-1.4 of the Rules of the Board of Regents].


Findings.  Consumer information is satisfactorily provided in accordance with the Seminary’s mission, policies and practices.  The Seminary does not advertise; its literature accurately describes the institution’s mission, policies and practices.





None.  The Seminary meets this standard.



Student Complaints


(1)        The institution shall establish, publish, and consistently administer internal procedures to receive, investigate, and resolve student complaints related to the standards prescribed in this Part.


(2)        The institution may have informal means by which students can seek redress of their complaints.


(3)        The institution shall have a formal complaint procedure that shall include, but need not be limited to: steps a student may take to file a formal complaint; reasonable and appropriate time frames for investigating and resolving a formal complaint; provision for the final determination of each formal complaint to be made by a person or persons not directly involved in the alleged problem; and assurances that no action will be taken against the student for filing the complaint.


(4)        The institution shall maintain adequate documentation about each formal complaint and its disposition for a period of at least six years after final disposition of the complaint.  Assessment of the disposition and outcomes of complaints shall be a required component of any self-study required by this Part and shall be a consideration in any review for accreditation or renewal of accreditation.


            Findings.  All student complaints are individually assessed.  There is a structured appeal process in accordance with the requirements in the Regents standards and a policy of maintaining a record of complaints for at least six years. 




None.  The Seminary meets this standard. 



HEA Title IV Program Responsibilities


(1)        Information provided to the department by the Secretary concerning the institution's compliance with its HEA Title IV program responsibilities, including but not limited to annual student default rate data, financial or compliance audits conducted annually by the Secretary, and program reviews conducted periodically by the Secretary, shall be a consideration in a review for accreditation or renewal of accreditation, or in an enforcement review. 


(2)        An institution shall have a procedure in place to ensure that it is in compliance with its program responsibilities under Title IV of the HEA and shall maintain a record describing such procedure.


(3)        An institution shall maintain a record of its compliance with its program responsibilities under Title IV of the HEA over the previous 10 years, unless the department determines that there is good cause for a shorter records retention period. This record shall include: student default rate data provided annually to the Secretary by the institution; financial or compliance audits conducted annually by the Secretary; and program reviews conducted periodically by the Secretary.  The institution shall submit information from this record of compliance to the department on a periodic basis as determined by the department.


            Findings.  Not applicable. 






Teach-Out Agreements


Any teach-out agreement that an institution has entered into with another institution or institutions shall be submitted to the department for approval.  To be approved, such agreement shall:


(1)        between or among institutions that are accredited or pre-accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency;


(2)        ensure that the teach-out institution(s) has the necessary experience, resources, and support services to provide an educational program that is of acceptable quality and reasonable similar in content, structure, and scheduling to that provided by the closed institution;


(3)        ensure that the teach-out institution(s) can provide students access to the program and services without requiring them to move or travel substantial distances.


            Findings.  Not applicable. 






Public Disclosure of Accreditation Status


An institution that elects to disclose its accreditation status shall disclose such status accurately and include in its disclosure the specific academic and instructional programs covered by that status and information identifying the commissioner and the Board of Regents as its institutional accrediting agency.  Such information shall include the address and telephone number of the department.


            Findings.  The Seminary accurately discloses its accreditation by the New York State Broad of Regents. 




None.  The Seminary meets this standard.





Attachment B


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 provide reports and/or submit to site visits concerning issues raised in a review for accreditation, 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.