The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology has been granted regional accreditation by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Appointment of regional accreditation recognizes the impact, missional alignment, and credibility of The Seattle School and its programs as a whole. This designation adds to the school’s accreditation with the Association of Theological Schools earned in 2013.
“We are elated that this hard work has come to a good end. It is a sign of our collective commitment to grow, develop, and mature as an institution,” said Dr. J. Derek McNeil, President and Provost. “This is a significant milestone, one that has been twelve years in the making.”
The journey toward accreditation began in 2015 when NWCCU approved The Seattle School as an Applicant for Candidacy. As a candidate, the school underwent a rigorous review process and multi-day site visits by the accrediting body, culminating in a final visit in the Fall of 2019. The site team, led by Dr. Linda Samek, Provost, George Fox University, left this last visit with affirming commendations and insights for continued growth.
“The accreditation process was for us, a very useful and rewarding experience,” said Cheryl Goodwin, Director of Institutional Assessment and Library Services. “It made us reflect on our teaching and assessment, challenged us to be self-critical, and gave us extremely valuable guidance to improve our students’ educational experience. It is a testament to the dedication of our faculty, staff, students, and alumni who have worked tirelessly in pursuit of accreditation as an important step in the fulfillment of our mission of serving God and neighbor.”
Throughout this process, key members of the institution worked tirelessly to create an Interim Candidacy Self Evaluation Report and ensure all recommendations from the evaluation team were met in a timely manner. The Candidacy stage, as noted in an earlier press release, allows an institution to clarify the institution’s capacity for long-term impact. The Seattle School achieved accreditation in approximately a year and a half, well ahead of the average Candidacy period of two to four years.
“NWCCU is committed to an accreditation process that adds value to institutions while contributing to public accountability, and we thank you for your continued support of this process,” said Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy, NWCCU President, acknowledging the school’s achievement.
In their official letter of action, the Commission commended The Seattle School for:
- Its committed, caring, and high-quality faculty and staff.
- The integration of theology and psychology and its deep embodiment of the integrative experience through the holistic student education process as offered by faculty and staff, including the active and relational follow up with alumni.
- Highly committed and well-qualified administrators and trustees who demonstrated steadiness and took on additional responsibilities, all with a keen focus on mission fulfillment.
“Accreditation through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities marks The Seattle School as an institution that has successfully engaged in a rigorous evaluation process alongside other quality institutions in our region. We are grateful for the years of hard work by our accreditation team, faculty, and staff, and for the maturity and growth that the process has ignited for us as an institution,” said Misty Anne Winzenried, PhD, Associate Dean of Teaching and Learning.
In his announcement to faculty, staff, and students President McNeil stated: “It is with great hope and expectation that we look to the future of The Seattle School. To the upcoming graduates who will be among the first to culminate their degree with this distinction, and to partnerships that we will build with other institutions and organizations across the Pacific Northwest. We have much to offer, and much to learn and receive.”