Accreditation Team Visits Southeastern
For the past few days President Jim Marcum and the administration, faculty and staff of Southeastern have hosted an Evaluation Team from the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS). The team of five were from TRACS Institutions in California, Oklahoma, Virginia and Maryland and were accompanied by TRACS Field Representative, Dr. Tanmay Pramanik. The team visited our campus to examine and inspect our college in anticipation of receiving Candidate Status which is a major step toward Accreditation.
In the past few months, our staff has been busy compiling a self-study which is a self-evaluation based on the standards in the TRACS Accreditation Manual. The Visiting Team verified our self-study and, in addition, conducted interviews, inspected records, observed classes, participated in chapel and toured our facilities. They left us with a report that included 16 suggestions, 33 recommendations, and 2, very hard to get, commendations for us in two vital areas.
First, they recognized the “passion and commitment to the mission of the institution” of our Board of Directors, administration, faculty and staff. We at Southeastern are fully committed to the task of “training men and women for church-related ministries.” It is important to us that we are all in one accord and working together to fulfill this mission. We are grateful for this recognition.
The second area that the team thought was exemplary was that we are completely out of debt. Southeastern is situated on 60 acres of land in an area that has increased in value a great deal during the past 29+ years that we have been in North Carolina. We struggle with “cash flow” and continue to need support to help keep our tuition affordable for our students. But it is a tremendous blessing to have such a strong financial base. To God be the glory!
The Next Step
The 16 “suggestions” that the Visiting Team left us are not mandatory changes but, if implemented, will improve our college greatly. The 33 “recommendations” are each tied to one or more of the TRACS standards and must eventually be addressed before we can become accredited. For now, however we will need only to devise a plan to address all 29 of the recommendations and send that plan to TRACS by February 15th.
Candidate Status in our Grasp
Four of the 33 recommendations pertain to what TRACS calls the Institutional Entrance Requirements (IER’s). To be granted “Candidate Status” we must be in “Basic Compliance” which means we satisfy all of those IER’s. The good news is that those four recommendations can be fixed and we are confident that we will be granted Candidate Status at the semiannual TRACS Commission meeting on April 26th.
When can we be Accredited?
Once we have Candidate Status we have 5 years to become accredited. It is our hope and belief that we can comply with all the TRACS standards and become accredited in three years. We believe that we have a path to possibly obtain accreditation in two years. However, if it takes four or five years we will not be deterred or discouraged. We can do this!
How can you help?
We need your prayers. Our greatest need is the power of God on our campus and our work. Our next greatest need is students. Please pray that God will impress on young men and women to answer the call to His service as the need for workers in His vineyard has never been greater. We also need your continued financial support. In fact, the accreditation process places even a greater strain on our budget. We need extra funds to expand our library, help many of our faculty to take needed graduate courses, pay our TRACS dues, attend necessary conferences, etc. We have also hired a part-time librarian which is an expense above our expectations for the year.
These are exciting days. Please feel free to visit the TRACS website at www.tracs.org for more information about the process. Also, we will be happy to answer your questions. And, don’t forget to PRAY, GIVE and URGE young people to seriously consider Southeastern.