Wednesday, November 11, 2009

TRACS Conference

The TRACS Conference began for us with our meeting with the TRACS Commission on Monday the 2nd. The TRACS commission is a group of administrators from TRACS schools who make the decisions about TRACS' granting of accreditation. We have been accredited with TRACS for 10 years now, so this would be our third meeting with the Commission. In 1999 the commission granted us candidate status and then in 2004 we were granted accredited status which lasts for five years. This time we were up for reaffirmation of accreditation status which normally would last for 10 years. We had completed our Self-Study document back in January and a TRACS evaluation team visited us in May. We then responded to the team's recommendations in the month of September. So Steve Stinnette, Bill Schuit, Howard Merrell and I met with the commission to discuss our school, respond to the commission's questions and hear their decision.

After a lengthy discussion, the TRACS commission decided to defer the decision on our reaffirmation until the April 2010 commission meeting. This means that we continue with our current accredited status and the commission is giving us three months to deal with some issues that we need to improve before they give us a 10-year approval. The main issue we need to work on is our assessment process and then tying our assessment to our long term planning and budgeting process. The commission was pleased with our finances, our development plan and our academics, but felt that the assessment area was important enough to delay the decision. As we left the commission applauded our efforts and encouraged us. We already have our staff working on the documents we will need to produce and present to the Commission in April. Please pray that we will be able to get this done well.

The rest of the TRACS meeting was enjoyable. I learned a lot from several good seminars including one on administering distance education programs and budgeting, planning and assessment. The meals (especially the chocolate cake) and the accommodations were very nice. I actually felt a little funny as a missionary being in a place as fancy as the Grandover Resort. But, the conference was pretty good this year and the time there was well spent in my opinion. One of the best parts of the conference is the interaction with administrators from the other schools. We always make some good connections.  I also won the award for being the attendee who made the longest trip to the conference. I win that often.

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