Bethany College has cleared a second hurdle for removal from probation by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). A report from the Institutional Actions Council (IAC) of the HLC recommends “removal from probation and placement on the standard pathway” of accreditation for Bethany.
“This is terrific news again for the college and moves us another step closer to a final decision by the Higher Learning Commission Board of Directors,” President William A. Jones said. “We will continue to work very hard to meet all the challenges facing us, but we are extremely hopeful that this one challenge will soon be overcome.”
This most recent report comes after the initial findings of the HLC evaluation visit team, which also recommended removal of probation in March. President Jones, along with Provost Robert Carlson, Vice President of Finances Jean Hall, and Board Chair Corey Peterson met with the IAC in Chicago on April 25 for a hearing to respond to the evaluation visit team’s report and to share the progress the college made since the team’s visit in February. The college will respond to the IAC report by May 22.
The IAC report, the evaluation team report, and all other evidence provided by the college will be reviewed by the HLC Board of Directors, which will act in late June. The HLC placed Bethany College on probation in June 2015 for concerns over operational processes, finances, and assessment. While on probation, the college remains fully accredited.
In the evaluation visit team’s report to the HLC it stated, “Bethany College has demonstrated that it is truly a learning organization by responding to the issues that placed it on probation. Business functions have been greatly improved, and a commitment to operating within its means now prevails.”
Bethany’s recent audit report confirmed what the evaluation visit team reported. The audit report, presented to the college board of directors in February, showed a positive balance for the first time in eight years with a total change of net operating assets from nearly $5.5 million loss in fiscal year 2015 to a positive of more than $77,000 in fiscal year 2016.
“The entire campus community has worked countless hours to get to this point,” Board Chair Peterson said. “We still have one more hurdle to cross before we get to the finish line, but I am extremely grateful and proud of the work that has been done. I am also very encouraged by the continued support the college receives from its alumni and friends that value Bethany College.”
The evaluation visit team recognized the strong college and community relationship in its report to the HLC. “The Lindsborg community has rekindled its affection for Bethany College, and the partnerships that have existed and those that are now being formed together demonstrate the institution’s commitment to the common good as well as its commitment to serving its external constituencies.” The report also stated, “A sense of renewal and hope with the new president and the collective charge forward is palpable across the campus and Lindsborg community.”
“The faculty, staff, and board has invested a great deal of time and talent in Bethany’s turn-around. Their efforts are laying the groundwork for the college to thrive and remain a college that educates students to become successful professionals who love God and love others,” President Jones said.