Biola’s reaccreditation brings change and improvement
Biola has been fully reaffirmed by Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission for the next 10 years, the highest accreditation possible.
"How are you achieving your mission?”
WSCUC commented on Biola’s faith-based characteristics and supported the institute by challenging them to achieve their mission statement.
“As long as you tell WASC ‘This is our mission,’ they will ask you the important question, ‘How are you achieving your mission?’” said Deborah Taylor, provost and senior vice president. “They say, ‘If that’s your mission, then go ahead and achieve it, but don’t claim to be something and then not be that.”
Other departments, like Crowell School of Business, Talbot School of Theology and Rosemead School of Psychology, go through their own professional accreditation and also have been fully accredited for their particular school under the broader WASC accreditation.
Most schools gain up to eight years of accreditation. WSCUC will require Biola to submit a follow-up report in three years to ensure that Biola will keep up with the recommendations provided for them.
“The schools that are elitist, excellent, doing what they’re doing really well – this is how they do faculty government, this is how they do internships, this is how they do curriculum, this is how they promote faculty, this is how they reach out to the community. The standards are based on that. They’re just holding us to the standards that will help us be more successful,” Taylor said.
Students such as Adam Washington, public relations representative for the Black Students Association and junior business administration major, expressed their desire for certain changes, which align with WSCUC’s recommendations.
More conversation about diversity
“We would like to see more conversation about diversity. The conversation about diversity usually happens among individual groups but it needs to be a campus-wide dialogue,” Washington said.
Biola has begun working on some of the commission’s suggestions, including preparing students for the outside world and ethnic and cultural diversity.
“We really value this accreditation process. It is so helpful. And the standards that WASC uses are so valuable,” said Gary Wytcherley, WASC accreditation project director.
One of Biola’s new changes this fall requires first year seminar courses to include a segment on diversity, in which professors must choose one of three given lessons. If professors feel uncomfortable with the topic, Biola offers a specialist who will come in to lead that section of the class.
“We are also happy that [Biola faculty and staff] are coming from a student development area. The staff is going to be able to support more of diverse culture’s needs. We all have different backgrounds and different needs. With their new training, they will be able to be more supportive of more students,” Washington said.
Biola also wants to include the conservation on diversity in their Bible courses, such as the Early Christian History – Acts and the New Testament History and Literature courses.
“We want to know that in our Bible curriculum we see God’s heart for diversity. How does that shape the way we think about scripture and Jesus and the nations — because if it doesn’t show up in our Bible curriculum, it doesn’t feel like it’s as great of value to Biola,” Taylor said.