ATS Accreditation and Dr. Corley’s Retirement

June 21, 2017
June 2017 will always be a historic month in the history of Carroll Institute for me.

On June 12, we received word from the Board of Commissioners of The Association of Theological Schools that B. H. Carroll Theological Institute received the following:

  • Initial accreditation for a period of seven years.
  • Approval the following degree programs:
    • Master of Divinity
    • Master of Arts in Christian Education (Professional MA)
    • Master of Arts in Counseling (Professional MA)
    • Master of Arts in Worship (Professional MA)
    • Master of Arts [Religion] (Academic MA)
    • Master of Arts [Theology] (Academic MA)
    • Doctor of Ministry
    • Doctor of Philosophy
  • Approval of our existing domestic and international teaching sites.
  • Approval to offer comprehensive distance education.
  • Exemptions for residency requirements for M.Div., MACE, MA in Counseling and Worship, and D.Min. degrees.
  • Approval for “a three-year educational experiment to offer the Doctor of Philosophy degree to be completed in a blended learning format, utilizing on-campus colloquies, synchronous and asynchronous distance-education coursework, and extended tutorials with a doctoral supervisor, in addition to comprehensive exams and a doctoral dissertation.” Our Ph.D. has been accredited (see the list of degrees above) as an educational experiment because of its innovative character. This status does not imply a short-term future for the model, rather a period of study for Carroll and other schools who would have interest in the model. We will provide additional data and assessment to the Board of Commissioners over the next three years for review and continuance of our program. No ATS school has received exemption from the current residential standards for the Ph.D., but three other ATS schools share this experimental status for their Ph.D. programs.

I want to thank our Governors, Senior Fellows, faculty and staff who worked tirelessly and diligently for the last four years from application to initial accreditation, especially Amanda Crane, our Director of Institutional Effectiveness, who oversaw the entire process along with the other accrediting requirements for which we were accountable. ATS schools form the gold standard for theological education in America and Canada, and we are honored to be counted among them.

Actually, it’s been longer than four years that we have worked for this accreditation as Dr. Stan Moore, one of the founding four Senior Fellows, reminds us,

Accreditation with ATS was one of our goals when we started Carroll in 2004. We built the institution from day one to meet ATS Standards, understanding that our hybrid approach to theological education did not conform to ATS Standards that, at the time, still centered on a main campus and extension centers, and on face-to-face instruction. After nearly 14 years of hard and dedicated service, ATS has now affirmed our decision, under God’s leadership, to develop a seminary that delivers theological education that is accessible, affordable, achievable, and accountable. As we continue to equip missional leaders, we humbly thank God for allowing us to join Him in the blessed enterprise of training a great host of spiritual leaders to serve and expand His kingdom on earth.

Recognition by our peers through this accreditation both humbles and emboldens us to continue the mission and vision God has burned on our hearts to complete. It says we are no longer a start up seminary and that we are contributing—and, in some cases, setting the pace—in the overall enterprise of theological education here and around the world. Such recognition will benefit our students, graduates, and faculty as they too live out God’s call on their lives.

Remember, too, that we received our reaffirmation of accreditation from the Association of Biblical Higher Education in February of this year. This reaffirmation is for the next ten years. ABHE has been a partner with us since 2012, and we are grateful to the staff and member schools of the Association for their support and acceptance.

Our Training Tomorrow’s Leaders campaign is timely to provide the necessary resources to equip missional leaders where they live and serve. Please pray for us and contribute financially to God’s work through B. H. Carroll as we “run the race set out for us.”

Dr. Bruce Corley retires as a Senior Fellow at Carroll at the end of this month. Dr. Corley was one of the four founding Senior Fellows who envisioned and implemented the Carroll Model. He simultaneously served as the Institute’s first President from 2004-2013. Dr. Corley has sacrificially invested his life, experience, scholarship and resources into the Carroll model and methodology. He is a world-class scholar who has inspired the lives of his students and colleagues over the years and who has pushed the boundaries of theological education for a new generation of church leaders.

Personally, he has impacted my life as my Ph.D. supervisor at Southwestern Seminary and as my mentor since following him as president of Carroll Institute. Words cannot express my admiration and appreciation for him. B. H. Carroll Theological Institute would not be what it is today without his influence and servant leadership.

When Dr. Corley resigned as President in 2013, we asked that people honor him by supporting the Carroll Primer Project, which he designed and edits. Along with that project, we want to fund and name The Bruce Corley Chair of Scripture and Witness. This chair will ensure we have a scholar of equal status and influence as a Senior Fellow to guide our Scripture and Witness Cluster. Dr. Corley has given so much to Carroll and the friends of Carroll. Let’s honor the work of the Lord through his ministry by helping his legacy to continue with us. If you would like to write a word of appreciation to him, his B. H. Carroll email is bcorley@bhcarroll.edu.

Dr. Corley’s retirement combined with our initial accreditation with ATS combine to remind me of God’s provision in our past and of God’s blessings for our future. God has always called out certain individuals to further the Mission of God and has provided the necessary resources to complete that mission. I trust God will continue to do this for Carroll.

Please join me in rejoicing in all the Lord has done and will do to equip those he calls through the people who are B. H. Carroll Theological Institute.

Serving Him With You,

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