Patrick Henry College
Virginia Beach, Va. -- The Accreditation Commission of the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS) awarded Patrick Henry College accreditation status at its April 17 commission meeting at Founder’s Inn and Conference Center in Virginia Beach, Va. TRACS is approved by the United States Department of Education (USDE) as a nationally recognized institutional accrediting agency and appears on the Secretary’s List of Approved Accrediting Agencies, which is provided in the Higher Education Directory. TRACS is also recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation(CHEA).
|To raucous cheers, Chancellor Michael Farris and President Graham Walker announce TRACS accreditation to student body|
TRACS’ recognition of PHC as a fully accredited Christian academic institution culminates the school’s four-year “candidacy status” with the accrediting agency, and positions the College for future growth and success, said PHC President Graham Walker.
Testifying before the commission for approximately 45 minutes on Tuesday were President Walker, Provost Gene Edward Veith, Dean of Institutional Assessment Laura McCollum, and Chancellor Michael Farris. Each fielded a series of questions related to recent leadership changes at PHC, new governance protocols and policies and issues related to self-assessment and faculty empowerment. After answering questions, the PHC contingent, which included Assessment Coordinator Naomi Harralson and PHC Director of Communications David Halbrook, was asked to leave the board room. After a five minute break, the commission called them back in and, with a smile and hearty congratulations, TRACS Commission Chairman Boyd C. Rist announced, “We are pleased to grant Patrick Henry College accreditation with the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools.”
Immediately afterward, an elated Dr. Walker celebrated with the rest of the PHC team in the lobby outside of the boardroom.
“I glory in the Lord and His provision for Patrick Henry College,” he said. “The Lord has allowed us to receive validation from a federally recognized accrediting agency, affirming the integrity of our mission and how we’re carrying it out.”
Toward the end of the meeting, one commission member called upon Dr. Farris and asked him to describe his transition from president to chancellor.
“I wholeheartedly affirm Dr. Walker and his leadership of the College,” he told the commission. “My role gives me the freedom to promote and develop the College in ways that I’m thrilled to undertake.”
Recounting the question-and-answer session with the TRACS’s commission, Dr. Walker observed, “It was rigorous. We were being held to very high and detailed standards. I felt as if we had good evidence, and that we met their standards, but I couldn’t be sure until the actual announcement was made.
“They wanted us to prove that we were good enough to earn accreditation, which is a privilege, not a right,” he added, noting that, “unlike the vast majority of colleges and universities, PHC did not seek accreditation in order to qualify for federal funding, but rather to submit itself to peer review and professional accountability.”
For Provost Dr. Gene Edward Veith, who has devoted much of his career in higher education to the type of rigorous classical learning offered at PHC, the announcement was doubly satisfying. “It has been such a long process, and so much work went into it,” he said. “There’s just so much at stake, and the outcome, in spite of everything we did, wasn’t certain until we received the announcement. It is such a relief, such a joy that TRACS gave us a good report.”
Dr. Veith observed that the commission seemed especially focused on the College’s efforts to ensure the quality and integrity of its unique apprenticeship program, as well as in its implementation of sound self-assessment tools.
“I think they saw that, through all of the changes we’ve implemented in the past year, we are effectively assessing every level of the College and making changes where they need to be made,” Dr. Veith explained. “In a healthy institution that’s how it functions. We proved to TRACS that we were serious about assessing and critiquing ourselves.”
The TRACS recognition will be in place for a five-year period, with the College expected to provide periodic progress reports. The five-year accreditation period is standard for all colleges and universities granted TRACS accreditation.
In conclusion, President Walker noted: “We’re so grateful for all that Michael Farris did to establish the College and make this day possible. I am also thankful to Dr. Veith, our Provost, Dean of Institutional Assessment Dr. McCollum, our Assessment Coordinator Naomi Harralson, and all faculty and staff who worked so hard to achieve this result.
“This puts in place a foundation upon which all of us at Patrick Henry College can continue to grow and build on some wonderful things,” Dr. Walker added. “There are people, students, supporters who agree with us and support our mission, but who may have been standing on the sidelines and waiting. Hopefully, they can now see that Patrick Henry College is worth investing in, and can join us.”
For more information, or to schedule an interview, please contact PHC Director of Communications, David Halbrook, 540-338-8727; firstname.lastname@example.org.