REDDING, Calif.— Simpson University has again received full institutional accreditation reaffirmation from its accrediting agency, as well as removal of a “probation” sanction issued in 2017.
The WASC Senior College and University Commission gave its decision on March 4, following an October campus visit from an accreditation team and a report from the university detailing steps taken to address concerns related to financial sustainability and strategic planning.
“This is very gratifying,” Board of Trustees member James Postma told Simpson employees during a meeting to announce the news on March 5. “It was a bit scary two years ago. To have come this far in this time is totally remarkable.”
The commission’s options included extending probation; moving the university to a “warning” status; or reaffirming accreditation.
The six-year reaffirmation comes with notice that the accreditation team will visit campus in two years to assure continued progress.
“This is no small feat,” President Norman Hall told employees. “In my 30 years in higher education, I have never seen an institution move directly from the probation sanction to accreditation without sanctions.”
In its March 4 notification letter, the commission commended the university for developing a comprehensive strategic plan; demonstrating serious engagement with issues of concern; creating a more efficient communication system for stakeholders; and installing a visionary and creative leader, among other things.
Dr. Hall credited the hard work of university leaders, faculty and staff in addressing the commission’s 2017 concerns.
Dr. Hall also noted that the WSCUC accreditation renewal comes as the university celebrates recent accreditation renewals for its School of Education and Veterans Success Center. The Betty M. Dean School of Nursing, listed as the 17th best nursing program in California in 2018 by RegisteredNursing.org, holds national accreditation through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Simpson University recently announced the launch of new athletic programs in the fall, including track and field, swimming and diving, men’s volleyball, women’s wrestling, and a bass fishing team. Initiatives are also under way to add a digital media/computer information systems concentration, commercial music emphasis, and 3+2 engineering program in the fall.
Other programs in the works include social work and kinesiology, as well as exploring delivery of the university’s Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology program in partnership with the Hong Kong Institute of Christian Counselors. The university is also partnering with Bethel School of Technology to offer degrees to students enrolled in the coding “boot camp.”
In January, Simpson announced a Carr & Camp Fire Scholarship for families impacted by either historic blaze. Each recipient who meets minimum qualifications will receive up to $60,000 over four years. The university is also starting similarly “aggressive” scholarships geared toward teachers, students in Northern California counties, Christian and Missionary Alliance students, and more, Dr. Hall said.
Photo by Sarah Barrows / Simpson University President Norman Hall and Jennifer Fox, the university’s accreditation liaison officer, discuss the university’s accreditation status with Simpson employees and students during a March 5 meeting.
Video by Nathan Bruce
Simpson University, founded in 1921, moved to Redding almost 30 years ago and will celebrate its centennial in 2021. In addition to offering 25 majors in its traditional undergraduate program, the university has graduated almost 4,000 North State adults from its ASPIRE degree-completion program, and nearly 3,000 from its School of Education. It has a highly ranked School of Nursing, a seminary, and master’s programs in counseling psychology and organizational leadership.
Simpson is launching new athletics programs in track and field, swimming and diving, and men’s volleyball, as well as a bass fishing team. The university is also working to better serve transfer students from community colleges through its commitment to Associate Degree for Transfer agreements.