Hope College's accreditation has been continued by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
The commission moved in February to continue Hope's accreditation, following its comprehensive evaluation of the college.
"It is always nice to have external evaluators concur that the college is fulfilling its mission in accordance with the standards established for institutions of higher education," said Hope College President James E. Bultman. "Hope takes accreditation seriously because we believe it gives students, their families and the wider academic community confidence in the quality of our program."
Hope began preparing for the evaluation in May of 2001. Through June of 2003, a committee of members of the Hope community, coordinated by Dr. R. Richard Ray of the Hope kinesiology faculty, compiled a self-study that examined all dimensions of the college. A visit by an outside evaluation team followed in September.
Ray noted that while on one level institutional accreditation is a crucial benchmark, the process also presents a wonderful opportunity for reflection.
"There's a real benefit to holding yourself accountable," Ray said. "We should look at every aspect of the college, and seek to improve the things that need to be improved and acknowledge the things that are strong."
The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, founded in 1895, is a voluntary membership organization of elementary, secondary and postsecondary institutions devoted to the improvement of education through evaluation and accreditation.
The North Central Association through its commissions provides institutional accreditation to educational institutions in a 19-state region, including Michigan. The Higher Learning Commission accredits postsecondary institutions, and is located at 30 North LaSalle St.; Suite 2400; Chicago, IL 60602; phone 800-621-7440.
Hope first received accreditation through the association in 1915, and has held it continuously ever since. The college's last comprehensive evaluation was during 1993-94. Hope expects to be evaluated again in 2013-14.