The Path to Accreditation

The Path to Accreditation

One step away… that’s where Christian Life College stands on its journey towards accreditation. A process that began in earnest a little over three years ago has brought us to the precipice of this momentous achievement. In March of 2018, CLC was granted Candidacy with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior University Commission (WSCUC). With this has come official recognition of our status by the U.S. Department of Education, which now allows our students the ability to claim tax credits for tuition costs and the ability to defer student loan payments while enrolled at CLC. Together with our many alumni and friends, the faculty and staff of CLC are moving forward with determination to complete this wonderful journey, a journey that has been filled with divine guidance and favor.

Like most noble ventures, it began with a dream. Our Founder and first President, Clyde J. Haney, envisioned a training institute that would raise up men and women to labor in the Lord’s harvest. The graduates of this school would share a common foundation of Apostolic doctrine, spiritual consecration, holiness of lifestyle, and the understanding that the church must proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth. Initially known as Western Apostolic Bible College, this institution opened its doors in 1949 and immediately began to produce laborers for the Lord.

Through changing times, the college maintained this singular focus and continued to produce graduates who embraced these ideals. Along the way, WABC grew and adapted to the needs of the Oneness Pentecostal movement, positioning itself as an institution that produced ministers who excelled in evangelism, missions work, church planting, theological studies, organizational leadership, music ministry, teaching, and preaching.

In 1980, the name of the college was changed to Christian Life College. Just a few years later, an Associate of Arts degree was added to every academic program, allowing students a clearer pathway for academic achievement on their way to earning their bachelor’s degrees. In 1994, CLC applied for state approval to operate as a degree-granting institution. After a thorough screening process, this approval was granted by California’s Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education (BPPE).

While the subject of accreditation was broached from time to time, it was not until 2014 where these efforts were forcefully moved forward. In August of that year, President Nathaniel K. Haney felt strongly impressed in prayer that it was time for CLC to become accredited. Immediately, members of the staff and faculty began to research the various options that were available to CLC to achieve this goal. As a sign of divine assurance that we were on the right path, mere weeks later the college received a letter from the governor of California which declared that state budget constraints would cause the role of BPPE to be curtailed. As a result, every college which desired to remain open and offer degrees in California would have to become accredited by 2020. What had previously been an exploratory exercise now became a paramount endeavor. There was no way around it – to continue to operate as a college in California, CLC would have to become accredited.

As we soon discovered, there are several avenues by which colleges and universities can become accredited. First, as a Bible College, it seemed a natural fit for us to seek national accreditation through some type of Christian religious organization. However, every one of these religious accrediting agencies required affirmation of doctrinal compliance to a set of beliefs considered to be orthodox. While there was much in these statements that we could affirm, ultimately CLC’s biblically-based doctrine of God and soteriology would not fit with these agencies. Fidelity to our Apostolic message and identity would not allow us to go down this road.

A second type of national accreditation involves trade and vocational schools. Hope was aroused that this could be the path for CLC since this type of vocational accreditation would not require significant changes to our academic and administrative units. However, we ran into a significant barrier here as well, as these vocational agencies required the school to have a high job placement rate for our graduates corresponding to their fields of study. Since we are training men and women for sacrificial service to the kingdom of God (which often involves volunteer ministry duties in the local church setting), we quickly realized that vocational accreditation was not an option for CLC either.

This left us one avenue to travel to accomplish this noteworthy goal – regional accreditation. While this would resolve the doctrinal issues encountered with religious agencies and the job placement issues faced with vocational agencies, it would also be the most challenging type of accreditation to achieve. Every aspect of the college would come under intense scrutiny to determine if CLC was worthy of joining the ranks of the other accredited schools in our region. For the western zone of the United States, regional accreditation falls under the auspices of WASC – the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Considered the gold-standard of accrediting agencies, entrance into this august body would force CLC to rise to new heights of academic, administrative, and operational excellence. Truly, this would be the hardest path of all, yet this was the path the Lord chose for us.

In January of 2015, CLC’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to seek regional accreditation with WASC’s Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). At the same time, a major restructuring took place which resulted in Eli Lopez being installed as the President and Nathaniel Haney now providing leadership as the Chairman of the Board of Directors. In December of the same year, after a review of the college’s history and standing, CLC was granted Eligibility status with WSCUC.

The next step for the college was to achieve Candidacy status. However, this would require a comprehensive institutional report, a self-study, which would be reviewed in-depth by a team of educational professionals. CLC’s Accreditation Committee, led by Vice President Micah Johnson, spearheaded this industrious effort. Taking over a year and a half to complete, CLC’s institutional report had over 100 pages of narrative which was backed up by over 3,000 pages of exhibits. In November of 2017, a WSCUC Site Team visited the CLC campus to further investigate the claims of the report. As a result of their review of the report and their on-site analysis, the Site Team recommended that CLC be granted Candidacy. In March of 2018, WSCUC’s Commissioners officially granted this status to CLC. The college was now one step away from achieving regional accreditation.

Which leads us right to where we started this story. CLC is diligently preparing for our second visit from the WSCUC Site Team, which will take place in March of 2019. A supplemental report is currently being prepared for the team to receive prior to this visit. It is our hope and prayer that God will continue to grant us favor and that the result of this next review will be a recommendation for CLC to become a fully accredited institution. Please join us in praying for this God-given dream to become a reality.

While there are many details that could be shared in the telling of this story, suffice it to say that God’s grace has been sufficient; His anointing has empowered us, His joy has strengthened us, His peace has kept us, His Spirit has guided us, and His favor has blessed us. Best of all, we know the story isn’t over; we know that CLC’s greatest days are yet to come.

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory (Ephesians 3:20-21a, NKJV).

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