March 27, 2013 Edition

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Heather Parson (right), a member of the Williams Baptist College business faculty, laughs along with students in her class during a lesson. WBC recently received a full, 10-year extension on its accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

Williams receives
10-year accreditation

John Bland

Williams Baptist College has received a full, 10-year extension of its accreditation. The Higher Learning Commission recently concluded its regular review of Williams and notified the college that it found no concerns to be addressed over the next decade.

"Williams was granted continued accreditation without any stipulations," said Dr. Kenneth Startup, vice president for academic affairs. "This was a very fine result of our accreditation process. We're very pleased and gratified to have this excellent outcome."

Williams, a four-year, liberal arts college at Walnut Ridge, has been accredited through the HLC since 1963. HLC is the regional accrediting agency for colleges and universities in Arkansas, and they interviewed local community leaders and members of the WBC board of trustees.

"The very positive report from the Higher Education Commission encourages the college community and all our friends and supporters. The HLC review team was clearly very favorably impressed with Williams. It's a mark of validation that we prize," Startup said.

Williams President Dr. Tom Jones noted, "We are thrilled with the response from the Higher Learning Commission and feel affirmed in the quality of higher education experience provided by the WBC staff and faculty."

Dr. Ruth Provost of Williams psychology faculty headed the college's accreditation team, which spent more than two years compiling a self-study document, as required in the re-accreditation process.

In an indication of just how successful the process was for WBC, Provost and her team were invited to Chicago in early March to share their approach with other colleges.

"We were informed that our self-study report was selected as an exemplary report and we were invited to participate in their self-study fair. This is where other schools are able to come by your table and ask about your process and experience," she said.

Provost noted that while her committee is pleased to have completed the accreditation process, especially in such successful fashion, it was a very rewarding experience.

"Those of us who work at or attend Williams know it is a special place that has amazing students and a caring, knowledgeable faculty and staff," Provost commented. "It was wonderful to share Williams with HLC and have them acknowledge the same."

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