On Virginia Intermont, accreditation, and not going anywhere

Originally posted on Facebook on June 20, 2013.

For some of you, this is (already!) old news; for others, this is the first you will know.

The first thing you need to know: Virginia Intermont College is open for 2013/2014, and is full speed ahead. I am in the same preparations that I have been in for fall semester, and nothing will change about that.

Obviously, that framing implies that something bad has happened that could affect time beyond 2013/2014, and it has, I’m not going to lie.

The official word on what’s happend from the college can be found here, at the college’s website. There is also a link available for students to engage in a forum and to get their questions answered. Go there for the official word, and if you read nothing more, make sure you read that.

In summary: The faculty, staff and students of Virginia Intermont received word around 1:00 PM today that SACS has acted on Virginia Intermont’s accreditation, intending to remove VI from SACS membership and ending our accreditation.

Virginia Intermont obviously disagrees with SACS’ conclusions, and is going to move aggressively to reverse the decision AND to approach an appeals process (and, potentially, an injunction against SACS) in a fashion that continues accreditation of the college for the benefit of the students for as long as possible. Financial aid will remain secure for VI as long as that accreditation remains, and that accreditation will remain for 2013/2014 at the VERY least.

That’s a bit of party line, I know, but I’m going to stick to it. The one element that I will add that’s personal is this: I have believed in the work of the teaching-centered liberal arts college for pretty much my whole academic life. I benefitted from a teaching-centered undergraduate institution at Rose-Hulman, and the eight years I grew the most as a professional were spent at a teaching-centered undergraduate institution, Shorter College. Virginia Intermont occupies that same space, and I believe the work it performs is critical in American higher education now and going forward.

I linked to the Now Is The Time fundraising campaign on Facebook back in May, and I’m bringing that link back now. If you’re outside the community: the institution still can use donations in moving forward to help further its mission. You are investing in students’ futures when you give to an institution like Virginia Intermont College. Even in this difficult time, please consider doing so.

I’m here. I’m preparing for August. I’m not going anywhere.

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