The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) decided to remove Vanguard’s probation and maintain its accreditation, calling its progress “phenomenal.”
WASC’s commission letter arrived the first week of July.
A special WASC team conducted a campus visit in March 2010. After receiving the team’s progress report, a WASC commission panel met with President Carol Taylor, the Board of Trustees Chair David Oddo, CFO Bob Allison, and Provost Jeff Hittenberger in San Jose.
“We worked hard, but we prayed as hard as we worked. There was a sense that God was in this, because He has plans for Vanguard,” Taylor said.
WASC, in addition to removing probation and continuing accreditation, issued a notice of concern in regard to continuing financial stability. This, however, is not a public sanction and WASC waived the special visit typically required when issuing the notice.
“We’re in regular communication with WASC, and we won’t have another visit until 2015,” Hittenberger said.
After the San Jose meeting with WASC, the group stopped at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph in downtown San Jose, which has endured three earthquakes and one fire.
“[The basilica] had been rebuilt 4 times but is now exquisite. It seemed to us a good place to stop and give thanks because Vanguard is also an institution that has come through difficult challenges,” Taylor said.
Taylor desires to move forward and to continue strengthening the campus. “What is God’s vision for Vanguard? What is God calling us to do? This year we want to engage the community in serious and prayerful consideration to that question. God is writing a story at Vanguard that we’re part of. We’re part of His story. [And] for each student, God has a story for them that He’s writing,” Taylor said.
Ann Hamilton, Vice President of Student Affairs, believes Vanguard demonstrated significant progress, especially in the area of diversity. “[Vanguard] showed evidence to WASC that we are actively, through students and faculty, trying to make our campus a place where diversity is expected. When WASC uses the word ‘phenomenal’, it makes us very excited. They said that the change and turnaround of the university was phenomenal,” Hamilton said.
The commission letter was received with a thankful attitude.
“We read [WASC’s] letter publicly, and the Caf made peach cobbler and ice cream. We read the letter and we gave thanks. We needed to pause and express gratitude for what God has done,” Taylor said.
WASC’s commission letter is available, in the Provost’s office on the second floor of the Smith building, for students and faculty to read.