By Robert H. Stockman
The last two months have seen two important milestones in the development of the Wilmette Institute. One involves the matter of accreditation. The other, upgrading the Institute’s staff.
Pursuing Accreditation. In mid-April, while exploring information about educational accreditation agencies in the United States, the Wilmette Institute encountered the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). An official accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education, DEAC accredits programs from the high-school level through the doctoral (PhD) level and also post-secondary education institutions that do not offer academic degrees. The Wilmette Institute has no plans to offer academic degrees until the Universal House of Justice wishes that they be established. Consequently, the DEAC appears to be the perfect agency for the Wilmette Institute to approach.
Accreditation is a lengthy (eighteen to twenty-four months) and complex process that requires an institution to develop and implement many policies to ensure its professional quality and culture of constant improvement. The process costs tens of thousands of dollars, and there is no guarantee an institution will receive accreditation.
The Wilmette Institute has decided to pursue accreditation through DEAC and asks the Bahá’ís for their prayers, advice, and support. If accreditation can be achieved, it will greatly facilitate the Wilmette Institute’s ability to provide accredited academic courses on the Bahá’í Faith to college students and to establish partnerships with universities.
Increasing Staff. Greatly strengthening the Wilmette Institute’s capacities is a new full-time position. In March, Nicola Daniels moved from a part-time position to be the Institute’s full-time Registrar and Student Services Specialist. She has already implemented many surveys to study the needs of learners and has played a key role in approaching Bahá’í college students about the Institute’s university-level courses.
The Wilmette Institute is filling the Associate Director position and may create part- or full-time positions involving coordination of operations, editing, and marketing.