Arizona Christian University 2625 East Cactus Road Phoenix, Arizona Len Munsil, B.S., J.D., President

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1 AN INSTITUTIONAL SELF-STUDY SUBMITTED TO THE HIGHER LEARNING COMMISSION 2011 Arizona Christian University 2625 East Cactus Road Phoenix, Arizona Len Munsil, B.S., J.D., President

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS Glossary of Abbreviations... 1 Introduction... 2 Purpose, Organization and Audience... 2 Description of Self Study Process... 2 A Brief History of Arizona Christian University... 5 Accreditation History... 9 Responses and Updates to Previous Challenges Raised by the HLC Criterion One: Mission and Integrity Introduction Core Component 1a Core Component 1b Core Component 1c Core Component 1d Core Component 1e Summary Criterion Two: Preparing for the Future Introduction Core Component 2a Globalization Demographic Shifts Multicultural Issues Core Component 2b Financial Resources Balance Sheet Statement of Activities Educational Resources and Facilities Core Component 2c Core Component 2d Summary Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching Introduction... 64

3 Core Component 3a University Goals Academic Department Goals Core Component 3b Core Component 3c Core Component 3d Summary Criterion Four: Acquisition, Discovery and Application of Knowledge Introduction Core Component 4a Core Component 4b Core Component 4c Core Component 4d Summary Criterion Five: Engagement and Service Introduction Core Component 5a Core Component 5b/5c Core Component 5d Summary Conclusion

4 G l o s s a r y o f A b b r e v i a t i o n s GLOSSARY OF ABBREVIATIONS ABHE ACE ACSI ACU ADCP AEPA ASP ATS CAAP CAEL CCCU CFO CHEA CLA CLEP DANTES DC ECFA FAC FTE HLC IPEDS IRB IT MCCD NAIA NCCAA NSSE RA RR SIR II SLC SWC TLCA Association of Biblical Higher Education American Council of Education Association of Christian Schools International Arizona Christian University Adult Degree Completion Program Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessment Academic Strategic Plan Association of Theological Schools Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency Council for Adult and Experiential Learners Council for Christian Colleges and Universities Chief Financial Officer Council for Higher Education Accreditation Collegiate Learning Assessment College Level Examination Program Defense Activity for Non Traditional Education Support Discipleship Coordinator Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability Faculty Advisory Committee Full Time Equivalent Higher Learning Commission Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System Institutional Review Board Information Technology Maricopa Community College District National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics National Christian College Athletic Association National Survey of Student Engagement Resident Assistant Resource Room Student Instructional Reports II Student Leadership Council Southwestern College Theological Library Cooperative of Arizona 1

5 Introduction

6 I n t r o d u c t i o n INTRODUCTION Purpose, Organization and Audience This institutional self-study report for the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools is intended to provide a representation of the current status of Arizona Christian University (ACU), formerly Southwestern College. The report also provides an update on the changes and responses that have been a result of prior visits from the HLC. In 2002, ACU received an HLC team which completed a comprehensive visit. The team report from that visit recommended a focused visit in January The college responded with two monitoring reports in November 2005 and November A separate report on assessment was submitted to the HLC in February This report is intended to provide a fair representation of the changes and responses that have occurred since these visits. Document 1 includes the introduction that describes the self-study process, a brief history of the university, accreditation history, responses to previous issues raised by the HLC, the five criteria for accreditation, and the core components within each criterion. It presents evidence that ACU is satisfying each criterion. Document 2 Appendix A discusses the Adult Degree Completion Program (ADCP). It offers a brief history of the program, and then provides evidence ACU is complying with Principles of Good Practice in adult completion programs. In addition to satisfying the requirements of the HLC, this self-study report is intended for ACU s constituencies. It should enable readers to understand the mission of Arizona Christian University, to comprehend its history, and ultimately have a deeper understanding of the institution, its significance and purpose. Description of Self-Study Process The self-study process began in April 2010 when the dean of accreditation and 2

7 I n t r o d u c t i o n director of assessment attended the HLC annual conference. At the end of the conference, this two-person team identified a self-study model designed for small- to medium-sized institutions and presented it to the president of the college. The president approved the model, and a nine-member steering committee was appointed with the director of assessment as chairman. The committee included the following members: Dr. Jerry Burnette Committee Chair (Biblical Studies) Dr. Gary Damore Education; currently Provost Dr. Gloria Gabler Behavioral Studies Cheryl Hitson Education Libbie Kent Music Theresa Milton Assistant Self-Study Coordinator Dr. Warren Pettitt General Studies Dr. Dennis Proffitt Business Administration Carol Taylor Education This self-study model consisted of an eight-question survey and a suggested timeline for completion. The model was presented to the committee and approved in May In late September 2010, the survey was submitted to each of the university departments and a group of representative students. Each department submitted written responses to the questions, after which the steering committee, using a discussion and storyboard format, met with each group and distilled their responses. With responses to the questions and the five criteria with core components in hand, the steering committee chairman assigned each criterion to two members of the committee. Using responses to the self-study questions and examples of evidence and criteria for accreditation prepared by the HLC, each two-member team was assigned to read and distill the information and search for common themes, concerns, and varying opinions. Then each team was 3

8 I n t r o d u c t i o n asked to collect additional information and present a written report to the chairman, who would draft the final document. The chairman proposed a December deadline for the committee reports. By the deadline, the steering committee members had submitted data to which they had immediate access, offered opinions and concerns relating to the evidence, and suggested persons who could provide additional information. The chairman began drafting each criterion response, setting a deadline for the end of the spring semester. Beginning in January 2011, the committee met bi-monthly to review, discuss, and critique the draft of each criterion as produced. The first draft of Criterion One was completed and reviewed in February, and all five criteria, except core components 2a and 2b, were completed by the end of May. These two core components were completed in July The completed drafts were given for review to the academic dean, the chairman of the board of trustees, board members, the provost, and the president of the university. In August 2011, the latest draft of the five criteria was shared with the faculty, who provided feedback and offered recommendations for improvement. The steering committee used the feedback from this review to make improvements to each chapter. A later version of the document was made available on the university s website to the administration, staff, and students. Comments via were accepted, and improvements to each chapter were made. To publicize the final self-study report and the visit from the HLC, ACU will conduct the following prior to the December 2011 visit: Place the final version of the self-study report on the university website, which is accessible to the public. Send a copy of the self-study report to all members of the board of trustees. Issue a press release through the university s vice president for marketing. 4

9 I n t r o d u c t i o n A Brief History of Arizona Christian University Miss Ida Clouse, a devout Christian, missionary, and registered nurse from the Midwest, wanted to make a difference for the cause of Christ. On September 29, 1917, under the Homestead Act, she settled 160 acres in what was Cactus, Arizona. In the years to follow, Clouse Ranch became a favorite spot for Christian conferences for people from all over the Southwest, including teenage girls visiting from the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (now known as Biola University). In 1959, 13 years after her death, 35 acres of her land was donated to the Arizona Baptist Convention to create a Bible college. Under the leadership of pastors from the Sun Valley Conservative Baptist Association, a proposal was adopted in June 1960 to found a Christian college under the name Southwestern Conservative Baptist Bible College. In September 1964, 40 students and 16 faculty members started classes on the present campus. Dr. Wallace Woods, who studied at Harvard and earned an M.B.A. from Stanford and seminary degree from Wheaton College, became the school s first president in The college s purpose was to establish and maintain a Baptist Bible college with a curriculum designed primarily to prepare individuals to become pastors, ministers, evangelists, missionaries, or laborers in other fields of Christian endeavor. There were four departments: Bible, missions, Christian education, and elementary education. The next three decades brought new buildings, more students and faculty, new majors, three new presidents, and a shortened name, Southwestern College (SWC). Dr. Brent Garrison, a vice president at Moody Bible Institute, was inaugurated in 1995 as the fifth president of the college. In 1996, a secondary education major was added to the elementary education major, and the Christian ministries major began to offer minors in youth, counseling, and business. Majors in business administration and behavioral studies were 5

10 I n t r o d u c t i o n added in 1999, and a music major was approved in A three-story residence hall was completed in fall 2008 to accommodate 261 students. The HLC approved the addition of the ADCP business administration with an emphasis in biblical studies in This brand new program has already produced eight graduates, and 62 students are currently enrolled. In 2009, an articulation agreement between SWC and Phoenix Seminary concerning advanced standing and internship opportunities was signed. A similar agreement is being developed with Fuller Theological Seminary. In 2010, after 15 years of leadership and with more than 400 students enrolled, Dr. Garrison resigned. Len Munsil, an attorney with a background building and leading successful nonprofit organizations, was named president. President Munsil had been involved with SWC as an adjunct professor since 1994, and had served on the board of trustees beginning in Shortly after the new president took office, the name of the college was changed to Arizona Christian University. The new name clearly identified the university s location and Christian purpose, two elements missing from the former name, and distinguished ACU from multiple other schools in the United States named Southwestern College. In addition, the word university was necessary to differentiate ACU from local community colleges and to represent the vision for the institution to grow its programs of study and eventually offer advanced degrees. Then in March of 2011, at the invitation of President Munsil, the 43 rd President of the United States, George W. Bush, headlined a prestigious fundraising dinner celebrating the school s 50 th anniversary. President Bush made available autographed copies of his memoirs, Decision Points, and at a private reception, posed for photographs with guests. With 1,260 in attendance at the dinner, he spoke of his Christian faith, offered humorous 6

11 I n t r o d u c t i o n remembrances from his presidency, and promoted the value of a private, Christian university education. In his remarks, President Bush said, I want to thank you for supporting ACU. It s a very important part of Phoenix, Arizona, and I m convinced, like [ACU President] Len [Munsil], that this university will produce leaders for tomorrow. President Bush was presented with ACU s inaugural Daniel Award for Courageous Public Faith. The event, which created tremendous local and even national media attention, not only raised more than $1.5 million but also boosted ACU s name identification to new levels. One of the keys to growth at ACU is the need for a campus with facilities to sustain an anticipated enrollment of 1,000 or more students. In 2008, a group of donors gave ACU 2.38 acres of land on which the university acquired and placed 14 modular units, containing 10,000 square feet of office space. These units, for which an architectural plan has been developed and presented to the city of Phoenix, will become a future athletic center containing athletic offices, classrooms, a conference room, and workout areas. That will free up academic space in existing buildings for classrooms and faculty offices. Several other growth opportunities exist in the neighborhoods surrounding ACU. Plans have been made to lease a portion of the adjacent Paradise Valley Retirement Center and upgrade it for an additional campus residence hall, as needed. Additional rental units are available for student housing from the apartment complex on the east side of campus. The ability to rent additional residence hall space adjacent to the campus will enable ACU to provide enough housing for student population growth and to meet the academic, administrative, student services, and athletic space needs on the existing 20- acre campus. In January 2011, ACU purchased the former Southwest Conservative Baptist Association administration building on the northwest corner of campus. Housed on one acre, the 6,000 square foot building is now ACU s welcome 7

12 I n t r o d u c t i o n center. The building has been completely remodeled to accommodate the needs of a growing admissions department, along with the registrar s office and financial aid. It provides additional parking with easy access to prospective students and parents and includes a large meeting room to make informational presentations to groups of students and their families. Groundbreaking occurred in October 2011 on a baseball field for ACU s second-year baseball program. The field is scheduled for completion prior to the 2012 season. In 2011, new students are coming from 22 states outside Arizona and from seven foreign countries, adding strength and diversity to ACU. For the first time, total enrollment, including ADCP, dual, and concurrent enrollment, reached 600 students, with an FTE nearing 450. In 2011, the average high school GPA of new students rose to 3.36 from 3.22 in 2005, a 3.5 percent improvement, while SAT scores climbed to 1037 from 952 in 2005, an 8.9 percent improvement. In 2006, the average student accepted to ACU graduated in the top 41 percent of his/her high school class. For the last two incoming classes, the average student was either slightly above or below the top third. These improvements show that ACU is attracting more academically superior students. Servant Leader Scholarships begun in 2006 to attract top academic students with a full tuition scholarship continue to be offered and have resulted in more academically high-achieving students enrolling at ACU. Students can choose between six current majors, and the academic division has completed a Substantive Change Application for the addition of three more. A strong biblical studies program, propelled by the university s mission and undergirded by its statement of faith, has always been vital to ACU. However, as the university has moved away from its Bible college roots to become a Christian liberal arts university, the school has developed a stronger 8

13 I n t r o d u c t i o n and more varied general studies curriculum, supported by a prestigious faculty. The university has always offered a rich education in biblical studies and ministry, natural sciences, humanities, behavioral, and social sciences. Now, with a new science program on which to construct pre-medical, pre-dental, and other professional healthcare programs, ACU is deepening its commitment to become a prominent university. With new athletic programs and facilities, and the proposed new undergraduate majors in biology, communication, and political science, ACU is preparing for the future with optimism and excitement. Seventeen full-time faculty members, 10 of whom hold terminal degrees and all of whom are mature evangelical Christians, are encouraged to grow not only scholarly and pedagogically, but also spiritually, and to develop mentoring relationships with their students. The effect of these personal relationships is demonstrated by the many students who return to campus to thank their professors for teaching them, encouraging them, praying for and with them, and influencing their lives. Hand-in-hand with ACU s academic life, students participate in 10 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) varsity athletic programs, intramurals, three student clubs, and more than 100 students are selected for leadership positions. Others perform in choir, praise and worship bands, musical theater, jazz band, and jazz quartet. All of these endeavors, overseen by thoughtful, Spirit-filled and service-minded personnel, create a warm, collegial campus. Accreditation History ACU was first accredited in 1972 by the Association of Bible Colleges, later renamed Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE). One of the requirements to maintain accredited status was for all graduates to complete 30 hours in biblical studies. At the beginning of 2011, the board approved a 9

14 I n t r o d u c t i o n recommendation that originated with the faculty to reduce the number of required biblical studies hours for most majors. This change was needed because many transfer students found it difficult to complete their degree in fewer than five years. The biblical studies requirement was reduced to 18 hours for all students except biblical studies and Christian ministries majors. Remaining students receive a minor in biblical studies. Because of these changes and a desire to emphasize HLC accreditation, in 2011, ACU decided not to seek reaccreditation with ABHE but to remain as an affiliate member. ACU gained candidacy status from the HLC in Six years later it received an initial five-year accreditation, and in 1997, accreditation was continued for another five years. In 2002, the university was accredited for 10 years, but a monitoring report articulating academic organizational structure, full-time faculty assignments, and satisfactory completion of General Institutional Requirements assignments was required. A focused visit was scheduled for January The commission stated the visit should address progress in detailed planning and implementation for organizational development of resources, systems integration and student support services with particular emphasis on assessment, faculty sufficiency and the library. In November 2005, a monitoring report on strategic planning was submitted to the HLC. Areas of focus detailing faculty sufficiency and the library were submitted, but an additional monitoring report focusing on strategic planning with reconsidered enrollment and faculty projections was requested. A progress report, detailing student learning and an assessment plan, was also required. Both reports were accepted in The university is licensed by the Arizona State Board of Private Postsecondary Education to grant degrees in biblical studies, business administration, behavioral studies, Christian ministries, education, and music. It is also 10

15 I n t r o d u c t i o n approved for training veterans and providing financial aid to students under Title IV. Responses and Updates to Previous Challenges Raised by the HLC SWC presented an institutional self-study, entitled The Essence of Southwestern College to the HLC in The Commission s evaluation team visited the campus, and the college received the report of the comprehensive visit in February The HLC team identified eight institutional strengths in its report (RR 9.1) 1. The mission and positive Christian spirit of the College are evident in the faculty, staff, students, alumni and board members. 2. The board of trustees is very knowledgeable, effective, and committed to the success of Southwestern College. 3. The faculty and staff are exceptionally caring for their students and are a key element in the achievement of the institution s mission. 4. Presidential vision, leadership, and communication create a sense of community and confidence for the future. 5. The student body is highly complimentary of the administration, and faculty, and the students appreciate the education, guidance, and friendships these mentors provide. 6. The physical plant is well maintained and provides a pleasant and safe environment for students and employees. 7. The biblical studies component, as a part of general education, is a vibrant dimension in the development of each student s moral character. 8. The location of the College within the Phoenix area is an asset. The HLC team identified four challenges. (RR 9.1) 1. Assessment. The College needs to give concerted attention to developing the assessment process in terms of measurable student achievement of course objectives in both general education and major 11

16 I n t r o d u c t i o n programs. A focused visit is required. The focused visit team, in 2005, noted that the college has made progress in clarifying its mission and developing broad goals that amplify the mission. Departmental objectives have been developed and linked to specific courses. Faculty complete assessment reports on each course detailing the objectives and the measures used to assess student performance but the team concluded that a comprehensive program of assessment, especially at the department level, evidence of evaluation of assessment data that contributes to improvements in teaching and learning remains limited. Thus a progress report was recommended. These challenges were addressed and the report was accepted by the commission in March The Staff Analysis of Institutional Report noted progress in many areas of the assessment process and plan and concluded, It is a very good beginning to an effective assessment program that should be quite mature by the time of the next comprehensive visit in Update The six new college/general studies goals, proposed in that report, have been carefully defined and expected learning outcomes stated. They have been assessed using both summative and institutionally developed instruments, and action plans have been implemented. Likewise, all departments have assessed their objectives and action plans, which have resulted in curriculum changes, improved learning outcomes, and overall academic improvement. (RR ) 2. Faculty Sufficiency. The 2002 comprehensive evaluation team stated the faculty is qualified and dedicated, [but] the small number of fulltime faculty is a major concern particularly in light of their multiple roles 12

17 I n t r o d u c t i o n and expectations. In the 2005 focused visit, the team noted improvements and progress with regard to the following: Adding three new faculty positions since the 2002 comprehensive visit and having at least one full-time faculty member in each academic program. Supporting its faculty by providing financial assistance for professional development activities. Increasing the number of faculty holding a terminal degree to 44 percent. However, There does not appear to be an understanding of how many faculty in each academic program would be considered preferred or ideal The method currently used for calculating needed future faculty is not tied to the strategic plan or accounted for in a financial model. The team concluded, however, that although opportunity for continuous improvement is warranted and should be kept at the forefront of thinking and planning, sufficient evidence of progress was demonstrated that no commission follow-up [is] recommended. (Monitoring report to HLC, November 2005) A monitoring report, however, addressing four attention areas, one of which was faculty, staff, and facility needs was required. This report, entitled The Focus 500 Report was submitted to the commission in November An additional report that presented a financial model based on reconsidered enrollment and faculty projections was submitted in January Update With the addition of three new full-time faculty positions in the fall of 2011, there are now 17 full-time faculty members and at least one fulltime faculty member in each academic program. Currently, 59 percent of the full-time faculty members hold terminal degrees, up from 44 13

18 I n t r o d u c t i o n percent at the 2005 focused visit. All of the 58 adjunct faculty members have a master s degree or higher or equivalency in their discipline. Using the IPEDS calculations, the current student/faculty ratio is 12:1. This is an improvement beyond the projections stated in the Focus 500 report. This is calculated by dividing the FTE students (full-time students plus one-third the number of part-time students) by the FTE instructional staff (full-time faculty plus one-third of adjunct faculty). 3. Library. In 2002, the comprehensive evaluation team found the library holdings inadequate to support the educational programs and recommended that the College needs to increase funding for acquisitions of periodical, indexes, volumes, and digital materials for present programs. The 2005 focused visit team echoed the concern that additional effort and resources were needed for careful rebuilding of the book collection but also pointed out that while the library remains somewhat limited in its general holdings, there has been a reasonable effort on the part of the institution to improve learning resources for its students and faculty. The team investigated the usability of the e-book resources, and found that they did add to overall support of the general education program. No commission follow-up recommended Update In July 2008, a new director of library services came to ACU with 23 years of experience in academic libraries and added six new databases: Business Source Elite, Regional Business News, PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES, PsycBOOKS, and the Christian Periodical Index. Library hours were extended, new furnishings purchased, a new website launched, and policies implemented that produced an inviting 14

19 I n t r o d u c t i o n environment for students and faculty. In consultation with the faculty, out-of-date books were removed. The evaluative service, Choice Online, was made available to faculty to assist them in selecting for purchase the most current books in their field of study. Additional online database subscriptions were purchased, including Science Fulltext Select, BioOne and Theological Journal Library. These online databases allow students and faculty to access 4,848 full-text periodicals, many of which are scholarly or peer-reviewed journals, and 2,781 full-text books. These databases also index some 8,095 journals and magazines. In addition, Academic Search Complete, Business Source Complete, Education Research Complete, History Reference Center, and Science Reference Center were all linked to the library s web page from the Arizona State Library page. These online databases are available to all Arizona residents, including ACU students and faculty, and contain 14,397 full-text periodicals, 1,298 full-text books, and 20,300 indexed periodicals. 4. Planning for Resource Development. In its 2002 Report of a Comprehensive Visit, the team reported that the organizational development of the College is a significant challenge to its future the team is concerned that the College has not explicitly outlined plans for human, financial, and technology resource, for processes and systems, and or student support services necessary to sustain the projected growth. The 2005 focused visit team identified the following improvements relative to strategic and operational planning at the college: Progress was noted with mission clarification and broad goal development to amplify the mission. 15

20 I n t r o d u c t i o n Conservative fiscal management has resulted in modest operating surpluses and no deficits in 20 years. The appointment of a new executive vice-president who brings the promise of better institutional planning and improved professional direction for enrollment management processes. The hiring of a dedicated vice president for development to provide assistance to the president in raising funds. The admissions and financial aid department has developed a new marketing focus plan. The director of information technology has significantly improved the college s technology infrastructure and has integrated admission, financial aid, registrar, business office, and bookstore systems into a well-organized customizable database. While much improvement was acknowledged, the team requested a monitoring report on strategic planning. That report was provided, with the additional requirement of a monitoring report with reconsidered enrollment and faculty projections discussed above. Composite financial ratios reached their optimum level at 3.0 in and again in Enrollments increased, but not quite as projected. Fall 2010 FTE total of 414 fell short of the Focus 500 goal by 86 students. Still, over the five years of the Focus 500 program, FTE student population grew from 255 to 414, an increase of 62 percent Update ACU now has an unduplicated on-campus student headcount of 486 and total FTE enrollment of 437. Including dual and concurrent enrollment, 600 students are taking classes for credit from ACU. Fulltime faculty has been increased to 17 and the FTE student/faculty ratio is 12:1. 16

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