TWU granted “exempt status” for degree process

Langley, B.C.—On April 23rd, Trinity Western University was granted exempt status from detailed reviews of its programs by the Minister of Advanced Education, Shirley Bond. The provincial Degree Quality Assessment Board in March had recommended to the Minister that Trinity Western University be the first non-public institution in the province granted this standing. Trinity Western now has the same status as the province’s four major public universities that became exempt earlier this year.

“We are extremely grateful that the province of B.C. has recognized the quality and excellence that have been offered at TWU for many years,” says Guy Saffold, Ed.D., Executive Vice President. “This is good news for students and graduates of our university. It’s especially helpful for students considering higher education because they can be assured that the provincial government has placed its stamp of approval on TWU’s academic programs.”

Institutions with a successful ten year history, a proven track record and appropriate governance mechanism are eligible for this exempt status. Such institutions are relieved of the burden and cost of very detailed review processes to which non-exempt institutions are required to submit to the Degree Quality Assessment Board. TWU’s application for exempt status was received favourably after an external adjudicator reviewed its operation and governance structures.

Vice President Saffold is equally pleased by the decision. “In a larger sense, the decision is a testimony to the extraordinary work of our faculty and indeed the entire campus community over many years to truly live out our core value of ‘pursuing excellence in higher education,’” he says.

The new process for evaluating the quality of university degrees offered by B.C. institutions was created by the province in an effort to ensure quality education in both public and non-public post-secondary institutions. Established one year ago, a new Degree Quality Assessment Board was empowered to develop standards and assess all new proposed programs in the province.

Applications for exempt status are based on numerous criteria such as an approved mission statement reflecting appropriate goals, a demonstration of rigorous, ongoing program and institutional quality assessment, and appropriate integrations with the provincial post-secondary system.

Harro Van Brummelen, Ed.D., Dean of Education at TWU, is one of two members representing private institutions on the ten-member government appointed Degree Quality Assessment Board. To ensure fair process he was required to be absent from the discussions and decision that took place March 8, 2004.

“Universities with exempt status will still have to receive the Minister’s approval for new programs,” says Van Brummelen. “But except for doctoral degrees, Trinity Western’s programs will be vetted only by the Minister, and not by the Board. The new system recognizes that Trinity Western University, like the large public universities in the province, has consistently maintained programs of excellence that are well recognized throughout Canada and beyond.”

Last Updated: 2015-07-20
Author: Keela Keeping