Gutenberg College is a member of the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS) [15935 Forest Road, Forest, VA 24551; Telephone: 434.525.9539; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org], having been awarded Accredited status as a Category II institution by the TRACS Accreditation Commission at its meeting on November 3, 2009. This status is effective for a period of five years.
TRACS is recognized by the United States Department of Education (USDE), the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), and the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE).
The Accreditation Process
Gutenberg College opened its doors in 1994. The faculty and board have spent years honing the curriculum, program, and essential culture that is the hallmark of the Gutenberg experience. It was difficult to find an accrediting association that both adhered to high academic standards and was flexible—that is, willing to take the time to understand Gutenberg and to not see the intimate size of the student body as a detriment. The Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS) proved to be just such an organization. The TRACS staff and site-visitation team had to work hard to try not to see Gutenberg through the standard lenses of the modern college criteria. Gutenberg does not fit—and does not want to fit—that mold. By interacting with Gutenberg students, the site-visitation team successfully grasped and communicated to TRACS what Gutenberg offers its students; the team knew from what they saw—academically, spiritually, and corporately—that Gutenberg College deserved to be accredited. TRACS therefore approved Gutenberg College for candidacy for accreditation on November 9, 2004.
Gutenberg College was awarded full accreditation on November 3, 2009, after a five-year process that included (1) providing evidence that it is in substantive compliance with the TRACS Standards and Criteria, (2) completing a second self-study, (3) undergoing evaluation by a second site-visitation team, and (4) having been found by that on-site evaluation team and the Accreditation Commission to provide quality instruction, student services, adequate facilities, etc.
Following is a selection from the first site-visitation team’s report to the TRACS Accreditation Commission:
“Gutenberg College’s unique combination of a Great Books curriculum, Socratic pedagogy, intimate community environment, and deep commitment to character development within a family-like setting were designed to offer a Christian undergraduate education quite distinct from the institutional paradigm dominant in American higher education. These distinctive characteristics are precisely what make the institution what it is and make the student’s overall experience so valuable. They are also what have made the institution such a challenge to evaluate according to TRACS’ standards, which were developed with the more common or traditional academic institution in view. The visiting team, therefore, has had the challenge at numerous points of trying to fit Gutenberg’s multisided pegs into TRACS’ square holes. We have made every effort to understand Gutenberg College on its own terms, in light of its Self-Study, interview with Board members, administrators, the faculty, the students, and a careful review of the College’s documents. Much of what Gutenberg does fits within TRACS’ standards and generally accepted professional academic standards. However, the Site Team found that the College is sufficiently unique that it was simply not possible to assess compliance to several Standards without having considerable flexibility or exercising our professional judgments along non-traditional trajectories. Thankfully, a tree is known by its fruit, and so the students have shown us the fruit of the Gutenberg approach to undergraduate education. The Team has tried to represent the College fairly and accurately in this report and encourages the Accrediting Commission to recognize the distinctive and non-traditional nature of Gutenberg College in its deliberations of its application for candidacy.” — Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS) Site Team Report, July 2004.
How to File a Complaint with TRACS
To file a complaint with TRACS, go to www.tracs.org. Select “Publications & Forms.” Under “Complaint Packet” are three downloadable PDFs: (1) Complaint Information Sheet; (2) Complaint Policy and Procedures; and (3) TRACS Complaint Form.