St. Joseph's Seminary Receives Shorter-Term Accreditation

St. Joseph’s Seminary in New York was given 5 years of accreditation instead of the usual 10.

The accreditation agency, Association of Theological Schools, pointed out the seminary’s administrative act, Cardinal Edward M. Egan as the reason for such certification. The act required to clean house at the seminary and dismissed scholars including lay and clerical and other staff.

After the visit in March, the association committee reported a weakness in dealing with the longstanding increase in the Spanish-speaking parishioners. They found no evidence of a plan to maintain the level of teaching, learning and research at the seminary.

The report cited a deficit in the seminary’s nonteaching areas: its record-keeping, its mission statement and, most seriously, its job of maintaining and tracking its goals and standards.

"We have things to address, as we did 10 years ago,'' Msgr. Peter G. Finn, the seminary’s rector said. Although it was the first time the seminary had received accreditation for 5 years, he was not bothered by the findings. He added that if the seminary shows improvement, the accreditation will be extended to 10 years.

Daniel O. Aleshire, the executive director of the accrediting association, said that the seminary was struggling to adapt to new guidelines, which was adopted before its last accrediting review in 1996. He added that several other institutions had recently been re-accredited for five-year terms, and it was not a “reference to severity of deficiency.”

"I think that the school is doing well," Mr. Aleshire said.

Rev. Thomas Lynch, current faculty member said he welcomed the report as a road map for improving operations. He said, "I, for one, am not terrible preoccupied by this. It's how the process works."

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