ATS Accreditation

embedded-image-ats-logo.jpgATS Accreditation Announcement 

With excitement and gratitude, St. Stephen’s College is delighted to announce that the College is now accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of The Association of Theological Schools (effective June 6, 2023). The Commission has granted St. Stephen’s accreditation for the maximum period of seven years, for all degree programs (DMin, MPS, and MTS), together with comprehensive approval for distance/online education.

Accreditation comes on the heels of a two-and-a-half-year application and peer-review process. From January 2021 through December 2023, the College produced a Self-Study Report that examined all aspects of the institution (including mission articulation, educational model and programming, student services, finances and facilities, and the like). The Self- Study was scrutinized by a team of peer reviewers from across Canada and the United States, who also visited the College in March 2023 to conduct a Comprehensive Site Visit. The ATS Board of Commissioners reviewed the site-visit team’s report and, in early June, voted to approve accreditation for St. Stephen’s College. The College received official word of its accreditation status on June 9, 2023.

“This is a tremendous and exciting step for the College,” remarks Dr. Fred Tappenden, Principal and Dean of St. Stephen’s. “Accreditation with ATS affirms the excellence and quality of our degree programming, while also heightening the caliber of the College’s offerings. ATS is the highest standard of accreditation for graduate theological schools like ours. As a multi- religious and spiritually integrative educational community, St. Stephen’s occupies a unique and distinct space within the ATS world. We celebrate the affirmation that comes with ATS accreditation. And, we renew our commitment to deepen and to expand the College’s educational programming for spiritual seekers of all faith traditions and worldviews.”

In their written report, the peer-review team who assessed St. Stephen’s particularly commended the College in the following ways: 

  • An institution-wide commitment to a renewed vision, mission, and values grounded by an integration of spirituality and a dedication to diversity.
  • A remarkable ethos of collaboration and collegiality witnessed across the breadth and depth of the community.
  • A winsome spirit of institutional humility, accompanied by a capacity for self-reflection, and an openness to learning and improvement.

The importance of ATS Accreditation cannot be understated. In addition to being a benchmark of quality approval, accreditation will open new possibilities for student and faculty funding, create greater transferability between peer schools/programs, expand post-graduation training opportunities for SSC alumni/ae, and lay the foundation for other program approvals that the College plans to pursue in the coming years.

“Achieving ATS accreditation brings the College to a new intersection, with many fresh paths and opportunities before us. While there is much excitement for what lies ahead, there also is much gratitude not only for the path that led to this intersection, but especially to the many individuals who have and continue to journey with the College. I am particularly grateful to the many faculty, staff, students, alumni/ae, governors, senators, donors, and all others who collectively comprise the St. Stephen’s community.” - Principal Tappenden

St. Stephen’s College is a multi-faith graduate college located on the North Campus of the University of Alberta, and affiliated with the university since 1908. Rooted in a provincial act (1927, amd. 1968), St. Stephen’s offers spiritually-integrated graduate training in Psychotherapy, Art Therapy, Spiritual Care, and Theology. In addition to ATS accreditation, the College offers degree programs and/or courses that meet the educational standards of the Canadian Art Therapy Association (CATA) and the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care / Association canadienne de soins spirituels (CASC/ACSS). St.Stephen’s also participates in some UAlberta degree programs, and offers undergraduate and graduate courses for the university in the fields of Spirituality, Multi-Faith Theologies, and Creatives Arts Therapies.