Association lifts probation from Warner University; Hoag gets an extension
David Hoag, president of Warner University, has two reasons to be happy.
The Lake Wales school recently had its probation lifted by an accreditation body. And university administrators voted to extend Hoag’s contract by five years.
“I can’t tell you how much of a relief it is to be off probation because when you’re on probation you’re obviously kind of on a shame list,” Hoag said Thursday. “You have to disclose that you are on probation, so you have it on your website and future students and families see it. And obviously, you need to keep them comfortable knowing that you are working on a plan to get out of probation. So it’s a lot of pressure.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, Florida’s leading college accreditation organization, put Warner on watch in 2018 over questions about its finances. With that period set to end last year, the association has chosen to maintain the university’s accreditation while placing the school on probation, she said in a statement.
Hoag said in February that Warner was making good progress and expected probation to be lifted this summer. This prediction turned out to be correct.
Crystal Baird, the SACS staff member overseeing Warner, has confirmed that probation has been revoked and the school is now in good standing with the association.
Hoag, who was hired in 2016, said Warner has made progress in strengthening his tax position, but is not doing so at the pace desired by the SACS board. This is why the organization did not lift probation last year at the end of the monitoring period.
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Warner submitted a surveillance report to SACS in March, Hoag said, and a month later, an association panel took a virtual tour. The committee included three heads of institutions from other states, he said.
The panel examined the four criteria related to probation – financial resources, financial responsibility, financial control, and federal and state responsibilities. The group submitted a report to the SACS board, Hoag said, and in June, another committee held what is called an official meeting to review Warner’s status.
The committee had three options: revoke the university’s accreditation, extend probation by one year, or lift probationary status. The panel did the latter.
“They didn’t even ask for a follow-up report,” Hoag said. “So it’s that good from that point of view. “
Hoag said Warner has never been threatened with closure, as some schools are when placed on probation. Warner, a private Christian university affiliated with the Church of God (Anderson, Indiana), emerged from the recently closed fiscal year with a surplus of $ 4 million, he said. The school had approximately 1,050 students in the last school year.
“We’re now at the point where we haven’t borrowed for transactions for over two years,” Hoag said, “and our conversations with the bank are, ‘How can you help us with cash management? No, “How much money can we borrow? And so it’s a good place to be.
Alumni and supporters have donated more than $ 20 million over the past five years, Hoag said. Warner recently completed a “full campaign” on schedule, he said, raising money for scholarships and two major additions to the campus, the Swindle Agriculture Complex and the Tye Athletic Performance Center.
Hoag reported other encouraging indicators. He said Warner’s enrollment in mainstream programs increased 8% last fall from the previous year. In June, he said, student commitments for this fall were 40% higher than a year earlier.
Warner’s board of directors voted unanimously to grant Hoag a five-year contract extension.
“The entire Board and I are very pleased with the direction that Dr. Hoag is taking at Warner University,” Board Chair Laura Motis said in a press release. “We are delighted to be able to see him lead Warner by extending his contract for five years.”
Hoag is only the third president of the university, succeeding Greg Hall, who served for 25 years.
“I’ve never worked as hard as I’ve been here at Warner, but I’ve never felt more like this is where God wants me, and I’m excited for the next five,” Hoag said. . “They (the Trustees) will be looking at this every year, and hopefully that won’t be the end – we’ll go beyond the five years.”
Warner was founded in 1968 as Warner Southern College and changed its name in 2008. The university, occupying over 300 acres, offers degrees in more than 35 majors and five master’s programs.
Gary White can be reached at [email protected] or 863-802-7518. Follow on Twitter @ garywhite13.