IWS has received Initial Accreditation from the Association of Theological Schools

On Friday evening, February 5, we received notice that the Commission on Accrediting of The Association of Theological Schools has granted the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies (IWS) initial accreditation for the Master of Worship Studies and Doctor of Worship Studies degrees for the maximum allowable initial time period of seven years.

IWS was commended for, and encouraged to maintain and enhance, the following distinctive strengths:

  1. A clear understanding of the mission and vision of the institution, which is shared by the school’s various stakeholders.
  2. An ethos of learning in community characterized by a sense of mutual respect and humility among teachers and learners.
  3. The exceptional dedication of the faculty, administration, and board of trustees in serving the students in the context of global worship renewal.

I want to express my deepest appreciation to those who led the accreditation process: Dr. Steve Huntley, Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Planning, Dr. Dinelle Frankland, Academic Dean, Mark Murray, Vice President for Enrollment, and Dr. Jessica Jones, Associate Dean for Assessment. I also want to thank all who contributed invaluably to the accreditation process, to Dr. John Lindsell and the entire board of trustees for their support and leadership in this pursuit, to the superb faculty and staff for their tireless efforts and commitment, and for the prayers, support and input of our stellar alumni and students.

I want also to thank ATS for their encouragement, support and advice in our pursuit of accreditation. In particular, I want to acknowledge Dr. Lester Ruiz, who has graciously and expertly led us, advised us, encouraged us, and stood alongside us through the ATS accreditation process. Lastly, thank you, thank you to our faithful supporters for partnering with us to advance the Kingdom around the globe through worship renewal in the context of theological higher education.

Thanks be to God!

James R. Hart,
IWS President

For more information about IWS accreditation and authorization: click here.
About the author

Dr. James R. Hart served as President of the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies from 2007-2024. Dr. Hart was a member of the first IWS doctoral class, the Alpha class, and served as Dean of Students during his matriculation. After graduating from IWS, Dr. Webber appointed him as the Dean of Administration, and then Provost in 2006. In June of 2007, he was inaugurated as the second president of IWS. Dr. Hart holds a B.M. in Sacred Music from Oral Roberts University, an M.M. in Trumpet Performance from the University of Tulsa, and a D.W.S. from the Institute for Worship Studies. He was critical to the formation of IWS in Florida and has held administrative responsibilities since its inception in 1999. He is a professional trumpeter, choral director, and worship leader, and a published composer/arranger, songwriter, and author. He has been involved in worship leadership in various contexts around the globe for over 40 years and has taught in the areas of worship, theology, and music in various conferences, colleges, and seminaries. Dr. Hart and his wife, Carol, have three daughters and three grandchildren.