KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A historically Black college in Knoxville is one step closer to reclaiming its accreditation.
Knoxville College announced a new plan Friday to reopen the school with new education standards. It is partnering with the University of Tennessee for help through the reaccreditation process, speeding it up so they can start serving students quicker.
"The accreditation launch is very important because it lets the community know we've been actively working to get the reaccreditation and we've made another big step forward towards that process," said Frank Shanklin Jr., a leader of the college.
The college will work with students in UT's Ph.D. program for higher education leadership. In the program, students learn how to navigate complex processes related to higher education, such as filing state paperwork. They also learn about strategies for creating a successful curriculum.
"These students are the hands-on team that is working on the documents that are needed," said another leader of Knoxville College. "Accreditation takes a lot of paperwork and our team is here to make sure Knoxville College has it all together."
The president of Morris Brown College, Dr. Kelvin James, will also provide mentorship as Knoxville College works towards reaccreditation. Morris Brown is another historically Black college located in Atlanta that recently regained its accreditation.
"I am giving today everything that I have, everything that I know, my playbook of how we did it, and I'm just sharing that information with Knoxville College today," he said.
The college closed more than 20 years ago, and when it closed its doors, it owed around $8 million to Foundation Capital Resources. Last year, the college sold some property and cut that debt in half.
And last year, they received around $200,000 from Knoxville for workforce development programs.
"It is a light at the end of the tunnel because we have institutions coming together," leaders said.