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What does it mean to be a United Methodist-related College?

History of Education in Methodism

During the second half of the 18th century, John Wesley, a priest in the Church of England, began a revival movement that emphasized a heart-felt relationship with God and a life devoted to personal piety and social justice.

Realizing that education was important for a full life and essential for lifting people out of poverty, Wesley established church programs to teach the children of coal miners around Bristol. In time, he established four schools, one of which still exists as Kingswood School in Bath.

As Methodism grew in North America, the Methodist Episcopal Church continued Wesley’s commitment to social justice and the good of the general community. The church began organizing orphanages, hospitals, retirement homes, and a publishing house as well as schools and colleges. The church even established one of the earliest accrediting bodies in the United States to ensure that its educational institutions met acceptable academic standards and an appropriate connection to the denomination.

Simpson College was founded in 1860 by Methodists who shared Wesley’s commitment to education. We continue to celebrate and value this connection to the United Methodist church and the particular way that Methodism understands education to play an empowering and liberating role in society.


The United Methodist Church has more formal educational institutions than any other Protestant denomination. United Methodist-related colleges emphasize learning that incorporates a concern for the world community and a rigorous examination of the beliefs and values that students use to interpret their lives.

United Methodist-related colleges respect and honor the religious practice of their students faculty and staff. Students and employees are free to share (or not to share) how their religious beliefs and experiences relate to their lives.

United Methodist-related colleges encourage people to explore the place of religion in society and the contributions of religion to public life.

United Methodist-related colleges support the faith development of students, faculty, and staff who choose to worship or pray in the Christian tradition on campus while not excluding other religious traditions or those who do not identify with a particular religious tradition.

United Methodist-related colleges seek to create a community that is just and embodies the Social Principle of the United Methodist Church.

Accreditation and Academic Integrity

United Methodist-related colleges are evaluated and review by the University Senate of the United Methodist Church. This elected body of professionals in higher education evaluates schools, colleges, universities, and theological schools using the following categories:

  • Institutional integrity
  • Well-structured programs
  • Sound management
  • Clearly defined church relationships

United Methodist-related colleges must also demonstrate academic integrity by meeting the standards of their own regional accrediting bodies. No educational institution will be accredited by the University Senate of the United Methodist Church that does not demonstrate the academic rigor and academic freedom required by its regional accrediting body. In addition to the University Senate’s accreditation, Simpson College is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.


The United Methodist Church

Social Principles of the United Methodist Church

General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church

The University Senate of the United Methodist Church