Spring 2019 TRACS Visit




February 4, 2019

Even before I arrived at PIU in the role of sitting in the President’s chair I knew that the people who work here at PIU are a remarkable bunch. In the two years I have been here, my esteem for them has grown exponentially.

I have to leave the timing of this to God’s sovereignty—and I don’t say that lightly. After the dust settled, and I began to be a little less uncomfortable in this chair, I realized that a huge task loomed before us. Our accreditation with TRACS (Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools) has to be renewed every ten years. That cycle was upon us…my education began.

I soon learned that the first big order of business in this process is the preparation of a Self-Study Report. This is a comprehensive examination of every aspect of PIU—Academics, Infrastructure—Student life, Staff, Finances, and Curriculum. Last fall, when I attended the TRACS Conference in Dallas, I learned that, for several reasons, it is advantageous for the TRACS visiting team to come to Guam in the Spring of 2019 (March 25th). That meant that the Self-Study would be due February 11, six weeks prior to the visit. In order to give our TRACS representative, Dr. Tanmay Pramanik, opportunity to review our document before its official submission, I established a target date of January 31st for completing our work.

I told the three Vice Presidents (Niño Pate, Dot Houde, and Alex Tavarez) that the four of us would be the main authors of this study. Of the four of us, only Niño had ever participated in an accreditation review.  With some valuable input and assistance from Department Chairs Iotaka Choram (Biblical) and Paul Drake (Liberal Studies), and Distance Education Director Hartmut Scherer, I am glad to say that we essentially finished on time. REMARKABLE! The document itself is about 100 pages. The supporting documentation, amounts to about 2,000 pages!

The process isn’t over. As I mentioned, a visiting team, consisting of Dr. Pramanik and four Peer Reviewers will be here March 25th. Here is how we would ask you to partner with us. Niño and I estimate that it will cost us about $3,500/per member to host this team. Doing the math, that comes out to $17,500. The PIU Administrative Team has done a remarkable job in closing out the first step. Will you partner with us in financing and praying for this second big step?

The LORD’s great provision overwhelmed us at the end of 2018. We are grateful for those that have “sent help for [our] need more than once.” While we are in need once again, we know “[our] God shall supply all [our] need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” For any way you would be interested to help, it would be appreciated.

By His Grace,


Howard Merrell, MA.R
President, Pacific Islands University
Missionary with LMUSA