Accreditation, budget, and library

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Greektim, Nov 26, 2014.

  1. Greektim

    Greektim
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    Since some here scorn accreditation b/c good accreditation (regional and ATS) requires a decent budget and library size... I wondered if you thought such criteria was valid?

    I believe so. To be a top research center, the school needs to accommodate scholarly inquiry.

    I dropped out of a PhD program in biblical studies b/c the program and school was completely lacking of the resources I needed to perform quality research. Thus its accreditation level met its level of budget and library potential.
     
  2. Crabtownboy

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    Yes, the library is the heart of a seminary.
     
  3. pugbelly2

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    It's important, of course, but it's also an outdated notion. In today's world we have electronic libraries and access to other data that render the traditional campus library a bit quaint in many cases.

    Accreditation is important as it provides the student, as well as the world, a degree of comfort regarding the quality of his/her education. That said, there are MANY accredited schools that are very bad and a few unaccredited schools that are quite good.

    The academic snobbery we see regarding the specific accreditation agency is foolish. A school should never be judged solely on its accrediting body. There seems to be this notion that all regionally accredited or ATS schools are superior to all other schools that have other types of accreditation such as TRACS or ABHE. That's complete nonsense.
     
  4. Crabtownboy

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    All the seminary libraries I know of provide both traditional materials and online materials that would be too expensive for individual students. I do not know how long it has been since you visited a seminary library, but they are not quaint only old fashioned books and periodical facilities.

    Check the holdings of electronic databases at Fuller:

    http://library.fuller.edu/library/databaselist.asp
     
  5. pugbelly2

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    My point exactly. The availability of electronic resources is a great equalizer in terms of academic libraries.
     
  6. Greektim

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    But electronic access cost a lot of money. Therefore I also added budget. Small schools w/ small libraries and small budgets can't attain certain accreditation and for good reason. They cannot facilitate quality research at the level that is expected at the grad and postgrad levels.
     
  7. pugbelly2

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    I hear what you're saying, but I think you are painting with an unnecessarily broad brush. I may be willing to relent to budget (as it pertains to library size and information access) at the doctorate level. However, I do not believe this holds true at the undergraduate level and probably doesn't hold true for most graduate degrees.
     
  8. Revmitchell

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    Exactly!..............
     
  9. Crabtownboy

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    They may not have the money to subscribe to the databases and databases do not cover all that is needed. Both are needed, books, journals, and databases.
     
  10. preachinjesus

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    Having been involved in academia for quite a while now, there are a number of salient points being raised by the differing sides here.

    One of the first realities is that higher education, indeed the academy, is slow to change its processes and procedures. This is maddeningly frustrating for many. However, we've seen this all before with other issues including the adoption of technology within the educational process. It is increasingly difficult to ignore the massive shifts in society and technology as they can aid our academic and intellectual pursuits.

    On the other hand, with the massive proliferation of quick start programs and for-profit colleges that are ruining the lives of thousands, there needs to be a balance.

    I believe accreditation provides that balance. It is a third-party system of checks and balances that allows interested students (who don't have the time or knowledge of what makes a good institution) understand what institutions are best set up for their growth.

    Its funny, the biggest arguments against accreditation are often voiced by people who have unaccredited degrees. I rarely hear any of my colleagues from accredited institutions, or with substantial degrees from said institutions, making a case of unaccredited colleges and universities. Instead, they know, mostly from experience and education, that far too many unaccredited institutions provide no robust framework of education and often spit out students who lack basic educational aptitude skills. We end up having to actually educate these students on the basics, even at an advanced level, before being able to instruct them on the subject matter.

    So what should we do?

    To say accreditation standards only rely on budgets, library size and a few other details misses the point. In fact, the most rigorous accreditation standards are based on generally accepted principals of education that have, over the last several hundred years, produced the best results.

    Accreditation also looks at the nature of those leading institutions and their credential. I'm sorry but we can see massively disparate educational aptitudes when considering professors with terminal degrees with significant and accredited institutions vs. those without from unaccredited. We also know that institutions that have taken care of their financial burdens and properly stewarded the funds entrusted to them will be able to see their academic years all the way through. How many unaccredited institutions, even in the last year, have gone belly-up halfway through a year? It doesn't help students to have to worry if their professors are getting paid, and whether they can eat on campus next week.

    Likewise, as it deals with the nature of libraries, yes there is a host of information available online and through the proper databases. However, there is a ton of other literature that isn't available and will never be available through online programs. Some of this is because of money and it is also because of the nature of scholarship. Take, for instance, work in Christology. The most important theological discourses on Christology in the last 200 years have taken place in German and French and most of the these works have not been translated into English. They aren't available online but you can find them in the catacombs of very good theological libraries. Along these lines, about sixteen of the most important journal articles on Christology (generally) in the last twenty years are in journals that are not online nor accessible through mircofilm. One must find these journals in hard-copy and read the articles there. A well stocked research library provides such things. So we need research libraries to have resources like these accessible to students. This is the reality of actual scholarship. Paltry libraries indicate a paltry learning environment.

    Accreditation might well be a bit of over-regulation but it is necessary to ensure the proper delivery of quality education.

    As we continue to see, educational institutions that choose not to pursue accreditation are often discovered to be cutting corners in other areas. Not all but far too many. The fly-by-night for profit colleges that are devastating students are the next wave of issues. The lies perpetrated by University of Phoenix commercials are a shame and indicate what lengths corruption will go to justifying itself. I have no love for those kinds of places. All this to say that there remains a reasonable place for accreditation.
     
  11. Revmitchell

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    There are some good schools out there that do not hold all the right accreditation. The snooty attitude toward them discredit the whole thing.
     
  12. Greektim

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    I think that is a bit of a stretch and over-generalization.

    Care to offer an example to make your case a bit more concrete? I think it would help.
     

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