ATS, Regionally Accredited, TRACS

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by labaptist, Apr 22, 2010.

  1. labaptist

    labaptist
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2007
    Messages:
    75
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've heard these terms alot and I want to know what the real difference is.

      • Can someone who graduates from a Regionally Accredited college teach at an ATS institution?
      • Can someone with a degree from a TRACS institution teach at a Regional College?

     
  2. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2005
    Messages:
    2,007
    Likes Received:
    2
    "labaptist" Response

    Hello Dear Brother,

    I can stand a correction if I am wrong. But I believe generally that:

    1. I would say, again generally, that someone who graduates from an RA institution could probably teach at an ATS school. But one would have to factor in such issues as; does the hiree "have a friend," does he have a needed doctorate in the specialization they need to hire, is his degree outside of the "Biblical Studies" or "Theology" proper context or content, et al. Again and generally, there are so so many variables that it is hard to say in a hard-and -fast way.

    2. Secondly, and we have had this discussion before on the BB (and went round and round about it), TRACS is not considered an "accredited institution." Although it does receive some level of government recognition and government support financially. I have known people who would have such degrees, but would be hired and then asked to "get their doctorate" from an RA or ATS school. Or they would be asked to go and get a degree of equal value to the one they held from the TRACS institution. I know it does not seem fair but "that's the way it is" as Walter Cronkite would have said.

    I do not discount anyone's degree or intelligence. I also do not discount having a friend or "being at the right place at the right time," nor do I discount the "sovereignty of God" in these matters. I am just "calling them like I sees them," if you will. All based on my observations of doing this stuff for about 30 years.

    "That is all!" :applause:
     
  3. UZThD

    UZThD
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2004
    Messages:
    1,238
    Likes Received:
    0
    AS is generally the case, Rhet has well answered. It should not require much effort to look at some of the faculties of institutions to see where their higher degrees are from. Another indicator might be to look at the bulletin of the Evangelical Theological Society to see the academic credentials held by aspirants. What you will find there is a number of individuals with docs from schools outside the USA including research only degrees. But I think one's theological persuasion and connections may count much also.
     
  4. Humblesmith

    Humblesmith
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2005
    Messages:
    698
    Likes Received:
    0
    Legally, TRACS is listed in the same list by the US Dept. of Education as all the RA agencies, "Regional and National Accrediting Agencies" located here:
    http://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation_pg7.html

    TRACS is listed on the same list, right in between Southern and Western Associations.

    Now TRACS might not be as widely recognized, might not have the prestige, might not have the same influence on some schools, might not have a lot of things. We've all seen ads for faculty that specify degrees from RA schools. But again, legally, TRACS is as much of an accrediting agency as any RA agency, or any of the other specialized accrediting agencies such as those for law schools, medical schools, social service degrees, etc.

    So TRACS might not have the same "buying power" in some circles, but at the same time, as I'm sure all the TRACS schools will point out, their graduates are accepted by many institutions, if not most.
     
  5. StefanM

    StefanM
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    Messages:
    6,415
    Likes Received:
    72
    The question was not about acceptance into programs. The question concerned teaching.

    You might be able to get into a program with a TRACS accredited degree, but it's highly, highly unlikely that you will be hired to teach based on that degree at an accredited institution.
     
  6. Martin

    Martin
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2005
    Messages:
    5,228
    Likes Received:
    0
    Very true. Most teaching jobs require a regionally accredited degree. I like many of the TRACS accredited schools, but the fact is they will generally not do for teaching at the college level. There are, however, ways to get around this. For example, one could earn their MDiv from Luther Rice University and then do their PhD or DMin at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary or Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. Both are regionally accredited institutions and both will accept degrees from Luther Rice University.

    However, and this is somewhat off topic but it is important, teaching jobs are very difficult to find. This is mainly true in the theological/biblical studies area. A person needs to have a backup plan in case their teaching career is slow to take off.
     
  7. Havensdad

    Havensdad
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,382
    Likes Received:
    0
    I would like to reiterate what I have said many times...

    ATS is going the way of the dodo. I have seen many seminaries, just in the last few years, change the wording in both their catalogs, and EVEN in adds for adjunct profs and such, from "an ATS accredited degree" to "a degree accredited by one of the six Regional accrediting bodies."

    RA is the gold standard. At the moment, ATS is a nice addition, and as teaching jobs have grown scarce (other than online adjunct positions, I hastily add, which can still be found), a wise one. However, I would NEVER choose one of the denominational "ATS only" (which are few, true enough) schools, over a school which has only RA.
     
  8. Martin

    Martin
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2005
    Messages:
    5,228
    Likes Received:
    0
    ==ATS is outdated for two main reasons: It is not regional accreditation and it does not allow for full distance/online learning programs. The last one is what is hurting many Seminaries. The community college I teach at relies heavily on non-traditional evening and online programs. In fact, the two together equal over 50% of our overall budget. The result? The college is growing, even out growing larger colleges that have been slow to accept distance learning. This can also be seen in state universities like North Carolina State University, East Carolina University, and others. The same is true in the world of Christian seminaries and higher education. Schools like Liberty University have greatly benefited from expanded online studies. They can offer more classes, to more students, and that means more funding for programs, faculty, etc. Online learning opens up educational opportunities to people who otherwise would not have been able to obtain it. And that, my friends, is a great thing.

    Some argue that online learning is not as good as traditional learning. I disagree. Most of my students believe my online classes are far more challenging than my traditional classes. This is not because my on-campus classes are easy nor is it because I make my online classes difficult. I don't do either. My online classes are structured to give the student the same level of work and learning as the oncampus students get. The reason some students find it more challenging is the extra reading and writing assignments. I use myself as an example but other instructors at my college and at others have the same experience. Granted, there are instructors and professors who don't put effort into their online classes and thus those classes are a joke. However that is also true in the traditional setting. A good teacher will be a good teacher online or oncampus.

    As for online adjunct positions. There are probably not as many open positions as you think. Many colleges will collect applications in case a future need arises (ex: they have to add sections to meet demand). So you could apply to twenty schools and only hear back from two or three. Also, many of these schools prefer those who have experience teaching online. If one is just starting out, this may seem like a cruel catch-22. And indeed it can be. However there are a few ways around this. The most important of which is to get your foot in the door teaching oncampus. Teach anything they can/will give you. Have a positive attitude, do your job, and involve yourself in campus activities for which you are not being paid. In other words, show some drive. Once they see that you are a good teacher and can have a good relationship with your students and fellow faculty (adjunct and fulltime) they are more likely to slide you into the online format. They might require you to attend a workshop or class and, most likely, you will have to pay for that. However your efforts will pay off over time. And, you never know, when a fulltime positions opens you just might find yourself being in the right place at the right time.

    I'm not trying to dash anyone's dreams here, I'm just being honest. College teaching is a very difficult field to get into mainly in these days of budget cuts and hiring freezes. However if you can get your foot in the door, and if you do the very best you can, you greatly increase your chances of success.
     
  9. TomVols

    TomVols
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2000
    Messages:
    11,170
    Likes Received:
    0
    Martin is absolutely right. We (esp in SBC circles, but in wider conservative evangelical circles as well) have a glut of research doctorates and ThM with doctoral degrees looking for teaching positions. There just aren't that many out there. Schools who utilize online positions do so for cost effectiveness. Thus, they often use existing employees. It's too expensive to have extras. So the pool is narrower. I know a lot of the folks I mentioned who have taken bivo positions in churches, or who are on the sidelines right now due to the PhD glut. These guys got their degrees expecting careers in academia and now they're scrambling. check the ETS guide that has the new grads looking for positions. Compare to the open positions available. Way more of the former than the latter.

    Anyone who goes into seminary doctoral studies without goals of church or mission ministry better think again. Thankfully IMHO, we've rethought the model of the career academic who has no local church experience.

    And I agree about ATS being a dinosaur as I've long argued. It's now toothless.
     

Share This Page

Loading...