ATS?

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by nate, Jan 6, 2006.

  1. nate

    nate
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    Is ATS Accreditation enough? What kind of accreditation should a school have? I was wondering because everyone speaks so highly of it today what should I be looking for?
     
  2. Johnv

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    The Association of Theological Schools, through its Commission on Accrediting, is recognized by the United States Secretary of Education for the accreditation and pre-accreditation of freestanding theological schools, as well as schools affiliated with larger institutions, that offer graduate professional education for ministry and graduate study of theology.

    Sounds good to me [​IMG]
     
  3. sovgrace79

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    Some companies that pay tuition for their employees want the school to be regionally accredited.

    I've also had trouble in trying to transfer credits from my undergrad degree for another B.S. degree program because the school I went to was only nationally accredited through TRACS, but not regionally accredited.

    The grad school I was accepted to is regionally accredited and part of ATS, so I should be fine now.
     
  4. Broadus

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    Accreditation is an imperfect attempt to ensure credibility in higher education. While it may not be all we want, and while there are always exceptions to rules, accreditation represents the minimum (IMO) standard to which schools should attain. Most, but certainly not all, schools which dismiss accreditation are seeking (again, IMO) to cover the fact that they could not meet the minimum standards for accreditation.

    There are too many good, evangelical, accredited institutions of higher education available, for both residential and distance learning, to take a chance on those which are unaccredited.

    Bill
     
  5. Johnv

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    Agreed, broadus. I would never, ever, consider parting with several thousand of my hard-earned dollars by giving it to an unacredited institution.
     
  6. nate

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    I agree with both of you. I was just wondering. I'm probably going to an SBC school anyway so I don't think I have to worry about accreditation.
     
  7. Martin

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    ==I would favor a regional accrediting body. TRACS and ATS are good as "add ons" but they should not be the sole accreditor. This is a slight change in my position. I was, at one point, a great supporter of TRACS. While I still support them I have learned several things:

    1. They do not have wide acceptance.
    2. Their standards are not as high as regional accrediting bodies.

    While ATS has wide acceptance in the church/seminary world it will not find such wide acceptance in the outside world.

    For a list of regional agencies click here.

    For a list of national agencies click here. Please note that even though these agencies have "offical" accrediting status they don't, normally, have very wide acceptance. I guess you could say that they are highly specialized.

    Martin.
     
  8. nate

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    Do Christian College/Seminaries except Community College credits? Or undergraduate students?
     
  9. sovgrace79

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    I went to engineering school for a year before I went to Bible college. My credits transferred from an undergrad program to an undergrad Bible degree, BUT the engineering school I went to was regionally accredited. I don't think the Bible college would have been too picky, either.

    However, if you try to go the other way, like when I asked a school in the area if I could get into a computer science bachelor's program, they said that I couldn't take credits from my undergrad Bible degree because the school wasn't regionally accredited.

    Some schools don't care; others do. I think I would take the advice others have given on the board -- accept no substitutes and go to a school that has decent credentials. If you go to a school with less than regional accreditation, you MIGHT have problems if you decide you want to transfer some of your coursework to a school which is regionally accredited.

    I'm not that knowledgeable about why this is -- I'm just telling you how things have worked out for me.

    BTW, the reason I could get into the Master's program that I'm in is partially because someone else from the undergrad school I went to "set a precedent" and was accepted before I was. Once someone "paves the way", schools are more accepting of degrees and courses from lesser known schools.

    I also know of someone who got into a Master's program who didn't have a Bachelor's degree as approved by the state. You should understand that while these things can happen and turn out ok, it is not the "path of least resistance". The system isn't perfect, but it works better if you follow their rules [​IMG] .

    I've been able to get where I believe God wants me to be, but it would have been easier had I understood how picky colleges can be about transfering coursework.

    One final note -- even though my undergrad degree is not from a regionally accredited school, it was a great education.
     
  10. Broadus

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    ==I would favor a regional accrediting body. TRACS and ATS are good as "add ons" but they should not be the sole accreditor. This is a slight change in my position. I was, at one point, a great supporter of TRACS. While I still support them I have learned several things:

    1. They do not have wide acceptance.
    2. Their standards are not as high as regional accrediting bodies.

    While ATS has wide acceptance in the church/seminary world it will not find such wide acceptance in the outside world.

    For a list of regional agencies click here.

    For a list of national agencies click here. Please note that even though these agencies have "offical" accrediting status they don't, normally, have very wide acceptance. I guess you could say that they are highly specialized.

    Martin.
    </font>[/QUOTE]Martin,
    Do you know of any ATS-accredited seminaries that are not regionally accredited? In a similar vein, are there any TRACS-accredited seminaries that have ATS accreditation? The point I am making is that ATS-accredited seminaries will be regionally accredited, though not all regionally-accredited seminaries are ATS accredited. The Master's Seminary and Liberty Theological Seminary come to mind. To me, ATS is not necessary, though someone posted that some ATS-accredited seminaries (e.g. Gordon-Conwell) will not allow students into their doctoral programs who do not have a master's from an ATS-accredited seminary. I would not be bothered by that. To me, ATS accreditation is superfluous.

    I think your point concerning TRACS is well taken, though we acknowledge that TRACS is certified by both the Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. I hope TRACS' standing will improve.

    If I were doing a bachelor's degree, I would seek a school with regional accreditation. Of course, Bob Jones has proven an exception. I don't think its grads have had trouble getting into master's programs at regionally-accredited institutions.

    If I were looking to pursue a master's or doctoral degree, I would prefer regional accreditation but not rule out TRACS. Having said that, one considering a TRACS-only master's program should check to see if the degree will accepted by the schools where one may want to pursue a doctorate.

    Bill
     
  11. StefanM

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    Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond is ATS accredited but not RA.
     
  12. Broadus

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    Thanks---I was not aware of that.

    Bill
     
  13. Broadus

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    BTW, any idea why BTSR is ATS and not regional?

    Bill
     
  14. Martin

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    ==On the first question my answer is no. On the second I would doubt that such a situation would occur. The reason is that TRACS is very friendly to distance/online learning and ATS is not. I don't believe that ATS schools general accept much if anything from TRACS only schools.

    ______________________________________

    ==That is probably true. If there are exceptions I am not aware of them. My point was that ATS and TRACS should not be the only accreditation a school has. A school should have regional accreditation.

    _____________________________________

    ==Yea, I have seen several ATS schools with simular policies. I think it is silly. However each school is free to make those decisions for themselves. However I would still feel better about a school that is ra even if that means I can't get a PhD from an ATS school. The RA will serve me better outside of the seminary world.

    _______________________________________

    ==I hope so to. TRACS positive stance towards distance education is very much needed in the seminary world. I believe most regional accrediting bodies are friendly towards distance/online learning as well (I know SACS is). ATS's position on online/distance learning is out of date in my view.

    However I still say schools should hold regional accreditation with TRACS as a "add on". This is even more true if distance/online education is offered by the school.

    I guess all of this is mute for those who just want to be pastors. In which case PhD's and what secular employers want is not important. In that case TRACS is good enough.

    ____________________________________

    ==I agree. I know of unaccredited schools whose students have no trouble entering graduate programs at regionally accredited schools. However even for the undergrad level I would still prefer a school with regional accreditation, or TRACS at the very least.

    _______________________________________

    ==Very good advice.

    Also never tell someone that you earned your degree via online/distance education. While in the secular world it is not that big of an issue, in the seminary world it is still a sticky point (for many). It is none of their business how you earned your degree. As long as it is a real degree from an accredited school how you earned it is not important.

    In Christ,
    Martin.

    Bill [/QB][/QUOTE]
     
  15. StefanM

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    BTW, any idea why BTSR is ATS and not regional?

    Bill
    </font>[/QUOTE]It has been a while, but from what I gathered in correspondence, they don't see a need to get RA because they have ATS accreditation. I received no other reasoning.

    Also, they're a fairly new school, so maybe that plays into the equation.
     
  16. Martin

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  17. Broadus

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    So both BTSR and Knox are both ATS accredited and are both relatively new. Theology doesn't play in because they come from much different perspectives. Is ATS accreditation easier to obtain than regional? Does RA have requirements that such seminaries deem unnecessary? I have no idea, but a student, IMO, should be okay with an RA only, ATS only, or RA/ATS seminary.

    Bill
     
  18. Dr. Bob

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    Most Christian colleges will accept "in-kind" transfer of credits from an accredited junior college or four-year college/university. They are not required to transfer credits for courses not germaine to their degree program.

    And vice versa. Most universities will accept credits from accredited Bible colleges, as long as they offer similar courses for a degree program.

    When I finished Bible college (132 credits) and enrolled in the University of Wisconsin, they accepted credits that they could - English, history, etc. They even took part of my Bible/Theology major as literature and some as history. I ended up needing about 30 credits to earn a new degree from the University.

    Hope that helps.
     
  19. nate

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    Thanks Dr. Bob that was exactly what I was wondering.
     

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