BJU begins accreditation process

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by aefting, May 27, 2004.

  1. aefting

    aefting
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    http://www.bju.edu/aboutbju/special_articles/credit

    I was wondering if this would ever happen. I don't know how TRACS accreditation is viewed by other secular institutions. Does anyone know?

    Northland Baptist Bible College has also begun its accreditation process through TRACS.

    Andy
     
  2. Siegfried

    Siegfried
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    Translation: "As more and more fundamentalist Christian colleges and prospective students are finding out that regional accreditation is not the horrendous evil we have been saying it is for the past 20 years, we have been getting killed in student recruitment. Therefore, we have been forced to find an alternate solution that will allow us to market ourselves as an accredited institution without admitting we were wrong all along."
     
  3. aefting

    aefting
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    I wouldn't be so cynical in this case. I think they were/are genuinely concerned about the potential corrupting influence. A change like this does not mean they were wrong. It just means they are moving slowly and cautiously. It is actually remarkable that the school has been able to thrive w/o accreditation for so long.

    Andy
     
  4. Siegfried

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    Forgive me if I have just heard far too many ignorant, inaccurate doom-and-gloom statements from BJU about the nature of regional accreditation.
     
  5. Greg Linscott

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    What would the implication of TRACS accredidation be? Would that enable BJU to accept Pell Grants and such? Is the issue transferrability of credits? Is there any other benefit to this for BJU other than to say "we are accredited"?

    BTW- Faith Baptist Bible College and Maranatha Baptist Bible College are both regionally accredited (through North Central Association of Colleges and Schools), and it hasn't seemed to change any of their positions on things. Not an argument for or against BJ (personally, the track record of most BJU grads that I have met speaks for itself- quality peoplke who do a good job at what they have been trained in).

    [ May 27, 2004, 03:10 PM: Message edited by: Greg Linscott ]
     
  6. swaimj

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    aefting,
    I know what you are trying to say, but BJU's position has been completely dogmatic on this issue for years. I heard BJ III talk on this once when I was in college and heard him debate the subject while I was in seminary. Pursuing accreditation for BJU is a COMPLETE capitulation on this subject by the terms that Dr. Bob stated. BY HIS TERMS, (and I stress that because this is not my opinion of the school) BJU was either wrong then, or is going new-evangelical now.
     
  7. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    The issue with regional accredidation has always been secular dictates ... i.e., non-Christians presuming to tell a Christian organization how they must run their educational program. TRACS does not require that.

    While it is true that regional accrediting may not require changes, they certainly could and that has always been the caution of BJU, whether right or wrong. They have long existed with a specific purpose in mind, a purpose that does not sit well with some secular organizations. If BJU were to submit to peer approval, their educational philosophy could be required to be changed. That has always been the complaint about accreditation.

    So this is not a compromise of what BJU has said in the past, since they are not submitting to outside secular dictates.

    As for my position, I don't think it matters. If accreditation was achieved and then some change was enforced contrary to the philosophy, you simply drop the accreditation. If Maranatha and Faith are regionally accredited, BJU would certainly have no problems with the possible exception of where their faculty has their postgraduate degrees from. Many of them are "in house," incidentally the same place that many Maranatha faculty members got their terminal degrees from. But the education they offer is far superior than either Faith or Maranatha, in terms of it being a liberal arts education.
     
  8. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    Has anyone ever read the Principles of Accreditation?? I just looked at them on teh SACS website. ( http://www.sacscoc.org/pdf/PrinciplesOfAccreditation.PDF ). It is interesting read to see what is required, particularly in terms of control of the institution. The institution must be controlled by an external board that is free from undue influence of a political, religious, or other external bodies and must protect the institution from such influence (3.2.4). How does a Christian college or university agree to not be "unduly" influenced by a religious body? Is it not a fundamental guideline for a Christian institution to be influence by a religious body? Isn't Maranatha still owned by Wisconsin Baptist Association? How have they reconciled this?

    Of particular interest in the BJU situation, the governing board appoints the CEO which cannot be hte president of the board. BJU has always had a Jones in both positions I think, haven't they?

    The governed institution always "ensures adequate procedures for safeguarding and protecting academic freedom" (3.7.4). This clause is what has led to much of the absolutely stupidity that comes from college campuses. AGain, how does a Christian institution guarantee academic freedom that might indeed compromise their core principles and values? BJU has, in times past, let faculty members go for various reasons, including abuse of academic freedom, i.e., teaching something incompatible with the school's philosophy and theology. How does Maranatha and Faith propose to protect the integrity of their purpose while protecting academic freedom? Certainly the goal of a Christian institution is first fidelity to the Word of God and then academic freedom only within that realm.

    To be sure, I don't know what the answers to these questions are. I would be interested in seeing how Christian institutions have reconciled these things. In the long run, how does an accredited Christian institution protect its fundamental priorities and goals when these dictates are put in place?
     
  9. aefting

    aefting
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    The dangers are certainly real, even if not realized. Several years ago BBC in Clark Summit, PA, I believe, had issues with a regional accreditation board over the lack of female membership on their board. I think the school's position was that board members had to be pastors and women could not hold that position. I don't know how that was resolved, but there was pressure put on the college to change how it operated in a doctinal area. My brother went to Cedarville and he mentioned to me one time that their physical education department had to offer dance classes because of accreditation requirements. So it is true that regional accreditation agencies can preasure, if not influence, how you run your school.

    Once you get acceditation and you build a student body based on that accreditation, you will find it very hard to let it go if it means a significant drop in student enrollment. How many schools do you think could withstand, say, a 1/4 drop in student enrollment.

    I was also there when Dr. Bob debated the issue at the National Leadership Conference. It has been several years now, but I think the issue was and still is undue influence by secular sources who do not share BJU's philosophy of Christian Education. I think they had to watch TRACS for several years to see if it was a viable option. I hope it does not come back to haunt them.

    I can't remember totally but I'm pretty sure that Les Ollila took the same position as BJIII at the Lansdale debate. Would you say that Northland is also compromising their stated principles because they are now pursuing TRACS accreditation?

    I don't know about that. I think it is a good question. There are other accreditated schools that do not accept federal funds (Grove City College to name one). I'm sure BJU will continue to take that same position but what that means concerning student aid I don't know.

    Andy
     
  10. DHK

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    "BJU was either wrong or is going new-evangelical now." Those are pretty strong words. It is not a matter of right and wrong. It stems out of a Baptist principle of separation of church and state. I find that most Americans are hypocritically paranoid about this Baptist distinctive. They don't know where to draw the line.
    Does the government grant you a licence to drive a church bus?
    Do you have to register your church bus and licence it with the government?
    What about building codes when it comes to building your church building? Is it safe? How do you know? Does it meet the standards the government has set forth? Fire inspections?
    Does the government issue marriage licences, that is gives approval to the minister to perform marriges, and to preside at funerals?

    The government has its foot in the door of the church in more ways than you can shake a stick at, and you don't even realize it.

    Then you send missionaries to a country like Canada, the most socialized nation in the western hemisphere, and it really throws the Americans into a tizzy, for almost everything is socialized. Even our healthcare is mandatory--paid by the government. Our taxes are higher; our social programs are greater. Americans don't like the government intervention of anykind. If they start a school here; it must be registered with the government. You live with it.

    I am licenced by the goverment to perform marriages. If that isn't government interference then what is?

    I went to MBBC in its early years when Dr. Cedarholm was the president, and for the stated reason of separation of church and state, stayed away from accreditation. Later on in the history of MBBC it became accredited. I also went to BJU for a post-graduate degree. When I tried to get those credits recognized at a university here, they would not recognize neither MBBC nor BJU. They would not recognize MBBC's courses though the course and subject matter had not changed. The accreditation process had taken place after I had gone to the school. It was not retroactive.

    Baptists do believe in separation of church and state. But where do you draw the line? Is this such a complete captitulation that you would now call them New Evangelical? I hardly think so. If you take that stand, I think it would be better to say that anyone who takes a marriage licence from the government is a new evangelical, or registers a bus with the government is a New Evangelical. Let's have some consistency here.
    DHK
     
  11. Johnv

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    Sit back.... This might throw you, but...

    I agree with DHK.

    Whew, there, I said it.
     
  12. aefting

    aefting
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    To be fair, I don't think Swaimj is saying BJU is taking a new evangelical position. I think his point was that BJIII's previous statements were so strong on the issue that by those terms (i.e., BJIII's statments), BJU is now going new evangelical. I don't thing that is a fair characterization either, however, since BJIII did not consider the men representing Maranatha and Clearwater to be new evanglical, even though they both accepted regional accreditation at their schools.

    Andy
     
  13. swaimj

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    Pastor Larry,
    One of the points made at the NLC debate (I think it was in 1995) was that there are different standards for accreditation in different accrediting regions. MBBC would not be under SACS, as there is a different agency there.

    I agree that accreditation CAN be a bad thing because the institution is, in some sense, submitting themselves to an organization which does not (or may not) share their values. To those who refuse to pursue it, I respect their point of view. My own alma mater pursued accreditation with SACS in the 90s, but concluded that the agency was asking for changes that would be in consistent with the founders' intent. They dropped out of the process.

    My beef with BJU is not the fact that they are getting accredited. My beef is that they were so strident against it and are now pursuing it. At some point they were incorrect. I would think their own alumni would have questions about this change. I would like to hear their reasoning for their new thinking. Perhaps they will have a comment on this on their web-site at some point. To their credit, I think BJU has become less belligerant on some questionable matters in the last few years. That's a good thing!
     
  14. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson
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    To the best of my knowledge (I'll let Dr. Bob correct me if I'm wrong), MBBC (aka West Point on the Rock River, aka the Mary-Martha School of Missions and Matrimony) has never been "owned" by the WBA. It has always been an independent school.
     
  15. superdave

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    I was at MBBC during the accreditation process, actually while the school already had a conditional accreditation.

    The "board" that was overseeing MBBC's accreditation was not a governmental body, but was composed of educational professionals from other schools, many from schools that were not state schools, and some that were religious institutions. They basically wanted to know what Maranatha said their goals were for each program, and for the school in general, and than went over the programs and made sure they were fulfilling the goals. For instance, they did not try to change MBBC's policy regarding the 30 some credits of Bible and Church Ministries that every student must take regardless of major, and they did not make any changes that would impact the Spiritual aspects or goals of MBBC's campus or programs. They did demand excellence and made many recommedations, some of which the administration probably said "why didn't we think of that" It is not just the financial aid benefits, or the transferability of credits, but the review of the institution by its peers. Something that takes place in every industry and business (or should)

    Undeniably, BJU was highly critical of MBBC for pursuing accreditation, and so something has changed, perhaps they realized that MBBC has not been forced to compromise, just forced to get better.

    BTW, Maranatha is not "owned" by any church or group, it is independently governed by a board which does include several pastors from the state. The school makes its own decisions, separate from any denomination or organization.
     
  16. Dr. Gerald Click

    Dr. Gerald Click
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    Sounds OK to me!
     
  17. Greg Linscott

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    A little off topic, perhaps, but one of the reasons I am glad I chose to attend Faith was because it did not offer a liberal arts education. I appreciated the fact that my fellow students shared similar vision and life goals, and my professors had the same focus. Not that you don't get that at some of the larger schools as well, mind you, but the more intimate setting in a decent-sized metro area allowed for benefits like better work opportunities and local church involvement not easily accessible in other areas.

    I do also know that Faith is strongly encouraging their faculty to broaden their acadmic horizons and pursue degrees from places other than Faith. Recent faculty additions include men holding advanced degrees from schools within the Fundamental Baptist tradition (Detroit, Central), a broader evangelical perspective (Trinity Evangelical, Westminster), and even secular institutions (Loyola University of Chicago, University of Minnesota). I'm sure that the accredidation process has helped encourage that strategy.
     
  18. Pastor Larry

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    With respect to the accreditation process, remember that TRACS is different than SACS or the others. BJU is remaining true to their position by not pursuing regional accreditation. On that, they have no changed. The issue was always secular influence. TRACS is a Christian influence.

    Second with respect to marriage, that is apples and oranges. When I marry people, I am doing a service. The state does not require me to marry anyone, nor does it dictate how I must marry them.

    Bus licenses and registration is completely different too, in that it is a completely secular issue (the safety of the buses and drivers).

    As for the liberal arts education, it is my opinion that liberal arts ed is always better than Bible college, simply because you get the broadbased exposure to all areas of educational discipline.
     
  19. Squire Robertsson

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    As for who "owns" Marantha, I think Pastor Larry confused Mary-Martha SMM with the Fighting Doughboys of Owatanna.
     
  20. 2atlow8

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    B3 and the administration do not like to admit they were ever "wrong." If accreditation was wrong when I was there in 1978 then it is wrong today...or it could mean they were wrong in 1978.

    or...it could mean that they "changed their position." I wish they just had the kahunas to say they changed their mind instead of acting like the past never happened.

    I could talk about other areas where they changed their position without admitting they changed their position as well.
     

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