Maranatha Academic Credentials...

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Chick Daniels, Feb 4, 2002.

  1. Chick Daniels

    Chick Daniels
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    On a now closed topic Joshua Villines made negative comments about the academic credentials of MBBC. He was not working with real data. I know someone with access to MBBC's actual data and will shed the following light:
    Joshua said <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>The vast majority of those degrees come from unaccredited schools with very poor reputations in the larger academic community. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    This statment was made about the graduate degrees earned by Maranatha faculty. I don't think anyone would seriously submit that Pepperdine University, University of Minnesota, Union College, Mississippi State University, University of Wisonsin-Madison, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Ball State University, University of Denver, Indiana University of PA, University of Northern Colorado, Westminster Theological Seminary, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Oakland University, Clemson University, University of Michigan, Ohio University, Michigan State University, or Central Michigan University "very poor reputations in the larger academic community." All of the above schools are represented in the graduate degrees of Maranatha's current faculty. Joshua's statement was totally untrue (of course he was also not working with the current catalog). The vast majority of MBBC faculty have earned accredited graduate degrees. Even a larger percentage of student semester hours are taught by faculty with earned accredited graduate degrees. There are a few faculty whose credentials are from Seminaries that while un-accredited, have faculty with earned Ph.Ds. from placed well respected like Dallas Seminary, Grace Theological Seminary etc. Two of these seminaries, Calvary Baptist Seminary and Central Baptist Seminary are pursuing prestigious Regional Accreditation. Once these seminaries complete the process, even a higher percentage of MBBC faculty will be from accredited graduate institutions. Furthermore, Joshua raised doubts as to the credibility of Maranatha's accreditation. He claimed he couldn't find the link. Here it is:North Central Accredited. North Central is one the nation's most prestigious accrediting agencies. In fact, Maranatha is a leader in North Central in launching North Central's new AQIP quality improvement program.
    Also, Maranatha's teacher education programs are approved by the State of Wisconsin for state teacher certification. In fact, the feedback from area public schools have been tremendous. They love receiving MBBC students for student teaching, and have repeatedly hired its graduates to teach. Furthermore, Joshua tried to strongly link MBBC to BJU. If he had looked carefully, he would have noticed that 3 of the 4 faculty whose only graduate degree(s) are from BJU are fine arts teachers. BJU is well known for its quality Fine Arts graduate program.

    I would love to discuss the numbers with anyone who thinks that an MBBC degree is academically soft.

    Chick
     
  2. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    My suspicion is that Joshua's problem with MBBC is a lot less about credibility and a lot more about theology.
     
  3. Rev. Joshua

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    Chick,

    What percent of the faculty hold Ph.D.'s?

    Where were those Ph.D.'s earned?

    Joshua
     
  4. Rev. Joshua

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    Chick, also regarding the BJU link:

    I noticed that almost 20% of their faculty had at least one degree from BJU, that's a strong connection.

    In addition, of the small number of faculty with Ph.D.'s, almost half had earned them at BJU.

    Joshua
     
  5. Chick Daniels

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>What percent of the faculty hold Ph.D.'s? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    I believe its around 30%, and higher than that among full-time faculty
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Where were those Ph.D.'s earned? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Places like Pepperdine University, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, University of Denver, Ohio University, University of Northern Colorado, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and yes, there are three with a Ph. D. from BJU. Two had already earned a masters from an accredited institution, and the other is simply one of the finest professors at MBBC.
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>I noticed that almost 20% of their faculty had at least one degree from BJU, that's a strong connection. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    But what is the nature of this "strong connection"? Several who had received a masters degree from BJU also have an advanced degree from an accredited institution. Furthermore, do not assume that because someone attended BJU that they bought into everything promoted there. Of all the BJU alumni that I know, I cannot think of one that didn't say "It's about time!" when they revoked their policy against inter-racial dating. In other words, it is possible to receive a degree from there without becoming a lock-step robot unable to think for oneself.
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>In addition, of the small number of faculty with Ph.D.'s, almost half had earned them at BJU.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    This is simply untrue, 3 of 15 is hardly "almost half"! Furthermore 2 of these three have masters degrees from accredited institutions.
    What is your beef Joshua? Your argumentation throughout has been colored with a pre-disposition against Maranatha. Why is it so irritating to you to that a fundamentalist Baptist College is accredited by North Central, and offers credible academic programs? No doubt MBBC has made a lot of progress in the last ten years, and there is still room for improvement, but don't you think that you have been overly harsh?
    :(
     
  6. Joy

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    Don't forget about the fact that PhD's and all that are just pieces of paper with man's approval on them. Most of the men and women at MBBC are some of the finest men of God that I know. Two of the most godly of them aren't even Bible teachers, they are Dr.s of music, yet they have godly character and Bible knowledge far beyond countless men who profess themselves to be wise in their own eyes! ;)

    Wisdom doesn't come from a doctorate from an accredited university. It comes from God. MBBC just happens to have both! ;)

    [ February 05, 2002: Message edited by: Joy ]
     
  7. Rev. Joshua

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    Chick,

    All of the numbers and data I offered was based on the information on their website. I didn't know that it was not the most current information. (Note, I did not count D. Min.'s, D.D.'s or other similar degrees as Ph.D.'s. I only counted Ph.D.'s, Ed.D.'s, and Th.D.'s. Do your numbers include these non-equivalent degrees?)

    My beef is with many baptist educational institutions of this category whose existence cheapens the reputataion of more rigorous and mainstream baptist educational institutions. I can't count the number of times I've said "I went to a baptist seminary, but one with rigorous academics" and heard someone say (with some justification) "Isn't that an oxymoron?"

    My primary beef with Maranatha is their apparent obsession with the petty legalism that also characterizes schools like Bob Jones University. My secondary "beef" was simply a natural question about the academic preparedness of their faculty. In the current buyer's market for Ph.D.-equipped faculty, even very small colleges often have a faculty where 85% or more of their faculty hold Ph.D.'s. A school where many of the degrees come from Bob Jones or similar Bible colleges, few of the faculty hold earned research doctorates from recognized universities, and student life is defined by rules built around a cultural stereotype rather than the Bible seems academically suspect to me.

    Joshua
     
  8. TomVols

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    For what it's worth, I'm not wild about legalistic schools either. But from what I understand, Bob Jones doesn't give Ph.D.s away just because you can walk and chew bubble gum. Granted, it's not a place I'd send anyone. But to belittle someone's education just because they earned it there is hardly fair. And Maranatha's accreditation from North Central says something.
     
  9. Rev. Joshua

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    Tom, my posts have increasingly become more strident because eveyone has bristled so astonishingly at me even questioning the academics at Maranatha.

    If you follow the original thread, you'll see that I said, "If I were a potential student, these things would raise questions for me." The two things were: the strident legalism, and the academic preparation of the faculty.

    I do find Ph.D.'s from BJU to be suspect because the school is not accredited and because their faculty has, generally, very little training outside the narrow world of ultra-fundamentalism.

    Maranatha may provide a generally fine education, but that is not readily evident by their campus environment and their faculty's training.

    Joshua
     
  10. Chick Daniels

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>(Note, I did not count D. Min.'s, D.D.'s or other similar degrees as Ph.D.'s. I only counted Ph.D.'s, Ed.D.'s, and Th.D.'s. Do your numbers include these non-equivalent degrees?) <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    I did not count any honorary D.D.s or such. I did include a D. Min. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>My beef is with many baptist educational institutions of this category whose existence cheapens the reputation of more rigorous and mainstream baptist educational institutions. I can't count the number of times I've said "I went to a baptist seminary, but one with rigorous academics" and heard someone say (with some justification) "Isn't that an oxymoron?" <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    In 1992 when Maranatha received accreditation from North Central, NCA did not believe that Maranatha cheapened any reputations. I share your burden for rigorous academics, and agree that there are schools out there with poor academics. MBBC does not offer a seminary program, and it encourages its pre-seminary graduates to attend academically rigorous seminaries.
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>My primary beef with Maranatha is their apparent obsession with the petty legalism that also characterizes schools like Bob Jones University. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    The key words in your quote are "apparent obsession" and "petty legalism".
    I know of no attempt at MBBC to "legalize" personal standards. They do have institutional rules designed to create harmony among a diverse student body--but they are not handed down like the rules are on par with Scripture! When you say "apparent" you are confessing that you don't really know for sure. Why don't you contact the dean of students and find out for sure.
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>My secondary "beef" was simply a natural question about the academic preparedness of their faculty. In the current buyer's market for Ph.D.-equipped faculty, even very small colleges often have a faculty where 85% or more of their faculty hold Ph.D.'s. A school where many of the degrees come from Bob Jones or similar Bible colleges, few of the faculty hold earned research doctorates from recognized universities, and student life is defined by rules built around a cultural stereotype rather than the Bible seems academically suspect to me.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    I dispute your figure of 85% for two reasons. All colleges have at least a small core of faculty who are part-time and largely have masters degrees but do not have Ph.Ds. This core of part-timers waters down the percentage who have Ph.Ds. Furthermore, MBBC does not have a seminary or graduate school. It would be natural that if MBBC offered a full slate of graduate degrees that they would have a higher percentage with earned doctorates from accredited institutions (per NCA requirements).
    Again, if North Central was "holding its nose" with regard to approving MBBC, then why is it excited about MBBC helping to pilot their new AQIP quality improvement program?
    Joshua, I agree that institutes of higher learning need to be credible and rigorous. I understand your having to explain yourself when you describe your credentials. A common joke is "When is a college not a college? When it’s a Bible college." This country is covered with diploma mills run out church basements under the name "Bible College." But don't judge every book by the cover. MBBC has articulated a commitment to serious academic rigor.
     
  11. Rev. Joshua

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    Chick,

    Everything you say is very encouraging about Maranatha, and answers many of the concerns I raised.

    I would argue that, even when I worked in undergraduate admissions at a primarily undergraduate college (7 years ago), the norm was already for undergraduate institutions to have a very high percentage of Ph.D.'s on their faculty. There are just too many unemployed Ph.D.'s out there willing to work for peanuts. Our percentage was 94% if I remember correctly, and some of that 6% was comprised of people with terminal M.F.A.'s.

    Thanks again for your clarification. It sounds like Maranatha isn't a bad choice for an IFB who is comfortable with their rules.

    Joshua
     
  12. Chick Daniels

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> There are just too many unemployed Ph.D.'s out there willing to work for peanuts. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Not a happy thought for young aspiring students working through graduate programs hoping to teach! :eek: Thank you for your kind reply, best wishes, Chick
     
  13. Rev. Joshua

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Chick Daniels:

    Not a happy thought for young aspiring students working through graduate programs hoping to teach! :eek:
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    No, not all. I've gone back and forth on doing a Ph.D. for years. It was a part of my plan as an undergraduate and as a seminary student, but each year it gets a little harder to take four+ years out of my life, for very little income (stipends run $12,000-$16,000 per year plus a tuition waiver) only to know that my employment prospects are at best fair even coming from a competitive university.

    Just to give you an idea of the numbers involved, a competitive Ph.D. program in Religion can expect 200 applicants for 15 slots or so (these numbers are almost exact for Emory, a program I've looked at in the past). This level of competition means that they'll be rejecting honors graduates with 700+ on each section of the GRE and outstanding recommendations.

    With this level of competition to get into a Ph.D. program, you'd think that the elite few who get in and complete the program would have jobs waiting for them...

    When I worked for a private liberal arts college, we had one opening in English and had 300 applicants with Ph.D.'s.

    Scary indeed.

    Joshua

    [ February 05, 2002: Message edited by: Rev. Joshua Villines ]
     
  14. Wester

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    &gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;Don't forget about the fact that PhD's and all that are just pieces of paper with man's approval on them.&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;

    O.K. Joy, whenever you need heart surgery, maybe you should go to a quack doctor who has a medical diploma that looks essentially the same as one from an accredited school of medicine. Do you think you will knowingly do that?
     
  15. TomVols

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    Joshua brings up a good point. There is a glut of Ph.D. folks around who only want to teach. Seminaries should encourage Ph.D. graduates to seek employment and ministry in other areas as well. There just aren't that many teaching positions to go around. I can't tell you how many research doctoral students I know who were bitterly disappointed in searching for teaching positions that just aren't available. Our seminaries do no favors to the students by preparing them strictly for academic careers. Some evangelical seminaries are making great strides in being more helpful in this area. Some are lagging far behind I'm afraid. Actually, the Chronicle of Higher Education has documented that this is a problem in all academic disciplines. There has even been talk of implementing degree programs beyond the Ph.D. in order to weed out some of the numerous Ph.D. graduates. Don't know if it will ever fly. I think we'll see Ph.D. programs get stricter first (And we are).
     
  16. Rev. Joshua

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    Tom,

    A seminary Ph.D. or Th.D. is almost useless these days except for the very small number of positions open within schools affiliated with the denomination and theological stripe of the seminary.

    As you know there is a hierarchy of universities that goes something like:

    Ivy-leagues
    Near-Ivies
    Major research Universities
    Other Universities with specific, strong programs
    Elite Seminaries
    Most State Universities
    Other Seminaries
    Other Schools

    Generally, you need a Ph.D. from a shool at least one tier above where you want to teach. People with seminary Ph.D.'s start out at a significant disadvantage, and the glut of Ph.D.'s from the other tiers have about shut them out.

    The fact that competitive universities only take 8 or so Ph.D. students in many disciplines (Emory's 15 or so is an exceptionally high number, but they are spread over 7 disciplines meaning usually 2-3 in NT for example) means they are trying to address the over-supply; but it will take many years for things to even out.

    Still, if you want to teach, you should target the top 3 tiers if you want to hedge your bets on employment.

    Joshua
     
  17. Siegfried

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    How ironic that the degree of prestige as described above is directly proportional to the strength of liberal theology's death-grip on those institutions.
     
  18. Rev. Joshua

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    Siegfried,

    I was actually talking across the board, not just in religion.


    It is true, though, that what you consider "liberal" theology is normative at most of the academically rigorous institutions in the US. Fundamentalists make up only a very small part of the nation's Christians.

    Joshua
     
  19. Siegfried

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    I assumed that you were speaking across the board, and I agree that fundamentalists' numbers are small among those who "profess Christianity." I avoid the phrase "the nation's Christians" because who really knows the makeup of the nation's Christians but God? I'm sure God knows of a lot of "professing Christians," including fundamentalists, whose faith is not genuine.

    I also disagree with your use of the term "rigorous institutions." Just because an institution has a great academic reputation doesn't mean it's rigorous, and vice versa. I've read enough articles on grade inflation in the Ivy League to be a bit skeptical.
     
  20. Wester

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    &gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;How ironic that the degree of prestige as described above is directly proportional to the strength of liberal theology's death-grip on those institutions.&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;

    It is interesting that the posters to this forum cover quite a range of opinion about what constitutes quality in education. I suspect that some of the most extreme fundamentalists who post here have little regard for educational quality, at least they seem to imply that in their posts. Many have stated that the amount of education does not matter and they take every opportunity to make sarcastic comments about those with higher education. That correlation is understandable in a way. People seek out their own kind in most types of interactions, including church membership. I think that Pastors without a good education are more likely to take extreme and fundamentalist positions on various things. Those church members with good education will tend to seek out churches and pastors like themselves. I believe that education is a valuable experience and I also think that a diploma mill type of degree is not education.

    But there is a distinct trend at work in the population and that trend is that more and more people are getting what I would consider a good education. That trend tends to work against fanaticism and fundamentalism as the general level of education rises.
     

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