TRACS: Is It Real Accreditation?

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Martin, Jan 23, 2005.

  1. Martin

    Martin
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    I want someone who knows more than I do on accreditation to comment on the following statement made on cultlink.com. I emailed them taking strong exception to this statement.

    "Geisler's institution is not regionally accredited (it maintains TRACS accreditation instead), meaning that a degree from SES would not hold water at many other institutions of higher learning that are regionally accredited (meaning among other things credits from SES may not be transferred to regional accredited institutions)....a degree from a TRACS only accredited institution, would not be considered a legitimate degree at many other institutions of higher learning and those holding such a degree, even a doctorate from such institutions, would almost certainly be unable to teach at any four-year college, university or graduate school. "

    I disagree as a matter of fact, and of personal experience. I know of people who have TRACS degrees that have been easily accepted by Reginally accredited school (and visa versa). For crying out loud, Luther Rice holds TRACS only accreditation! Is this author really claiming that Luther Rice does not offer legitimate degrees?
     
  2. Broadus

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    TRACS has only lately "fully" arrived on the academic scene. I say "fully" because, while they have been USDE certified for several years, they were certified by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation only three years ago, if I remember correctly.

    Yes, TRACS accreditation is real because it is approved by both the USDE and CHEA. USDE and CHEA also are the ones to whom the regional accreditation agencies answer. Having said that, I don't believe that accredited schools are required to accept coursework done at other accredited institutions, though they typically do so if the course fits into their curriculum.

    There may remain, as evidenced by the email you quoted, a reaction that betrays a spirit of arrogance against TRACS accreditation. For instance, TRACS schools must hold to a non-evolutionary view of creation [ http://www.tracs.org/AccreditationStandards112204.pdf ]. That's not a popular view in academia today, even in some conservative quarters.

    BTW, many would not see an appeal to LRS as proving the legitimacy of TRACS. Many, even in Southern Baptist academia, still view Luther Rice with a bit of disdain. That view is not totally without merit, because in Luther Rice's earlier days, at least pre-1980's, doctorates were awarded to men whose major writing projects consisted, in some cases, of a compilation of written sermons on a certain topical series or biblical book. Such work would never be accepted now.

    Blessings,
    Bill
     
  3. PatsFan

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    I'm probably not an expert on TRACS, but I talked on the phone with them about ACCS's loss of accreditation and read through their accreditation requirements on their website. They seem very solid. My sense is that their chief flaw is that they are a relatively new organization. I agree that RA schools seem receptive to TRACS. Ashland Seminary (an RA and ATS accredited school) where I am currently working on a D.Min. accepts coursework from TRACS schools.
     
  4. Martin

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    "I don't believe that accredited schools are required to accept coursework done at other accredited institutions, though they typically do so if the course fits into their curriculum."

    ==Yes I pointed this out in my email to cultlink.com. I also pointed out that most schools that are regionally accredited will accept TRACS.


    "many would not see an appeal to LRS as proving the legitimacy of TRACS. Many, even in Southern Baptist academia, still view Luther Rice with a bit of disdain. That view is not totally without merit, because in Luther Rice's earlier days, at least pre-1980's, doctorates were awarded to men whose major writing projects consisted, in some cases, of a compilation of written sermons on a certain topical series or biblical book. Such work would never be accepted now."

    ==I was not aware of LRS's past. However I think today that school has shaped up. I am just thinking it is funny that cultlink is claiming that Charles Stanley, Jerry Vines, Stephen Olford, and others do not have legitimate degrees. Not to mention the seminary professors, at many schools (of all sorts of accreditation), that hold degrees from LRS. I found that just laughable (to be perfectly honest). However if there past is as you say, and I do believe you, then I can see where using LRS would not be a strong argument for those who are aware of its past. However if the school has turned a corner, their past should not be held against them.

    "There may remain, as evidenced by the email you quoted, a reaction that betrays a spirit of arrogance against TRACS accreditation."

    ==Yes, that is true. However I expect people to do their research before posting a article like that. I will keep a track of their reply (or lack there of) to my email. It will be interesting to see if they follow their own advice (ie...get things right and be honest).

    Thanks Bill!


    REPLY TO PatsFan.
    "My sense is that their chief flaw is that they are a relatively new organization. I agree that RA schools seem receptive to TRACS. Ashland Seminary (an RA and ATS accredited school) where I am currently working on a D.Min. accepts coursework from TRACS schools."

    ==That is great to here, and I agree. I was not aware that they were still considered "new". I recall reading a article several years ago claiming that TRACS was only federally approved due to politics and that it would soon lose its status. Well, that clearly did not happen and from what I hear it is gaining status.

    Btw, I wish you the best on your DMin. God Bless you!

    Martin.
     
  5. Dr. Bob

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    TRACS has recently gained a little more credibiity. It takes a long time for "alternative" accreditation to find acceptance.

    And from personal experience, a doctorate of mine from the TRAC school was NOT accepted when teaching at our local college. I could be called "Dr" but only paid at an MA level, since my MA was from a regionally accredited school.
     
  6. Broadus

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    Was that before TRACS received CHEA approval? It seems as though that occurred during the spring of 2002.

    Bill
     
  7. Dave G.

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    Real.

    USDoE recognition.

    CHEA recognition.

    Some solid schools to point to: Liberty University, Northwest Baptist Seminary, Temple Baptist Seminary, Southern Evangelical Seminary.
     
  8. aefting

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    How much does it cost a school to go through the accreditation process. In other words, does TRACS charge some sort of fee?

    Andy
     
  9. PatsFan

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    SES has a fine faculty and program as does Northwest Graduate School of Ministry--another TRACS accredited school. I really like what LRS has to offer, but I think SES and NWGSM are more rigorous academically. In time I think the high quality TRACS schools will be as well received as the RA/ATS seminaries. It's all about the quality of the program, in my opinion. Thanks for the kind words and blessing.
    Tom
     
  10. kenlen

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    What difference whether a school is regionally accredited? I know some good schools that aren't even accredited by any association. Does that make their degrees null and void?
     
  11. kenlen

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    Accreditiation is strickly voluntary. The degrees that one receives from any school, whether regionally accredited or nationally accredited should not matter. The thing to ask is, is it a good school? How long has it been in business. What degrees are offered. To heck with Chea or Doe recognized accrediting associations. They give in to governmental standards. There are some accrediting assoc. that exceed the regional and national standards that aren't recognized by the DOE or CHEA. yet they are good associations.
    thanks,
    KenLen
     
  12. Broadus

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    Ken,

    Your statements denigrating CHEA and DOE, IMO, could not be more wrong. What is your support for making such statements? What proof can you offer? Where have you studied? BTW, what accrediting agencies "exceed the regional and national standards that aren't recognized by the DOE or CHEA. yet they are good associations"? Please name them. You may be right, but you've said nothing to persuade me or, I suspect, anyone else. All you've done is make bold assertions.

    I see that you're new to the Board. As one not long on the Baptist Board myself---welcome. There have been quite a few good discussions on the value of accrediting agencies and bogus accrediting agencies, accredited and non-accredited institutions, and legitimate and substandard word.

    Blessings,
    Bill
     
  13. Dr. Bob

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    Andy, all agencies have fees for the program and hundreds of pages of evaluation, self-study, then visits (by reps from 3 schools similar to yours) which you pay for ALL of it!
     
  14. Martin

    Martin
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    I am currently doing research on regionally accredited schools and TRACS. When I get my replies and put everything together I will post it. It is very interesting to see what these schools are saying. So far I have contacted ten schools and I am in the process of contacting even more. Hopefully the information I am coming up with will help someone. I am SURE that it will surpise some, as it has me.
     
  15. Trotter

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    PLease post it, Martin. I have been burned by one school who was not upfront about this.

    In Christ,
    Trotter
     
  16. ForHisGlory15

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    It will be good to have sound research presented since there is so much misinformation circulating accreditation. I've seen schools that are regionally accredited (i.e. Maranatha Baptist, Clearwater Christian, etc.)take some unfortunate hits from their fundamentalist peers just because of the ignorance surrounding the issue. When an institution of higher learning, that has influence in its circles, publishes a statement that they are opposed to regional accreditation because the regional bodies are more interested in social and cultural conformity than in academic integrity, we definitely need your research!
     
  17. Martin

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    I will post my results later this week. At this time I have not recieved a reply from all the schools I wanted. As of Friday, I have recieved a response from the following schools:

    Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
    Regent University
    Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
    Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary
    Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
    Beeson Divinity School
    Wheaton College
    Philadeliphia Biblical University
    Moody Bible Institute
    New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
    MidAmerica Baptist Theological Seminary

    The following schools have not replied, as of Friday:

    Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
    Dallas Theological Seminary
    Reformed Theological Seminary
    MidWestern Baptist Theological Seminary
    Duke University Divinity School

    I will give those five a few more days, and there are a few other schools I will try to contact. In a nut shell what I am trying to get out of these schools is simple: Do they accept credits/degrees from TRACS only accredited schools?

    The answers range from no to yes, and several points in between. The over all results of this survey/study are very interesting.

    Hint: Some schools don't even seem to know that TRACS is a real (ie...government approved) accrediting agency!
     
  18. Broadus

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    Martin,

    If you haven't already, maybe it would be helpful to remind (inform) the schools that TRACS is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (as of May 2001) as a national accrediting organization (just as ATS is recognized by CHEA as a national accrediting organization): http://www.chea.org/Directories/national.asp .

    I may very well be missing something and will gladly receive informed correction, but I don't understand the rejection of TRACS-only recognized schools by RA schools. Is there more than institutional arrogance going on? If TRACS-only schools do not meet the standards of RA schools (and I have studied at both), then TRACS should not be approved by CHEA. BTW, the extension work which I did at one RA/ATS seminary is definitely inferior to the work which I did at a TRACS-only seminary. Obviously, that is only anecdotal evidence, but it provides part of the reason for my question.

    Bill
     
  19. Martin

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    "maybe it would be helpful to remind (inform) the schools that TRACS is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (as of May 2001) as a national accrediting organization (just as ATS is recognized by CHEA as a national accrediting organization)"

    ==I do plan on returning emails to certain schools later this week on that. Right now I am just collecting information, I sort of want them to think that I am asking and not exploring. Why? If they think I am exploring they are less likely to respond openly. Right now they are responding openly (ie...they are not being defensive).


    "I don't understand the rejection of TRACS-only recognized schools by RA schools"

    ==Well, as you will see when I post my final results that it is not all RA schools (just some of them). Those schools that do reject TRACS give various reasons.


    " Is there more than institutional arrogance going on?"

    ==I hate to say it but sometimes I think institutional arrogance is the problem. Other times I think it is just a unwillingness to change.


    "If TRACS-only schools do not meet the standards of RA schools (and I have studied at both), then TRACS should not be approved by CHEA."

    ==I fully agree.

    Hopefully when I have pooled all of my replies (etc) I can provide some better answers. Hopefully.
     
  20. Broadus

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    Martin,

    I appreciate what you're doing. This will be helpful information.

    Bill
     

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