unaccredited degrees... whats the point?

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by michaelbowe, Jun 1, 2011.

  1. michaelbowe

    michaelbowe
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    In another thread, the discussion strayed from giving advice about a particular program to talking about unaccredited degrees. Moreover, another person posted a thread questioning the point of a D.Min. Therefore, following the same regard, I would like to know what is the point of unaccredited degrees at this time? At one point, they were great for pastors who could not travel, or leave ministry. However, there are far too many options available from regionally, or nationally accredited schools. Then there is the cost, again, many are cheaper, but is the less money worth it? Are you cheating yourself, and being a good steward of your money?

    I do not want to bash unaccredited institutions, but I would like to discuss, what is the point with accredited institutions offering reasonably priced, distance education?

    Let the fun begin!
     
  2. revmwc

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    One question who accredites the Bible college?
     
  3. michaelbowe

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    Not completely sure what you are asking here. SACS will accredit Bible collleges, but if someone wanted a specific specialization the Association for Biblical Higher Education..www.abhe.org

    Liberty University offers a Bachelors degree in Religion
    Amridge University, where I graduated with my undergrad offers a Bachelors in Biblical Studies, and Bible Ministry. Both are online.
     
  4. Ruiz

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    I would also ask the opposite question, why would you need accreditation?

    Some very scholarly people have degrees from unaccredited seminaries. The main reason you would need an accreditation is to teach at some Christian schools and almost any secular school.

    All my degrees are from an accredited school. However, I considered getting my doctorate in a non-accredited school. Why? The school offers the field of study and is highly respected in Christian circles.
     
  5. michaelbowe

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    Ruiz,

    I think you answered your own question. If someone only wants to again scholarship, that is possible through unaccredited routes. However, those people who are scholars are few and far between. However, a degree is a means of recognition of study. Most people want to be recognized for the credential. Some churches may not question unaccredited degrees, I would.

    There are some exception unaccredited institutions that have wonderful scholarship, but those, as previously mentioned, are few and far between. Even if a person has a degree from one of those exceptional institutions, what can he or she do with it? He or she will not be able to teach at any seminary, college, or secular institution. He or she may have more difficulty working in a church, than if he or she went to an accredited institution.

    Accreditation is basically a standard a institution has to hold. If a school doesn't have a standard, how does a person know its up to par?
     
  6. revmwc

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    The school I received my Bachelors from is an affiliate school here, not accredited, but look what an affiliate means.

    Association for Biblical Higher Education

    Membership status in ABHE is limited to accredited and pre-accredited institutions.
    Affiliate status is available to credible institutions of biblical higher education seeking to benefit from ready access to ABHE services and networking but presently lacking either readiness or inclination to seek ABHE accreditation. Institutions may be approved by the Board of Directors as ABHE Affiliates upon documentation that they meet the following Criteria/Conditions of Eligibility:

    ■Agreement with the ABHE Tenets of Faith
    ■Evidence that the institution is operating legally within the parameters of the particular province/state relative to faith-based post secondary institutions
    ■Recognition (corporate identity) as a non-profit organization
    ■Presence of a publicly stated/board approved mission statement that has a biblical/ministry formation focus
    ■Commitment to offer education at a post secondary level
    ■Curricular offerings, degrees, and institutional nomenclature consistent with North American higher educational norms
    ■Human, educational, and financial resources commensurate with institutional mission and curricular offerings
    ■Minimum of a two-year history with an identifiable external governing board, administration, faculty, and student body
    ■A letter of reference from an administrator/faculty member of an ABHE member institution or from an ABHE professional staff person affirming the institution’s integrity, credibility, and compatibility with ABHE’s purpose and values
    Commitment to accurate disclosure of accredited status, according to the following stipulations:
    ■An affiliate institution must not portray itself, verbally or in print, as an accredited member of ABHE;
    ■An affiliate institution must not claim accreditation through an agency lacking recognition by the U.S. Department of Education and/or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation;
    ■Affiliate institutions must use the following disclosure statement: [Institution Name] is an affiliate institution of the Association for Biblical Higher Education. As such, it participates in and contributes to collegial and professional development activities of the Association. Affiliate status does not, however, constitute, imply, or presume ABHE accredited status at present or in the future.
    ■Affiliate institutions must notify the ABHE office promptly regarding any changes in directory information (i.e., website, mailing address, instructional location(s), leadership)
    ■Submission of annual affiliate dues; institutions whose annual dues are more than 60 days delinquent will be dropped from the affiliate roster.
    ■Institutions that have been dropped from affiliate status may seek reinstatement after 3 years.


    They offer life-learning credits and home courses, of which a workbook is used to answer questions on the courses from the test book. A final and papers are required.

    The external studies program carries the same requirements as other on-campus programs. You, as a distance education student, are required to meet academic standards equal to or greater than those of the on-campus student. This assures that the high standards of U's distance educational programs are maintained.
    The program is administered analogous to an on-campus program. At the completion of the degree, the student will be issued a transcript and perpetual records are maintained by the University. Students are expected to participate in the annual commencement exercises in the year of their degree completion. A team of qualified mentors, consultants, faculty and administrators regularly monitor the external program’s curriculum materials as well as your individual progress in your program of study.

    ACADEMIC REVIEWS
    Dr. Leland R. Kennedy, Chancellor
    Baptist Bible College/Graduate School
    Springfield, Missouri
    I am happy to present my personal, overall assessment of ______ University. This evaluation is based on my acquaintance with the leadership and staff
    of the university; a visit to the campus, and a review of the curriculum.
    The leadership and staff maintain a high level of integrity, competence and dedication to the stated purpose of the university.
    My review of the curriculum was positive. From a Bible school perspective; the
    core curriculum is very adequate to train and equip students for church ministry.
    I recommended and implemented the use of the curriculum for the International Baptist College of Western Europe located in Belgium.
    The distance education program provides excellent education for off-campus students. It is also a great source for advanced training of continuing education for those unable to attend traditional classes.
    The university maintains a strategy for the continual development and improvement
    of its programs. Present efforts include: Expansion of on-campus training;
    a strong Greek and Hebrew Department; on-campus Spanish classes, and the development of its foreign language curricula.
    I am happy to join many notable educators who have evaluated _____________________University with a positive assessment.

    Dr. Harold Ledford
    Director of Development and Continuing Education
    Louisiana State University, Shreveport, Louisiana

    In reviewing the Christian Education department of ___________________University,
    I find that it meets the national norms in all areas that I reviewed. Many of
    the education textbooks are the same as the ones used at Louisiana State University and other major universities. The study guides reinforce and supplement the learning experience. Each course requires several research papers and a comprehensive final test. The university also offers several seminars and workshops each year so that students can interact with faculty and compliment their selfstudy.
    The university has a staff of well-qualified advisors that can be reached
    five days a week by phone, fax or e-mail.

    Dr. John Steffens
    Vice Provost
    University of Oklahoma
    My overall assessment of ____________________University is very good. The course offerings clearly meet national norms. The study guides are well designed and are augmented with additional required research papers. The final test is administered under the direction of a proctor in order to insure academic integrity. Students have easy access to qualified instructors through phone, fax, or e-mail. It is the intent of the university to offer an academically sound education in a Christian environment, clearly they are succeeding.

    Dr. Richard Thompson
    Director of Vocation Education
    Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
    I first reviewed the ______________________ University in May of 1993, when I was Director of the Bureau of Student Services of the Louisiana Department of Education.
    I was impressed with the quality of their program and with their enthusiasm
    and dedication to excellence. I indicated at that time that I thought LBU had
    great possibilities.

    In the 10 years since, the university has improved its facilities, increased its course offering, hired additional professionals, and quadrupled its student body while maintaining that enthusiasm and dedication to excellence.

    They are however not considered accredited. Accredidation cost in many cases 10 of 1000's of dollars. Dollars many of these Universtites feel can better be used to keep cost down and maintain academics.

    Liberty University was one I looked at but many of my credits couldn't be transfered the school I had received my Associates from had closed and I couldn't get a transcript, I sent this school a copy of my Degree and was awarded the credits I needed to put me at 32 hours required for my Bachelors with life credits and credits from a couple of schools that were accredited. Liberty would have required me to take over 100 course hours and this school was able to as you see from the Academic reviews as good an education as Liberty. Just as a side note Johnathan Fallwell spoke at the commincment and received a Doctor of Letters from this school.

    Would I recomend them yes, why not give their name this is not a place to advertise specific schools IMHO. Send me a message if you are interested.
     
    #6 revmwc, Jun 1, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 1, 2011
  7. michaelbowe

    michaelbowe
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    Sounds like a good school. I am assume, notice the word "assume" affiliate membership is an institution that may not be able to pay the high fees associated with accreditation? It seems to be a great way to recognize schools that meet a standard but cannot afford the high costs. The alternative is a conjured up accrediting agency that no one recognizes.

    It seems the school you have mentioned falls in the exceptional category...at least based upon what you have written about it.
     
  8. revmwc

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    Most of that came from their catalog I should have made that clear.
     
  9. revmwc

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    They have students who do teach at institutions, they have a school of Christian education, bible, Christian Communication which also offers music degrees, christian counselling, hispanic programs and theological seminary. Degrees from certificates to Doctorates.

    I had to take basic courses with one elective to complete the degree.
     
  10. michaelbowe

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    I am assuming, this is an exceptional institution, rather than a general rule of thumb.
     
  11. revmwc

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    Very exceptional have been around since 1973 and changed name in 1993.

    I was able to work at my pace finished 9 courses in about 2 1/2 months, the basics first, English (2 Courses), History (2 courses), Science (2 courses), Social Studies (2 courses) and then the elective.
    2 hours was for reviewing the school catalog and 3 was a graduation workshop which consisted of having to attend 4 seminars in three days.
     
  12. GraceClarified

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    Accrediation?

    The college I went to, The College of Biblical Studies - Houston, is accredited by the ABHE.

    Can someone give me a rough overview of which accreditation agencies are viewed in best regard ... worst? Do some not allow distance education degrees?

    Thanks
     
  13. michaelbowe

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    It depends on what you are trying to accomplish.

    Undergraduate, ABHE, TRACS, and any of the regional accrediting agencies are the best, regional being the best of the three.

    Seminary, ATS, TRACS, and any of the regional accrediting agencies. Just as before, the regional are the best, but the gold standard for churches is ATS.

    Hope this answers your question.
     
  14. GraceClarified

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    yep thanks
     
  15. michaelbowe

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    This concerns me a little bit, depending on the level of work...

    9 courses in that short of a period of time causes me to wonder a little bit here. It seems the work is too easy, but again I do not know. I've never been to the institution you speak of. However, staying on point, have you had any real issue finding work in a church or educational institution?
     
  16. StefanM

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    Credit for reviewing a catalog seems questionable.
     
  17. michaelbowe

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    exactly!!!
     
  18. Havensdad

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    First, you are missing a bit here.

    DETC is held in way higher regard than TRACS. The majority of regionally accredited universities will take some transfer credits from DETC, and will also allow entrance into their Grad programs with an Undergrad from DETC. This is not true of TRACS. TRACS is the "bottom of the barrel" in terms of legitimate accreditation. Nevertheless, it is legitimate.

    Second, ATS is no longer the "Gold Standard." Now, if you meant "Regionally accredited TOGETHER WITH ATS" is the gold standard, then I would agree with you. However, lack of ATS accreditation will not keep you out of any program that I know, if the degree is RA. On the other hand, ATS only (and there are some) degrees, will absolutely keep you out of some Universities and jobs.

    RA is the Gold Standard. ATS is a nice addition, that is quickly going the way of the dinosaurs...
     
  19. PilgrimPastor

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    The thing is that you just have to be SO careful with unaccredited schools. There are some good ones out there and usually when they are good they offer target learning with a specific emphasis and point. I know of a couple of unaccredited programs that primarily offer biblical counseling degrees intended to be used in the church and they make that clear. There cost is low, they are honest about the function of the degrees, and they don't puff themselves up to be more than they are.

    Here is a bad example that I have first hand knowledge of. I'm hesitant to put down the school's name here but if anyone is curious about a school to avoid, just PM me... I considered them earning a Th.D. with them... I met their "Chancellor" in person and was so unimpressed by some things he said that I drove straight to Tennessee Temple, met the Academic Dean of the Seminary and chose instead to do the D.Min. with them.

    The "Chancellor" of this institution was like the worst kind of used car salesman. I had taken a couple of classes by then and asked him why I never got any grades, but then when I pressed the "professor" as to why my paper had not been graded, then a few minutes later I got an email that just said "You got an A." This happened twice. No graded paper to look at with comments, no advice for improvement, nothing. Just an A.

    When I met him in person I told him that I had considered doing a second doctorate with another certain unaccredited school and his words almost exactly were "You've done so much work with Liberty that they is really no reason for more work, I know old so and so over at that diploma mill (my words) and I'll give him a call and get you awarded a second doctorate. That's how we do it (exact words)." :tonofbricks:

    I was disgusted. I had rebuilt a website for this school and was offered opportunities to teach for them.

    I immediately removed myself from his company and I have nothing to do with them. There are so many good schools that offer online learning, I agree, why take a chance. EXCEPT in cases where you know for sure, these schools are potentially very dangerous. Y

    ou may be better off without a higher degree and your integrity than with a higher degree from a questionable source.
     
  20. Jim1999

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    If I may, over my years, degrees have taken on a whole different order. When I started out, the ministry was the goal. We got enough training to get us started. A degree was meant for those who wanted to teach.

    Then the DD became the thing. Men were offered DD's in exchange for like favours.

    A church called a pastor based on what he had done and not based on his BA, BD,,,,and now ThD.

    Now it is degree, and where it was earned....just maybe he will be a soul-winning preacher of God's word.

    I find that even discussions have changed over the last few years. It is sad in my books. The most important part of schooling is learning, and not whether a school is state approved; is it God-approved?

    Cheers,

    Jim
     

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