Latest Opinion on Columbia Evangelical Seminary

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Latest Opinion on Columbia Evangelical Seminary

Postby Ross5753 » Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:20 pm

I've read through all of the old threads on Columbia Evangelical Seminary. However, I didn't come across anything of substance more recent than 2008 or 2009. I believe Bill Grover now serves as a mentor for the school. So what is the general feeling about CES these days? My personal opinion is that CES looks solid in terms of course offerings and required work/rigor. With a school of this nature, it really comes down to the quality and standards of the mentors.
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Re: Latest Opinion on Columbia Evangelical Seminary

Postby Jimmy » Fri Dec 13, 2013 1:58 am

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Re: Latest Opinion on Columbia Evangelical Seminary

Postby John Bear » Sat Dec 14, 2013 11:46 pm

Ross: "My personal opinion is that CES looks solid in terms of course offerings and required work/rigor. With a school of this nature, it really comes down to the quality and standards of the mentors."

John: I agree. As I've been writing for decades, with any school, it comes down to the work required to earn the degree, and the quality and standards of the people who make that decision and supervise the work.
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Re: Latest Opinion on Columbia Evangelical Seminary

Postby PatsFan » Fri Dec 20, 2013 8:05 pm

Ross5753 wrote:My personal opinion is that CES looks solid in terms of course offerings and required work/rigor. With a school of this nature, it really comes down to the quality and standards of the mentors.


While I agree with everything you said, it seems to me that to be an alumnus of CES requires that you be someone with a thick skin who will not mind the questions you will be asked from people who have never heard of the school or who think all unaccredited schools are created equal.
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Re: Latest Opinion on Columbia Evangelical Seminary

Postby levicoff » Fri Dec 20, 2013 8:26 pm

For what it’s worth, my opinion of CES is unchanged – it’s a mill. It may be a sincere mill, but it’s still a mill.

CES has quite a list of faculty or mentors (whatever they’re called these days), but a key question that is not addressed on their website is how many students they have. When last I heard, they had under 20 students with a similar faculty list – the reverse of most schools in which the students are greatly outnumbered by the faculty.

I note that CES continues to be a personality-driven school, and the one and only key person is Rick Walston. As I’ve said in the past, I don’t question his sincerity (I’m not one to judge that), but I do question his credibility.

Is CES a credible school? IMO, nope. Never was, and still isn’t. Anything can look good on paper, or on a web site, but this one doesn't cut it under closer scrutiny.
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Re: Latest Opinion on Columbia Evangelical Seminary

Postby scottae316 » Sun Dec 22, 2013 2:08 am

CES is a credible institution. I have no ties with them, but I know their reputation and have read endorsements from those I respect. They are a non-traditional school, like those in Europe and SA. It is directed mentored self-study.
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Re: Latest Opinion on Columbia Evangelical Seminary

Postby Rich Douglas » Sun Dec 22, 2013 1:07 pm

I like to look at a school's faculty to help judge its sincerity and capability to function comparably to an accredited school. In other words, if the unaccredited school has as its faculty holders of accredited or foreign equivalent) doctoral degrees, they're more likely to be operating as a legitimate school. No guarantees, of course. The accreditation status of their faculty members' doctorates (according to the CES website):

37 listed with doctoral degrees
32 from accredited schools
5 from CES itself

This isn't a comment on the school's learning processes, outputs, or outcomes. But when it comes to operating in a legitimate fashion, having this kind of faculty points towards it. It takes a doctor to make a doctor, and their doctors come from legitimate schools. They have 5 of their own on faculty, but this can be a good thing.

There's a lot more to evaluating the legitimacy of a school, but it is hard to believe all of these people would be partners in a sham. It would be nice to see facts that point in another direction.
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Re: Latest Opinion on Columbia Evangelical Seminary

Postby Rich Douglas » Mon Dec 23, 2013 1:42 am

g-gollm wrote:Rich, I hope you and yours will experience a lingering and agonizingly painful death this New Year. Then the world truly will be a better place.

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Department of Physics
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Thank you! I wonder what the real George thinks?
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Re: Latest Opinion on Columbia Evangelical Seminary

Postby ConstructiveThoughts » Fri Dec 27, 2013 9:17 am

I’ll expand on Steve Levicoff’s assessment of Ric Walston’s seminary, which he put pretty graciously given their past disagreements. I think Ric Walston is very well-intentioned indeed, but CES doesn’t measure up.

Rich Douglas brings up an important topic, but in this case, it’s best not to place too much weight on the CES faculty list. They aren’t regular instructors, but mentors the students can select based on their specialty. Students can also bring their own mentor with them, subject to Walston’s approval. Bill Grover, mentioned above, reported that he left after a year or so in which he was never selected by a student as a mentor.

The board of the seminary are local people involved in various church and para-church ministries. The only one besides Walston with a doctorate got it at CES. In other words, they may be excellent men, but they likely had no experience in running an educational institution which offers six different doctoral degrees.

Walston’s own doctoral experience might not have prepared him to supervise doctoral research: see the blunt but fair criticisms on just the first page of the “Walston’s Potch Dissertation” thread at DegreeInfo. I’ll go out on a limb with my opinion that Walston was not at fault in this, as his supervisor allowed him to submit an inadequate dissertation, but as a student he couldn’t know that.

As far as how well-intentioned lack of experience can play out in practice, take a look at the “CES News” page, which notes the recent passing of one of their first Doctor of Religion graduates and mentions his graduation date … which is only one year after the start date of the seminary.

I’ll end on a good note: people can learn well at CES, although probably not at the doctoral level. Bill Grover once posted here about some CES grads who got into higher programs at accredited institutions, so good for them! Perhaps they should consider scaling back their terminal degrees…
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Re: Latest Opinion on Columbia Evangelical Seminary

Postby Ross5753 » Fri Dec 27, 2013 1:07 pm

So it appears as though not much has changed regarding public opinion.
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Re: Latest Opinion on Columbia Evangelical Seminary

Postby Ross5753 » Fri Dec 27, 2013 1:09 pm

Rich Douglas wrote: It takes a doctor to make a doctor...


So, on a lighter note, who made the first doctor??? :?
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Re: Latest Opinion on Columbia Evangelical Seminary

Postby nosborne48 » Fri Dec 27, 2013 1:48 pm

You make a humorous comment but something I began to notice some years ago is that law schools that offer the J.S.D. sometimes seem to have no dissertation doctorate holders among their faculties. I don't know what they do; drag someone in from elsewhere in the University perhaps? Contract with someone from another school?

I read a J.S.D. dissertation-based journal article last year and I was a bit shocked at the poor quality of the research and analysis. And this was in an allegedly a peer-reviewed publication!

"Academic" research by J.D. professors does not enjoy a very good reputation in the first place. Seeing something this dismal as the basis for granting a Ph.D.-like degree was disturbing.

I think that, outside of the "professional" LL.M. programs in tax, U.S. law, and a few other areas, graduate law degrees are designed to appeal to foreign law professors who want an American degree. They are never fully funded and rarely funded at all. But that's not an excuse for poor quality work, is it?
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Re: Latest Opinion on Columbia Evangelical Seminary

Postby Rich Douglas » Fri Dec 27, 2013 4:17 pm

Ross5753 wrote:
Rich Douglas wrote: It takes a doctor to make a doctor...


So, on a lighter note, who made the first doctor??? :?


In the U.S., it occurred at Harvard. The faculty awarded an honorary doctorate to one member who, in turn, awarded earned doctorates on the other two. And off we went.
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Re: Latest Opinion on Columbia Evangelical Seminary66

Postby John Bear » Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:43 am

This was in the 1600s. Harvard's president, Increase Mather, was quite possibly deserving of an earned doctorate, but he was a Dissenter, and thus unacceptable to the overseers of Harvard.
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Re: Latest Opinion on Columbia Evangelical Seminary

Postby Hungry Ghost » Sun Dec 29, 2013 4:07 pm

Ross5753 wrote:
Rich Douglas wrote: It takes a doctor to make a doctor...


So, on a lighter note, who made the first doctor??? :?


In ancient and early medieval times, the words 'doctor' and 'master' were basically synonymous, both simply meaning 'teacher'. Most teachers were self-employed, and survived by attracting groups of fee-paying students.

When organized universities started to appear in the high middle ages, 'doctor' and 'master' were still job-descriptions. But it wasn't long before the new universities put in place teaching standards and began to specify qualifications that teachers needed to possess in order to teach.

At first, this typically meant graduation from that university's own course of studies and the graduate's recognition by that university's faculty as a peer. But then as now, teachers tended to move around and many who studied at one university sought to teach at different schools.

So the words 'doctor' and 'master' began to change their meaning. The words started to refer to an educational qualification that qualified its holder to teach at pretty much any medieval university. Universities recognized each other and in effect a graduate of the advanced program at one university was recognized as having the basic formal qualification to teach his subject at the other universities.

So the short answer to the question of who created the first doctor is that teachers have existed throughout history. It's just that the meaning of the word 'doctor' gradually evolved from a general job-description into a formal university program and its resulting diploma that qualified individuals to hold that particular job.
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