FREESTANDING THEOLOGICAL DISTANCE EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS AND

Discussions on the value or merit of unaccredited programs and institutions.

FREESTANDING THEOLOGICAL DISTANCE EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS AND

Postby BDavis » Thu Sep 19, 2013 7:08 pm

Thought some of you might find this interesting.

http://www.mdivs.edu/accreditation_white_paper.html
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Re: FREESTANDING THEOLOGICAL DISTANCE EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS

Postby nosborne48 » Thu Sep 19, 2013 7:33 pm

You're right, BD, the column was interesting. But what the writer doesn't say is how, in the absence of accreditation, the potential student can tell that a school is "credible". In law, mostly in California, the credibility of a J.D. degree from an unaccredited or accredited but non ABA approved school is validated by the graduate acquiring a law license. I suppose that attending an unaccredited theological school whose degrees are accepted by one or more denominations would serve to validate the academic achievement in a similar fashion. But these validations are narrow compared with the overarching legitimacy that comes with recognized accreditation. As always, the student needs to be quite sure that the degree he is considering will meet his foreseeable needs.
Una cosa mala nunca muere.
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Re: FREESTANDING THEOLOGICAL DISTANCE EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS

Postby Tark » Fri Sep 20, 2013 9:03 pm

But what the writer doesn't say is how, in the absence of accreditation, the potential student can tell that a school is "credible".

And this is a key issue, because the writer freely acknowledges that many unaccredited schools are bad. The article explicitly states that there are "shady rascals who duck under the cover of religious freedom to give the greedy and the lazy what they want – a degree on the cheap", and that there are "cheap so-called colleges, universities, divinity schools, and seminaries, which are academic shams."

But in that case, how do you tell a "good" unaccredited school from a "bad" unaccredited school ?

The writer does have an answer for that question: he promotes voluntary certification by the Council of Private Colleges of America (CPCA), a non-USDE recognized agency that provides "high quality peer review for postsecondary Christian institutions". According to the writer, "The CPCA peer review process is as academically rigorous as accreditation, but without the restrictive limitations associated with meeting the USDE’s nonacademic bureaucratically imposed administrative and fiscal burdens"

Maybe this is true, and the CPCA only certifies "good" unaccredited schools. But even so, anyone else could establish an alternative voluntary certification agency with lower standards, and start certifying "bad" unaccredited schools. Diploma mills routinely create fake agencies to "accredit" their fake schools.

So in that case, how do you tell a "good" school certification agency from a "bad" school certification agency ?

In mainstream academia, you look for USDE or CHEA recognition. But that doesn't apply here, since even the "good" CPCA agency lacks such recognition. So there doesn't seem to be any obvious answer for that question.
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Re: FREESTANDING THEOLOGICAL DISTANCE EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS

Postby levicoff » Sat Sep 21, 2013 4:37 am

Barry (Davis) is back! Nice to see you. :mrgreen:

Now, despite Barry's own credentials (which, as I recall, are credible, although he tends to be an evangelistic right winger), readers should be aware that the writer of the so-called white paper, Dennis Frey, has a long history as an exec with Trinity Seminary of Newburgh, IN. (IMO, a degree mill.)

. . . and that the Master's School of Divinity (also, IMO, a degree mill) has a long history of affiliation with several Trinity execs. Including Dennis Frey.

I wouldn't place too much credibility in his writings.

By the way, Newburgh (home of Trinity) is essentially a suburb of Evansville (home of Master's).
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