Berne University International Graduate School

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by Guest, Jun 27, 2002.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I e-mailed you privately Howard. You misunderstand my intent. I have the utmost respect for Capella. The last paragraph you quote covers intent.

  2. Education International, Inc..
  3. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Excuse me :eek:

    Gert has the correct name of the evaluator. It is the only one I know for sure that has given equivalency.

  4. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Well, Dr. Nixon, I posted your challenge on and for what is worth it has gone unanswered. Someone posted more repetitive known facts about Berne recognition in a new thread but no answer to your challenge.

  5. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I also posted on a request for whoever posted that there were several agencies who had done foreign credential evaluations on Berne to post the names of these other agencies. The one name posted did indeed evaluate Berne's PhD as equivalent and is a NACES member and therefore will be of utility for some (eg the NY state agency posted). However, I looked at an agency in my state and DID NOT see Education International in MA as one of those approved. Therefore unless other verified examples are provided it would not have acceptance by this agency who requires a foreign credential evaluation. This would serve to re enforce some of the limitations of Berne.

  6. mamorse

    mamorse New Member

    The sad thing is that many graduates of Berne University in Switzerland now feel compelled to list their degrees as "Berne University (Switzerland)". [Note that Bern(e) is spelled "Bern" in German, but normally "Berne" in English and French.] I will continue to view degrees from Berne University (St. Kitts) with the same skepticism that I would view degrees from Harvard University (Afghanistan), Oxford University (Antartica), York University (North Korea), or Monash University (Hoboken, New Jersey). The burden of proof for legitimacy should be upon the institution in St. Kitts!
  7. drwetsch

    drwetsch New Member

    I have been very curious about the Berne evaluation by Education International. I contacted them asking for a reply that I would share with others. I received a very nice response. You may be interested, as follows:

    Yes, we have evaluated Berne University's Ph.D. as the equivalent of a Ph.D. degree from an accredited institution in the U.S. This was based on several considerations. First, as a general rule, in countries with a centralized educational system and a Ministry of Education, and no separate system of accreditation as in the U.S., it is customary in the credential evaluation field to take governmental recognition of an institution by the Ministry of Education as comparable (not equivalent) to accreditation in the U.S. In the case of Berne University, I spoke with the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Osmond Petty. From what he said, although he did not go into lengthy detail, their accreditation process, as they call it, is rigorous and not just a rubber stamp procedure.

    In one of the two cases I have evaluated of Berne Ph.D. graduates, an external assessment of the thesis (this is standard practice for them) was done by a professor from the University of Essex in the UK who commented that the thesis would meet the standard of UK universities. In the other case, I spoke with the U.S. professor who served as the external examiner. She said that the thesis compared favorable with U.S. Ph.D. theses.

    In view of the above, I thought it not unreasonable to consider the Berne these cases the equivalent of Ph.D.'s from an accredited institution in the U.S. That is, of course, what I call an "advisory interpretation" that is not binding on anyone. For a summary of my qualifications in this field, please see our website,

    Joel Slocum
    Education International


    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2002
  8. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    Very interesting John, thanks for posting that.

    The problem is that it's not uncommon for people to do good work for bad schools. I recall hearing of people writing 400+ page dissertations for the totally fake Columbia State University.

    The two Berne graduates who had their dissertations reviewed by EI may have done great work. The problem is, EI has only given their stamp of approval to those two graduates. It's not those two that I'm worried about, it's the umpteen hundreds or thousands of others that have graduated with no oversight whatsoever that concerns me.

    Does anyone else see the danger here? Write a passable dissertation, submit it to a phony school, get the degree, and then have credential services evaluate the degree as RA-equivalent based solely on the dissertation. That's a dangerous and slippery slope.

  9. simon

    simon New Member

  10. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    Mr. Slocum made two substantive points. My comments on them:

    In other words, he accepts all state-approvals at face value, so long as the approval is that of a nation-state. That kind of uncritical attitude is what creates the possibility of off-shore accreditation-havens.

    How much do you want to bet that this individual was 'moonlighting', supplementing his Essex income with some easy income from Berne? So when he was asked about the quality of a Berne dissertation that he supervised, what's he gonna say?

    I'm curious if Mr. Slocum will extend the same courtesy to California-approved schools. Many of them have faculty members that also serve on the faculties of RA schools. If those faculty supervise a CA-approved dissertation, does it suddenly become RA?
  11. Guest

    Guest Guest

  12. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    When employers or state licensing bodies specify regional accreditation or its equivalent, why do you suppose that they are doing that?

    Why is accreditation considered important? What is it that accreditation is telling us?
  13. simon

    simon New Member

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2002
  14. Myoptimism

    Myoptimism New Member

    I think we all see that danger and it worries us. What I believe most people are trying to say is, regardless of the danger, if it can be evaluated as RA-equivalent it offers utility, possibly more than Nat'l accredited degrees. Should it work this way, maybe not. The point is that it might be this way. A loophole? You betcha. I find it quite interesting.

  15. Ike

    Ike New Member

    Conclusion: Berne University is fully accredited

    Everybody here seems to agree that Berne University is approved/accredited by the ministry of education of the tiny island of Commonwealth of St. Kitts-- an independent nation in the Caribbean. The argument being advanced by some posters is that the island nation is a very small island, that the degree program might not be very rigorous, and that the degree must be accredited or validated by the University of West Indies for Berne's degree to be considered an equivalent of RA degrees. Some posters have also compared Berne's accreditation with that of Greenwich (Norfolk Island) and the purported accreditation of CCWU by Republic of Malawi.
    First off, I agree that St. Kitts is a small nation and that Berne's degree program might not be very rigorous but Berne is definitely not in the same league with Greenwich and CCWU. Here are my reasons:

    1. Berne University is accredited by an independent nation of St. Kitts. Greenwich was approved by a dependent (not an independent) territory of Norfolk Island.
    2. Berne University is accredited by the ministry of education of its host country. CCWU is not accredited by the ministry of education of the Republic of Malawi. It was approved to operate in Malawi? and/or U.S? by Human Resources ministry.
    3. Berne has been evaluated by a U.S credential evaluator as equivalent of RA. Both Greenwich and CCWU degrees are yet to be evaluated.
    4. Berne University is listed in the international handbook of universities. Both Greenwich and CCWU are not listed.
    5.The students of Berne qualify for federal govt. students loan program.
    6. As an independentt nation, St. Kitts has every right to accredit all institutions within her territory.
    7. According to information posted here in the past, the University of West Indies does not impose validation/accreditation on any school in the Caribbean Islands.
    8. In reality, a degree from Berne University may be less than a degree from a RA school in terms of utility but Berne University is fully accredited. Both Greenwich and CCWU are not properly accredited.
    9. A Ph.D. from Berne University may not help you secure a tenure in most US universities, so do Ph.Ds from most DL schools.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2002
  16. simon

    simon New Member

    Re: Conclusion: Berne University is fully accredited

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2002
  17. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Re: Conclusion: Berne University is fully accredited

    To call Berne "accredited" is to confuse the issue. Berne is certainly not "accredited" by any stretch of the definition. There is no evidence at all that St. Kitts performed any form of accreditation on Berne. They've licensed Berne to operate there, but that isn't anything; St. Kitts has no higher educational system.

    Whether or not a Berne Ph.D. would perform as well as an accredited one from a U.S. school is a matter of conjecture. There are many reasons to think not, however:

    1. Berne is not accredited by any recognized agency.
    2. Berne is not licensed in its home state of New Hampshire.
    3. New Hampshire's authorities have expressed their interest in shuttin down Berne.
    4. Berne does not have a real presence in St. Kitts; it is in New Hampshire.

    Now, some people may be successful in using their Berne degrees. Good for them. But to equate Berne degrees with really accredited degrees is absurd, and only serves to diminish what little appreciation there might be for the Berne process.

    Union Institute reports that about 10% of its graduates are full-time faculty members at colleges and universities. I suspect other accredited DL schools offering the doctorate can make the same claim. Berne cannot.
  18. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    Re: Conclusion: Berne University is fully accredited

    Hi, Ike. As you can no doubt predict, I am in total disagreement with your position. Here's my response to your points:

    True, but how does the legal soverignty of St. Kitts ensure the academic credibility of Berne's accreditation claims?

    Of course, until recently St. Kitts only had one community college on its territory. This was (and still is) a branch campus of the University of the West Indies and the UWI was responsible for its academic oversight.

    Suddenly St. Kitts produces an accreditation office from out of nowhere, despite having no universities to accredit and no experience with higher education. And the off-shore schools started showing up to be accredited.

    Actually Greenwich was evaluated by the AQF and failed.

    But in Berne's case the evaluator admits that he simply accepted St. Kitts' local accreditation. He said that it is accepted practice among evaluators to take foreign nations' education ministries word at face value as indicators of RA equivalence.

    My argument is that there is no more reason to assume that all foreign approvals are RA-equivalent than there is to assume that all American state-approvals are RA-equivalent.

    The IHU simply lists all universities approved by a nation-state.

    The United States government is not in the business of passing judgement on foreign nations' universities or accreditation systems. It simply defers to foreign nations' approvals.

    Of course. But nobody else is obligated to take it seriously.

    Apart from the oversight it exercises over its own branch campuses, I'll agree with you on that one. I don't where that UWI thing started.

    I suspect that it is a garbled version of the procedure set out in the Lisbon Convention regarding evaluation of questioned credentials from universities in nations where there is no credible accreditation system. In those kinds of cases, the recommendation is to inquire of other universities in the region whether they would accept credits from or graduates of the questioned school. Since the UWI is in St. Kitts' region, it probably would be one of those asked. I suppose that the University of Puerto Rico might be another.

    Isn't accreditation an academic quality assurance process? Isn't it intended to make the standards and performance of the accredited university more credible to those who aren't personally familiar with the school?

    Personally, I have much more faith in the academic quality and institutional integrity of most California-approved universities.

    That same argument would work with Earlscroft.
  19. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I agree Bill. But many licensing bodies make provisions for foreign degrees. Now, the provision can be more or less stringent depending on the state. Some simply require a Foreign Credential Evaluation and ......walla bing meet. So, Berne grads in those states probably will fair well at getting the license. Now, as Rich pointed out on the other forum and I agree with him, getting the license is one issue & actuallly getting employment is another. When you waltz in to the interview and are competing with other grads with RA credentials and yours is from a small nation in the West may not fair so well. Some states require more than a Foreign Credential Evaluation. One state I looked at required the degree to be submitted to its main state university for evaluation. I would not bet on Berne being a shoe in for that scenario for that regulatory license.

    Goes back to Dr. Bear's much repeated statement that you better make sure the degree will meet your now and future needs. In other words I would not jump on a Berne degree without being darn certain that whatever regulatory body you intend to use the degree with accepts the foreign credential evaluation for equivalency AND that it is acceptable from an agency you already know will give it equivalency. I say this because two of the agencies I had contacted some time ago said NO equivalency and based on their reasoning I have no reason to believe they have changed their minds.

  20. drwetsch

    drwetsch New Member

    Some good discussion and in my opinion the next step is to really ascertain what the Berne accreditation process is. I would like to know what St. Kitts procedures and processes are for accreditation that makes it a "rigorous" process. When you look at the RAs you will find that they have the process written and for those that have gone through or participated in an RA evaluation you will know that the school must do a lot of work in terms of a self-study in order to provide information to the evaluators.

    On an RA note -- I would like to report that Excelsior College was just reaffirmed by Middle States. After an extensive review the report was laudatory.


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