Is Cambridge International University now Spanish?

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by NorthStar, Apr 12, 2023.

  1. NorthStar

    NorthStar New Member

    Long-time lurker, a first-time poster.

    Soon the minister of our church will be celebrating his 20th anniversary of ordination. Shortly after his ordination he earned a Ph.D. in Theology (St Andrews - he is of Scott's heritage) and both his letter paper and business cards say "Rev. Dr". But in over 18 years, since I've known him, I have not once heard him refer to himself as "Dr". He introduces himself as "Rev" and in our denomination, we regard that as a higher title.

    The church down the road from us recently got Cambridge International to give their (also long-serving) minister a Doctor of Divinity (hc) as a way to thank him for his loyal service. It's on the church website but he too doesn't use the title "Dr." (especially since he doesn't hold an accredited Ph.D. at all).

    We come from more classical denominations and our ministers generally don't seek out a "Dr" title as much as our evangelical/Pentecostal brothers do.

    We are looking for a way to celebrate his 20th anniversary and were looking at Cambridge International. They currently seem to be operating out of Spain and Uzbekistan. We have no ethical issues over paying for the honor because substantial donations are how most of them are "earned" any way at even the most prestigious of institutions, if not for simply being a celebrity speaker at commencement. Because he won't be doing anything with it that he doesn't do already, we don't mind going down the UA track. But I don't think many of our congregation will be happy if it were a degree mill. It's a pity that so many of our local heroes go unsung.

    I've tried to search CIU on this site and there's not much info. Is it a mill or simply UA millish? What's the reason that they've chosen Malaga for their operations? Do they perhaps have some kind of license in that part of the world and if they do is it an academic license or simply a business one?

    Any information on this school that will help us develop a pro/con list would be most helpful.
  2. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

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  3. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    There has been a tendency for less-than-wonderful schools to set up in Spain the last few years. I've known of at least one (not CIU) that claimed to be operating from Spain, where they only had a token presence. The actual operation, the diplomas etc were in Miami FL. People can get permission to set up schools in Spain and legally offer degrees - but the degrees often have no standing whatsoever under the Spanish system.

    There are reputable, degree-granting schools in Spain that have partnerships with fully authorized Spanish Universities. Those degrees count for something.

    Just Google "Cambridge International University -fake" and see what you come up with.
  4. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    Pro Con? It is hard to see any pro whatsoever. The best thing you can do in that regard is to follow the process for recommending him to a denominational seminary or other seminary for an honorary DD. Probably difficult to get approved unless you know someone.

    By the way, there is nothing wrong (or lacking in humility) for clergy to use the title "Dr." it has been quite normative in Europe and even here in certain circles. Just skip milled credentials because that can look like a lack of humility with much to be humble about.

    If you want to honor him see if your state legislator (you have two - a State Senator and State Rep) will give him a certificate honoring his long service and frame it. Still official and dignified but without baggage.

    Barring that, buy him a title from Sealand (if the sea platform is still operating). Of little significant meaning but probably more so than the CIU degree. Wouldn't waste money on either.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2023
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  5. NorthStar

    NorthStar New Member

    I've run the search and see people claim it is "suspected of being a mill". Correct me if I'm wrong but aren't there only three types of institutions:
    • accredited (R/NA) institutions;
    • unaccredited legal institutions operating under some kind of exemption (such as religious schools); and
    • degree mills
    How us it possible to hold that CIU is not a mill but simply unaccredited at the same time - Am I missing something? Is there something in between? Does Spain allow this dichotomy, perhaps?

    Why wouldn't people just call a mill a mill? Why the hesitation? What's there to be uncertain about?
  6. NorthStar

    NorthStar New Member


    The politics in that kind of application is really insurmountable. You're likely to be faced with a response like "We expect all our ministers to work exceptionally for their flock - there's nothing special about him"


    I think it's become church culture. It's very common in our denomination to have ministers who have multiple graduate degrees, who just go by "Rev." in that kind of environment calling yourself "Dr." does suggest a lack of humility.


    Sorry to sound so pessimistic but we live in a red state but our community is very bipartisan. Having politicians honor a minister is likely to fracture the church.
    Dustin likes this.
  7. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    People often use the term "mill" to refer to 2 types of school:

    (1) School that sells degrees, plain and simple. No work required.
    (2) School that is substandard. Grants (unrecognized) degrees of very low standards. Some small quantity of work, No real academic rigor. Such situations are often debatable - and debated. How little is "too little." Standards? How low is "too low" etc.

    And yes - several countries grant permits to schools - so they may legally confer degrees, that do not have mainstream (or usually any) standing in the country where the school is licensed. Panama licenses private universities that do not have mainstream recognition, Swiss Cantons offer permits to do the same (the schools may not call themselves Universities) and yes - it appears Spain can offer schools a legal chance to award degrees without Ministry recognition,

    You can make up your own mind as to how much honor an honorary degree from this school confers on your Pastor. If you think it's OK - and he thinks so, too, who am I to judge?
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2023
  8. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Whatever this honorary degree is - or isn't - I can't see how it would be illegal. If I'm wrong, somebody tell me.
  9. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    Lol! "Reverend" means "worthy of profound honor and respect". I am not sure how a bunch of guys running around calling one another such a thing is preferable to acknowledging an earned academic degree like "Dr". Also, "Reverend" is being used as a title (rather than an adjective as it grammatically was). It is like calling one another "Your Eminence".

    You have countered each suggestion in such a way as to imply a question raising credential is the only answer to honour him (unless you are trying to stick a time bomb in his CV). Rest assured it isn't. Give him a plaque and a gift certificate to Olive Garden.
  10. NorthStar

    NorthStar New Member

    I think we also need to remember that we are seeking an award, there is no work required whether the DD(hc) comes from Harvard or somewhere else irrespective It's not something he will see as "education" but rather as "Honors and Awards" (as LinkedIn labels it).

    I suppose the main question is at which point and who determines whether type 2 collapses into type 1.

    More importantly for us which one of the two is CIU?
  11. NorthStar

    NorthStar New Member

    I'm sorry I'm not pushing for any particular outcome here, but I think these are things our neighbours had to think about as well. I just want to learn. He's always getting gift certificates at Christmas or on his birthday and I've seen him often pass it on to others who need it more.
  12. NorthStar

    NorthStar New Member

    So this wouldn't be a time bomb for his resume provided he lists it as an award, rather than earned education? The press loves to embarrass clergy.
  13. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    With all due respect, given that you counter every objection made to it, it does sound like you are pushing for this outcome.

    Anyway, I'll add my voice to the choir: an "award" like this one, which is simply bought as if it were a can of tomatoes on the shelf of a supermarket, is not the way to honor someone you respect, regardless of whether or not the institution has any validity. A proclamation of gratitude signed by all the members of your congregation would mean a lot more. Doubly so if he really is the sort who passes gift cards on to those less fortunate than he.
  14. NorthStar

    NorthStar New Member

    Are we reading the same posts here? There have been only two suggestions put forward: The first is to recommend him to an accredited institution for an honorary doctoral degree, with the acknowledgment that it is "Probably difficult to get approved unless you know someone."

    The second is to have two politicians offer him a signed certificate, something that isn't ideal either because inviting politicians to endorse a minister is going to prove divisive in most churches.

    Am I biased toward one option? Probably, because I have seen a neighboring church do it and there is a natural tendency to favor something one has already physically seen happen over hypothetical suggestions, no matter how sincere the offered alternatives are.

    The majority of honorary doctorates are, in fact, given as if the university is a supermarket and is awarding loyalty points to honor a large purchaser of its cans of tomatoes. Get real man!

  15. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    I guess you might consider shelling out for a few cases of those tomatoes, then. They're expensive, these days.

    Or you can buy the one you "really really want" want from the Uni you've now read something about - the one with offices in Tashkent, Malaysia and Malaga. You're obviously not listening, so I don't really care. Fact is, I wouldn't really care, even if you were listening. You do you - he's your leader, not mine.

    (Side note: Have you ever seen the buildings and monuments in Tashkent? Some are really amazing! All rebuilt - magnificently, after the whole city was flattened by a major earthquake in the 1960s. Some truly great Islamic architecture and decoration! Beautiful!)

    Alternate: I'd rather have an award you can get for about $120 from the Universal Life Church. "Doctor of the Universe." That's as grand a title as I've ever seen!
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2023
  16. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Like I said, it does sound like you're pushing for this outcome, especially when you're dismissing options like special appreciation from his congregation as "hypothetical" and telling people to "get real". Are you sure this isn't more about you than it is about him?
  17. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    It's most definitely a title. In Russian Empire, there was a formal Table of Ranks first developed by Tzar Peter I, giving level of ranks and proper formal forms of address across different services - civil service, military, court, and clergy. A priest was on level 7, and the style of address was "Vashe Prepodobije" - usually translated as "Your Reverence" or "Reverent" (not direct translation). This corresponded to "Vashe Vysokoblagorodiye", (usual translation "Your Excellence"), or the military rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Among other things, this rank conferred personal nobility status (and earlier, hereditary); persons getting a doctorate usually were given a corresponding civil rank (Court Councilor). This is actually higher than I expected.

    "Your Eminence" is usually translated as "Vashe Vysokopreosvyashhenstvo", or Archbishop (K-2, General of the Infantry - very high). Russian Orthodox Church and both branches of Ukrainian Orthodox Church still use these ranks.
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  18. Rachel83az

    Rachel83az Well-Known Member

    If it's a pure monetary transaction, there's little difference between making a purchase from this "organization" or purchasing a "degree" from the Universal Life Church. Arguably, the ULC award would be more meaningful because it's not pretending to be something it's not. CIU is clearly trying to pretend that it's "THE" Cambridge and to make people think that recipients of its "degrees" went to THE Cambridge. That's not okay. I would hope that a good pastor/priest/reverend would not be okay with lying to people in this manner (IMO, it doesn't matter whether it's listed as a degree or as an "award" - it's clearly trying to make people think it's from the 800-year-old university). I don't care what the church down the road did; that's on them. Are you and your church okay with lying via omission or otherwise?
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  19. Michael Burgos

    Michael Burgos Active Member

    As it should be.

    In my tradition (Reformed Baptist), that title is never used within the context of the local church when one is an ordained churchman.

    ~Rev. Burgos
    Rich Douglas likes this.
  20. Rachel83az

    Rachel83az Well-Known Member

    When done by a legit, accredited, university, there is usually an implication that the person being awarded a doctorate has a body of work that would be at least equivalent to a doctoral thesis from a real doctoral student. Rarely are these transactions purely fiscal. Neither the university nor the honorary doctor should be in any way ashamed to be associated with one another.

    There is also the implication (justified or not) that the university's accrediting body or bodies back the honorary degree. Even though such a degree may sometimes be derided by the public, I think that at least some of the derision is actually jealousy. Jealousy from people who want a doctorate and who realize that they'll never be able to get one legitimately - whether honorary or more traditional.

    A degree, whether honorary or otherwise, should mean something. Else, it's just a piece of paper and you might as well just award a certificate of appreciation. Nothing wrong with certificates, when presented in the right context.
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