RA - black sheep

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by Disciple, Jan 14, 2004.

  1. Disciple

    Disciple New Member

    Are there any "black sheep" among regional accredited institutions? i heard that ORU (Tulsa, OK) for example is not esteemed so highly.
  2. The answers to this will be highly subjective...

    It all depends on who you talk to and what experiences those folks have had with various institutions. In other words, highly subjective. I'm not sure if there is a formal study of this that has the rigor of research behind it, and even if there were the liability issue of making that information public would probably keep it out of wide distribution.

    In my own experience, I've heard some awful things about FAMU (Florida A&M) - budget overruns, corruption, untouchable status as a "traditional black university", poor quality of education in some (but not all) of the colleges within the university.

    Also, the lesser state schools within the University of Wisconsin System are questionable at times - for example, no one would take a business degree from the University of Wisconsin at Superior as being anywhere close to the equal of a similar degree from Whitewater, Madison, or Milwaukee.

    Some of the DL programs out there will also vary considerably in quality. Those which are primarily "text under glass" are very similar to the old correspondence programs - the only thing the computer does is provide email and communications ease. On the other hand, higher quality DL programs usually include some degree of collaboration and interaction with a cohort group and with the instructor - not necessarily "live chat", but at least some sort of discussion board as part of the assignments. In the case of courses produced by the University of Wisconsin Learning Innovations (back when that was a going concern - it is pretty much been decimated by the "new leadership" there), the online courses produced were HIGHLY interactive, and included learning objects, multi-media exercises, and a high degree of collaboration coupled with excellent student services that removed many of the barriers of time and space for students, simulating as closely as possible the concept of a one-stop shop for students and the experiences of being actually on a brick & mortar campus - all from a distance.

    Some of the schools in Wisconsin that still use their services, and I presume have a higher quality to their DL offering as a result, include UW Platteville, UW Madison, UW Colleges, and UW Oshkosh.

    Hope this helps...
  3. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    Well, I've heard good things about FAMU, so it will not be right to call them "black sheep". Middle of the pack regional school, some excellent programs, some mediocre or worse. Website and administrative offices I've visited do leave some feeling of disorganization.

    A "project leader" for our group is working on his Master's from FAMU (while working full-time for FSU LSI), and I know one instructor there who is working on her doctorate from FSU. Overall, their local reputation is far from "terrible", despite their apparent mess in finances.
  4. The CAT

    The CAT New Member

    I have read something about Northcentral University (NCU) being not so good despite it's accreditation. The complaints were based on the feeling that their courses were a little too easy to be true, though I'm not the pro on this topic. Search it in the forum as it has brought alot of debate and hours of reading enjoyment!!!
  5. RKanarek

    RKanarek Member

    Dear Mr. Reginstein:


    I know it wasn't the thrust of your post, but I'd like to take exception to your disparagement of "old correspondence courses". As far as I'm concerned, a course that eschews faddish multimedia/Internet/computer nonsense and just provides me with well written texts has noting to apologize for!

    Richard Kanarek
  6. No offense taken....

    Different strokes for different folks. I'm rather fond of the "old stuff" myself, given my learning style. I was only pointing out that DL programs vary greatly in style and substance, with the general consensus among academics these days being that the high-touch, collaborative, interactive, multi-media (combined with some element of the B&M experience, either residency or superb student services) lead to a higher quality learning experience overall.

    Not sure I agree with that either - actually I'm in a "correspondence type" program myself and am rather enjoying the independence and freedom from all the technology.

    - Carl
  7. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    Rankings of colleges and universities is always a subjective endeavor. One source of college rankings that is mentioned periodically on Degreeinfo is US News & World Reports "America's Best Colleges", which ranks colleges and universities based on a combination of institutional statistics and "Reputation" or "Peer Assessment", a score based on subjective opinions of educational administrators. Harvard, Yale & Princeton play musical chairs for the top three spots in the national doctoral degree granting category (Princeton won this year).

    When you hear people referring to "Tier 3" or "Fourth tier" schools, they are usually referring to the USN&WP rankings. Universities perceived as "non-traditional", such as those often discussed on Degreeinfo (Union I & U, Alliant U., National U., Nova Southeastern U., etc.) tend to rank low in the USN&WP rankings. A few institutions, such as Thomas Edison State College and Excelsior College are listed by not included in the rankings. Other institutions (Charter Oak State College, U. of Phoenix, Capella U., Jones International U., Walden U., Western Governors U.) have been left out completely.

    A visit to the reference section of you local Barnes & Noble, Borders, etc. will give you access to many college guides and rankings. The US News publication is a useful, but far less than perfect source. Bears' Guide is very useful for identifying DL institutions and Degreeinfo is very useful for getting perspectives from people who have real-life experience in many of these programs.

    Tony Pina
    Faculty, Cal State U. SAn Bernardino
  8. Redlyne Racer

    Redlyne Racer member

    This article at quackwatch.org suggests that some people consider a degree from Union Institute to be "dubious."
  9. drwetsch

    drwetsch New Member

    Interesting article.

    I read the "Dubious Credential" section and think there is a bias towards DL in this article. The article made a point in stating that Union and Thomas Edison were accredited and yet are considering them dubious. I do not see a problem with the Edison degree but the curriculum criticism used may be valid as the degree recipient may not have constructed his degree properly. Maybe our Union alumni, Rich and Steve, may want to weigh in on this (or anyone who may be up on the field of human nutrition and public health)?

  10. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    The article is one guy's opinion, and his effort is to discredit the graduate and his particular program, not Union. He got his basic facts straight; it's his opinion about Union's short-residency program that is slanted.

    I'm no judge of his subject, but he had two adjuncts, plus a consultant. (The article says three adjuncts, which is possible. But, more likely, one was a consultant who likely had the same quality of education and experience as the adjuncts.)

    It's easy to find a few voices in the crowd that don't like Union. It's no trick with Google. But look at all of the success stories available out there.

    A popular misconception is that learners can select anyone they want for their committees. The core and second core members are interviewed and have to agree to serve. The adjuncts are the same. Then the learner must write up justifications for each member (including peers) and have them approved by the dean. Normally, this is a smooth process. But I've heard from quite a few learners that had their adjuncts disapproved, as well as some that have been turned down by core faculty. The core faculty members don't have to have subject matter expertise, but it helps.

    (My adjuncts were John Bear and Dick Crews. John is the acknowledged expert in this field and Dick headed up Columbia Pacific University when it was still quite robust in 1986. When I returned to Union to finish my program, Dick had retired and I replaced him with the provost of a traditional university with a significant DL component.)
  11. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    The article also get the name of Edison wrong. Thomas A. Edison College was a degree mill that was active some years back.

    Tony Piña

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