Should I Continue DETC or Change RA

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by manny00, Nov 2, 2005.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Now, I'm sure not going to argue for or against whether or not RA trumps NA -- but the turn of phrase "negates the undergraduate degree" caught my eye.

    Did you mean "enhances" or "removes the need for" or did you mean "negates" as in "obliviates"? :D
  2. manny00

    manny00 Member

    Thanks for all the replies. Definitely some pretty good info. I'm going to think it over real hard and make a decision soon.
  3. Mark A. Sykes

    Mark A. Sykes Member

    An aphorism the casual reader might take from this discussion could be:

    A DETC degree is to a RA degree as a liberal arts degree is to a [insert a lucrative, sought-after major] degree.

    Yes, that's a terrible generalization. There are liberal arts colleges of the highest possible caliber and technical colleges of less-than-wonderful standing. Likewise, there are DETC schools with excellent programs and RA schools seemingly bound for loss of accreditation.

    But in most cases, a career-seeker without an exceptional resume or high-placed uncle will be best served by an RA, versus a DETC, degree. That's not to say the DETC applicant couldn't do an excellent job. The bottom line in the cold, cold world is that differences make differences.

    Mark, an RA liberal arts major
  4. decimon

    decimon Well-Known Member

    If cost is not an issue, and graduate school not a desire, you can get first an NA bachelor's and then an RA bachelor's in the same field. Your AS credits should transfer to the latter and, depending on RA school, some of your NA credits may transfer as well.
  5. Kit

    Kit New Member

    Helplessly Hoping ...

    Dontcha just love that song? Right now I can hear my very best friend strumming it on a 12-string acoustic which manages to sound like a very extension of his arm, then he casually switches mid-song into a selection by Andrés Segovia, again seemingly effortlessly. What an amazing artist. But I digress ...

    What bugs me when these threads come up is although the facts are the facts and those stating the facts certainly know of what they speak, there are nevertheless incongruencies and inconsistencies in the facts and sometimes even the way they are stated. The helpless hope is that an attempt to point these out may incite reasoned discussion instead of inciting a thread riot. Blame it on my father, who always stresses questioning generally accepted norms ("Accepted why?", says he, "And by whom, and what is their own interest?") and respecting but still questioning authority, even though he didn't always appreciate when the authority being questioned was his own. :)

    1. "Everyone knows RA is the gold standard of accreditation. NA is the silver medalist."

    A similar 'known' claims B&M degrees are gold standard while DL degrees are substandard, even when accreditation is identical. Elitism and snobbery are often mentioned in response to any poster's link to a survey or article on that second 'known', but not so much on the first 'known'.

    2. "Arguments for bringing NA up to RA acceptance levels come from those who went with NA colleges."

    Mine was RA and B&M to boot, both 'knowns' covered. (At the it was Daddy's alma mater or the highway, the former happened to be RA :) ) It's just that both 'knowns' seem elitist to me, instead of only the second. It seems elitist and snobbish to automatically assume (and it is an assumption by RA colleges and a few employers) that NA is always inferior, especially since US DOE and CHEA do not 'grade' or 'rank' recognized accreditors. Accreditors are either recognized or they are not and there is only one standard for recognition, there are no recognition tiers. CHEA doesn't think artificially created perception-based pecking orders are right either, and that is why they created HETA to facilitate student mobility in credit transfers. Recent legislation was likely proposed due to CHEA not being the only ones to agree that a problem exists and that it's just not solving itself. I don't know about anyone else, but I have a problem with public funding for higher education going toward students being arbitrarily required to repeat coursework on my tax dime when their accredited credits were not even given courtesy of review, but rather subjected to blanket statements such as "We do not accept NA credits, ever." How many students are not receiving federal aid, or receiving reduced aid, due to aid being granted to others for repeat coursework required by these common RA policies?

    3. "So RA colleges should be forced to accept NA credits?"

    Not forced to accept, merely discouraged from automatic rejection of relevant coursework based solely on its NA accreditation.

    4. "So are you saying that RA universities should be forced to evaluate credits approved by the National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences?"

    Doubtful any RA universities even offer programs toward which cosmetology courses would have relevance, making this argument a straw man doused in accelerant. Come to think of it, why beat around a burning scarecrow by saying "RA vs. NA"? It's really not a matter concerning the recognized but very specialized national accreditors like the NACCAS or even the ABA. The real issue centers on the regionals vs. DETC, all of which accredit programs with similar relevancies. (Why, when this question is raised, the accreditors chosen for comparison are the most obscure? No one brings up the ABA in those comparisons. Yeah, I know, because the ABA only accredits RA university programs that are also B&M, yadda, yadda, yadda ...)

    5. "So are you saying that DETC Ashworth College is equivalent to RA Stanford University?"

    No, but RA Stump-Jump Community College isn't equivalent to RA Stanford either even though both may well be approved by the very same regional accreditor.

    6. "Well, NA degrees do not qualify their holders as K-12 public school teachers in any U.S. state."

    Possible conflict of interest. The very same RA organizations that accredit colleges and universities also have divisions that accredit U.S. K-12 public schools. That possible conflict also applies to RA colleges, including community colleges, not generally accepting NA degree holders as instructors. Wouldn't the very RA agencies that accredit all these schools insist on RA degrees, and am I (or anyone) to just trust their word that such insistence is purely in the interest of maintaining quality? Especially when, in this particular matter, their word smacks of possible conflict of interest? Why is that assurance acceptable and not similar just-trust-me assurances? Why, whenever the issue of non-acceptance of NA degrees in employment is raised it seems to focus on academia and a few other exceptions, including some pains extended in seeking out obscure exceptions?

    Disclaimer: The above quotes, although enclosed in quotation marks, are not meant in any way to represent actual quotes from any particular individual(s), enclosure in quotes is simply to serve as generally representative of the general and usual topics, expressed in a general and nonspecific manner, that frequently come up whenever this particular subject is discussed, and as a means of setting those general and usual topics apart from my own personal opinions on each. Should you ("you" in the collective general sense rather than personal or specific senses) resemble any of the quoted remarks, any such resemblance is unintended and entirely coincidental.

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 3, 2005
  6. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    Both, actually.

    I know someone who was a tenured professor of Criminal Justice at a small liberal arts college, his undergrad degree was in Biology from one of the Cal State campuses (I forget which one), but his had his M.S. in CJ from the University of Alabama. Do you think his undergrad degree served as anything but an admission ticket to graduate school?
  7. Ike

    Ike New Member

    A must-read thread...

    This is a must-read thread for anyone who is facing a choice between RA and DETC schools. I am glad that incorrect notions were righted in this thread.
  8. jagmct1

    jagmct1 New Member

    Re: Helplessly Hoping ...

    Kit, you make some excellent and valid points. I agree with you 100% that DL degrees are viewed as substandard to the traditional B&M, regardless if the degree is RA or NA and believe individuals seem to miss this point.

    When DL graduates from RA schools say NA graduates degrees are substandard, silver medalist, not as valuable, less quality, of course NA students/graduates are going to defend themselves. I don't care if Rich Douglas did one survey with HR professionals or that John Bear surveyed AACRAO officials (who by the way do not support the credit tranfer legislation) or if individuals think it's "just the facts." Sorry, that does not convince me.

    If someone wants to learn about accreditation, they need to go way beyond the select opinions of individuals on this forum. It's a poor decision to base a decision on individual opinions from an online chat forum, especially from someone you don't even know. I encourage people to research the respective accreditation websites, whether NA or RA, or do your OWN homework.

    Again, the true value of a degree program is what the graduates are doing AFTER they graduate. The DETC did a study on HR professionals and 85-90% said the graduates EQUALLY compared to RA graduates and WOULD accept NA degrees.

    So there you have it. I don't claim to be a expert, haven't done a survey, don't have my work published (nor do I plan to). If I'm the lonely voice to defend DETC accreditaiton, so be it.

    By the way, thanks for your reply Kit. I think you're thoughts and comments on this are right on.
  9. DTechBA

    DTechBA New Member

    Lets put this in simple terms....

    What you think about your degree is almost utterly irrelevent. A degree's value solely rests rests with those who review it for validity. You can think your NA dgree is gold plated but if every HR person that interviews you thinks it isn't worth the paper it is written on, it is in fact worthless to you until you find someone who assigns the same value to it as you do. You can argue that all you want but it is an immutable fact that all of your arguing or belief will never overcome.

    Your statement that RA and NA DL degrees are accepted the same is easily proven untrue. Call any RA graduate school and ask how many will accept a DL RA or NA degree. Many will not accept an NA degree DL or otherwise and that is simply the way it is. Some state's do not allow NA degree's for teaching. In one post on here in the past someone said his police department would not recognize his NA degree.

    As a student at Columbian Southern it is understandable why you would wish things were equal but they aren't and never will be no matter how much you hope it was so. I have said before and I say it again, since one can obtain an RA degree for less money than you can spend at most NA schools it makes no sense to gat an NA degree. NA schools should be an absolute last resort...
  10. jagmct1

    jagmct1 New Member

    Re: Lets put this in simple terms....

    I never said or indicated DETC is gold plated or that I view it that way. There will always be bias out in the real world no matter where you got your degree from. Selective employers recruit from selective schools. So, now certain RA graduates would have their resumes put in a filing cabinet. Would I be accurate to say now that RA graduates from certain schools are substandard or not as useful? I think not.

    The true test is to ask DETC graduates if they've been turned down for employment due to having a NA degree. I think you'd be surprised to see what you find.

    As for the police officer in the good state of Texas, I can bet they would change their policy once they understand accreditation and realize the VALUE of a DETC degree. You base your negative views of the DETC on the ignorant of accreditation. And, I do understand there are LIMITED times when a DETC degree MAY not be accepted. I stress the word LIMITED. I challenged Excelsior College on their old school of thought and with a simple letter, got them to now accept NA degrees and credits for transfer. I don't plan on transferring over to EC, but drafted the letter to prove a point.
  11. DTechBA

    DTechBA New Member

    Re: Re: Lets put this in simple terms....

    That would be exactly correct. Many on here want to get an MBA. The MBA is a very brand oriented degree. There are some jobs you will not get unless you have an MBA from one of the "elite" MBA programs. Podunk University (even if is AACSB) simply will not do.

    No I wouldn't, people rarely know why they didn't get a job. Even if they are given a reason it could be a front for the real reason. Many are probably simply told someone more qualified got the job. Good non-controversial way to say the guy that got the job has an RA degree. Way back when there was an ITT grad on here complaining he had been passed over because he didn't have an RA degree. He was quite upset that he had paid a princely sum for a degree that wasn't getting him ahead.

    How do you know? They may have a detailed understanding of a DETC degree and the accreditation process and that is exactly why they made their choice. You are guessing that have no understanding of the process just like you are guessing that I do not. I would bet I know far more of the process than you do. I know I have a far better understanding of the ramifications of having a NA degree since you seem to indicate there is no difference when there is demonstratively a very great difference.
  12. simon

    simon New Member

    Any person is entitled to believe what they wish. If one wishes to believe that DETC accreditation is equal to RA, so be it! Unfortunately, external reality sets the pace of what is and is not, not one's personal beliefs, feelings, wishes or opinions. In the real world, not inside the head of one who is extremely defensive, RA degrees are generally looked upon by diverse private and governmental agencies within the context of employment, for state licensing in many professions and in academia as the STANDARD that meets their criteria for acceptance. Relating to distance education which still remains in its early developmental stages in academia and the world of work, it is essential to ensure that one's degree, at the minimum, is accredited by an agency that is commendsurate with those of brick and mortar schools in order to enhance its credibility. Therefore, regardless of all the manuvering, argumentation, baiting, feigning, anecdotal alleged examples, opinions or wishful trhinking to prove the equality of DETC to RA degrees, RA reigns supreme. END OF STORY.

    Now I am not stating that a DETC credential is not of value. In some cases it is possible that a DETC degree may be viable and may assist one in their career or academic situation. However, if I was aware, as noted by Manny00, that many of my colleagues were going for the GOLD STANDARD RA degree and I wasn't, I would want to determine the reason why they are pursing the RA credential rather than DETC. This is especially relevant because according to Manny00 his agency's policy allows employees to substitute DETC degrees for RA ones. So why are the majority of his colleagues not taking the easier route and instead going for the GOLD STANDARD RA diploma? I hope Manny will be good enough to let us know what he finds out regarding this issue.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 3, 2005
  13. DaveHayden

    DaveHayden New Member

    Re: Re: Lets put this in simple terms....

    Hi Jamie

    Has this actually come about? last post I read from you was that they were considering it but had made no official decision. Has that changed? Thanks.
  14. sentinel

    sentinel New Member

    My experience during the past year of taking courses from a regionally accredited institution (Champlain College) and from a nationally accredited institution (American Public University System) was that the academic rigor and course content was at least equal between the two institutions.

    I realize RA is considered by some people to be of more utility than NA and accept that perception often thrumps reality.
  15. jagmct1

    jagmct1 New Member

    Re: Re: Re: Lets put this in simple terms....

    Hi Dave,

    Last I heard, EC was in the process of drafting the new guidelines for accepting NA transfers, so the decision has already been made. I was informed it will be in effect by early 2006.
  16. simon

    simon New Member

    Your noted experience regarding these two educational programs does not address my point that you quote.

    In fact, there may be a rationale why Manny00's, the originator of this thread, co-workers are obtaining RA degrees rather than DETC. It is advantageous for Manny to determine if his co-workers are doing so for a specific reason such as potentially enhancing their promotional opportunities or because of personal knowledge of the general advantages of obtaining an RA degree. That is all, no more, no less.
  17. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Re: Re: Helplessly Hoping ...

  18. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Re: Re: Lets put this in simple terms....

    Really? On what basis? Do you have even one shred of evidence to support this? Because I have quite a bit to refute it.

    I had 267 HR professionals complete a very complicated survey. They were asked to rate the acceptability of many forms of institutional recognition, including the DETC. At first, they were just provided the names, like "Distance Education and Training Council" and "North Central Association of Colleges and Schools." DETC fared poorly about the same level as "State Approved" and "State Licensed." Okay, let's chalk that up to ignorance. Then I provided them descriptions of each organization, clearly noting that the DETC was recognized by both the USDoE and CHEA, explaining "GAAP," essentially. Guess what? DETC STILL lagged behind the RA in the bunch, remaining quite close to "State Approved," despite the fact that I clearly explained that "State Approved" wasn't the same as being accredited.

    Those findings (and a lot more) were published in my doctoral dissertation, available from UMI/Proquest. What do you have?
  19. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Lets put this in simple terms....

    Did I read your post about this correctly, that you are responsible for Excelsior's decision to accept NA credits in transfer? I find this, well, amazing. I assume you received some sort of confirmation from Excelsior that they decided to adopt your proposal. Would you share with us what Excelsior said to you and who said it?
  20. DaveHayden

    DaveHayden New Member

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Lets put this in simple terms....


    So I'll assume this was the last email you posted which was unclear about exactly what they will or will not do. So as of today they generally do not accept DETC credits just like TESC, COSC and other schools.and we have nothing in writing that says they officially will. They may be in the process of considering changing that which would be very nice for DETC if it comes about. Thanks, it is important to be clear so no one is accidently confused or deceived.

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