Teaching for Unaccredited School

Discussion in 'Online & DL Teaching' started by OldSage, Jun 4, 2021.

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  1. OldSage

    OldSage New Member

    I have accredited degrees for my bachelors, masters, and doctorate. I have recently been in contact with an unaccredited seminary in regards to teaching for them. The unaccredited institution that I am speaking with is academically sound, and legally authorized to operate in their area. I have been able to look over a sampling of their curriculum and the coursework, level research required, and interaction of students seems to be comparable to my experience at accredited universities. So my question is, will listing teaching at an unaccredited institution harm my resume? This is not for a full-time position. If an opportunity ever came up at an accredited institution that I wanted to apply for, would this experience harm or be beneficial to have?

    This is my first post here, thank you for feedback. The institution name I have left off intentionally.
    newsongs likes this.
  2. cacoleman1983

    cacoleman1983 Well-Known Member

    I believe any experience that can be documented and proven is good experience and counts as experience for future positions.
    newsongs likes this.
  3. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Probably beneficial.
  4. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Well-Known Member

    Being that it is a Seminary, the accreditation isn't as much of an issue as it would be if it was an unaccredited for-profit school, which would likely be a red flag by and hiring managers at an accredited school. The bigger concern I would have, would simply be the reputation of the institution. I would be inclined to take the position and would see it as a benefit, as long as the seminary had a reasonably respectable reputation or at least no major challenges.
    newsongs likes this.
  5. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    What about experience at an outright diploma that sells degrees for just $19.95, while supplies last!?
  6. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    Whoops, I meant diploma mill. Welp, can't land'em all the time, lol.

    I'll be back.
  7. Maxwell_Smart

    Maxwell_Smart Active Member

    Haha, that damn editing time limit strikes again.
    LearningAddict likes this.
  8. Michael Burgos

    Michael Burgos Active Member

    I realize I'm a few years off but I'd like to revive this concern as it is one I deal with fairly regularly as the president of an unaccredited seminary. I have three thoughts:

    1. Not a few of our faculty members began teaching at our institution and have also picked up teaching gigs at traditionally accredited institutions. I personally teach at two traditionally accredited schools as an adjunct while a faculty member and administrator at an unaccredited institution. Teaching experience (and ministerial experience), if it is real, transcends accreditation.

    2. Depending on your theological outlook and the institution(s) you're considering, accreditation may well be a moot issue. In my neck of the woods, accreditation is not anywhere near as significant for theological education as it is for, say, the mainlines. Rather, issues like faithfulness to a confession, academic rigor, denominational/parachurch affiliation, reputable faculty, and an institution's reputation seem to weigh more heavily.

    3. Since theological education is a responsibility of the church, no matter the denominational preference, what should matter most IMO is that an institution operates at the pleasure of local churches. They hire the grads and they often pay the tuition. On this view, accreditation for ministerial education is generally superfluous.
  9. cacoleman1983

    cacoleman1983 Well-Known Member

    All work experience is relevant experience and I could not imagine teaching at an unaccredited school or seminary being a harmful spot on a resume. As long as the experience is verifiable, it counts as experience no matter what. Leaving education off a resume may be an option if it is not relevant or could have a negative impact on your resume but skills and work experience being used at one place having a negative impact should not be the case.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2023
  10. jonlevy

    jonlevy Active Member

    Beware these Bible Colleges, basically timewasters which may or may not even be operational - they usally look for help on Indeed which is also red flag. Plus you feel like an idiot having to witness Jesus and discuss how Jesus will influence your course. Of course to teach non Biblical subjects there does have to be a Bible connection but "come on man" they can lay off the Bible talk for secular courses.
  11. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    I think it is very hard to land a job as a religion teacher so there are many willing to teach for free so they can get the experience. The reality is that unless you are part of an orthodox church with a good budget like jewish, catholic or similar, you are going to have a hard time landing a job as a religion professor. Many people interested in this field join orthodox churches for this reason, they need to pay their bills so they go where the money is. I have a friend who is a metaphysical minister and survives with weddings, meditation seminars, coaching, etc. Bible teaching is not going to cut it, you need to add to your portfolio life coaching, holistic healing, counselling, weddings, etc so the person can survive. There are some religion departments that hire professors but you would need to specialize in a niche market like gnostic Christianity or Budhism, bible teaching is not going to cut it for university teaching.
  12. wmcdonald

    wmcdonald Member

    If you have a calling to teach, experience in these institutions will provide that opportunity, and you can make them better! In the last few years, I hired two different people at my former institution, both with regionally accredited doctoral degrees in religion, one a PhD from large, very well-known institution for a staggering salary of less that 50K! We worry too much about this sometimes. Go, teach.......make a difference. Work towards whatever recognition is needed! Another example from my own community, a large nondenominational church has exploded and has expanded across the region. They have their own university and offer doctoral degrees. Those students are going out planting churches. The pastors are the students. They're doing something right! I wish you the very best!
  13. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    If they're not your cup of tea that's perfectly fine, but impatiently declaring that a Bible college should "lay off the Bible talk" says more about you than it does about them.
    tadj likes this.
  14. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    There is no excuse for a degree-granting institution to hide behind its religion and award degrees outside the system. As Chris Rock once said, "Just because you can do it doesn't make it a good idea."

    There are many, many colleges and universities with religious affiliations who seem to have no trouble with the idea of being accredited. (Our nation's system of recognizing what is and is not a college or university.) Beyond accreditation, look at all the states willing to exempt these schools from their own licensing laws. Imagine if that was okay elsewhere.

    The State: "Hey, put down that spleen. You're operating without a medical license."
    Surgeon: "It's okay. My religion exempts me from your rules and licenses."

    This isn't hostility towards religion, although I have plenty of that. It's just that education is treated so much differently than are other activities run by these churches.

    A degree is a proxy. It says something about the degree holder on his/her behalf. The schools issuing degrees should be held to a standard that ensures the degrees being issued actually represent what they purport to. All schools. Whether that standard is accreditation or state licensure, it ought to mean the same thing for everyone: a minimum standard has been met for what the degree being issued represents. Anything else is mere rationalization.
  15. Michael Burgos

    Michael Burgos Active Member

    Indeed. The only course FTS offers that is not explicitly tied to theology, at least in name, is our Introduction to Logic course. Even then, it begins with a robust epistemology rooted in the biblical text and Christian theism. I am reminded of Vern Poythress who has written considerable volumes on science, mathematics, historiography, sociology, etc. from an inherently theological perspective. The commenter seems to think that one can somehow divorce their ultimate presuppositions from "secular courses." Yet the Christian tradition has rejected intellectual and ideological neutrality.
  16. Michael Burgos

    Michael Burgos Active Member

    Moving past the implicit ad hominem (i.e., "hide behind its religion"), an institution that is solely focused on theological/ministerial education should not be forced to cooperate with an organization such as an accreditor (i.e., a state-appointed gatekeeper) or a state agency such as a department of education upon the basis of the free exercise clause and other related laws. The gov't neither has a compelling interest nor a good reason to involve itself in theological education and, fortunately, there ain't a thing you can do about it. While there are abuses of religious liberty, such abuses do not invalidate it as an inviolable freedom.

    Bandwagon fallacy.

    As if. I suppose you believe there were no colleges or universities prior to 1952.
  17. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I have removed a personal attack and am closing this, as I believe this thread has run its course.
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