Union Institute

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by sammy, Apr 28, 2004.

  1. sammy

    sammy member

    An article in the New York times quoted a professor from Berkley saying that degrees from Union Institute are not worth very much although it is acccredted when applying as faculty at UC Berkley. So how do we deal with accredited but unrecognised universities?
  2. roysavia

    roysavia New Member

    I'm not sure about that statement. We have a few professors at York University who graduated from the Union Institute. The school (Union) is well accepted in Canada.
  3. timothyrph

    timothyrph New Member

    I wonder if a University of Oklahoma degree would wow them at Harvard? Would a University of Central Oklahoma degree mean anything at Stanford? Apart from some extensive experience that would make you one of the best in the field, no. At OU they might ask you if Jason White will be healthy next year and should he have gone in the draft.

    This statement just shows there is a food chain. If a Union graduate applied, had 50 publications in the field and was highly regarded nationally, Berkely would certainly change it's mind on this position. You do with accredited unknown university degrees what everyone else in the world does theirs. Earn your stripes and hope to make your mark some way.
  4. Dennis Ruhl

    Dennis Ruhl member

    Better universities only hire professors from better universities. That is how they stay better quality universities.

    Good universities hire known commodities. While a degree from a respected school is a must, so is a record of research and publication.

    Someone with a Union degree and dozens of publications with respect among his peers might get hired, if one actually existed.
  5. roysavia

    roysavia New Member

    Actually, this is the case. The professor that I know (Prof. Anthony Richmond) has written several books on social stratification and demography. He's one of Canada's leading authorities on Migration. He's also a consultant to Statistics Canada. Prof. Richmond earned his doctorate from the Union Institute.
  6. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    One takes a degree from Union for the same reasons one goes to Strayer or Phoenix or any other school focused on mid-career adults: to advance in one's career, not to start it.

    Union has a long list of graduates who work in higher education. It is not known, however, the proportional effect of the degrees in their careers and current posts.

    To my knowledge, no one has measured the utility of UI&U doctorates.
  7. Mike Albrecht

    Mike Albrecht New Member

    And one with a CCU or KWU would get laughed out the door.
  8. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    I question the accuracy of that.

    I don't think that UC Berkeley hires on the basis of school name. (Few universities do.) Berkeley is one of those 'publish or perish' research universities and it looks for elite candidates that will raise the profiles of its various departments.

    That means that it's looking for established scholars with a research history, publications and reputation. I don't think that UCB cares a whole lot where people did their doctoral work, as long as the candidates are among the leaders in their specialty.

    So the issue isn't "accedited but unrecognized universities". The issue is whether the university you chose gave you the opportunity to excel in some way.

    I think that if a DL doctoral program can establish itself in a position where people in its field have to read and respond to the work it produces, then it will have arrived.

    My guess is that's probably going to come first in the field of distance education itself. Education programs that offer DL will have the practical experience that will probably give them leadership in that area before long.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2004
  9. -kevin-

    -kevin- Resident Redneck


    "I think that if a DL doctoral program can establish itself in a position where people in its field have to read and respond to the work it produces, then it will have arrived. "

    Accurate and well stated.
  10. Dennis Ruhl

    Dennis Ruhl member

    There are many CCU graduates working in academia so I don't know that they would be laughed out the door. At UC Berkely, maybe.

    To repeat for the nth time - Why does any discussion as to why Union sucks turn into a discussion of why CCU sucks? And I didn't even say Union sucked. Each one has its own place and students for both have found success.
  11. MichaelR

    MichaelR Member

    well said Dennis.
  12. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    I guess that Dennis didn't say "suck".
  13. Gus Sainz

    Gus Sainz New Member

    A few observations…

    First, I thought it best to actually read the article before commenting. The NY Times article can be found here

    Second, nowhere in the article is anyone from UC Berkeley quoted as saying, “Union Institute are not worth very much although it is acccredted when applying as faculty at UC Berkley.” Moreover, the only mention of Union is a single sentence that states that an unidentified employer told an applicant (also unidentified) that “he would be better off dropping mention of his alma mater from his curriculum vitae.”

    Third, what follows is the part of the article containing the quote attributed to Dr. Richard Abrams:
    • ”That, of course, leaves plenty of academics sitting skeptically on the other side of the fence. One is Richard Abrams, associate dean of the international studies program at the University of California at Berkeley, where he participates in faculty hiring decisions. Regarding applicants who gained their doctoral degrees online, Mr. Abrams says: ‘Those kinds of candidates get thrown out right away. They haven't engaged in the same kind of scholarship, which is obtained through a challenging series of seminars and classes, face to face with advisers who regularly critique their work.’”
    It should be pointed out that Dr. Abrams is on the faculty, and participates in the hiring decisions of faculty for, the History Department. I, for one, do not understand what “online doctorates” he may be referring to, as a frequent lament heard on DegreeInfo is the paucity of legitimate distance learning doctoral degrees in History. Does anyone know of a doctoral program that is available “online?” Is it possible that the “online” degrees that Dr. Abrams is referring to simply come from mills?

    Moreover, Dr. Abrams justifies his disdain for online doctorates because of the lack of “a challenging series of seminars and classes, face to face with advisers who regularly critique their work.” Does his disdain also extend to research doctorates, or are they limited to those elusive “online" degrees? UC Berkeley’s History Department has faculty members with doctorates from Oxford, Leeds, and Manchester. The bottom line is that there are so few openings available to those with credentials in History that universities (few other entities employ them) can easily cherry pick candidates; this isn’t the case in many other fields.

    Finally, Dr. Abrams’ quote and the comment about Union were part of but a single paragraph in the article, and the purpose was to offer a dissenting viewpoint. The real gist of the article was that thousands of individuals are currently pursuing doctorate degrees online, and that these degrees are becoming increasingly more respectable and acceptable.
    • ”A recent survey of top administrators at 994 higher-education institutions suggests online education's new respectability. The survey, conducted by Babson College for the Boston-based Sloan Consortium, found that 57 percent consider online studies to be equal to or better than face-to-face instruction.”
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2004
  14. Dennis Ruhl

    Dennis Ruhl member

    To put things in proper perspective, a Columbia graduate in another forum stated that Columbia had 14 Nobel laureates. The day a Union grad wins a Nobel Prize, he may have some job offers.
  15. Tireman4

    Tireman4 member


    Yep and amen. I dont know if it will ever change.
  16. cehi

    cehi New Member

  17. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    The comment about Union sounds like an echo of the one in The Chronicle awhile back. As if we didn't know about the prejudice involved in this subject already! Also, the comments made don't seem to apply to Union's modality, which has a great deal of residency and collaboration.

    Union is a school targeting mid-career professionals. It is designed for people advancing, not beginning, careers. It wouldn't seem appropriate for someone training to become a faculty member at a traditional school. Comparing it to traditional programs seems inappropriate.

    Union's history is filled with wonderful examples of outstanding scholarship, achievement, and learning. Many learners have gone on to wonderful things after their Union programs. But measuring it with traditional criteria is bound to create an image of insufficiency.

    I'd like to echo the note Gus provided that we don't really know what Abrams meant by "online" programs. I think its fair to say that diploma mills have eaten into the potential good will brought by legitimate, distance learning programs. Union is neither, of course. It is a short-residency program, but it is neither online nor distance learning.
  18. Migara

    Migara member

    If an institution is Accredited, how is it possibe the institution to be unrecognised? I thought the whole process of accreditation is to obtain, value, quality, standards, and so forth and as well as legitimate RECOGNITION!!!!!

    Am I worng on this assumption?

  19. tcnixon

    tcnixon Active Member

    I think the same can be said for most all of the U.S.-based DL doctoral programs. For the most part, they're really not for 24-year-old, just-out-of-MA-Program students. Sure, they could do it, but I've always thought that, at this point in time , they're really designed for mid-career folks who have a career behind them and the doctorate is to help them to advance.

    Unfortunately, I think some people are under the impression that, at this point in time , the U.S.-based DL doctoral programs will be viewed exactly the same and that they will qualify you for an assistant professorship at State U. Yes, some have made the leap, but they, typically, have a career behind them. Shoot, a large percentage of traditional graduates, perhaps 50%, will never be able to get a tenure-track professorship.

    Tom Nixon
  20. timothyrph

    timothyrph New Member

    To all,

    Why are there a few people so angry at Union? Or is it someone else? I have read this board for a while and don't understand the anger that seems to come through. Maybe I am wrong. Relax, have a diet coke.

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