Why choose DETC?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by bennylinus, Mar 10, 2010.

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  1. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    Sure, but in the minds of whom? Definitely not to those people who have never heard of DETC (which includes almost every person on the face of the earth, give or take a few).
  2. simon

    simon New Member

    Maniac, So you opine that "...almost every person on the face of the earth, give or take a few" never heard of DETC! FYI there are many people who do not know what regionally accredited signifies or implies either! So does this mean that RA is lacking in credibility as well? Obviously not. What it does imply is that many individuals do not pay attention to such issues or are just not interested and this has absolutely no bearing on the credibility or validity of these accrediting agencies.
  3. TonyM

    TonyM Member

    My hunch is that a lot people, especially the ones who might affect your future, know that a school needs to be accredited, but have no idea about types of accreditation. I live in Georgia, and I doubt most people know that SACS is our regional accreditor. Outside education, the best HR persons might do a Chea search to see if your school is legit.
  4. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    Its been changing and growing, trying to move upscale. DETC started out by accrediting those 'learn a skill in your spare time' correspondence courses. Then it started accrediting some degree programs and most recently has been trying to establish itself in doctoral fields and professional programs.

    The thing is, as DETC schools grow more ambitious, they face more difficult tasks.

    DETC schools used to compete against the post-secondary vocational skills diplomas. That wasn't a tremendously difficult task and well within the capabilities and resources of small educational proprietorships with limited means.

    Now DETC schools have taken on the most difficult and ambitious task in all of higher education. There's a whole new set of scholarly expectations and a whole new order of competition where the pace has already been set by the likes of the University of California and MIT. Welcome to the big leagues, kid.

    The small DETC education businesses are going to find it difficult performing convincingly under the bright lights in front of the jeering scholarly and professional crowds.
  5. TonyM

    TonyM Member

    I agree that offering doctorates will mean more scrutiny, but I don't think it will be from the BIG players like MIT. They really aren't in competition with DETC schools. No doctoral student or fellow is going to leave MIT to study at Taft or Aspen. DETC schools are also not going to steal away the most important thing the big research places care about: research grants. I doubt any major place will take notice in any way, unless maybe an education department student writes a thesis or dissertation on the topic. The real watchers should be the for-profit RA doctoral programs. Capella, AIU, Walden, Phoenix and anyplace that educates the adult working crowd, like teachers and managers. The Ivory Tower world is in no danger, but Capella and those schools charging 40K to get a doctorate might lose out to someplace like Taft that will give you a legal EdD for 11K. If your state allows you to use DETC for promotion, you'll probably go that route. Sometimes, people are passionate about their career and just need a legal credential to move up.

    Consider the EdD-needing crowd, mostly k12 teachers, and then look at the Taft program compared to someplace like Capella or Walden. Those schools are on the regular semester schedule, so you're having to force your teaching life to fit your student life---very hard. Taft is on a go-at-your-own-pace schedule, so you can concentrate your studies during your breaks from teaching. But the big issue is the 30k or so difference in cost! If you just want to be the boss at your k12 school, which amount would you pay? That's a threat to over-priced RA programs. If you're a public servant, like a teacher or a cop, 40K is A LOT to pay to get promoted. It really doesn't make much sense. DETC pricing might make it worthwhile to consider.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2010
  6. BryanOats

    BryanOats New Member

    Great discussion!

    Rich, with all due respect, it may look to some as if the good-old-boys are protecting their turf while appearing to be only looking out for the public’s interest.

    An argument could be made that it appears as if there is fear of competition (real or imagined), in the hearts of those who have graduated from doctoral programs at low tier RA schools, from those doctoral graduates at DETC schools. This might be a reason why some posters on this board are so passionate in their defense of degrees from the RA system. I am not suggesting that this is the only motive of every RA poster; however, if one has spent so much time, money and effort in the RA system then doctoral degree holders from these schools have a real stake in the success or failure of DETC accredited schools, and their doctoral graduates. Why not try to knock out the competition, kill them off, discredit and bad mouth them, analogous to what has happened with unaccredited schools and their graduates.

    This is getting interesting.
  7. DBA_Curious

    DBA_Curious New Member

    I'm torn on this to be honest.

    From the perspective of whether a DETC degree has helped anyone, I don't think there's any argument against that. Of course, any course of study is likely to help someone but the DETC programs do codify and essentially validate the course of study to some degree. In other words, it seems more rigorous to earn a degree in criminal justice than it does to read a lot of books on the subject even if the book-reader/non degree-holder knows more.

    I'm also aware that the standards for admission at many for-profit schools are woefully low.

    So the question of whether a DETC school matches up well against a school like NCU is a valid one. NCU trumps them when it comes to someone qualifying for an adjunct position (RA is king) but would it in the field of criminal justice?
  8. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    This thread has produced some wonderful and thought-provoking posts. Much of the conversation has been focused on the value of DETC to the individual (which is important). With your kind indulgence, I would like to offer a somewhat different perspective.

    I oversee the academic side of a reasonable-sized DL program at an RA B&M University (19 online degree programs, 6 online certificate programs, 2,500+ students and 300+ unique courses). We have grown to the point where we are now the newest branch campus of the university (there are two other physical branches, in addition to the main campus). We are regionally accredited by SACS, but I have the authority to seek out further accreditation if we deemed it to be necessary.

    Here is the situation: SACS has recently updated is policies, standards and guidelines for distance learning programs. SACS's accreditation materials are pretty complete and address most all of our operations.

    I do not see where pursuing DETC accreditation would add any value to our offerings or would provide any new or different resources to benefit our programs or my administration. From my perspective, we would be spending a lot of time and money for a redundant process that does not offer anything beyond what we get from SACS. Our academic disciplines benefit from the unique aspects of discipline-specific accreditation, but, honestly, I cannot determine any benefit that DETC accreditation would provide to my institution.
  9. simon

    simon New Member

    More than interesting but right on target!
  10. simon

    simon New Member

    Anthony, why would you need to give any thought of incorporating DETC into your accreditation dossier when you are already accredited by SACS?
  11. morganplus8

    morganplus8 New Member

    As a holder of several "RA only" degrees (I have no experience with DETC), I'm taking the stand that DETC schools are viable, are needed, and they fulfill a purpose in society. Even Richard has mentioned some very positive things about DETC, but in his case, DETC degrees have no place in academia. That's where he is coming from these days.

    That suggests to me that academia isn't solely about hiring the "best" there is available today, rather, we may include, by default (the lack of hiring of DETC graduates into RA schools), a form of preservation of the RA way of life, and this isn't a good thing.

    I stated some time ago in another thread that the best course I have ever taken was that of a Stats 100 course where the professor asked us to research and provide a number of academic papers that had been peer reviewed and sponsored by a major university or institution. He then set about demonstrating to us that published research can be far from perfect, and in fact, lead us to at least, govern our conclusions, and to be aware, .... based upon erroneous data that is accepted as sound. It was amazing to see how he could discredit so many professional papers. I learned to be vary wary of what many call, "prominent research" from some of our top schools. In fact, I scored the highest mark (98.5%) in my MBA Quantitative Analysis class by taking the approach to a major project, that it was not relevant or worthy of review based upon the serious flaws in the analysis of the paper itself. I proved empirically, that it was too flawed to be used in classroom studies, for any course.

    The reason I state this is simple, if I taught at a DETC school, I would be relating this experience to the class, something that probably has/would have been omitted from many top RA schools. The point being that DETC schools can and probably do hire forward thinking individuals who aren't discriminated upon, simply because of their background.

    That next point that I'll make is where we are today with professional study and RA only, B&M education. Take engineers for example, they are RA B&M learners with professional designations, yet so many of them are terrible engineers. Why? The schools are some of the best in the world, yet the outcomes are so poor. I have worked my entire life as a sub-contractor, with 16 professionals on my staff and our job was/is to sub-contract into companies to clean up their failed engineering projects. So many companies in the past, hired their own in-house engineering staff and tried to perform their own design and manufacturing improvements. The results were embarrassing to say the least. Their failures were our gains, we have a large staff of sub-contractors replacing fired professional engineers in large corporations. My people have been in those positions for up to 15 years now, replacing entire teams of in-house professionals who couldn't engineer and deliver on anything, on budget, on time and functional. We don't advertise and we're swamped with business. RA B&M has failed in this respect, I say change the format or give the responsibility to someone else.

    So how has RA B&M education helped America build a better future? Perhaps this is one of the reasons way backward thinking in education has hurt our manufacturing sector. We need to get the right people into the right programs, not just segregate them by RA versus DETC achievements. This is far too limiting and results in so called un-wonderful outcomes for society.
  12. raristud

    raristud Member

    Our engineering distance learning programs incorporated Lab, Networking, and Internship components. Penn Foster's undergraduate engineering programs include I believe a two week residential program. A challenge for engineering distance learning programs, RA and DETC, will be to incorporate these experiences into their programs. I have always been a proponent of professional accreditation. Our engineering programs were ABET Accredited and this is something that DETC schools pursue enhance recognition and quality.
  13. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    It will come from people who have informed opinions about programs and about their graduates. The professional and academic worlds already have a good picture of what leading doctoral programs look like. That's the standard that's already been set. If DETC schools want their graduates to be competitive, their programs will have to address those expectations.

    If they just want to compete with some of the low-end RA DL doctoral programs for the vanity degree dollar, then that might conceivably be an easier task for them to accomplish. But it won't win them respect in the academic and professonal worlds or bring their graduates success when real advanced expertise is sought. It won't advance the image of doctoral level DL either.

    DETC schools could do more than that, but it won't be easy.
  14. simon

    simon New Member

    Excellent points Morganplus!

    In fact I too only possess RA degrees but yet perceive the intrinsic value of DETC degrees based on the fact that they are not only USDOE approved but offer accredited credentials at substantially less tuitions compared to online distance RA degree programs. Based on my experiences with some online RA doctoral programs as well as the considerable feedback I have received from peers, a number of these distance RA programs are inordinately priced and in our current faltering economic climate can place students who are not receipients of financial assistance in financial jeopardy!

    In addition, contrary to some of the concerns broached by certain posters regarding the alleged lack of rigorous scholarly academics at DETC schools the fact remains that the majority of students graduating from RA distance online schools are far from being scholarly or focusing their professional lives engaging in research BUT are primarily oriented to enhance their professional status and viability as candidates for better work related positions or job promotions.

    The bottomline is that prospective students need to conduct their homework very carefully to determine which mode of accreditation best serves their needs and future aspirations prior to making any commitments of money and time. In this way they will make informed decisions that will be in their best interests.
  15. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    That is precisely my point. A regionally accredited school may receive added value if they seek additional accreditation from:

    --AACSB for its its business program.
    --APA for its psychology program.
    --NCATE or TEAC for its teacher education program.

    There does not seem to be any value to an RA school with a DL program to seek DETC accreditation, since it would appear to add nothing additional to the regional accreditation.
  16. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    This is also true of many, if not most, students graduating from traditional brick & mortar universities.
  17. simon

    simon New Member

    Correct! The substantive weight of regional accreditation does not require DETC accreditation to bolster its credibility or viability.
  18. PaulC

    PaulC Member

    There are lots of reasons to ponder and opine on the subject. As we ponder, the DETC has grown. It continues to accredit new programs and reaccredit existing programs. At the same time, enrollments continue and DETC accredited schools continue to maintain their purpose and utility (without regards to our opinions).

    Why one would choose a DETC school over an RA is confounding only for those that are confounded by the thought. It seems to me an interesting academic dialog but limited in practicality. I have an RA BS, a DETC MS, and an RA PhD. In my particular case - as I really have no interest or application to the case of others - I was served very well by all three of my degrees and each built on the previous in helping me to achieve my objectives.

    I teach, I consult, I mentor for RA institutions. I don't conjecture over the why question that seems to form the basis for the bulk of this thread. I am an "it is what it is" kind of guy and, in my case and the case of thousands of others, there really is limited value on speculating about a phenomenon that may or may not matter to level we imagine it does.

    There are well established facts associated with what makes an RA degree more broadly accepted and offer additional options. Yet, while the facts seem reasonable and clear, it does not deter a great many graduates of DETC accredited programs from finding reasonable success, however that success is personally measured.

    To avoid misunderstanding or misinterpretation, I do not advocate for DETC programs and would, in certain circumstances, advise against. But the distance learner, to be successful, MUST be highly motivated, very self directed, and perhaps most, clear visioned. If that clear vision indicates a DETC degree is not suitable, they should follow their better judgment to a program that will more likely help them achieve their objective.

    However, I can assure, there are thousands of learners that chose a DETC program, and despite the confounded cognitive state it creates for some, still managed to achieve success and fulfillment. It is a fun debate, but the why question is as much for those that want to understand as it is for those that may never understand.

    There is room, rhyme, and reason for national and regional accreditation....apparently.
  19. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I've asked this several times without anyone addressing it: what turf? What, exactly, am I or other like-minded posters "protecting"? I haven't the least bit of investment in the outcome of this discussion.

    Persistent b.s. is going to be met with persistent response. But there is no "turf" to protect and no outcome to produce.
  20. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    No, it is not. It is an assessment without any support. No one has identified "turf" to be protected on this side of the argument. There is absolutely no vested interest in the outcome unless, of course, you're touting DETC to be something it is not in order to puff up the value of your second-rate degree. Holders of degrees from RA schools couldn't care less about the success of DETC. It doesn't matter and affects none of us. But distortions are annoying and will be met with responses. Get used to it, because it graduates of DETC-accredited schools can look forward to bad treatment regarding their degrees at any time.
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