Considerations about Accreditation
The University of the Nations offers courses and field assignments in 101 nations worldwide which may be used toward U of N degrees. Various accredited institutions throughout the world accept U of N transfer students and credits. U of N is a degree-granting institution (Associate’s, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, and Graduate Diplomas), but has not applied for accreditation in any nation’s educational system.
U of N recognizes the value of accrediting agencies in maintaining predictability in quality of education. Therefore, U of N may apply for accreditation in the future. However, at this time, we are not in the process of doing so for the reasons given below.
- U of N is unique in its international missionary training scope with locations in many countries. Validation by an accrediting agency in one nation could be limiting. With the U of N, students may begin their education in South America, continue it in the United States and complete their U of N degree requirements in Europe. This type of international scope is a challenge for accrediting agencies to validate.
- U of N is an integral part of Youth With A Mission (YWAM), an international and multi-denominational missionary organization. Normally, accreditation agencies require the separation of the educational institution from the parent organization, thus requiring U of N to separate from YWAM. However, by design, U of N is an integral part of YWAM and only able to fulfill its purposes as such.
- The U of N Board of Regents consists of the YWAM Global Leadership Team (GLT) and representatives from the YWAM 23 worldwide regions, fields and ministry divisions. Accreditation generally requires a partially non-YWAM governing board. However, the present U of N Board of Regents is from a diverse international group which understands the founding principles of the Mission and the University. Since the development of U of N is still in a formative stage and needs freedom to grow into the fulfillment of the purposes for which it was created, we do not believe that it is right to form a non-YWAM governing board. The U of N does have an International Advisory Board which consists primarily of non-YWAM representatives.
- U of N maintains a staff of volunteer missionaries who must raise their own support independent of their positions with the University. Accrediting agencies require salaries for university staff members on the basis that a good solid income helps to ensure stability in the university system and quality in its program. The U of N is establishing a “track record” to demonstrate stability through a history of quality long-term staff with independent support. But for now, the lack of salaries for staff could preclude accreditation. Presently, U of N has a growing student population internationally, constant construction of new buildings and projects globally, and a growing force of long-term staff members.
- Our modular approach to education as well as the visiting teacher concept utilized in our schools is generally unknown by accrediting boards. At the present time, much of the academic material provided in the school is presented by long term staff members in conjunction with visiting speakers, who generally have excellent credentials and high qualifications. Nearly all visiting teachers have extensive international experience and are able to present a broad perspective in their fields of expertise.
- Our present library resource strategy is different from that required for accreditation standards in a centralized location. At present, we are planning and developing a worldwide educational resource network. We utilize electronic technology to access most resources, and those resources will ultimately be made available internationally at many U of N training locations. In the meantime, each school is adding to its resource materials. We are planning to develop CD-ROM reference libraries that will be made available to U of N training locations worldwide.
To further support U of N development, a Master Plan and a Development Guide were produced in 1979 in the earliest stages of the University’s development. These provided clear definitions and goals for the University prototype in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Documentation, admissions and records procedures, examinations and evaluations have been in operation. The International Registrar Offices maintain school and student records and disseminate information for the University worldwide.
The U of N is committed to quality education. As a result, U of N courses are now recognized by many institutions of higher learning. Our students are accepted as transfer students, and they are given transfer credit for those U of N courses which are comparable to the programs of the receiving institution. Courses do not transfer on a one-for-one basis, but neither do the courses of other universities. Accreditation is not always the main factor in that decision. The major factor is quality of instruction, recognized by the depth and quality of student learning. On that basis U of N students show commendable strength. An increasing number of institutions are enthusiastic about accepting U of N students. Of course, the lack of accreditation can leave certain professional doors closed. But for many students, this is not an insurmountable problem. It all depends on the career or profession the individual student is pursuing, for what purpose, and in which nation. Attention is called to the fact that U of N is not accredited by written statements such as: THE UNIVERSITY OF THE NATIONS IS NOT ACCREDITED BY AN ACCREDITING AGENCY RECOGNIZED BY THE UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF EDUCATION. Note: In the United States, many licensing authorities require accredited degrees, as the basis for eligibility for licensing. In some cases, accredited colleges may not accept for transfer, courses and degrees completed at non-accredited colleges, and some employers may require an accredited degree as a basis for eligibility for employment. U of N in the USA (Kona, Hawaii) has been evaluated by the US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and is recognized as qualified to accept I-20 student visas.