Considerations about Accreditation
The University of the Nations offers courses /practicums/ internships in over 160 nations worldwide. Various accredited institutions throughout the world accept UofN transfer students and credits. UofN is a degree granting institution (Associate’s, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees), but has not applied for accreditation in any one nation’s educational system.
UofN recognizes the value of accrediting agencies in maintaining predictability in quality of education. Therefore, UofN will complete the application process with a global accrediting association in the near future. However, this association is in its early stages of development, and will have to go through its own processes of recognition.
Accreditation is a more complex process for the UofN for the following reasons.
1. UofN 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 UofN, students may begin their education in South America, continue it in the United States and complete their UofN degree requirements in Europe. This type of international scope is a challenge for accrediting agencies to validate.
2. UofN is a part of Youth With A Mission (YWAM), an international and multi-denominational missionary network. Normally, accreditation agencies require the separation of the educational institution from the parent organization, thus requiring UofN to separate from YWAM. However, by design, UofN is a part of YWAM and only able to fulfill its purposes as such.
3. The UofN Board of Regents consists of the international and regional coordinators of YWAM global ministries and networks. Accreditation generally requires a partially non-YWAM governing board. However, the present UofN Board of Regents is from a diverse international group, which understands the founding principles of the mission and the university. Since the UofN 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 UofN does have an International Advisory Board, which consists primarily of non-YWAM representatives.
4. UofN 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 programmes. The UofN is establishing a “track record” to demonstrate stability through a history of quality long-term staff with independent support. Presently, the UofN has a growing student population internationally, constant construction of new buildings and projects globally, and a growing force of long-term staff members.
5. 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.
6. Our present library resource strategy is different from that required for accreditation standards in a centralized location. We use electronic technology to access most resources, and those resources will ultimately be made available internationally at many UofN training locations.
The UofN is committed to quality education. As a result, UofN courses are now recognized by many institutions of higher learning, Christian and non-Christian. Our students are accepted as transfer students, and they are given transfer credit for those UofN courses which are comparable to the programmes 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, UofN students show commendable strength. An increasing number of institutions are enthusiastic about accepting UofN 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.