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Roy Alden Atwood New Saint Andrews College Moscow, ID OVERCOMING ACCREDITATION BIAS WITH TRANSFERS & ADMISSIONS 2012 TRACS Conference Chicago, IL.

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Presentation on theme: "Roy Alden Atwood New Saint Andrews College Moscow, ID OVERCOMING ACCREDITATION BIAS WITH TRANSFERS & ADMISSIONS 2012 TRACS Conference Chicago, IL."— Presentation transcript:

1 Roy Alden Atwood New Saint Andrews College Moscow, ID OVERCOMING ACCREDITATION BIAS WITH TRANSFERS & ADMISSIONS 2012 TRACS Conference Chicago, IL

2 Accreditation Bias Regionally Accredited Universities Frequently Deny Transfer of Credits or Admission of TRACS College Students Such denials are often based on the prejudicial assumption that non-regionally accredited institutions are academically inferior. This prejudice against non-regionally accredited institutions persists despite the fact that TRACS is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and CHEA, the same agencies that recognize regional accreditors. More importantly, CHEA explicitly rejects such bias and discriminatory practices. THE PROBLEM ACCREDITATION BIAS WITH TRANSFERS & ADMISSIONS

3 Bias Becomes Discrimination Whenever Receiving Institutions Deny Students Admission or Acceptance of Transfer Credits Solely Because of the Accreditation Status of Their Sending Institution Such treatment in admissions is discriminatory because it does not consider the students 1. Demonstrated academic achievements 2. Previous academic record, or 3. Academic potential, but rejects the student solely on the basis of a mere association with a different form of academic accreditation. THE PROBLEM ACCREDITATION BIAS WITH TRANSFERS & ADMISSIONS

4 Three Examples of Accreditation Discrimination Against New Saint Andrews College Students & Alumni and How We Responded The University of Idaho, ID (NWCCU) Duke University, NC (SACS) Sonoma State University, CA (WASC) THREE CASES ACCREDITATION BIAS WITH TRANSFERS & ADMISSIONS

5 University of Idaho NWCCU Accredited An NSA graduate, who completed his B.A. in Liberal Arts & Culture in three years Summa Cum Laude, applied for graduate study at the UI in His SAT scores for admission to NSA in 2004 were 1530 (V: 800, Q: 730) His GRE scores in 2007 were a perfect 1600 (V: 800, Q: 800, Analytical: 6) Like many others before him, he was denied admission to the UI within a few days of applying solely on the basis of NSAs non-regional accreditation status with TRACS. THREE CASES ACCREDITATION BIAS WITH TRANSFERS & ADMISSIONS

6 University of Idaho His rejection letter (March 7, 2007) said: Unfortunately, you have earned a bachelor degree from an institution that is not accredited by a recognized accrediting association. Therefore we are unable to continue processing your application for admission to a graduate program. THREE CASES ACCREDITATION BIAS WITH TRANSFERS & ADMISSIONS

7 University of Idaho Problem with the UI Statement The State Board of Education recognizes all accrediting agencies which are recognized by the U.S. Department of Educationwhich includes TRACS THREE CASES ACCREDITATION BIAS WITH TRANSFERS & ADMISSIONS

8 University of Idaho The student informed us of his rejection and the reason given. New Saint Andrews contacted the UI Presidents and Registrars Offices with our concerns about this accreditation- based rejection, but we were consistently put off and the student received no further responses. THREE CASES ACCREDITATION BIAS WITH TRANSFERS & ADMISSIONS

9 University of Idaho Final Resolution: The student was denied admission, but New Saint Andrews eventually obtained a stealth articulation agreement. Follow Up (1): The story was reported in the UI student newspaper while the State Board was meeting on the UI campus. We notified the State Boards Executive Director and worked with our state legislators to solve the problem. Several months later the UI agreed to recognize our credits. We now have a course- specific articulation agreement for transfers. Unfortunately, the UI still refuses to publish it on their website. Follow Up (2): The student completed his M.A. at New Saint Andrews and was admitted to the University of Edinburgh. He recently completed his Ph.D. in History there. He is now applying for university-level teaching jobs. THREE CASES ACCREDITATION BIAS WITH TRANSFERS & ADMISSIONS

10 University of Idaho Final Resolution: Follow Up (3): Nine days after this student received his rejection letter from the University of Idaho, another NSA student received this letter (March 16, 2007) from the UI College of Law: Congratulations! I am pleased to inform you that the Admissions Committee has extended you an offer of admissions to be part of the University of Idaho College of Law Class of Your hard work and outstanding academic achievement have set you apart in an always competitive admissions process. THREE CASES ACCREDITATION BIAS WITH TRANSFERS & ADMISSIONS

11 University of Idaho Final Resolution: Follow Up (3): The UI College of Law recognized another one of our graduates as its top student in THREE CASES ACCREDITATION BIAS WITH TRANSFERS & ADMISSIONS Brian Schlect (right) J.D., 2012, University of Idaho; B.A., New Saint Andrews, 2008 Editor, Idaho Law Review ( ), Clerk, 9 th Circ. U.S. Appeals Court, Blackstone Fellow

12 Duke University SACS/ATS Accredited A student completing his M.A. in Theology & Culture at NSA in 2011 applied to a Duke doctoral program. His GRE scores in 2011 were 1310 (V: 620, Q: 690, Analytical: 5) His Cumulative GPA as a graduate student was 3.75 (on a 4 point scale) He was informed by that he would not be admitted to the Duke program on the basis of NSAs national accreditation with TRACS. THREE CASES ACCREDITATION BIAS WITH TRANSFERS & ADMISSIONS

13 Duke University His rejection letter stated: I am pleased to hear of your interest in our Th.D. and in work in Theology and the Arts in general. At the same time, I am afraid I may have some disappointing news. Our admission requirements include a Master's degree in theology in a program that is accredited by the ATS (the normal accrediting body for seminaries). Sometime a program accredited by the regional body for universities can count. But I do not believe that New Saint Andrews College would qualify on either count (bible colleges typically do not). Our accreditation as a university expects that we accept students in graduate studies from schools that are accredited by the regional collegiate accrediting agency that is comparable to SACS here in the south. This would not be TRACS. Likewise, our accreditation by ATS requires that we expect as the prerequisite for the Th.D. a masters degree from an ATS accredited school. As such, I am informed by my dean that a Masters degree from your school would not meet our admissions requirement for the Th.D. THREE CASES ACCREDITATION BIAS WITH TRANSFERS & ADMISSIONS

14 Duke University Problems with Dukes Statements 1. ATS Accreditation Policies on Transfer of Credits do not support the Duke statements re. transfer: ES A theological school has the right and responsibility to determine if it will accept credits for work completed at other institutions toward the degrees it grants. ES If an institution determines that it will accept transfer credits, it should ensure that courses in which the credits were earned were eligible for graduate credit in the institution at which they were taken and, preferably, were completed at an institution accredited by a recognized accrediting body. 2. No Duke University policy or Duke Divinity School policy on transfer supports the specific claims made to the student about ATS or regional accreditation limitations THREE CASES ACCREDITATION BIAS WITH TRANSFERS & ADMISSIONS

15 Duke University The student informed us of the problem and I responded on behalf of the student and New Saint Andrews: While I respect your university's right as an institution to establish its own admission standards and criteria, I would submit that there are at least three inconsistencies with their application in this case. 1. Perhaps most directly relevant to our students interest in your program, at least one of our graduates is currently enrolled as a graduate student at Duke. So an exception to Duke's accreditation policy has already been made with respect to admission of graduates from New Saint Andrews College. 2. None of the requirements you specify would normally apply to international students. Exceptions to the kinds of policies you cite are regularly made by all institutions that admit international students. To invoke such policies with no possibility of an exception with respect to a student from New Saint Andrews seems less than fair or evenhanded. THREE CASES ACCREDITATION BIAS WITH TRANSFERS & ADMISSIONS

16 Duke University (NSA response continued) 3. And finally, the CHEA Statement on Transfer and the Public Interest (http://www.chea.org/pdf/transfer_state_02.pdf), which all CHEA-recognized members (including regionals and ATS) are supposed to follow, states that institutions and accreditors should NOT use accreditation as the sole reason for acceptance or denial. The CHEA statement expects institutions to make sure that "decisions are not made solely on the source of accreditation of a sending program or institution.http://www.chea.org/pdf/transfer_state_02.pdf So I ask you to please reconsider your decision not to consider a New Saint Andrews graduate's work solely on the basis of the USDE and CHEA-recognized accreditation status of our College. Respectfully, Roy Atwood Cc: Dr. Russ Fitzgerald, TRACS, Dr. Jan Friis, CHEA THREE CASES ACCREDITATION BIAS WITH TRANSFERS & ADMISSIONS

17 Duke University Duke Universitys response to our letter: Thank you for your follow up. I am sorry if my response was a bit too sketchy. In speaking of the expectations of our accrediting bodies, I assumed that it would be understood that these are guidelines. That is, there is always the possibility of granting a limited number of exceptions. Moreover, I was not suggesting at all that our sole reason for acceptance or denial was whether ones degree was from a school with specific accreditation. Many reasons go into any acceptance or denial.... So, [your student] is certainly free to apply, and to hope his qualifications are so strong that they would lead us to make an exception. I simply wanted him to be aware that this would be an issue. THREE CASES ACCREDITATION BIAS WITH TRANSFERS & ADMISSIONS

18 Duke University Final Resolution: The student taught for one year, and then applied to this Duke doctoral program last spring and was admitted. He is currently enrolled in the program (Fall 2012). THREE CASES ACCREDITATION BIAS WITH TRANSFERS & ADMISSIONS

19 Sonoma State University WASC Accredited An NSA graduate, who completed his B.A. in Liberal Arts & Culture Summa Cum Laude, applied to the L.V.N. program in Nursing in His SAT scores in 1999 were 1320 (V: 660, Q: 660) He was denied admission to Sonoma State University solely on the basis of NSAs national accreditation with TRACS. THREE CASES ACCREDITATION BIAS WITH TRANSFERS & ADMISSIONS

20 Sonoma State University He first informed us of the problem on August 27, 2010: He wrote me the following, I would like to apply to Sonoma State University (CA state school system). They on the face of it will not accept the NSA degree. They are asking that I employ a credentialing service to analyze my transcripts. THREE CASES ACCREDITATION BIAS WITH TRANSFERS & ADMISSIONS

21 Sonoma State University The College responded by Providing the student with key relevant documents from CHEA and TRACS with links about NSAs accreditation and a list of regionally accredited institutions that had accepted our students to present to the Sonoma admissions staff. THREE CASES ACCREDITATION BIAS WITH TRANSFERS & ADMISSIONS

22 Sonoma State University Final Resolution: Sonoma State reconsidered its initial response. The universitys articulation officer informed the student on August 31, 2010, that Sonoma had recognized his degree. He was admitted to the nursing program that fall. Follow Up The student completed his L.V.N. degree in Nursing at Sonoma State in He now practices nursing in California. THREE CASES ACCREDITATION BIAS WITH TRANSFERS & ADMISSIONS

23 New Saint Andrews General Advice to Students Transferring to Other Institutions The New Saint Andrews College Registrar distributes a letter to all students asking for transcripts to be sent to other institutions. It is our responsibility to educate our students on the politics and challenges of transfer and admissions to regionally accredited schools. ADVICE TO STUDENT S TRANSFERRING TO OTHER INSTITUTIONS

24 Our letter contained the following points: 1.Authority of Receiving Institutions The final authority for all transfer decisions rightfully and appropriately belong to the institution(s) receiving the credit. The transfer policies of all accredited institutions should be published, publicly accessible, and applied consistently and fairly to potential transfer students. ADVICE TO STUDENTS TRANSFERRING TO OTHER INSTITUTIONS

25 2. CHEA Standards for Transfers All CHEA-recognized institutions are supposed to follow the CHEA Statement on Transfer and the Public Interest,* which states that institutions should NOT use accreditation as the sole basis for acceptance or denial: Decisions are not made solely on the source of accreditation of a sending program or institution." The transferability should be based on the student's record and performance first, and accreditation may be considered as a legitimate part of the decision, but not the sole reason. *http://www.chea.org/pdf/transfer_state_02.pdf ADVICE TO STUDENTS TRANSFERRING TO OTHER INSTITUTIONS

26 3. Regional Accreditor Transfer Policies All regional accrediting bodies have their own policies on transfer that should reflect CHEAs standards. For example, the Southern Association (SACS) policy states: The accreditation standards do not mandate that institutions accept transfer credit only from regionally accredited institutions." And the Western Association (WASC) policy states: In reviewing the accreditation status of an institution, special attention should be paid to whether the accrediting agency has received recognition from the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) ADVICE TO STUDENTS TRANSFERRING TO OTHER INSTITUTIONS

27 4. Get It In Writing Students should get any official transfer decisions in writing and not depend on phone conversations alone. And always ask for clarification and documentation. Such documentation may be crucial in an appeal later on, if needed or desired.

28 ADVICE TO STUDENTS TRANSFERRING TO OTHER INSTITUTIONS 5. National v. Regional Accreditation Many regionally accredited college admission offices will initially say they do not accept nationally accredited program credits, but that is not always true. Check the published transfer policy statements on the receiving institutions website or on-line catalog. Also check the transfer policies of the institutions regional accreditor, when possible. If an inquiring student receives mixed signals or conflicting information, communicate directly with the registrar of the institution to confirm the institutions transfer policies.

29 ADVICE TO STUDENTS TRANSFERRING TO OTHER INSTITUTIONS 6. Statewide Regional Only Policies If a government institution resides in a state which has a state-wide "regional only" policy, then the receiving individual institutions may have little to no flexibility (such is often the case, for example, in California, Oregon and Washington). However, if it is not a statewide policy, then the individual institutions may have much more flexibility or potential for flexibility on admission and credit transfer.

30 ADVICE TO STUDENTS TRANSFERRING TO OTHER INSTITUTIONS 7. TRACS: CHEA & USDE Recognized TRACS is recognized by both the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), the same two bodies that recognize all regional accrediting bodies. TRACS-accredited colleges should notify TRACS, CHEA, and the relevant regional accrediting agency whenever their students encounter inappropriate accreditation-based discrimination on transfers or admissions: Dr. Paul Boatner, President of TRACS and/or Dr. Jan Friis, Vice President of CHEA

31 TRACS Institutions: Track Your Transfers Keep a record of all your students and graduates who successfully transfer or gain admission to regionally accredited institutions Sending such a list along with an official transcript or students application may avoid unnecessary delays and unpleasant head- butts later. TRACK STUDENTS TRANSFERS AND GRAD ADMITTEES

32 Some Regionally Accredited & International Universities that Have Accepted NSA Graduates Stephen F. Austin University (TX, SACS)M.A. program in English Boise State University (ID, NWCCU)M.B.A. program in Business Administration University of Dallas (TX, SACS)M.A. and Ph.D. programs in Philosophy and Literature Duke University (NC, SACS)M.A., J.D., Th.D. programs in Liberal Arts, Law, and Theology Edinburgh University (UK)-- Ph.D. programs Erskine Theological Seminary (SC, SACS and ATS)M.A. program Gonzaga University (WA, NWCCU)M.A. program in Philosophy University of Hawaii (HI, WASC)M.A. in Philosophy University of Idaho (ID, NWCCU, ABA)J.D. program in Law Institute of World Politics (DC, MSA)M.A. program in Statecraft and National Security Affairs University of Kentucky (KY, SACS)M.A. in Latin, M.A. in Philosophy Lewis-Clark State College (ID, NWCCU)Program in Nursing Liberty University (VA, SACS)M.A., J.D. programs in Philosophy and Law University of Louisiana-Monroe (LA, SACS)M.A. program in English Notre Dame University (IN, NCA)M.A., M.B.A. programs in Philosophy and Business Oxford University (UK)M.A. in Poetry University of Pretoria (RSA)Th.D. in Theology Princeton University (NJ, MSA)Ph.D. in Political Theology Reformed Theological Seminary (FL, ATS)M.A. program in Christian Thought Regent University (VA, SACS)Law: J.D. program in Law St. John's College (MD, MSA)M.A. in Liberal Arts Sonoma State University (CA, WASC)Nursing University of Stellenbosch (RSA)--Ph.D. in Philosophy University of Toronto (ON)Ph.D. in Medieval Studies Trinity Theological College (UK)Th.D. in Theology Vanderbilt University (TN, SACS)M. Finance University of Washington (WA, NWCCU)Law: LLM Taxation Westminster Seminary in California (CA, WASC and ATS)--M.Div. program Westminster Theological Seminary (PA, MSA and ATS)--M.A. and M.Div programs

33 RESOURCES ON TRANSFERS & ADMISSIONS TO REGIONALLY ACCREDITED INSTITUTIONS Additional Resources On Higher Education (Website) Regional Accreditors Transfer Guidelines accreditation/regional-accreditors-transfer-guidelines/ Council for Higher Education Accreditation (Website) Statement on Transfer in the Public Interest Contacts Dr. Paul Boatner, President of TRACS Dr. Jan Friis, Vice President of CHEA accreditation/regional-accreditors-transfer-guidelines/

34 QUESTION S ON OVERCOMING ACCREDITATIO N BIAS WITH TRANSFERS & ADMISSIONS Questions? If youd like to follow up with me later, heres my contact information:

35 THANK YOU Roy Alden Atwood, Ph.D. President New Saint Andrews College P.O. Box 9025 Moscow, ID (office)


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