Considerations Regarding Accreditation
The University of the Nations offers courses which may be used toward UofN degrees and field assignments/practicums/internships in over 140 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 reasons given below.
- The UofN is unique in its international missionary training with locations in many countries. 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 will require an international accrediting agency able to validate across many nations and languages.
- The UofN Board of Regents consists entirely of regional representatives from the parent organization, Youth With A Mission. The Board members are from a diverse international group, all of whom are part of YWAM and understand the founding principles of the UofN. The UofN also has an International Advisory Board, which consists primarily of non-YWAM representatives. This combination ensures high academic standards and clear identity. An accrediting agency would need to validate this structure.
- The UofN maintains a staff of volunteer missionaries who must raise their own support independent of their positions with the university. 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 large student population internationally, constant construction of new buildings and projects globally, and a growing force of long-term staff members. An accrediting agency would need to acknowledge that this model is a viable alternative to paid staff.
- Our modular approach to education, as well as the visiting teacher concept utilized in our schools, is a relatively new concept for accrediting boards. At the present time, much of the academic material provided in the courses 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.
The University of the Nations is committed to quality education. As a result, UofN courses are now recognized by many Christian and non-Christian institutions of higher learning. Our students are accepted as transfer students and are given transfer credit for those UofN 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, UofN students show commendable strength. An increasing number of institutions are enthusiastic about accepting UofN students. Many employers or educational institutions rely on the classical accreditation process to assure the quality of a person’s degree. Students who graduate from the UofN may need to describe the unique curriculum, character, and strength of the UofN degree to a potential employer or university to confirm the quality of their educational experience.