Blue Marble University, which specializes in offering 3 year online doctoral programs for working adults and early admission doctoral programs for high school graduates is an alternative education provider. And we are proud to be advancing the model for what higher education should be. The two main points to be made about the accreditation of Blue Marble University programs are:
First: Accreditation Is Irrelevant to Alternative Education Universities
Blue Marble University is about advancing alternative education in the growing parallel education system free from the hordes of self-serving accreditors! Accreditation erects barriers to education reform and has got to go. And we are not the only ones that believe so. This brief article that exposes “accreditation” for what it is presents so clearly what we already instinctively know that we repost here:
“Higher education is not on a sustainable path. Underlying business models are crumbling, costs are spiraling, and there is for the first time significant doubt in the minds of parents and employers about the value of a college degree.
Accreditation and accreditors featured prominently in my book Abelard to Apple: The Fate of American Colleges and Universities. College accreditation is costly, parasitic, self-perpetuating, and prone to abuse. It is increasingly ineffective and doomed to fail in its primary role of quality-assurance. Most people who turn their attention to higher education are stunned by the barriers that formal accreditation erects to meaningful reform, a point Jane Shaw recently made.
I am not sure that those barriers matter much anymore. The foundations of higher education have been shaken over the last twelve months. Accreditation, like other parts of the existing edifice, is not as stable as it once was.
The six regional accrediting agencies guard access to precious federal grants and loans, but the real, crushing weight of accreditation lies in the ecosystem that it fosters. In addition to the government-certified accreditors, there is an entire network of ad hoc gatekeepers and auditors who want to make sure that the requisite number of live lecture hours are adhered to, that faculty credentials are up to snuff, and that quality improvement programs are in place.
A provost who wants job security must appear to come down on the side of quality and so would be hard-pressed to tell any of these groups “Enough!” The list just keeps growing.
Some accrediting is actually useful. For example, ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) accreditation, which accredits engineering programs, is not required by any federal agency, but is nevertheless a much sought-after seal of approval. Most accreditation, however, is not sought after but is regarded as a useless burden.
Not content with certifying program content, accreditors usually insist on helping. They want to make things better, and accrediting review committees are generally filled with true believers who have faith that assessment, review, data collection and continual improvement processes are the way to do it.
The real cost of accreditation lies in the proliferation of quality-guarding helpers who want to add to the pile of unneeded and unvalidated processes and requirements. It is not unusual for a comprehensive state university to have to respond to 40 or more different accreditors. Stanford–a university usually ranked among the top five in the world–spends 8 cents of every tuition dollar on accreditation.
There are critics who claim that institutions cling to the structure of accreditation as a sort of exclusionary club and therefore promote and sustain it. It is true that the accreditation industry is self-perpetuating, but institutions have been victims, not co-conspirators. It is reviled equally by faculty members–some of whom compare accreditors to jack-booted police–and presidents who somehow have to justify spending tuition dollars on dozens of fake quality assessments.
[Richard DeMillo, “Accreditation–or Real Quality Assurance?”, The Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, January 2013, now the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal ]
Second. The Public Has Accepted the Advantages of Innovative Online Offerings and Has Voted Their Acceptance by Increasing Attendance at Online Colleges and Universities, Accredited or Not
As noted by Richard DeMillo, above:
“It is now economically feasible for a student anywhere in the world to piece together, jig-saw like, a curriculum that matches his or her needs and to have both the curriculum and the student’s performance certified in a way that is accepted by academic institutions and employers alike. The focus on higher education has irrevocably shifted from institutions to students.”
And, from a paper by Paul Leblanc for Inside Higher Ed:
“Online learning has provided a platform for rethinking delivery models and much of accreditation is not designed to account for these new approaches…. If regional accreditors are unable to rise to that challenge they might see new alternative accreditors emerge and be left tethered to incumbent models that are increasingly less relevant or central to how higher education takes place 10 years from now.” [Inside Higher Ed just released a report by Paul J. LeBlanc titled: “Accreditation in a Rapidly Changing World” (January 31, 2013)]
This interview with Buck Smith published 2016 at Evoluttion says it all:
“Unaccredited Providers Are Changing the Shape of the Higher Education Industry”
“Unaccredited providers are making their case for student enrollments and dollars, and have fundamentally changed the shape of the higher education ecosystem as institutions and the federal government adapt to their popularity and growth.
Today’s higher education marketplace looks remarkably different than it did even 10 years ago. While online and distance programming has long been available, the growth of unaccredited education providers and their popularity among prospective students is changing the shape of the postsecondary ecosystem in the United States.”
[Buck Smith, “Unaccredited Providers Are Changing the Shape of the Higher Education Industry” (January 6, 2016): https://evolllution.com/managing-institution/higher_ed_business/unaccredited-providers-are-changing-the-shape-of-the-higher-education-industry/
We believe that Blue Marble University will be on the right side of history, in that the public’s demand for quality and scholarly offerings delivered affordably will be met. And it will be met by virtual university models such as Blue Marble University, which, as they say, is “writing the book” on online education and serves as an excellent model for what Alternative Education should be.
Blue Marble University. Unaccredited yet Equivalent to doctoral degrees from regionally accredited US colleges and universities.
Our doctoral degrees, as most foreign education degrees, are accepted in the USA as being equivalent to a regionally accredited USA college or university, as determined by a professional foreign credentials evaluation service. We are “equivalent” because all of our doctoral degrees are comprised of a minimum 72 trimester credit hours, the minimum required in the USA. If you were to attend a university overseas, it would not be “accredited”. Yet many people with overseas education use that education in the USA. They have their degrees approved as equivalent to a regionally accredited USA college or university by one of the many foreign education credential evaluation services.
Because all of our doctoral programs require a minimum of 72-trimester credits of study, they are equivalent to the minimum requirements for a regionally accredited USA college or university doctoral degree. Therefore, graduates of our doctoral programs are qualified for most state and federal jobs based on our degree being equivalent to a USA doctoral degree. Graduates can if needed and for a nominal fee, receive a certificate from various foreign credential evaluators to the effect that the doctoral degree issued by Blue Marble University is equivalent to a doctoral degree issued by a regionally accredited USA college or university.
Please visit us at BlueMarbleUniversity.com