God Bless the Texas Higher Ed Board

Many in higher education bemoan the role of regional and state regulatory bodies.  Years ago, Eduflack worked with a start-up higher ed company seeking regional accreditation for new graduate programs.  We wanted accreditation fast, and we wanted it a week ago.  Each, week, we seemed to lament the latest hoop to jump, report to write, and visit to prepare for.

We must remember such processes are there for a reason.  Regional accreditors and state higher education boards are there to protect the quality and value of higher education.  Not everyone can run a college out of their basement or a warehouse.  Someone needs to go in and evaluate the quality of the program, the faculty, the facilities, and the school.  Think of these accreditors as the IAB of the higher ed system.  No one wants a visit from internal affairs, but all need to pay attention.

We remember this when we see articles like that recently published in the Dallas Morning News.  It seems the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board rejected a proposal from the Institute for Creation Sciences to establish a “creation sciences” degree for teachers looking to teach an alternative to evolution.  No doubt, legal action is sure to ensue.  Check out the full article here — http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/education/stories/042408dntexcreationscience2.917bf873.html.

I’ll leave the problem of teaching creationism in the public schools aside.  At some point, we need to respect the authorizing process and recognize these state and regional boards know exactly what they are doing.  Opposing this degree in a religiously charged environment like Texas is a hard thing to do.  Someone out there owes the Texas board a word of thanks for standing tall on such a controversial issue.

When I was in higher ed, many liked to say the regulators were simply defending the status quo and protecting the establishing institutions from true innovation.  Maybe that is partly true.  But they also preserve the integrity of our institutions and ensure that a licensed and accredited institution of higher education is held to high standards and is expected to teach proven facts.

Don’t mis-hear me, there is a place for creationism in classroom debate and intellectual discussion.  But what proven scientific texts is one using in a creation sciences?  Who has peer-reviewed the Bible?  And how do you play Devil’s advocate in a discussion on the fourth day of creation?

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