Canadian Evangelical college denied university status

This is good news. While Canada does have Evangelical colleges and universities, these are quite different from such institutions in the US like BIOLA and Liberty, in that they provide legitimate high quality education in all non-religious subjects and do not endorse creationism and other anti-scientific views. Canada Christian College would almost certainly have been an exception if its application had been approved.

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Biola can’t be grouped with Liberty like that, and in many respects does provide quality education.

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I think it’s also important to separate out the difference between particular academic programs and the institution academically overall, from particular issues.

Biola and Liberty are both fully accredited institutions like any state or secular university. And Liberty for instance, has ABET accredited engineering programs, CACREP accredited counseling, etc.

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The concern I would have with Evangelical colleges teaching counseling and psychotherapy is how they resolve the potential conflicts with their religious beliefs especially with sexual orientation and marital abuse. For example many Evangelicals deny or ignore the dangers of reparitive therapy and continue to believe that is a valid treatment for homosexuality.

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So one thing to note is that, in my experience, a “generic” Evangelical is a lot different than an Evangelical who has pursued a terminal degree (let’s say at a reputable public university), gone through state licensure, and is now in practice and teaching at an Evangelical university.

For one, at quite a few CCCU (Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, a good approximation for “Evangelical universities”) schools you will find Catholics, conservative Mainline Protestants, and a variety of denominations working there. Some are definitely more denominational limited, for sure, but my point is that within Evangelical academia there’s a pretty diverse mix.

Secondly, the academics at most Evangelical schools are similar, if not identical to public universities. For instance, when I teach General Chemistry, the content and assessments are the same as if I taught it at the R1 down the road. Even many Biology departments are very similar. And certainly in specially accredited programs (Counseling, Nursing, Engineering, etc.) they must meet all the same standards of content and quality that any other school would.

So I understand the general concern to be, “what happens when Evangelical commitments conflict with the consensus view of the field?” That’s a significant concern, for sure, but one thing I’m trying to point out is that for the vast majority of majors/programs that is not an issue. Many Evangelical universities have programs with excellent reputations within the field and produce graduates who go on top graduate schools, leadership within the profession, etc.

But what about the places where there does seem to be a conflict? Counseling, psychology, sociology, etc. seem to be big ones right now. I think you’ll find most such programs at Evangelical schools are trying to quietly and carefully navigate those issues in such a way that they can clearly follow the professional standards of the field (CACREP, APA, etc.) while maintaining the freedom to not violate their conscience and the theological commitments of the university. It can be very complicated, but I think the faculty at most schools are trying to do their best to honor both academic/professional field and Church. Some can’t do it and have to leave. Sometimes university trustees and presidents force the issue. However, most of the time faculty are quietly going about the business of higher education, even at places like Liberty.

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I agree that is the likely case with most counselors and therapists, but I still wish there was a way to weed out the not so good ones and not just from religious colleges.

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BIOLA gave Doug Axe an endowed chair. That’s enough for me to group them together, though I don’t deny that BIOLA is able to provide quality education in many areas.

Thankfully, accreditation of a college or university is not the only level of scrutiny that applies here. There will be organizations in any jurisdiction that enforce specific standards and practices for members. It is still up to the individual seeking therapy to be aware of which bodies do so in their region, and to ensure their therapist is a member, however. Not everyone is aware that literally anyone can put up a sign calling themselves a “psychotherapist” and start charging money with no training or qualifications whatsoever.

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At least those of us who are old enough to remember Peanuts should be well aware of this:
Lucy

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Well Liberty is far more aligned with YEC than ID.

Doug Axe was not the best choice of chair, but they didn’t have many options then. The situation is different now, and I wonder how they will adapt.

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8 posts were split to a new topic: Doug Axe’s Position at Biola

@Faizal_Ali , I have a couple comments and a question about the article:

  • The school is already accredited, as I understand it, but it’s limited to offering programs in “theology, religious education and Christian counseling”. They were asking to be able to offer general arts and science degrees (transitioning from a specialized religious education college to a general university).
  • They wanted to change the name from Canada Christian College to Canada University, which makes it sound like they were trying to generalize their offerings. College → University is a common change, but dropping “Christian” is interesting.
  • I don’t know Canadian higher ed that well, are colleges focusing only on religious education rare? In the US there are quite a few “Bible colleges” that offer 1 yr certificates, Associates, and Bachelors degrees as preparation for seminary training or service as ministers. They don’t offer “regular” academic programs and usually it’s pretty clear what their purpose is. That’s totally different than a private religious or denominationally-affiliated universities, like King’s College or Trinity Western.

The article makes this sound like a political battle (I don’t know who this Doug Ford is) and this school sounds like a bit of a pawn. Maybe a willing pawn …

Checking out their course offerings, Canada Christian College [CCC] offers a very narrow and ministry oriented selection, and little in terms of the usual philosophy, literature, or survey courses found even in decent Bible colleges. From what I have observed, institutions make some efforts to develop programming first before seeking formal recognition, rather than the other way around.

CCC seems to have developed a Korean Department, which is dedicated to training Korean ministers in a bilingual environment. I am speculating, but building on this would be an impetus for the desired name change. From trade school to graduate degrees, foreign students, especially Asian, have become a major Canadian market. CCC is trying to lump themselves in with “Canada’s most prestigious universities including McGill University and the University of Toronto.”

Working alongside a well-balanced curriculum, students will receive a quality education in preparation for their career and the opportunity to truly immerse in the North American academic life at its highest level while embracing what Canada uniquely offers – its world-class nature and multiculturalism.

There is no shortage of Bible colleges in Canada. I graduated from one in 1980. I did not pursue ministry, and outside of such a vocation, I can vouch from personal experience that such a diploma amounts to a liability in the marketplace.

True. Universities such as Trinity Western or Ambrose are respectable, and extending university status to Canadian Evangelical College could only depreciate their recognition.

So far as the CCC stance on evolution is concerned, the course description for Theo 445 offers some indication:

This course introduces students to the history, assumptions, and development of the theory of evolution. Students examine the theory of evolution against the truth of scripture as well as present models of modern science to uncover inconsistencies and weaknesses in the theory. Issues considered in this course include intelligence design, creation, geological ages, geological catastrophism and Biblical catastrophism, anthropology and biological changes in species.

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A few more links in regards to CCC’s application for university status…

Four reasons to deny university status to Canada Christian College

Higher Education Strategy Associates

the idea that a review panel of Canadian scientists would ever green-light a Science degree from an institution run by a creationist is simply a non-starter.


Charles McVety denounces ‘vicious attacks’ as Canada Christian College is denied university status

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That 2nd article, though written before this decision, is very good and cleared up some things I was uncertain about.

Even if you don’t know who Doug Ford is, you probably have heard of his brother, the late former mayor of Toronto Rob Ford.

That article @RonSewell posted provides some information on this, but in brief the President of Canada Christian College, Charles McVety, supported Ford when he ran for leadership of the Conservative Party and this support was crucial to Ford winning a very close race. The legislation granting CCC university status was widely seen as Ford’s way of returning the favour. But in retrospect it seems to have been an empty gesture, as the approval was contingent on the agreement of the PEQAB, which McVety had already applied to prior to the legislation. So one rather cynical way of looking at this is that Ford played McVety, gaining his support and giving nothing in return.

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Perhaps only tangentially related to this discussion, but I was mildly shocked to learn today that former US Congresswoman (and unhinged wingnut for life) Michele Bachman holds the position of “dean of Regent University’s Robertson School of Government.” I can’t someone so unqualified being a dean at any Canadian University.

Ummm, Regent University is in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Yes. Sorry if I was unclear. It does not surprise me that this happened at a US “University.” I am just pointing out that it would be unimaginable here. Or so I hope.

Yes, I suggested on another topic that “celebrity counts more than academic chops” at such institutions. Dinesh D’Souza’s presidency of The King’s College also comes to mind.

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