The elements of the evaluation and accreditation process at the University of the New World have been alluded to from time to time in this Bulletin. They are:
Whatever evidence of achievement prior to coming to the University a student wishes to place into his personal portfolio, and adds to it or takes from it. The portfolio is created and controlled solely by the student. He can remove it, destroy it or build it up. The University merely holds it.
Actual evidence of achievements at the University deposited by a student in his portfolio: reports, articles, reviews, inventions, transcripts of discussions, certificates, letters of reference, biographical accounts, tapes, memoires, diaries, travelogues, films, musical compositions, scenarios, models, experiments welfare projects, accounts of political and social agitation, an employment history.
Exchanges of letters with professors deposited in portfolio. In anticipation of his wishing evaluation and accrediting, it is recommended that a student, upon completing a project or work program in a Studio or combination of Studios, address a letter to his associated professor, describing what, to his own way of thinking, he has achieved. The Professor must reply, agreeing, qualifying, or adding his own opinion. Copies of these letters are also deposited in the student's portfolio.
The Council of University Friends, elected by the University Assembly, elects in turn the Independent Commission on Evaluation and Accreditation. The Commission has its seat in Sion. It is composed of qualified professional persons from different fields, not professors at the University, who are capable of understanding the evidence of achievement of students and translating it into the standards set by conventional universities of the world.
Upon request from a student for accreditation, which may be a general request for "Where I stand" or a request for specific credits, certificates, or degrees, the Commission opens the portfolio of the student and evaluates its contents.
The Commission writes the transcript, certificate or degree and recommends to the University Assembly that a student be granted it. The Assembly approves and grants the document to the student.
The Student is now equipped for the outside world. It's like a form of money. One does not need money in the family, but he needs some in his pocket to deal with the outer world. In fact, he may need several types, for there are several kinds of currency.
EVALUATION OF EVALUATION
The University's unique method of evaluating and accrediting the achievements of its Members maximizes personal freedom, assures objectivity and full justice in evaluation, and guarantees the high standards of the University. It permits the University's highly distinctive mode of operations to flourish and yet meshes that system into the conventional and degree-conscious academic world.
There is no open-and shut answer to the question of accreditation, neither here nor elsewhere. In a basic sense, accreditation is whatever standing one school will give to another school's students. And in the job field, it means whatever the people who control the jobs recognize as qualifications. In the United States the grading-credit system is breaking down; the accreditation system must in turn weaken. Both changes are part of the disintegration of the old order of education.
The accreditation given by the University of the New World, if and when you asked for it, is an impressive document backed by a strong faculty, good facilities, and an excellent system of studies. In the end, that is what will outface any doubts and collect whatever accrediting recognition is worth having.
Certainly, almost no power can compel some petty bureaucrat at a local teacher licensing board, state legislatures, or foreign governments backed by powerful and entrenched bureaucracies, to grant teacher licenses to well
qualified persons who happen not to have fulfilled certain unnecessary requirements or gone to certain schools. The University can only fight for its Members. It has applied for accreditation with various boards and associations for the benefit of those of its students who require it. It is glad to deal with local superintendents or admissions officers personally. It will be only a matter of time before the name of the University of the New World appears on their lists.
Students of this University can, of course, transfer into other schools. They will probably experience no more difficulty in doing so than students transferring from other good colleges and universities. The University will from time to time issue notices of what to expect. Meanwhile the Member can be confident that, if he wishes to study elsewhere, his University accreditation will carry him into a number of the better schools. And his degrees will be regarded as fully valuable by many of the best corporations and by governments.
Finally, it is well to point out that many students will never need to translate their achievements into conventional legal tender. They may be affluent enough to avoid jobs whose bosses demand credits and degrees. They may want no further work in conventional institutions of learning. Or they reject on principle any submission to the inter-collegiate accrediting system.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?
Although participation in more than three or four Studios is not recommended, this does mean that achievement at the University is measured by the number of Studios a person has experienced. A Member could spend years in one Studio say the Music or Physics Studio alone. In such an extreme instance, it would be up to the Studio faculty and the total University environment to soften the danger of over-specialization in the Studio recluse. At the opposite extreme would be the Studio-hopper who could not maintain a full interest in a project for long; at some point, studio professors would begin to refuse admission. But there is a great variety of useful personal programs between the two extremes.
A person's educational experience at the University is complete when he or she feels such to be the case. Again, with an extreme case, at some point, the pressures of the environment begin to be manifested. The question is asked: "The University has a mission in the world; when are you undertaking it?" In practically all cases, a person will feel the sense of completion; if in doubt, she can ask her faculty and student friends.
The question of how long it takes to obtain a certificate or degree is more easily resolved. A person need only feel qualified to receive one and to request it of the Commission. Then it will either be granted or refused with specified reasons. The elapsed time is not a large factor. A student may enter from an American high school and achieve a B.A. in three or four years. Or five. If in disagreement with the award of the Commission, an appeal may be made to the Council of Friends of the University.
In the final analysis, then, one's experience at the University
of the New World will receive the recognition that it deserves, in the hearts
of its Members and in the eyes of the world.