Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church Of Epirus

The Universal Accrediting Commission

Evaluating equivalency and credentials for individuals and schools in the field of religion and theology since 1992

THE ACCREDITING AND PROMOTION OF

CHURCH SPONSORED EDUCA­TIONAL INSTITUTIONS

It is our purpose to achieve the best goals possible in securing solid, honest and true religious education of church sponsored institutions and social programs. The objectives and guidelines for accred­iting are as follows:

- The development of universal cooperation in the field of higher religious education, social work and research, as well as the intensifying of exchanges between its member institutions

- The promotion and development of ties of solidarity and friendship between church sponsored institutions accredited by UAC

- Providing technical services to our members and to religious organizations, as well as the creation of instruments of information and documentation concerning religious education and church social work throughout the world

- Providing beneficial cooperation and mutual understanding between these educational and social institutions by more specific identifi­cation of mutual needs, available resources and the potential for jurisdictional support

- The study of concerns or problems of common interest to these schools and institutions being in various locations

- The promotion and organization of symposia, retreats and workshops consistent with the foregoing objectives

- To build, throughout these activities, a strong church sponsored support service and a community able to promote mutual under­standing among people of different ethnic or religious backgrounds, and thus to serve the cause of true love and peace among us all

- To promote general activities, including advertising and publicizing of our member institutions, on a national as well universal level;

- To create and maintain a climate within which member institutions may better train their students or clients in the knowl­edge and skills required in the educational, spiritual or social field

- The collection of statistical or other such information, and the dissemination of it, to our member organizations or other entities as well as the general public

- The promotion of higher educational standards in the religious field and the promotion of higher professional goals along with the development of a code of ethics for member­ship in our accredited institutions and programs

- The promotion of recognition for member institutions by educational authorities and social services by other organizations

- The transfer of credits, training achievements and employment referrals from one to another member institution

We are always pleased to assist those who have achieved great accomplishments in their personal lives as well as in their professional career. Those who operate a school, a social program or an institute are welcome to explore the possibility of recognition through our church sponsored Accrediting Commission.

(Originally issued on July 1, 1997, and reissued on December 12, 2000, by UAC Commissioners)


Commission Guidelines & Details




Jurisdiction

  1. The Universal Accrediting Commission (UAC) shall be an independent agency operating under ecclesiastical auspices.

  2. The UAC shall only be authorized to accredit religious educational institutes of all levels and faiths.

Governance

  1. The UAC is chaired by the Executive Commissioner who governs all affairs pertaining to the operation and authority of the agency.

  2. The Executive Commissioner shall assign, supervise and dismiss other Commissioners as needed.

  3. The Executive Commissioner is installed and supervised by the by an Eastern Orthodox jurisdiction.

  4. The Executive Commissioner’s position is not on a term. Ordinary Commissioners are installed on a one year term or on a case by case task basis (Ad Hoc Commissioner), both with renewable terms.

  5. Commissioners are installed, based on their educational credentials in the field, experience and professional integrity.




Details



The Universal Accrediting Commission (UAC) was founded in the 1980s with charters in both Canada and Greece. By the mid 1990s, the agency extended to the United States and was established as a not-for-profit educational corporation under church supervision and eventually placed under the Orthodox Church of Epirus.


The UAC is governed by a Board of Commissioners and believes that – at affordable membership rates – any school would strengthen its efforts they have worked for in providing quality education. Hence, the UAC has accredited many schools since its inception.


The UAC is not a secular, academic accrediting agency, but a sole ecclesiastical entity serving those who would or could not qualify for academic accreditation, yet are seeking oversight, credibility and recognition granted to them by church authority. This ranges from home schools to Sunday schools to seminaries. Though some theological schools and seminaries are also or solely accredited by government-controlled agencies, such remains to be controversial as to separation of church and State, among other issues.

Accreditation

  1. Final Accreditation must be approved by the Executive Commissioner upon the recommendation of any Commissioner who has accepted, reviewed and recommended an institution for accreditation. The same applies to accreditation renewal.

  2. The initial Accreditation Certificate is issued by the Executive Commissioner bearing both his/her own as well as the assigned Commissioner’s signatures.

  3. The Executive Commissioners assigns all requests for accreditation to one or more Commissioners. Subsequent renewal Certificates are issued by the Executive Commissioner on a one year term.

  4. Copies of all accreditation documents are kept in the UAC archives, accessible only to authorized staff. These documents are treated with highest confidentiality, unless written authorization for release is given by a court of competent jurisdiction.


GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT ACCREDITATION




Accreditation is a process that gives public recognition to institutions that meet certain standards. It is a promise that an institution will provide the quality of education it claims to offer. Accreditation assures the student that the institution operates on a sound financial basis, has an approved program of study, qualified instructors, adequate facilities and equipment, approved recruitment and admission policies, and advertises its courses truthfully.



THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION


The United States has no Federal ministry of education or other centralized authority exercising single national control over post-secondary educational institutions. The individual States assume varying degrees of control over education, but in general institutions of higher education are permitted to operate with considerable independence and autonomy. In order to ensure a basic level of quality, the practice of accreditation arose in the United States as a means of conducting non-governmental, peer evaluation of educational institutions and programs.


[Source: Nationally Recognized Accrediting Agencies and Associations: Criteria and Procedures for listing by the U.S. Secretary of Education and Current List (September 1996), Department of Education, Office of Post-secondary Education, p. 1. - Quoted from the web site of the Department of Education, where they are briefly describing this report. The Department of Education web site is located at: http://www.ed.gov]



A SOBER ANALYSIS OF ACCREDITATION


There is secular education and there is religious education. Secular schools seek secular education, whereas schools of theology, seminary schools and divinity schools receive church accreditation via their own churches or ecclesial jurisdictions.

Religious institutions are not required to obtain secular accreditation, because they do not offer academic programs and degrees. Purely academic and religious interests are different and hence engender separate realms of jurisdiction.

Secular accreditation agencies in turn are recognized by governmental accrediting agencies or agencies accredited by the Department of Education. Religious accrediting is recognized by various religions and Christian denominations which have no secular interest, since their authority is founded on spiritual grounds.

Secular academic education is not superior to church education. Both have different aims and purposes, each enjoying their own validity. It is like civil authorities should not be dictating standards of Christian education, in much the same way as a police officer would not be directing the worship of God.

Strong arguments have been made against theological education being accredited by agencies of government, because this could be perceived as contrary to the principle of Separation of Church and State, indicated by Christ himself when he said, "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's" (Mark 12:17).


THE SPIRITUAL ASPECT OF ACCREDITATION


Over the years the word as used by those involved in higher education has acquired various interpretations, but basically it indicates that some outside body of educators have examined a school and found it to be doctrinally, academically, and financially reliable, and has certified that it meets their ethical standards. The purpose is to simply assure the public that the school is a reputable establishment.

There is no requirement for federal, state or regional accreditation of a religious institution. As a matter of separation of Church and State, civil government has no authority to regulate religious education or which certificates or religious degrees upon completion of such education may be issued. A casual survey of Church history shows that such linkage with the political and secular eventually leads to infringement upon conscience, bondage and corruption, a violation of the religious conscience and sovereignty.


DIVINITY SCHOOL ACCREDITATION


Religious Schools are church accredited and constitute a ministry for the purpose of theological/spiritual education and often the training of clergy. Prior to enrollment, students should not assume that credits will be accepted by secular and other private schools, colleges, businesses or governmental agencies. It is the responsibility of each student to check with school districts, businesses and other institutions in order to determine whether such credits will be accepted.

In order to maintain authentic and uncompromising integrity in teaching or training clergy, as guaranteed in the constitutional right of separation of Church and State, religion does not seek secular, i.e. governmental, recognition and usually rejects interference of such. The degrees earned at a religious school are not academic, such as university degrees, but church credentials that are useful in general and are usually required for ordination.



ADDITIONAL RESOURCES


The United States Department of Education (USDE) does recognize that "a number of post-secondary educational institutions and programs that elect not to seek government accreditation ... may provide a quality post-secondary education" (see statement on the USDE website).

Religious school credits have been accepted at many traditional institutions. It remains the prerogative of admission or evaluating officials at each institution of higher learning, business and agency (on a case-by-case basis) to decide whether they will accept credits.


www.ed.gov - United States Department of Education. The mission of the U.S. Department of Education is to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence for all Americans.

www.accrediting.com - International University Accrediting Association. UNESCO is The educational arm of the United Nations Department of Education

www.chea.org/international/multi-lateral.html - Council on Education Accreditation (CHEA)



UAC Accredited Schools


St. Elias Seminary (as St. Elias School of Orthodox Theology from 1992-2009)

Aloha Christian Theological Seminary (since 2004)

St. Athanasius Institute (since 2006)

World Language Studio, Lincoln, Nebraska (2008-2019)

Meister Eckhart Divinity School, Lincoln NE (since 2015)


Please note that this is not a complete listing. It is updated only upon request. If information is incorrect or if you wish to be listed, please contact us.


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Initial Application


(1) Please ask to have an Application sent to your school. This is usually done via electronic means, unless otherwise requested. Please specify the location and nature of your school. Provide a profile, such as a web site address.

(2) Once your Application is received and accepted, you are asked to submit the Application fee (see scale below).

(3) After your Application and all supporting documents have been reviewed by our commissioners, accreditation can be granted.

(4) Upon completion of the above named requirements, your document will be issued to you. The school will also be listed in UAC directories and may be promoted through ecclesial channels.


Renewal of Accreditation


- If there are no changes to the school's operation, nature and location, simply submit the respective renewal fee by stating "no change".

- If there are changes in the school's operation, nature and location*, please provide the details on the school's stationary, signed (by the director/principal) and sealed (with the school's official seal). Upon review and acceptance of these changes, the school will be asked to submit the renewal fee (see scale below).


*Changes in operation include: School statutes, purpose and mission have changed; school is issuing programs and degrees higher or different than it is accredited for.

*Changes in nature include: School's operational mode has changed; the school classification has changed.

*Changes in location include: School's postal address has changed; the physical location of school facilities have changed; school web address and/or email have changed.


Fee Scale

(as of 3/1/2006)


Primary / Secondary / Home Schools

(Sunday School/Parochial School)

$200 APPLICATION FEE

$400 INITIAL ACCREDITATION

$250 YEARLY RENEWAL

Post Secondary / Graduate Level School (Seminary School)

$250 APPLICATION FEE

$600 INITIAL ACCREDITATION

$400 YEARLY RENEWAL


Post Graduate Level School (Theological School)

$300 APPLICATION FEE

$800 INITIAL ACCREDITATION

$600 YEARLY RENEWAL