Recently several bloggers including me have been asking if California State Christian University is a diploma mill. They’ve also looked at a cluster of people with honourary degrees, looked at a ‘pastoral counsellor’ organization. The questions are legitimate.
We’ve been asking because several Canadians hold honourary doctorates from California, most notably Charles McVety, President of Canada Christian College, and some of his faculty. But Canada Christian College isn’t the only place the honourary degrees has popped up.
Once bloggers started asking questions, the website to California State Christian University underwent a upgrade (the Canadian URL remains inactive and unchanged)
JKim987 joined WikiAnswers in March 2008 and put this up:
Is California State Christian University a diploma mill?
It is not a diploma mill. California State Christian University is the American extension of Tae Han Theological Seminary and College, Seoul Korea, founded by Dr. Chi Sun Kim.
California State Christian University (CSCU) is a private postsecondary vocational school with religious exemption. We were approved by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education on June 30, 2007; when the Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education Reform Act became inoperative, we and many other California vocational schools entered into a voluntary agreement with the Director of the California Department of Consumer Affairs.
Fair enough. I went through about 300 pages of the Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education Reform Act available at The California Department of Consumer Affairs. (Did I mention it was raining?:^)
All that led me to really was the 2008 49 page voluntary agreement list of private schools in the State of California, page 11. .pdf California Department of Consumer Affairs The paper work was done.
Yes 3302941 California State Christian University 3600 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1140 Los Angeles 90010
This is an updated list of schools in the state, now under the jurisdiction of The Department of Consumer Affairs.
The below-named private postsecondary educational institution shall agree to comply with all of the following: state statutes, rules, and regulations pertaining to private postsecondary institutions or pertaining to non-WASC regionally accredited institutions as defined in Section 94740.5 of the Education Code, as it existed on June 30, 2007, in effect as of the close of business on June 30, 2007, for the purpose of ensuring continued student protection after Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 94700) of Part 59 of Division 10 of Title 3 of the Education Code became inoperative. This agreement shall apply retroactively to July 1, 2007.
From the 2005-2006 fiscal year report of The California Department of Consumer Affairs: Religious Exempt clause
Religious Exempt Institutions
The Reform Act exempts any nonprofit institution owned, controlled, operated, and maintained by a bona fide church, religious denomination, or religious organization. The education offered by the institution is limited to instruction in the principles of that church, religious denomination, or religious organization, and the diploma or degree conferred by the institution is limited to evidence of completion of that education.
Institutions that are exempt can offer degrees and diplomas only in the beliefs and practices of the church. They cannot award degrees in any area of physical science or in any secular areas of study. Religious institutions that wish to be exempt from the Reform Act must provide, each year, evidence demonstrating that they qualify for exemption.
In fiscal year 2005-06, there were 40 religious schools that had qualified for exemption. The Bureau received 264 applications and approved 203 exemption requests.
So what does this approval actually mean? Private institutions may not advertise they have been approved by Consumer Affairs as transitioning to new laws takes effect. Is California State Christian University a diploma mill?
Q. What is the difference between approval and accreditation?
A. Approval is what the Bureau did as authorized by the Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education Reform Act, it was required by California state law for private postsecondary institutions who were not otherwise exempt. Accreditation is voluntary and is done by accrediting commissions or bureaus, not the Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education.
One of the requirements for eligibility to offer student financial assistance authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 is to be accredited by an accreditation agency recognized by the United States Department of Education.
The Wilshire Blvd location matches the business listing for the Los Angeles area. In other words the office is the office. The Northridge house location (campus) has, as Culture Choc noticed, a tax lien.
The WikiAnswer page re-iterates what is up on the US University website.
California State Christian University (CSCU) is a private postsecondary vocational school with religious exemption, approved by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education. California created the Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Schools with a predetermined June 30, 2007 sunset. This is to keep California government streamlined with updated bureaus and committees. A new governing body is forthcoming. CSCU is currently operating under a voluntary agreement with the Director for the California Department of Consumer Affairs.
The Facebook page has a member- James Kim, the gentleman who wrote the WikiAnswer page. Yes, one member.
Guess the alumni don’t do Facebook.
Interestingly I can’t find a thing on Tae Han Theological Seminary and College which is stated to be the founding school in South Korea. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, it just means I haven’t found it.
It isn’t difficult to find California State Christian University’s sister colleges.
A. The Evangelical Order of Certified Pastoral Counsellors of America – a Canadian group, and according to The Galloping Beaver, a lobby group, that is not registered as a lobby group. They are headquartered in Alberta and this self-regulatory board started by the current dean of another Canadian school Dr. Steven Hambly of Victory Bible College International. Former Victory dean, Brian Rushfeldt, now runs The Canada Family Action Coalition.
B. Victory Bible College International is also in Alberta. It is unaccredited, and licenced to operate by the province of Alberta through a private members bill. If you browse a bit at Victory you’ll find ties to another sister school,
C. Rhema Studies of Theology Association, another Canadian offering. It is also registered Canadian Charity, and it’s dean serves on the faculty of Canada Christian College.
D. Next up is Kingdom Covenant Leadership Institute, also in Canada.
We are also associated with Victory Bible Colleges International, California Christian University, Tae Han Graduate Theological Seminary/College of Korea and the Wagner Leadership Institute.
Kingdom Covenant Leadership Institute is recognized (not accredited) by The Evangelical Order of Certified Pastoral Counsellors, and is a member of Association of Christian Schools International. ACSI only accredits primary and secondary institutions.
Dr. Pat Francis of Deeper Life Family Church in Mississauga. Dr. Pat Francisis a radiologist, with her own church, Institute, businesses, charitable registration and honourary doctorate. The Francis Masters degree comes from an unaccredited school headquartered in Georgia.
The Revenue Canada 2006 return for the charity branch (Pat Francis Ministries Inc.) shows more liability than asset. One of the Kingdom Covenant Leadership Institute affiliates is The Wagner Leadership Institute, with Canadian headquarters in Red Deer Alberta.
Not to be outdone is Korea Internet Theological College and Seminary.
I can’t find it. It has to be on the internet somewhere, wouldn’t you think?
Is California State Christian University a diploma mill?
California State Christian University is the United States extension of Tae Han Theological Seminary and College founded in Seoul, Korea by Dr. Chi-Sun Kim.
Dr. Chi-Sun Kim was Presbyterian. When he returned to Korea after studying in Texas he helped start DaeHan Seminary. Some of Chi-Sun Kim’s story is picked upon this reform-online data base. This Duke University data base of Korean educational institutions has no mention of Tae Han Theological Seminary and College. This list from New Zealand also doesn’t have it.
I did find a reference to Dr. Chi-Sun Kim off an obscure document from the Christian Conference of Asia (don’t quote me, because I can’t find it in my history now) He spoke at a seminar, but the document wasn’t dated, there was no reference to Tae Han Theological Seminary and College. There is a reference to a Samuel Say Chang Kim (Chi-Sun Kim’s son) in Wheaton College archives of the 1983 conference for itinerant evangelists in Amsterdam.
T198 – Cassette. ICIE ’83. Message Preparation and Delivery (Asia), Samuel Say Chang Kim. Korean language. July 14, 1983.
Interestingly Lloyd MacKay mentions a hockey game played at Wheaton College a few decades ago in which the McVety clan participated. The hockey game would have had to have taken place priorto Hudson Taylor Armerding leaving Wheaton in 1982 if John Wesley White’s memory serves him correctly. That having been noted as an aside, it isn’t at all a historical stretch to see what might be some name dropping or name using occur to keep a private religious world relatively closed to outside eyes.
Would Canada Christian College, Victory, Rhema etc., even want professors from reputable institutions? It’s unlikely. The organizations jumping off from the ‘sister’ sites operate opening with no oversight. How many people have taken or been given honourary degrees from California?
The only reason I’ve been able to see for California State Christian University to exist is to give Canadians honourary degrees so they can teach at affiliates and stay in the shadows.
I stand to be soundly corrected, as does anyone chasing this, to date no one has stepped forward.
I’ll toss this out. California State Christian University started in 1972. It wasn’t until the 1980′s the FBI took an interest in diploma mills in Operation DipScam.That federal involvement ended in the early 1990′s. The US states are responsible for their schools and with the rise of the internet diploma mills exploded.
What if a small diploma mill in California was never on any regulatory radar screen? What if at the time it was founded (1972) there were few or no regulations?
The people I see benefiting here are Canadians, a sub-group well under the radar of Canadian regulatory bodies, and most definitely not on a California radar screen. If someone had traced this prior to the internet, would they have been given any attention by media? It’s doubtful.
If they had concerns and took them to a regulatory agency, would there have been cause to investigate? Would competing jurisdictions have worked with each other? According to When lobbyists speak in tongues, the current President of Canada Christian College is 48. We know older men have honourary degrees from California, how many of a younger generation do?
California is swamped changing it’s governing process, the key task of The Department of Consumer Affairs was seeing students who have been ripped off in a state with the population of Canada get their money back, and get transferred into educational institutions where credits are recognized. The state is busy cleaning up and tightening up.
We don’t know when California State Christian University handed out it’s last doctorate or to who.
What do we know?
1. California State Christian University has a valid voluntary license with The California Department of Consumer Affairs.
2. It is not accredited with any recognized agencies in the US such as the US Department of Education or The Association of Theological Schools.
3. It’s affiliate schools in Canada are not recognized by ATS; both Victory and Canada Christian College got what they needed through provincial private member bills.
4. If Tae Han Theological Seminary and College is the US extension of a legitimate Korean Seminary, why is not listed as such with the US Department of Education or ATS?
5. California State Christian University is not recognized by accrediting agencies California does accept.
6. California State Christian University is using the past tense in reference to Tae Han Theological Seminary and College. (Tae Han Theological Seminary & College was the first of its kind…)
7. The site doesn’t identify which church, religious denomination or religious organization California State Christian University represents.
Canada Christian College hasn’t the most stellar history, McVety didn’t mind telling the Province of Ontario to take a long walk off a short dock. Victory Bible College International also had to get recognization with a private members bill. None of these institutions are subject to provincial review by assessment or quality assurance overview agencies. The unaccredited organizations clustering around are theologically dubious, let alone questionable economically and academically.
P.S. I’ve sent a couple queries to Korea asking for information on Tae Han Theological Seminary and College.
Related: The Harm of Diploma Mills
Update: Yaya Canada is way ahead of me; Degree or not degree? California State Christian University lists Korean Gospel Missions International, Inc., at the 17145 Devonshire Street, Northridge found through independent research. Note the difference: Korean Gospel Missions Inc. verus the site below.
Facinating that Yoon Kwon Chae, the founder of Korea Gospel Missions International Inc. has a ‘doctorate’ from the same diploma mill as Johnny Hunt, the current president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Both are connected to Immanuel Baptist Theological Seminary at 195 Fischer Rd, Sharpsburg, GA. Lester LeMay:
Bro. Chae began a publishing house in 1964 and started writing tracts and books to spread the Gospel. This has been a continuing ministry and some of his books (in both English and Korean) are presently available through the mission. A printed edition of his doctoral thesis (from Immanuel Baptist Seminary of Atlanta, Georgia), is available as “First Christian Mission to China”.
Update: California State Christian University has changed hands the past year. Dr. Robert Orr has information in the comment section.