As a training center dedicated to honoring and glorifying God in all we do, TUMI is unashamedly committed to academic excellence and quality leadership education. Every resource and program represents our commitment to excellence and God-honoring leadership education that rivals the most rigorous and prestigious programs today. Nevertheless, we have deliberately chosen to remain non-accredited. Why?
To be sure, accrediation in most cases and venues is commendable and beneficial for any leadership training center, affording its students the credibility of accredited studies and the ability to transfer credit to other sister institutions. However, because many of exorbitant prices and academic standards preclude the involvement of many urban leaders from attending, accreditation actually severely limits the student pool of prospective students for ministry education, and effectively shuts out the vast majority of urban applicants in many of our traditional seminaries and Christian liberal arts schools.
In light of these unfortunate circumstances, TUMI has elected to remain unaccredited, not as a cover for supposed mediocrity, but as our way of ensuring that all of our premiere programs and resources can be accessed by any urban leader who is serving their churches and advancing the Kingdom of Christ in the city, and who also may not have either the large sums of funds or the academic background to qualify for that training.
Although we are not accredited, we do affiliate with the Association of Biblical Higher Education, a fine accrediting association of schools and seminaries. Furthermore, we also partner with some accredited liberal arts schools and seminaries where our faculty teach and offer courses. Also, select TUMI courses taken for credit can be transferred to an accredited seminary which recognizes them for graduate level credit.
The Case For and Against Accreditation
In a real sense, the process of academic accreditation was designed to protect students from fraudulent and unethical diploma mills that were suspect academically and criminal ethically. Who among us has not heard of a get-certified-quick kind of enterprise promising a Ph.D. through a phone call and a money deposit? The Urban Ministry Institute affirms and embraces the legitimacy of the various credentialing associations, and believe them in the main to be helpful, responsible, and credible enterprises that move forward responsible scholarship and higher education.
Nevertheless, TUMI has deliberately chosen to operate as a non-accredited training institution. This decision in no way speaks of any desire to ignore traditional academic and ministry standards for its educational programming. Again, we have chosen not to participate in formal accreditation processes in order to remain available to as many students as possible. While accreditation establishes strong criteria to ensure educational and professional excellence, the process can both unknowingly and unfortunately eliminate or exclude many deserving potential students who, because of lack of funds or poor educational background, become disqualified from the leadership eduation offers.
From the beginning, TUMI has asserted that the call of God and the gifting by his Holy Spirit are the ground of all authentic leadership service. In conjunction with this, practical ministry experience becomes one of the most essential prerequisites for those desiring and deserving ministry training. We believe it is our responsibility as a missions-based training center to remain available to students who are called of God regardless of financial status or academic background. Therefore, we unashamedly make our training available to students who, under traditional circumstances, would never be able to participate in seminary-level instruction. Truly, it is not by power, nor by might, but by the Spirit of the Lord that men and women are called into the ministry of the Gospel (Zech. 4.6).
Again, our decision to remain non-accredited does not, in any way, reflect a lack of commitment to academic excellence. On the contrary, we believe that those preparing to do God's work deserve a faculty who has been well-prepared academically and programs that present an intellectual challenge. At The Urban Ministry Institute, students will find courses that are both stimulating and demanding, along with a faculty of experienced ministers and missionaries who have earned degrees from outstanding colleges and universities.
Accredited Partnership Training
Although TUMI has chosen to be and remain non-accredited in order to keep our resources available to deserving urban leaders who seek our training, we also are unashamedly committed to academic excellence and quality leadership education. We demonstrate this commitment not only in the quality of our educational programming, but also how we partner with accredited liberal arts schools and seminaries where our faculty teach and offer courses.
Below is a list of Accredited Academic Partnerships we have developed here at TUMI.