1. #1
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    Question Columbia Southern University

    Ok, I hope that I am posting in the right area. I read a few of the threads about different online colleges, but I didn't see anything about Columbia Southern University. Has anyone heard how their BS in Fire Science is. I am currently enrolled in my first semester at CSU, I start tommorow. I just want to avoid paying anymore of my money to them if they are worthless.

    I do have some experience with firefighting and emergency response. I would like to have a degree of some sort to have something to fall back on. I hope that I don't have to fall back on it, but I don't want to be unprepared. I am open to all advice and yes, even criticism.
    Thank you so much.
    Jennifer
    Last edited by JenniferCleary; 08-31-2006 at 05:09 PM.

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    A fellow firefighter and myself just enrolled in CSU and will be sarting very shortly. CSU accepts a lot of transfer credit and seems to be the most reasonable in cost per course (about $525 per 3 hour course). I have an A.A.S. in Fire Technology and a B.S. Safety Engineering but in order to move up and out it seems Fire Science is the way to go. My employer reimburses my tuition so I am looking forward to this. I know there are some in this forum who are enrolled and have said some good things about CSU so I hope you stick with it and give it a try.

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    Thank you so much for your reply. I am now in my second week of class. I have already finished my math class except for the Final Exam, I like math. But my English is not going as well as I had hoped. Seems like it got a lot more strict from what I remember. They excepted 11 of my 12 previous college credits, and seem to be very helpful and friendly. I had never heard of CSU before, only the larger colleges such as UMUC, and Keiser, so wasn't sure what to expect. So far so good.

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    Word to the wise, check the accredidation status!

  5. #5
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    Default Long path to the answer . . .

    Unfortunately, there are three types of accreditation:

    1) educational programs that meet a specific profession or vocation. For paramedic programs, it is the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services http://www.coaemsp.org/

    2) educational and training organizations that meet federal or state requirements for tuition reimbursement. Truck driving schools, computer training institutions as well as colleges and universities.

    3) educational institutions that meet voluntary ACADEMIC accrediting requirements in order to issue degrees and academic transcripts that are acceptable to other educational institutions.

    There are eight regional accrediting organizations that handle the ACADEMIC issues:

    Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Middle States Commission on Higher Education

    New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Institutions of Higher Education

    New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Technical and Career Institutions

    North Central Association of Colleges and Schools The Higher Learning Commission

    Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

    Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

    Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

    Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities

    Link to Council for Higher Education Accreditation on "diploma mills"
    http://www.chea.org/degreemills/default.htm

    Completely distance education colleges and universities

    From the United States Department of Education:
    http://www.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accr...ation_pg8.html

    DISTANCE EDUCATION AND TRAINING

    Distance Education and Training Council, Accrediting Commission
    1959/2001/F2006
    Scope of recognition: the accreditation of postsecondary institutions in the United States that offer degree programs primarily by the distance education method up through the first professional degree level, and are specifically certified by the agency as accredited for Title IV purposes; and the accreditation of postsecondary institutions in the United States not participating in Title IV that offer programs primarily by the distance education method up through the first professional degree level.

    Title IV Note: Institutions accredited by this agency for Title IV purposes are ineligible under current law to participate in Title IV programs with the exception of the Distance Education Demonstration Project.

    Michael P. Lambert, Executive Director
    1601 18th Street, NW
    Washington, DC 20009
    Tel. (202) 234-5100, Fax (202) 332-1386
    E-mail address: Detc@detc.org
    http://www.detc.org

    From the The Distance Education and Training Council website
    http://www.detc.org/degree.html#CSU

    Columbia Southern University
    25326 Canal Road
    Orange Beach, AL 36561
    Phone 1-800-977-8449 or 251-981-3771; Fax 251-981-3815
    Web Site: http://www.columbiasouthern.edu
    Founded: 1993
    First Accredited: 2001
    Next Review: 2010

    Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business, and Bachelor of Science Degrees in: Business Administration, Criminal Justice Administration, Environmental Management, Fire Science, Occupational Safety and Health, Hospitality and Tourism, Information Technology, Marketing, Human Resource and Health Care Administration. Graduate Programs: Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Science in Criminal Justice Administration, Master of Science in Occupational Safety and Health. Undergraduate Certificate Programs in Finance, Fire Science, Hospitality and Tourism, Human Resource Management, Information Technology, International Management, Management, Marketing, Project Management, and Sport Management. Advanced Undergraduate Certificate Programs in Finance, Fire Science, Hospitality and Tourism, Human Resource Management, Information Technology, International Management, Management, Marketing, Project Management, and Sport Management. Graduate Certificate Programs in Environmental Management, Finance, Health Care Management, Hospitality and Tourism, Human Resource Management, International Management, Marketing, Project Management, Public Administration, and Sport Management. Doctor of Business Administration. (Note: DETCís scope of recognition by the U.S. Secretary of Education and CHEA is for courses and programs through the first-professional degree level. DETC will be seeking the U.S. Secretary of Educationís recognition of its expanded scope of activity to include professional doctorate degrees in late 2006.

    Link to the U. S. Department of Education on Accreditation page
    http://www.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accr...ex.html?src=qc

    From the Office of Postsecondary Education "Postsecondary Educational Institutions and Programs Accredited by Accrediting Agencies and State Approval Agencies Recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education":

    Columbia Southern University

    General Information IPEDS ID: 900950
    24847 Commercial Avenue
    Orange Beach, AL 36561

    For more information about this institution, visit www.columbiasouthern.edu

    ACCREDITATION

    National Institutional and Specialized Accrediting Bodies
    Distance Education and Training Council, Accrediting Commission
    Distance Education and Training (DIST) - Distance education institutions offering non-degree and associate, baccalaureate, and master's degree programs primarily through the distance learning method

    __________________

    MY SUGGESTION:

    1) Call DETC to determine what the "first professional degree level" means. I do not know what level that is.

    2) Check with your employer to assure that a CSU degree meets their requirements.

    3) I am concerned about the statement "I am now in my second week of class. I have already finished my math class except for the Final Exam." A two week math class implies a program that is more diploma mill than a distance education academic program.

    4) My understanding of academic accreditation is that your institution must be accredited by one of the eight regional agencies. An academic program that just has DETC accredited may not be accepted by my institution. For example, Cappella University only offers online programs and it is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

    I coordinate a 2+2 program that gets students from their associate (or equivalent) to a bachelor degree. Prior to this job I ran a community college fire science program that is part of the Virginia FESCHE model. Virginia is the first state to implement a coordinated training-certification-education model along the National Fire Academy guidelines.

    I will check with the queen of admissions tomorrow.

    Mike

    Assistant Professor Michael J. Ward
    Undergraduate DE Degree Coordinator
    Emergency Health Services Programs
    Department of Emergency Medicine
    The George Washington University
    2150 Pennsylvania Ave., NW. Ste 2B-406
    Washington, DC 20037

    http://home.gwu.edu/~mikeward/
    Last edited by MikeWard; 06-18-2006 at 06:08 PM.

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    Mike:

    That is good information on accreditation. I am currently enrolled in a distance learning program at Charter Oak State College. Understanding the accreditation of schools seem to be a common problem. Anyone thinking about distance learning should be careful-there are lots of less than ethical institutions out there, all willing to take your cash and give you a worthless degree. Be careful of schools that are only state licensed (or approved); this may mean that they have only filled out the paperwork to operate as a business. Another one to watch out for: a group of schools deem themselves accredited by an organization that sounds close to the ones Mike mentioned. A little research usually shows the "presidents" of these schools are also on the accreditation board. They simply accredit each others institutions.

    A good resource for distance learning is Bear's Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning

    There is a really good forum for distance learning here.

    Good luck in your studies.
    -------------------
    "The most mediocre man or woman can suddenly seem dynamic, forceful, and decisive if he or she is mean enough." from "Crazy Bosses"
    -----------------------------------------------
    Genius has its limits, but stupidity is boundless.

  7. #7
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    Default From Bear's Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning, 16th edition

    Page 39

    Chapter 8 Accreditation

    "... while most schools with regional accreditation will recognize credits and degrees issued by other schools with regional accreditation, less than half will recognize a student's achievements from a DETC-accredited school, even though both accreditors meet CHEA standards, ..."

    Mariah P. Bear with Thomas Nixon (2006) Bear's Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning. 16th editon. Berkley; 10 Speed Press.

    My university will only recognize course work from a college or university that has a regional accreditation.
    Last edited by MikeWard; 06-19-2006 at 03:29 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default Some Virginia suggestions

    Jennifer:

    You can get almost all of your community college classes online, thanks to a push by Governor Warner.

    Start here:
    http://www.vccs.edu/vccsonline/index.html

    There are 22 community colleges throughout the Commwealth, find the one that serves your community and get enrolled. Since 2005 the state has a single statewide dataframe:

    Thomas Nelson serves the Williamsburg area http://www.tncc.edu/

    Tidewater is the nearest VCCS campus that offers the fire science technology curricula.

    MY suggestion is that you obtain an Associate of Science or Associate in Arts from Thomas Nelson in whatever interests you.

    If you decide to get an Associate in Applied Science you may be short in the math, english, science and humanities/social science classes you need.

    You may want to consider getting a degree in emergency management. It has more applications and flexibility.

    If you really want to get a Bachelor Degree in Fire Management from University of Maryland University College, there are a couple of VCCS Fire Science Technology classes that are on-line, but you may need to take some courses from one of the other on-line community college fire science programs:

    University of Cinncinati: http://www.uc.edu/programs/viewprog.asp?progid=2557

    Pikes Peak Community College: http://www.ppcc.edu/Academics/Departments/FireScience/

    Chemeketa Community College:
    http://online.chemeketa.edu/degrees...tes/default.asp

    Keiser College:
    http://www.keisercollege.edu/fpf/

    there are others . . .

    Good luck

    Mike
    Last edited by MikeWard; 06-24-2006 at 03:28 PM.

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    Thank you Mike,
    I have looked at both TCC , and J. Sergeant Reynolds, they both offer an Associates in Fire Science. Columbia Southern offers a Bachelors, as to the math class.....I took the easiest class I could...I know it is shameful.....I took AP Calculus while still in highschool, that is why I was able to finish the math class in two weeks. It was basic college level mathmetics, a little bit of Algebra and a little bit of geometry. My English class however, is difficult for me, I am not stong in this category, but I am sure I will pass.

    I have talked to a few paid firefighters that are in the same program I am in at CSU and they seem to enjoy it. I think that CSU needs to do a little bit more advertising so that people aren't so hesitant to accept them. Let me thank you again Mike for your research and advice. I really appreciate all that I can get in this huge journey I have ahead of me.
    Last edited by JenniferCleary; 08-31-2006 at 05:10 PM.

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    I live in Alabama, I am familiar with the institution, last time I was there, it was located in a strip mall. From the individuals I have spoken with, they seem to consider it a "degree for fee" program.

    Enroll in an accredited institution. Even the major colleges have distance learning

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    Default University EMS Service

    For all the college students out there. The National Collegiate EMS Foundation is a great resource for training and even starting an EMS program at the university. Go to ncemsf.org and look at what's going on around campuses nationwide. Maybe you could start one up.

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    I have been a student at Columbia Southern University for about a year now. I am majoring in Occupational Safety And Health with a concentration in Fire Science. I can assure you CSU is not a diploma mill. I have previously attended two different traditional universities, and can assure you that the quailty of education at CSU meets or exceeds those schools. Each class takes approximately 8-10 weeks to complete, and most require a paper and a proctored final exam. While the idea of getting a college degree by distance education may seem like a scam to some people, this is the wave of the future. Having a full time job, a family, as well as a few part-time jobs makes it impossible for me to go to a traditional school. The only "disadvantage" to CSU is that is nationally accredited rather than regionally accredited. CSU is accredited by the DETC. This is a legitimate, US Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. The only problem with a nationally accredited degree, is that many regionally accredited schools will not accept transfer credits from nationally accredited schools. Why is this? Politics and nothing more. Why is CSU not regionally accredited then? Because the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the regional accrediting body for CSU's geographic location (Alabama), will not accredit schools that are distance learning only. The only reason for this is basically people who don't know about distance learning, don't trust it. So if regional accredidation is important to you, CSU is not the school for you. On a positive note, CSU is recognized as an institute of higher learning by the VA. That means if you have a GI Bill, the VA will pay you 100%. Additionally, if you are applying for a federal job that requires a degree, the government accepts nationally accredited degrees. I don't know the status of it, but there is an education bill in congress that will mandate regionally accredited schools to accept nationally accredited degrees and hours if it gets signed into law. Either way, CSU is ideal for my needs, and when I graduate, hopefully in July 2007, I will know I worked hard for my degree.

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    I am assuming from your name that you are in Texas. I joined the military in Texas, so I am eligible for the Hazlewood act as well as the GI Bill. I am currently stuck in VA till my husband retires, and then we will move back to TX. Anyway I wanted to let you know that Lamar University in Beaumont, TX accepts CSUs credits as well as College of the Mainland. I kept getting alot of crap from people about how my degree would be worth nothing because it came from an online college so I wanted to see if they would transfer. I decided instead to just stick it to the man and get two B.S. from CSU, one in fire science and the other in Occupational Safety, using my GI Bill. Then if I still get crap, then I will attend Lamar University and use my Hazelwood Act. Got to have a plan a, b, and sometimes a c. CSU has proven to be every bit as difficult as a physical college, if not more. It is very writing intensive, for just two classes I have to write over 36 200-300 word essays. I don't remember doing that in college.

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    Default Value of on-line schools

    Sixteen years ago I was a career fire officer/paramedic (56 hours/week) and teaching part-time at the community college. I asked my college boss about the difference between getting a master's degree from an all-online univeristy or a traditional university.

    My goal of getting the master's was to teach at a traditional university. Dean B. strongly discouraged me from going the on-line route, indicating that a degree from Capella or Phoenix "would not be accepted by the academic community." So I spent four years driving to evening classes at a traditional master's program, at one point paying others to cover my shift on nights I had to be in class and could not get leave or an exchange.

    Meanwhile, a colleague in a nearby city was encouraged to get a PhD so he could assume a leadership role in a proposed university program in "emergency management." His academic employer saw no problem with an all on-line accredited university and accepted his doctorate from Capella University.

    It is fitting that I run an all-online BSHS program and my colleague runs a traditional face-to-face program.
    _____________________________

    Columbia Southern University is an academic institution that is accredited by DETC but does not have the regional academic accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    As mentioned in the June 19th excerpt from Bear's Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning "... while most schools with regional accreditation will recognize credits and degrees issued by other schools with regional accreditation, less than half will recognize a student's achievements from a DETC-accredited school, even though both accreditors meet CHEA standards, ..."

    For example, The George Washington University only accepts academic credits from academic institutions that have regional accreditation. We will NOT recognize course work or degrees from CSU, but we will recognize course work and degrees from Capella University. Capella University is another all-online university, but it also has accredition by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

    This may mean nothing to Jennifer, texfiremedic or others contemplating CSU. My only caution is to check with your current or potential employer to make sure that your hard work will be recognized. For most employers, it appears that a university with DETC accreditation is accepted.

    Mike

    By the way, the $10,000+ three-week on campus Harvard executive programs for fire chiefs (and a similar one for labor leaders) is a very valuable and worthwhile program - that provides NO academic credit that could be applied to an individual's academic transcript. That was a surprise for me.
    Last edited by MikeWard; 08-13-2006 at 10:59 PM.

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    Mr. Ward,

    Maybe you can offer some insight into why a school like yours will not accept the DETC accredited hours. As best I can tell the DETC accreditation process is nearly identical to the SACS accreditation process. From what I have heard, CSU has approached SACS several times about accreditation, but they insist that they will not accredit an on-line only school. Since you are an instructor of an on-line only program, and your school obviously supports on-line education, why would they not accept credits from CSU? If CSU meets DETC standards, and therefore CHEA standards, and is good enough for the US Government, why aren't the hours any good at your school? Thanks.

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    Default Higher education

    It is a pleasure to post with you fine people!
    Very good information is posted!
    I am currently a Fire Protection Technology Instructor at Fayettville Technical Community College in NC. We are offering our two year fire degree 100% online. Here is the kicker, FTCC has daul enrollment with Fayettville State University to offer a B. S. in fire science, again 100% on line.
    The FSU program will start accepting students in the spring of 2007. Dr. Joe Woodall is the program director and He will do an outstanding job of getting the prgram off the ground.
    Also the program requires a 12 week co-op, if your a paid F/F you have that covered, but if your not paid, there is a brand new fire station across the street from FSU with dorm rooms, so students in the program can do there co-op with the city of Fayettville fire department. A win - win for all parties.
    Here is the website for FTCC. The fire protection web site is currently under construction. http://www.faytechcc.edu FSU is http://www.uncfsu.edu
    Good luck to all!!! Stay safe- your family needs you!!!
    my e-mail is hoyts@faytechcc.edu

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