[Vision2020] NSA Has Different goals

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Fri May 4 12:29:15 PDT 2007

>From today's (May 4, 2007) UI Argonaut -


NSA has different goals      
Written by Rosemary Huskey -Guest columnist    

New Saint Andrews College (NSA) offers students an education suitable for
religious and political leadership, in 14th-century Europe. The crafty
political machinations of Cardinals and Kings governed life in this world -
and purportedly, in the next. Ubiquitous religious persecution and
institutionalized bigotry were celebrated as effective ways to preserve
doctrinal purity. Scientific inquiry and investigation based on magical
thinking and superstition was a remote ancestor to current analytical
methodology. Gender and family connections defined, and limited, cultural
roles and opportunities. In this distant world we find a happy niche for New
St. Andrews students and graduates. 

NSA is Doug Wilson's effort at providing a post-secondary education for the
children of like-minded Reformed Evangelicals. The impression fostered by
NSA administrators that NSA offers an academic program comparable to - or
exceeding - programs offered at regionally accredited universities and
colleges, is false. I invite readers to visit the New Saint Andrews Web site
and consider the curriculum and course descriptions in order to ascertain
this for themselves: www.nsa.edu/academics/courses.html

Leading educational institutions, both public and private, generally seek
regional accreditation. The accreditation difference between New St. Andrews
College and the University of Idaho is not predicated on institutional size
or sectarian beliefs, but rather the quality of educational standards
adopted by each. The University of Idaho and Washington State University are
regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and

NSA administrators chose to be accredited by a less rigorous agency,
Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools - a.k.a. TRACS.
TRACS appears to be less intent on academic rigor than certifying a
lock-step adherence to their sectarian values. TRACS embraces an
ultra-conservative religious worldview. Consequently, TRACS will not
consider colleges for accreditation unless the perspective candidate
institution adheres to TRACS "Foundational Standards," a set of rigid
doctrinal positions. Faithful adherence to the "Standards" is binding on all
board members, administrators and faculty associated with the candidate

Considerably less attention is paid to curriculum, course work, faculty
credentials, and administrative oversight. For example, at the time of
accreditation, 25 percent of the faculty was related to Doug Wilson. This
curious hiring practice would cause most accrediting agencies to question
the integrity of administrative management particularly since Wilson is a
permanent member of the Board of Trustees of NSA, as well as a permanent
member of a three person Executive Board who ultimately is responsible for
the management of the school.

NSA administrators concede that they are not interested in providing
vocational or technical training. The New St. Andrews College catalog [p. 6]
describes secular education in disdainful terms:

"America began to abandon the classical Christian approach to higher
education and vocation in 1862 with passage of the Morrill Act, which
established federally funded land-grant universities. These novel secular
institutions replaced Christian education with supposedly religiously
neutral vocational-technical training at the undergraduate level. The
'modern' secular university was born. Institutions caught in the grip of
this new paradigm - obsessed with vocational-technical training, degree
choice, paper credentials, dormitories, intercollegiate athletics,
recreational facilities and government financial aid - soon found their
academic standards, spiritual integrity and student morals plummeting.
Colleges pressured students to choose career paths prematurely and provided
little or no spiritual or intellectual preparation to face a culture
increasingly hostile to the Christian faith." 

The emphasis placed on a narrow sectarian education severely limits the
opportunities available to NSA students following graduation. They are not
equipped with the competitive, marketable, employment skills generally found
among graduates of conventional university programs. This is an internal
issue for NSA administrators to sort out. Perhaps they need to amend their
curriculum to reflect contemporary rather than medieval life. It is not,
however, a problem that the University of Idaho needs to solve for them.

If NSA can demonstrate to a regional accreditation agency that they met the
same academic and administrative standards that the University of Idaho
embraces, of course their course work should be transferable. Until that
time, the University of Idaho administrative personnel and faculty have
neither the obligation nor the time to engage in endless discussions,
unnecessary reviews and appeals from New St. Andrews administrators and

Rosemary Huskey has a B.S. and M.A. from the University of Idaho.


Seeya round town, Moscow.

Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho

"I'll just speak for our church, in Christ Church.  If I found out that a
member of our church or a church officer was lying to non-believers in the
community, as a way to get by or protect themself or protect his reputation,
yes, he'd be disciplined."

- Doug Wilson (January 31, 2007)

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