Sunday 11 March 2007
Flying Pigs Over Charlotte
Big things are ahead for God's Philadelphian Work, the Living Church of God. Yes folks, that's no bunny Rod just pulled out ears-first, it's (gasp!) a university!
Dr. Winnail just now came into my office and asked me to include a preliminary announcement to all of you about our plans to start the “Living University”—with classes beginning this coming autumn! As one who taught Ambassador College theology classes more than any other human—and one who assisted Mr. Armstrong as Second Vice President of Ambassador College for many years—I have a deep desire to educate our young people and members and give them the opportunity to participate in the proper type of educational setting in a truly Christian environment.
So please take note! The goal of this University will be to provide accredited degrees, as well as diplomas and certificates, through distance learning courses. We already have a dedicated faculty who have committed to this program with the necessary degrees and background to make it a resounding success. Along with my teaching many of the Bible classes, Dr. Douglas Winnail will also assist in overseeing this Living University—as well as Mr. Richard Ames who taught for years and has an M.A. from Stephen F. Austin University. The Chief Executive Officer of the University will be Dr. Michael Germano—holding earned doctorates from the University of Southern California and the University of La Verne. Dr. Germano served as Academic Vice President at Ambassador College in Pasadena, CA and as Academic Dean at Ambassador University in Big Sandy, TX. Most recently, he served as Vice President of Academic Services at Haywood Community College in Clyde, NC.
Living University, with administrative offices at Living Church of God Headquarters in Charlotte, NC, plans to begin with “all the world as its campus” and offer distance learning courses for undergraduate degrees, diplomas and certificates. Eventually, we hope to offer an on campus program for a limited number of students... So let us be inspired, again, in all that Christ is doing!
This is of course wonderful news. An accredited COG university issuing real degrees. That's a trick that Herbert Armstrong himself never managed to pull off in his lifetime. The current WCG 'college' is unaccredited, nor is UCG's or the lavish clone-campus in Edmond operated by 6-pack Flurry & Son. Moreover, none of these institutions calls itself a university.
So we're all very impressed. But there are a few nagging questions.
1. Can LCG afford the big bucks necessary to bring its new project up to accreditation standard?
2. Will Rod live long enough to see the first degree issued?
3. Will LCG - which is losing members, ministers and (therefore) money - need to mothball the project even before then due to one of the many crisis derailments that plague the sect?
4. Is it ethical to assure prospective students that their qualifications will be recognized when that situation neither exists nor is likely to exist for a long time (if ever)?
5. Granted that Doc Germano has some experience with college administration, is it realistic to expect this gentleman to deliver accreditation to LCG's 'university' single-handed?
6. Would anyone want to accredit a university which hired Rod to teach, with no academic credentials other than a bogus doctorate from Ambassador College?
7. How many of the 'staff' have relevant degrees. What classes does Ames' MA, for example, qualify him to teach?
8. Is Rod nuts for investing energy in this strange beast - part albatross, part white elephant? Consider:
*** More ministers keep jumping ship (see previous post)
*** The Canadian branch is having problems
*** Attendance has reportedly halved in LA and San Diego
A little prognostication: "Living University" is unlikely to survive long enough to see its first graduate, and in the very unlikely event it does survive, none of us will still be around when it gains accreditation sometime in the twenty-fourth century. But the path from now till its demise is surely littered with wasted greenbacks from sincere people who trust Rod and really believe white rabbits (or flying pigs) can be pulled from hats.