Henry Morris email re: ICR Texas accreditation hearing

An email sent Thursday April 17 to supporters of the Institute for Creation Research from its CEO Henry Morris III, on next week’s hearing & decision by the Texas Higher Ed Board regarding the ICR’s application for accreditation (and hence, teacher certification) for its distance education masters degree in “science education,” has been posted on a blog by “Dr. Paleo Ph.D.,” a 19-year-old California boy who describes himself as “home-schooled” (so his Ph.D. is every bit as legitimate as the masters degrees from ICR).

Morris asks supporters to pray that, at the hearing,

each ICR faculty and administration member will represent the ICR ministry and the Lord Jesus with integrity, clarity, humility, and boldness.

According to The Christian Post on Friday (reporting points not found in the email posted by Dr. Paleo),

Despite such criticism, Morris said the school will seek state approval for a science degree.

“We have been told second-hand, through our contact, that their objection is that we are using the word ‘science.’ If we would just drop the word science,” the approval would go through, said Morris.

He argued that students exercise critical thinking skills when they are taught how to compare an evolutionary mindset to a creationist mindset.

“How can you be a critical thinker if you don’t know what the other side is?” he asked. “We think it makes a better student.”

Here is the Morris email, as posted by “Dr. Paleo, Ph.D.”:

From the desk of Dr. Henry M. Morris III
Chief Executive Officer

Dear Friends of ICR:

Many of you have asked for an update concerning the ICR Graduate School’s application to grant degrees in Texas. I wanted to take a moment to apprise you of the situation and let you know how you can help us.

As you know, the ICR Graduate School (ICRGS) has offered Master’s degrees in California since 1981. Our move to Texas required us to begin a new approval process, one that we have worked through since last summer. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) oversees this process. Let me recap what has been accomplished to date.

In November 2007, a THECB-appointed Site Team visited the Dallas campus to evaluate various aspects of our Master’s program. Comprised of educators from around the state of Texas, the team recommended approval of our program.

In December 2007, the THECB Advisory Committee met to consider the Site Team’s evaluation. This committee also recommended approval of our program to THECB Commissioner Raymund Paredes.

However, during December 2007 and January 2008, the THECB received emails from ICR’s detractors, demanding that Commissioner Paredes reject the recommendations of the Site Team and Advisory Committee in order to ensure that science curricula in both public and private schools become completely evolution-based.

ICR received a copy of those messages from the public record and discovered that of the 230 emails sent to the THECB, only 43 (from just 36 individuals) expressed opposition to ICRGS. An overwhelming 177 individuals wrote in support of ICR.

In March 2008, ICR provided all documentation requested by the THECB for compliance with state guidelines. We remain confident that–as was recognized by the Site Team in November and the Advisory Committee in December–the ICRGS program meets and/or exceeds state standards for private higher education in Texas.

The final step in the process is approaching next week.

On April 23 and 24, the senior faculty of ICR will travel to Austin, Texas, to defend our Master of Science degree program before the THECB. On April 23, ICR will attend the Committee on Academic Excellence and Research to defend its formal petition for a Certificate of Authority to grant degrees in Texas.

However, we have recently learned that during the hearing, the THECB has authorized an unusual 30-minute “Public Hearing,” allotting 3 minutes to anyone interested in commenting on ICR’s request.

Those of you who are educators in Texas, particularly in the sciences or in higher education, who are in or near the Austin area might want to consider attending the hearing–and perhaps signing up for one of the 10 slots for public comment. The hearing will start on Wednesday morning at 10 a.m., and a sign-up sheet will be available shortly before then. (Details are available at http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/Events)

After the committee has heard from the public and questioned the ICR faculty and administration, it will present a formal recommendation to Commissioner Paredes at a meeting of the full Board on April 24. ICR will attend this meeting and will respond, if asked, to any questions from Board members. The Board will then formally act on the Commissioner’s recommendation, and will issue its ruling for or against ICR’s request to operate its graduate school in Texas.

Should the commission reject our application, ICR has the option to appeal within 45 days and/or to reapply within 180 days. Should the commission approve our application, ICR will then begin its effort to obtain accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Representing ICR will be: Dr. Steve Austin, Dr. Dan Criswell, Dr. James Johnson, Dr. Ed Miller, Dr. Henry Morris III, Dr. Patti Nason, and Dr. Larry Vardiman.

Please pray with us during the meeting times that:

  • the opposition and those who speak publicly will not create a disturbance;
    the committee members and Commission board members will have an open and fair mind regarding these issues;
  • each ICR faculty and administration member will represent the ICR ministry and the Lord Jesus with integrity, clarity, humility, and boldness.
  • Pray especially that our Lord Jesus will be honored by what is done and said, and that whatever the outcome may be from these meetings, the ministry of ICR will continue, and the vital message of the Creator will be enhanced.

(The THECB provides broadcasts of Committee meetings on its website, http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/Events under Academic Excellence and Research Committee Meeting.)

Thank you for taking the time to read through this update. May our Lord Jesus Christ bless you as you seek to serve Him.

Dr. Henry Morris III
CEO, Institute for Creation Research

P.S. Many of you have heard of the new movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed starring Ben Stein. This film touches on the very issue we face in Texas: academic freedom in research and education.

We’ve seen Expelled and endorse it. Visit http://icr.org/News to read our review. And, if at all possible, go see it on Friday or Saturday, April 18 or 19, when it opens in over 1,000 theaters nationwide. For more information, go to http://www.getexpelled.com.

For more on Expelled, see posts in the Evolution category on this blog, and the Expelled tag for other WordPress blogs.

Click here for other posts on this blog on the Institute for Creation Research.


One Comment

  1. F Ben Kautz
    Posted September 1, 2008 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Why would you want to move to Texas? With all your excellent research on Creation, why would you move to Texas without researching this potential roadblock with the State Board?

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