­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Obtaining College or University Credit for a Wilmette Institute Course

Have you, as an undergraduate student at an institution of higher learning, ever wanted to take a course on the Bahá’í Faith for credit? Or have you, as faculty at such an institution, dreamed of offering a course on the Faith?

For many years the Wilmette Institute, in a limited way, has helped its learners receive credit for its courses. Since 1999 at least eight learners (five undergraduate students and three graduate students) have arranged credit for at least thirteen Wilmette Institute courses through their institutions of higher education, some receiving credit for more than one course.

In each case, the learner contacted her/his university administration and obtained permission to receive credit, usually through an independent-study option. Then she/he notified the Wilmette Institute, enrolled in the course, and completed it at an acceptable level of intensity and quality. The Institute communicated with the school to be certain of the standard of quality expected, oversaw the course work, and sent to the university a transcript bearing the student’s grade and impressed with the Wilmette Institute’s seal.

Now the Wilmette Institute is ready to assist a larger number of Bahá’ís to take its courses and receive college or university credit. The Wilmette Institute is not accredited and cannot pursue accreditation any time soon, but it has steadily upgraded its courses so that they meet most of the standards of Quality Matters, the leading organization that creates and implements online-course quality standards. The Institute also produces a syllabus for each course, which is available on its website (http://wi.bahai.us/) and by request (877-wilmette; Wilmette Institute@usbnc.org).

A number of options allow college or university students to obtain credit for Wilmette Institute courses:

  1. You, an individual student, can approach your advisor or the college or university administration about obtaining credit for a Wilmette Institute course through the independent-study option offered by most institutions of higher learning. You may first want to contact the Institute and obtain a syllabus and background information. You may also wish to invite friends, Bahá’ís and non-Bahá’ís, to join you in forming a small online class. The Wilmette Institute will work with you to make sure your work meets your school’s academic standards in terms of quantity and quality.
  2. A group of students can work through a Bahá’í campus organization to seek independent study credit. Some universities allow groups of students to organize their own courses for credit, usually with a local faculty member observing to make sure the group maintains quality standards. The Wilmette Institute can work with a campus association or an on-campus faculty member to provide study materials for a blended course, which could include online materials and discussions, video webinars, face-to-face discussions on campus, and/or conference calls.
  3. A Bahá’í faculty member can consider partnering with the Wilmette Institute to create, for undergraduate students, an on-campus course on the Bahá’í Faith, for example. The Wilmette Institute will provide an online course taught by a faculty member with academic qualifications in religious studies or a related field (the qualifications a university expects for a course that would be considered part of its religious studies program). The local faculty member (you) would recruit the students, hold face-to- face meetings and discussions in a classroom to supplement online assignments and discussions, and submit the final grades to the university’s registrar.

The Wilmette Institute is happy to be able to help Bahá’í undergraduates by expanding the ways in which they can obtain college or university credit for its courses. If you are interested, contact us at wi@usbnc.org or call us toll free at 877-wilmette (877-945-6388).