A Capella Ph.D and a tenure.

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by chrisjm18, Feb 23, 2019.

  1. dlbb

    dlbb Active Member

    You are entitled to your opinion, but I do not agree.
  2. dlbb

    dlbb Active Member

    There are listings of predatory journals. I think there should be listings of predatory schools. I view Argosy as predatory, but I certainly don't view all for profits that way. I would be reluctant to include any school on such a list without very specific and well documented reasons and without consensus from well informed individuals. But feel free to make your own list of predatory schools.
    Gbssurvivor1 likes this.
  3. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Capella has a 17% six-year graduation rate. Compare that to another non-traditional school, such as Thomas Edison State University which has a 41% graduation rate.

    You have provided no evidence that Capella is any better than Argosy. They both have very low graduation rates. Capella is extremely expensive, which is probably why they're in a better financial condition. They've both been sued for predatory practices. Argosy, just like Capella, has graduates working in tenure-track positions. Argosy managed to earn APA accreditation and Capella has not. I provided data and examples; you provided an opinion based on...no one knows.
  4. dlbb

    dlbb Active Member

    It is an opinion, not a statement of fact. You can make the arguments in favor or against, but I personally am not as deeply invested in either to know. I do not believe that Capella is in the slightest bit predatory. I am not interested in making arguments either away, as it is not something I care about. I only clarify that because you had said I thought all for profit doctorates were somehow bad, and that isn't the case.

    You are comparing apples and oranges with Thomas Edison and Capella. Thomas Edison does not offer doctoral degrees, and many people start but do not finish a doctorate. If they are open admissions, to some extent, as I suspect is the case, then there will be a lot who cannot pass. Look to the discussion on law schools. Some of those are having problems, and if you dig deeper, you will find the failure rates there are because after the decline in enrollment that began in 2010, some places lowered standards, including LSAT scores, meaning people got in and went through the law program but could not pass bar. With any of these doctoral programs, if they are not selective and have high standards, there will be a number who will not be able to complete their doctorate. If they had been more selective with who they admitted, the number of successful outcomes would be higher. They are for profit, and so they give everyone a chance to rise to the occasion, and not everyone will be able to do so. So I don't view a low completion rate at a doctoral program so negatively. I think you could definitely make arguments in favor of providing opportunities for people who want it badly enough but may not be able to be admitted elsewhere. And of course many select it for convenience.

    Ultimately, it is like what I said initially in this thread. It is what people do with the degrees once they are conferred that matters. If they do not produce research, then that will limit their possibilities. If they have no teaching experience and the degree is irrelevant, that will limit possibilities.

    I view Argosy as predatory. I am convinced of that from what I have seen. If you wish to look deeply into others and come up with well defined, clear, objective criteria to label other schools as predatory, feel free, but that is not something I am personally interested in.
  5. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    I don't have much experience, but at FSU the Assistant Chair position meant a lot of often thankless service work. I mean, a lot. She was the Undergraduate Program Director (ditto). Seeing how she seemingly didn't screw up these tasks, and managed to crank out 16 peer-reviewed publications, the woman earned enough goodwill from fellow faculty members to deserve tenure.

    I do not know what that quality score from undergrads means. If anything.
    dlbb likes this.
  6. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    Argosy is in full-on financial meltdown and is unlikely to survive. I admit I thought Levicoff exaggerated when he said that recently, but nope - he's absolutely right. The place is mismanaged and dead broke. Capella, in all appearances, is not.

    Having said that, Argosy has a relatively long history, and for most of it Argosy and Capella didn't look all that different. Their graduates have RA degrees, and I guess you could find a few Argosy grads in tenured positions. Not that either of the schools is a great bet to get your doctorate, if your goal is the TT faculty jog (Argosy is a lousy bet if you simply want to graduate, at the moment).
    Phdtobe and dlbb like this.
  7. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    But, you haven't explained why you think Argosy is predatory. You mentioned that they accept everyone, but so does Capella. Then, you made excuses for why it's good that Capella accepts everyone. If open admissions and low graduation rates are good for Capella, then why aren't they good for Argosy? Capella and Argosy students are having the same outcomes. The positive is that they both have relatively low 5-year student loan default rates, but Capella's is slightly higher.

    Capella operates similarly to most other large for-profits. They spend almost three times as much on marketing than they do on student instruction. They have a very high turnover rate among faculty members, which is one of the reasons why their doctoral students fail. Their chairs are constantly leaving. Here's more info on the class action suit against Capella.


    TESU does not have many doctoral programs, but they do have a doctoral program. And, the graduation rate I quoted for Capella was for undergraduate students.
  8. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Having good finances does not mean that you're not predatory or that your school does not lack quality. University of Phoenix was in good financial condition when their students had 45% student loan default rates, and they were recruiting brain-damaged veterans at military bases.
    Phdtobe likes this.
  9. Steve Levicoff

    Steve Levicoff Well-Known Member

    On this and the previous page in this thread, the word predatory has been tossed around 22 times thus far, although the word has not really been defined. It's simply being bandied about as the word du jour.

    So what is predatory? To me, it's when you call a school merely to inquire about their program, and they start hitting you with return phone calls multiple times per week, trying to break down any resistance you might have and to get you to apply and enroll. By this definition, I would imagine that both Capella and Argosy are equally predatory, as are non-profits ranging from SNHU to Liberty. High pressure sales whores can be found in admissions departments regardless of a school's profit or nonprofit status.

    Predatory is also when you pop into a school's web site, then suddenly find yourself exposed to their ads on every subsequent web site you look at - obviously the result of cookies. And God help you if you send a school an email - you'll find your e-mail box bombarded with messages from day one. That's also predatory.

    Quickie postscript: I happen to be one of those that finds a lot of validity in RateMyProfessors.com. You'll notice that most RMP reviews do not touch on a professor's publication record; rather, the reviews are focused on how well they teach, how helpful they are, and whether their heads are up their butts. I've found that most of the reviews are fairly accurate (yes, kiddies, remember that to every rule there are exceptions), and that they address the issues in which students are interested. Opinionated? Of course, but we're talking about teacher reviews, not the comments that appear beneath news stories on Yahoo.

    So I stand by citing RMP with regard to Dr. Sparkman-Key, the subject of the OP. Granted, she does not come off as the most student-friendly teacher around, but I wouldn't expect that from someone with her extensive publication record. Worthy of tenure? Let's say that she knows how to play the academe game well. But I wouldn't want her as one of my teachers.
    Phdtobe likes this.
  10. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    My definition of predatory goes a bit deeper, and there are some non-profits that meet this definition. It's just that for-profits are more likely to fit this definition.

    What I see as a predatory college is one that specifically targets economically disadvantaged people, veterans, single parents, first-generation college students, and minority students giving them misleading information and outright lies. Capella lied about the typical costs and length of their doctoral programs.

    Predatory colleges also accept anyone regardless of their ability to do college-level coursework, and they don't give them the support they need after they enroll, so they just flunk out with a lot of debt they can't repay.
    Phdtobe likes this.
  11. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Regarding teaching quality, the chair of my department told my cohort this --- to be an A researcher, you have to be a B teacher. In other words, it's difficult to provide high quality teaching when you're focused on publishing a lot of articles and getting grants, but that's what you have to do to get tenure.

    My favorite professors in my master's program didn't publish much, and they gave the students more attention than the other professors did. Those two professors didn't get tenure, but the worst professors did.
  12. dlbb

    dlbb Active Member

    I really am not interested in defending my opinion. You are welcome to yours.
  13. dlbb

    dlbb Active Member

    I think I was the first to bring up predatory, and my source was lists of predatory academic journals. Here is one: https://beallslist.weebly.com/ There are others as well. These are journals that academics pay to get published in but have no value, no standards, accept anything. They exist simply to siphon money from people trying to get published in bogus journals. I thought the concept could be extended here, and I am glad to see it being caught on.

    If the school confers some value and utility to many of its target users, I do not think it is predatory. I think some for profit doctoral programs may provide that. I think it would be rather slipshod and careless to blindly group them all together with minimal effort at researching them, and absent well-defined criteria. With the information Steve shared on Argosy, including an old video from several years ago, I think it clearly meets that criteria, particularly with its recent financial implosion.

    Maybe there are different degrees of predation? Can a school still confer value and help students while at other times significantly wronging other groups of students? I don't think multiple chairs, low completion rates are enough to call a doctoral program predatory, for reasons explained above. They provide a fair chance to people who might otherwise be ill qualified, and open admissions, to some extent, means higher failure. But is the same school offering a bogus and irrelevant degree to simply be just a cash cow? These are not questions I have interest in answering, but others may wish to take it up.
  14. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Active Member

    Isn't that pretty much everyone?

    How did you earn tenure? I'm assuming you did.
  15. Steve Levicoff

    Steve Levicoff Well-Known Member

    Nope. Because the great unwashed majority of people cannot write well - even the many that graduate with doctoral degrees. And they wouldn't know how to be published even if they could write well.

    Another nope. I never went for a tenured position - I had no interest in it. I was able to be published whenever I chose whether in journals or non-scholarly publications, but my focus was on teaching and writing books. Even then, I got bored with academe after eight years of teaching and writing and decided to chuck it all to become an over-the-road trucker, which was a lot more fun and which I would do for the next 20 years until I retired.

    It's old news, but my boredom was largely due to ADD, which I've had since I was a child. The first time I would teach a course was to get it right, the second time on the same course was to do it right, and the third time was, "Been there, done that." If I were a full-time teacher, I wouldn't have lasted a year because of the sheer boredom. Tenure is for people who are looking to stay in the same place for a lifetime, and I am not in that group.
    Stanislav and Phdtobe like this.
  16. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Some may argue that the term "predatory journal" doesn't accurately describe the reality of what's going on. Most people who publish in "predatory" journals are not from developing countries; most of them are from developed countries. While there may be some people who have been duped, even though their doctoral programs should have taught them how to find legitimate journals, many academics intentionally publish in "predatory" journals. Similar to diploma mills, there's a symbiotic relationship with some. People often aren't taken advantage of by diploma mills; they intentionally pay them for fake credentials because they don't want to put in the hard work to earn a real degree. With the publish or perish culture in academia, there are people paying to have their articles published in "predatory" journals so that they can either get a job or be granted tenure.


    It's much easier to be taken advantage of by colleges that are accredited by recognized organizations, but not everyone is innocent here either. These colleges have many students who didn't want to take the SAT, ACT, Accuplacer, Compass, or any other placement test. They didn't want to take remedial courses. They didn't take high school seriously, so they don't know how to read well and can't do anything above basic arithmetic. So, their only options are these low-quality schools that their friends or family members told them to enroll in because they practically have no admissions standards, and the work is easy. It's kind of a "you get what you pay for" kind of situation, but the currency is effort.
  17. Phdtobe

    Phdtobe Well-Known Member

  18. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

  19. dlbb

    dlbb Active Member

    Interesting. At some schools, you are judged on the selectivity and prominence of journals, so those would not be beneficial. Clearly, at some schools they get by as selectivity does not matter, and thus they may not know one of these predatory journals from a legitimate one. But it sounds like some people are getting wise to it, from the article.
  20. Phdtobe

    Phdtobe Well-Known Member

    So-called prestige journals have their many biases. Thus the need for alternatives. Anyway, there is a story out there of a so-called prestigious journal publishing a paper that it previously rejected once it learned that the authored was a famous researcher.

    Another story out there is the publishing of intentional garbage research top journals because the intentional garbage papers shared the worldviews of the prestigious journals.

Share This Page