A different sort of "time bomb"

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Tony Schroeder, Dec 18, 2001.

  1. Tony Schroeder

    Tony Schroeder New Member

    Usually, John Bear's phrase "a time bomb in your resume" is used to refer to a degree from a less-than-reputable institution marring an otherwise acceptable educational record.

    This case is a bit different - it seems the a dean from California State University's Monterey Bay campus was creating those "time bombs" through a less-than-reputable institution that lists him as its president.

    The story appears on the Chronicle of Higher Education's website. See

    ...for the gory details.

  2. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    I've suggested in the MIGS thread, and will here as well, that we now have three categories of time bombs:

    Time Bomb 1: claiming a degree you did not earn, from a real school. (For instance, the San Francisco police chief, the recent Notre Dame coach, untold others.)

    Time Bomb 2: actually having a degree from a fake or very bad school. (For instance, the Houston police chief, the Love Doctor, and far too many others.)

    Time Bomb 3: a voluntary affiliation with a fake or very bad school. (For instance, Arias.)
  3. drwetsch

    drwetsch New Member

    Here is a time bomb round-up:

    Sheriff claims he didn't have or need: http://www.pensacolanewsjournal.com/news/070600/Opinion/ST001.htm

    An interesting note in the Cincinatti Enquirer when discussing O'Leary:

    "Human beings are notorious for taking the short view of a long-term situation. A recent survey cited by the legal Web site nolo.com found 9 percent of job applicants falsely claimed they had a college degree, identified false employers or invented jobs that didn't exist; 4 percent listed incorrect job titles, and 11 percent misrepresented the reason for leaving a former job. " http://enquirer.com/editions/2001/12/16/spt_sullivan_oleary.html

    False claim and a $20 fine: http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/africa/newsid_410000/410906.stm

    Serious problem with the use of fake degrees: http://www.iccwbo.org/ccs/news_archives/2000/fake_degrees.asp

    Serious Problem Continued.. http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/education/newsid_436000/436807.stm

    A world academic record in question: http://chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-010722avi-side.story

  4. Chip

    Chip Administrator

    As any regular reader here will know, I am no fan of MIGS and the rest of Sheila's less-than-ethical dealings. However, in this case, I believe that Armando Arias got stuck with something not of his making.

    John Bear and I had a pleasant lunch with Dr. Arias around this time last year (or maybe it was earlier this year; I don't remember for sure.) His credentials and writings on DL are quite solid; his plans for MIGS seemed to make a lot of sense, and I strongly believe that if he's been the *actual* president of MIGS and not Sheila's apparent puppet, things could have moved forward and been very promising.

    During our meeting, John and I expressed our concerns about MIGS (at the time, this included the advertising of the phony term paper writing service, "doorknob.com", "tequila.com" and other less-than-professional banner ads appearing on the site... as well as a lot of detailed questions about quality issues, life experience credit at the masters and doctoral level, and things like that.

    Dr. Arias shared our concerns on all of those issues... and we had the distinct idea that he was working to change things. But he was (to my knowledge) never a paid employee of MIGS, and the board (which, according to him, consisted of Sheila, her husband Bill, her attorney, and the brilliant attorney Enrique Serna responsible for the Levicoff lawsuit) was essentially a rubber stamp for whatever Sheila wanted.

    One can argue that he should have left immediately when he came to understand the situation. But I believe that he honestly hoped to create a credible DL program, and stuck around because he felt that it would be possible. He did finally bail out -- before his bosses started looking into things -- and I suspected it was when TX authorities levied the $200K fine. If I remember, MIGS reportedly told him nothing about that, he had to find out from the news media.

    It's easy to look down on Dr. Arias for making a bad judgement, but I, for one, believe that his only major mistakes were believing anything that Sheila said, and not waking up to the reality of the situation sooner.
  5. barryfoster

    barryfoster New Member

    Chip, as disinterested I am with the whole MIGS thing, thanks for making this point. It's *way* too easy and *way* too common to demonize someone who works hard with the best of intentions - only to fail for reasons outside of his/her control.

    Unfortunately, innovators who take risks and yet fail are often relegated to the favorite butt-of-the-joke. They often don't deserve it (but of course there are some who do). Laughing at our innovators does not serve society very well.

    Barry Foster
    (who always wishes Chip would post more)
  6. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    I disagree.

    Dr. Arias was purportedly the PRESIDENT of whatever it was that MIGS was/is supposed to be. He must known about the tremendous work and difficulty associated with creating a whole new institution, creating entirely new doctoral level programs and meeting the requirements of its accreditors.

    That's assuming that there *were* any accreditors and that they *had* any requirements. Nobody has EVER, to this day, explained that. We have repeatedly gotten the "GAAP" mantra, but never any details on what the Mexican standards were that MIGS had to meet, or on who was seeing to it that they were actually met. (Shades of Berne.) Next to that question, the issue of Ms. Danzig's tacky websites is irrelevant. And Dr. Arias *could not* have been ignorant of the issue.

    But setting that problem aside, how did Arias possibly think that he could shepherd a new school into existence while he was holding down a rather demanding full-time job 3,000 miles away? He *had* to have known the difficulties involved because CSU Monterey Bay is itself a new institution and just a candidate for accreditation. Arias was well acquainted with the labor that went into creating CSUMB, since he was contributing some of it. So what was he thinking regarding MIGS? The very fact that he did not quit his CSUMB position and go to work full time for MIGS suggests that he saw MIGS' creation as a very different kind of effort. So, what was it, exactly?

    Is it really credible that Dr. Arias could simultaneously be president of this thing and ignorant of its most basic details? He didn't understand its accreditation? He waffled on basic questions like life-experience credit? He knew nothing of Florida or Texas licensing requirements? He was ignorant of Texas' legal actions against his school? He just accepted everything that Ms. Danzig told him? Right...

    I guess it's possible. But if so, it doesn't speak to the man's competence.
  7. Tony Schroeder

    Tony Schroeder New Member

  8. Tony Schroeder

    Tony Schroeder New Member

    Thanks for the information, Chip. I was not aware of Dr. Arias' connections to MIGS; in fact, other than seeing that an entire discussion is devoted to that subject, I really don't know what is going on with MIGS. I'm guessing in this case, ignorance is bliss.


  9. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    The problem here isn't ignorance; it's neglect. Arias took a position with a big title, then blew it off to do what they really wanted him to do: connect. But there was no one else minding the store, except a couple of guys you wouldn't trust to watch your wallet for a minute.

    Rich Douglas
  10. Smudge

    Smudge New Member

    Dr. Wetsch,

    Thanks for the roundup. The first link caught my eye because it is the story of Jerry Brown, (former) Sheriff of Navarre County, FL where I am still a property owner. I can't find anything on the results of the investigation, but I do know he was not reelected.
  11. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    Up until a couple of years ago, anyone could fraudulently claim to be the holder of a bachelors, masters or doctorate degree (with no criminal penalties). I guess that too many people were falsely claiming degrees because the Florida legislature recently made it a criminal offense to claim a degree that one doesn’t have. It’s a misdemeanor!

    Artumus Gordy
  12. Mike Albrecht

    Mike Albrecht New Member

    Having grown up in central Florida I would say just living there was a civil offense, as would my brother in law (Orange county, FL judge).


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