Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by oxpecker, Jan 15, 2004.
C of O teacher loses job after questioning dean's dubious Ph.D.
WOW - Do you think his wife will be next.... how sad.
How very interesting...
Reveals some rather extreme emotions and values on both sides of the coin.
Though I do not advocate degree mills of any kind, my own objective review of this information puts me sort of in favor of the Dean. His statement is honest, and it is clear that he is attempting to attain proper credentials, while at the same time doing a good job with the credentials he has.
On the other hand, the young professor who is "blowing the whistle" seems like he has a bit of a stick up his.... well, that wouldn't be "Christian" now would it?
Just my two cents worth. If I were the judge....
Remember, even in the case of those found with "fraudulent degrees" there are always two sides of the story. Of course this will only make sense to you if you are a relativist, not an absolutist about values, mores, norms, and custom.
(PS - can you tell that I'm about half-way through a graduate ethics class right now? LOL)
"A College of the Ozarks assistant professor has lost his job for questioning a doctoral degree issued to the school's dean of administration. C of O officials say assistant biology professor Jonathan Davis will not be back because of the way he challenged and exposed the doctorate Larry Cockrum received in 1991 from Crescent City Christian College in Metairie, La. [...] Last fall, Davis sent out several anonymous letters, signed "Concerned Faculty Members," pointing out that Cockrum may have a questionable or fraudulent degree."
Um, I don't think anonymous letters are the way to go.
Interesting. Apparently, he wasn't anonymous enough.
Metairie, LA again
My goodness, look at that! From the photo, though, we can see that it's not a MailboxesEtc/UPS store.
In a different thread a few days ago was a discussion of the good/bad sides of tenure. Here's a case where tenure might have protected the whistle-blower.
He also sent a letter to huim, as well as 2 conffrontations with him....... I don't think he was trying to be the "unknown".
Think he has a lawyer yet?
Sadly, this situation is relatively common in private industry, where it is not generally as widely publicized. Many times, the person with the "real" degree will just go away quietly to a new (sometimes better) job. Letting one's boss know that one knows the boss has a fake degree is not always conducive to one's continued employment.
"Been there, done that, burned the t-shirt."
I think that Larry Cockrum was/is a fraud. He still tries to pretend that he earned the degree. He still was pretending that his "alma mater" was closed down for financial reasons rather than the fraudulent operation being put out of business by changes to LA law. He still is pretending that it was a real school rather than one of many dimploma mills being run out of someone's residence. Perhaps Mr. Davis could have handled it better but that doesn't change the fact that his boss was/is an academic fraud.
This may be a stupid question, but is theree a list of "degree mills"?
To my knowledge, Bears' Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning (15th ed.) has the most complete list in existence. Now, whether that remains true after John's next book, will need to be shared by him.
In addition to Dr. Bear....
To which I would add the State of Oregon ODA list....
Also, George Gollin's work, which can be found on the same site as links below this page: http://www.osac.state.or.us/oda/diploma_mill.html
Hope this helps.
Nobody looks good on this one.
The young guy clearly was the product of churchly dynasticism. I've seen this a lot in Lutheranism, but I guess it's present in this C of O as well--some young buck figures that he's entitled to instant power because of who his daddy is, and resorts to underhanded means to get it, and then acts surprised if it blows up in his face. Too bad, chico.
As for the dean, Bill got his number. I guess if I had to choose, I'd go with the dean (very grudgingly): not because he's a sterling fellow--he still isn't really coming clean on his past--but because he wasn't hired on the strength of his bogus doctorate, and he's replacing it with a real doc from Vanderbilt.
It's not much of a choice.
Interesting... The assistant professor should have kept his mouth shut until he earned tenure. Besides, it's not the job of assistant professors to check academic credentials. Perhaps a casual conversation with the Provost or chief academic officer might have been a better approach. Dean of Students is not an academic position, so there might have been no harm done. However, if the "Ph.D. school" attended was never a legitimate school, it seems highly unethical and out of character for member of administration at a Christian college to claim such a title. It is interesting that the College President didn't discipline both men, if indeed, the "Ph.D. school" was illegitimate.
I'd have to side with the instructor, and with Bill. (Sorry, unc )
While the instructor may (or may not) have breached protocol, it is reasonable to examine first the dean. As Bill noted, this isn't a case where the dean actually earned a degree, accredited nor not. First, he acknowledged that he knew the school was not accredited. Why is a dean of an accredited university doing such a thing? Second, he is lying about the work he did to earn the degree--a degree issued from a house! Third, the time lag since this was "uncovered" by the school is irrelevant. The school should have taken action then. They've now become co-conspirators in this dirty little lie. That's why they struck out against the instructor: they're not judging the situation; they're a part of it.
Now the instructor. Should he be fired for sending some semi-anonymous e-mails about this? What if he sent them about some other subject, like criminal behavior? Would they have fired him then? The punishment doesn't seem to fit the crime. Also, you have to give the whistle-blower more leeway in these matters or it looks like retaliation--which it clearly is. I'll give you an example....
At the Air Force Academy, there has been a long-standing (but kept under wraps) concern about sexual assault by male cadets against female cadets, with the administration not doing anything about it. In one case, the alleged victim, a lower-class cadet, accused an upperclassmen of rape. She alleged they were at a party together, had drinks (against regulations for her), and he date-raped her. He wasn't punished at all; she was punished for the alcohol consumption. This sent a clear message: if you violate some sort of rule as a female, your male attacker gets a "free shot" at you. In this case, the rape allegation should have been investigated (it wasn't), but no action regarding her drinking should have been undertaken, whether or not her allegations were supported. (Under those circumstances, would female cadets claim rape when caught drinking just to get out of the disciplinary action for the drinking violation? Hardly, and there's no track record of female cadets using this ploy. But there is a strong track record of females being raped and the administration of the Academy doing nothing about it--except to harass the accusers and even hound them out of the school.)
What's the point? You have to provide more protection and leeway to the whistle-blower. Perhaps he feared (rightly, it turns out) for his job if he made is accusations through channels. And who's in that channel? The dean.
The college should have dealt with the big issue (the fraudulent dean) and let the little one (instructor not following protocol--if even that) go. They got it backwards to save their own butts for allowing it to get this far in the first place.
My 2 cents --
Davis should have followed school protocol in voicing his concern. The College should not have even listed the degree. Cockrum erred in using it as it is obviously not an "earned" degree as he stated. Let's watch for the 2nd episode to see if Cockrum completes his Vanderbuilt doctorate.
Dahhh.... I have the book, but haven't read it in a while.
If Davis had not been working at C of O, could Cockrum and C of O have sued Davis for "tortious interference" for sending the anonymous letters?
I think that a great deal depends on how Mr. Cockrum was actually using his fake "degree". Was it something that he'd "earned" in the past for some incomprehensible reason of his own, but was keeping private and not publicly claiming now? Or was it an impressive "qualification" that was listed prominently behind Mr. Cockrum's name in college literature?
If Cockrum was actually listing the degree as his foremost academic qualification, then I think that Davis probably had an ethical responsibility to make it an issue. Consider this:
C of O stands by Cockrum, who also is the director of the school's Keeter Center for Character Education. "The college doesn't believe Dean Cockrum's character has ever been in question," read a statement released by the school.
I would argue that making use of a frudulent "degree" puts Mr. Cockrum's qualifications to direct a center for character education in direct question. Not only is Cockrum's academic qualification both relevant and in question, so are his personal ethics. What is Cockrum supposed to be, an example to his students of what not to do?
Cockrum has a master's degree from Southwest Missouri State University, which he received in 1977. In his written statement, he said he is pursuing a doctorate from another institution.
While I'm sure that Cockrum's SWMSU masters degree is wonderful, it makes the Keeter Center for Character Education's director's resume look just a little different than it would look with a big fat (and apparently fake) doctorate on it.
Bill Dayson writes:
> I think that a great deal depends on how Mr. Cockrum was
> actually using his fake "degree". Was it something that
> he'd "earned" in the past for some incomprehensible reason of
> his own, but was keeping private and not publicly claiming
> now? Or was it an impressive "qualification" that was listed
> prominently behind Mr. Cockrum's name in college literature?
Separate names with a comma.