Accredited vs. non-accredited doctoral degree?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by PhiloScholar, Jun 16, 2009.

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  1. decimon

    decimon Well-Known Member

    Where angels fear to tread.
  2. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    If you're in a bad mood then you should choose Beethoven's symphony #9 or #5. He was one angry guy. On the other hand, Mozart's piano concerto #2 is quite relaxing.
  3. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    With apologies to Dr. Levicoff, I'd like to un-hijack this thread. While he as a wise elder is justifiably tired of it all, I miss these discussions of marginal cases and emotion they stir up. So please forgive me.

    Sorry, not buying this logic. We can judge an accreditor on how it handles cases OTHER than the one in question. UWI is a school any accreditor in the world would treat the same - nonwonderfuls accept everything, while even the strictest regional would not find UWI wanting. Truly impressive school. So the fact NAB accredits it carries no information - I mean, of course it does, what would anyone expect?

    Ah, now this is a valid argument. I checked it out - DSC looks like very normal community college, not overreaching, very solid and low-risk, and public to boot. The fact that there's a process and hoops for it to jump DOES instill a degree of confidence in NAB.

    In a way. Very limited way indeed. The point is, is this really a "Dominican" school if it is run by two US-based guys, one retired academic and one episcopus vagans?

    Another valid argument. The only issue here is - can you point to a copy of this agreement, or a reference to it on NARIC-controlled resource? Accreditation is about what can be publicly verified.
    Also, I hate to admit it, but a positive proof of a successful NACES evaluation would be a big help in establishing utility.
  4. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    It's not how it works. Academic appointments are never solely about degree credibility, and always about numerous other factor. I have an RA/ABET degree, yet my 2008 job search did not produce desired result - because of combination of factors. Dr. Dempsey gets to be a "Dr." on a major university's website; it's also pretty likely that her degree did serve as a welcome checkbox-filler, though not a sole factor - she's clearly also a competent teacher and valuable departmental citizen. So the degree did help - in a way major or marginal, as it may be.

    No it doesn't. Look, he most likely would still have the job - and tenure - with just a Master's. Yet he did get the Empresarial degree, and it did give him that bump in the salary grid. It also must have been an emotional boost for someone who had to abandon his doctoral program for one reason or another, years ago. In short, the degree reached its goals - and unlike IUGS, Empresarial keeps that International Handbook of Universities listing through what appears to be a mistake on CONESUP part. I'm not arguing for Enpresarial legitimacy here - I'm just saying these things can be "generalized" only up to a point.
  5. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    I'm not missing the point--you're missing my point, which is that accepting prior coursework, or not even requiring formal coursework (which some consider a puerile method of pursuing a PhD) or not requiring a particular length of time to obtain a PhD is somehow less stringent, as you put it, is ipso facto a lesser accomplishment, as one might read between the lines into your posts. You made a comment earlier re: loose standards or structure generally with PhD programs that evidently didn't fit into the U.S. rigid coursework paradigm, THAT comment is what I'm addressing, it was chauvinistic. I've never seen any research to demonstrate that those Euro loose structure programs are inherently inferior for preparing one to be an academic, and when you make comments like that it implies a value judgment more far reaching than merely the program does not meet a licensing board's criteria.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 13, 2016
  6. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Well sure, they're the most fun things to argue about, at least outside the political threads. :smile:

    We disagree on this, but I can understand why someone might see it your way.

    My wife went there for a year, and her brother is there now. They may not be Harvard, but they're perfectly serviceable.

    Firstly, they do have at least one local administrator, Joyette Daniel. (I don't know her, but we have friends in common so I can see whether I can be introduced.)

    But to answer your question, the Dominican authorities clearly think so, and I'm not sure who would be in a better position to judge. One might just as well ask whether the New England Institute of Art will still be "American" once they're bought by India's Amity University.

    That's fair. I don't have that immediately available since I know this only because their director told me. I'll see what I can find.

    I agree that this would be very much in IUGS's interest, especially since they market to Americans.
  7. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    Several remarks about things said earlier in the thread:

    1. Ani's original question concerned Chemistry doctorates. Why all the discussion of psychology? Where did that come from? Does IUGS even offer degrees in Chemistry? Chemistry isn't on its list of degree programs, though it kind of hints on one of its pages that it will award doctorates in any arts, humanities or math/science subject.

    2. Steve Levicoff says that he agrees with Steve Foerster. But Steve F. has said a lot of things during the course of the thread, some of them good points and others not-so-much in my opinion. I think that he wants to defend IUGS because of its connection to the island of Dominica, whose honor he wants to defend. So precisely what points of Steve F's does Steve L. agree with, or is this just a matter of solidarity among Steves? What is Steve Levicoff's opinion of IUGS? Steve L. has been very quick to label other schools "degree mills" in the past, so what does he think of this thing? If he likes it, can he give any plausible reasons why?

    3. Stanislav said that he likes IUGS' model. What is that model? If it's providing opportunities for ABDs, one might ask why these people were unable to complete dissertations at their old schools and why they can at IUGS. Are corners being cut? Is anything a student submits acceptable as long as the check clears?

    4. Who reads the dissertations the students submit? Does IUGS have any faculty and if so who are they? What are their qualifications in the subjects the degrees are awarded in? Maybe I missed their faculty list, but all I saw on their website were their 'deans'. (Whose qualifications didn't exactly overwhelm me.)

    5. Does IUGS have any physical year-round presence on the island of Dominica, or does its presence there only consist of renting some hotel space occasionally for the "residencies"? Do any IUGS faculty or staff reside on Dominica? Are any of them locals? Where do IUGS' owner and deans live? (In the United States, I'd wager.) Dominica looks to me to be a more or less rented location. (Sorry Steve F.)

    6. Does IUGS have any academic reputation in any of the subjects in which it awards doctorates? Has any research been published with IUGS' name on it? Does the American academic world discuss work done under IUGS auspices? On this one, I'll add that in the sciences at least, accreditation isn't something that employers are very concerned with. (Except perhaps in adjunct hiring at the lowest of low-end schools). What employers want to know is the graduate's department's reputation was in the area of science under consideration, and who the graduate's research supervisors were. (That's true in both academia and in industry at the doctoral level.)

    7. Does IUGS provide any support to its doctoral students? Does it provide research training or mentoring? Does it host any research projects in house? The practice (again in the sciences) at conventional universities is often to embed doctoral students in university research groups led by researchers with established reputations. (Who will later provide references and recommendations when graduates are seeking jobs.) In more clinical subjects, students are embedded in clinical settings. So, what's IUGS providing its doctoral students?

    8. The IUGS model certainly looks wonderful for its unknown owner. $20,000 a student, no faculty to pay, no costly facilities, no research to fund, very few costs at all. Just read some dissertations (or not). Even a vacation to the Caribbean each year. If there are only 100 students, that's $2 million a year. It might even be possible to shelter that from US taxes offshore. And it's all legal. Sweet.

    9. The only thing that I see that can be said in favor of this thing is its Dominican NAB accreditation and its so-called 'GAAP' status. So everything depends on the confidence that we have in the NAB. That kind of reminds me of the argument that St. Regis made regarding its Liberian accreditation. I'm not going to totally dismiss the NAB, but I remain skeptical given my other questions about IUGS. In other words, in my opinion the perceived credibility of an accreditor is a function of the perceived credibility of the schools it accredits, particularly at the low end. That's where the accreditor's minimum standards become visible in practice. I don't see any qualities in IUGS that I didn't see in the old California approved schools. Many of the latter impressed me much more than IUGS does and I respect their degrees a lot more.

    10. Finally, I want to express my respect for Jan for continuing to express skepticism about IUGS in the face of almost unanimous disagreement. That takes courage and moral integrity.
  8. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    I agree with virtually everything that hierophant has said here. I've made some of these points myself. We know very little of this school, the details, the details, the details are the killers in these situations as hierophant has pointed out. I disagree with the St. Regis comparison simply because Dominica is not Liberia - a completely different set of surrounding circumstances. And I think it's fine to be skeptical. I'm skeptical myself. I would never enroll in this school based on what I know at this moment. But neither would I condemn the school. The accreditation status has me leaning in a more positive direction but it wouldn't take a very strong wind to blow me back the other way. My argument with Jan is simply that, in the absence of complete information she has decided that the school is not legitimate or that the degrees would not be accepted (whatever that really means). I, on the other hand, am willing to give some benefit of the doubt. This is based on seeing lots of other situations where people have used degrees from similar schools to their advantage (raises, promotions, career changes, etc.) I think that hierophant and Jan are right to ask these questions and expect clear answers. It's possible that these questions might even be answered someday (although I'm not holding my breath). My point is that it's a bit of a Schrodingers Cat situation where you can't really come to a conclusion. That puts me exactly at "no opinion" but the accreditation pushes the needle slightly in the positive direction. Based on that I'm guessing that someone with one of these degrees could likely get a positive degree equivalency determination and then use the degree to their benefit.
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  9. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    We only discussed the PsyD at length because Jan banged on about it trying to find the program IUGS offers with the most potential problems for utility in the U.S.

    That highlights one of the problems with this whole conversation, though: utility and legitimacy may be somewhat related but are not actually the same.

    Why would you guess my motivations when you could just ask me?

    I don't care about defending IUGS specifically. You'll note that I've agreed with those who have raised reasonable objections about the utility of its credentials in certain situation, that I've agreed that a NACES member evaluation would be useful, and that even though I was aware of its existence I did not consider applying there.

    I do, however, care about defending NAB, although not specifically because it's Dominican. There are plenty of government agencies there that are paragons of inefficiency and uselessness (although not graft, thank goodness) and I wouldn't lift a finger to type a defense for them. But since I know that NAB is well run by people who actually knows what they're doing, I feel differently about them.

    I expect most people here are aware that I have a personal interest in countering misconceptions of NAB since they're the institutional accreditor for our project. I further expect that you and Jan could view that as an easy reason to dismiss what I say on the matter, if so that's your call. But you shouldn't: we're there because NAB is good, I don't say NAB is good because we're there.

    (I will also admit that because of this, I get a little testy when people who, to my knowledge, haven't ever done anything take it upon themselves to speculatively vivisect those who actually are doing something.)

    This much has already been covered. Yes, at least one of their administrators is local. Yes, they have a local address. I'm up in the States for the moment until my next conference presentation, but I get back in about four weeks and I'll probably drop by. (Portsmouth is actually somewhat inconvenient to visit without a reason, but this is a good one.)

    As for questions 4, 6, and 7 about IUGS specifically, they're all reasonable questions and assuming I meet them I would be happy to ask for you and report back. The same goes for anyone else's questions.

    As for question 8, I actually agree with you that they're rather overpriced for what they seem to offer (which we don't actually know for sure yet), but considering they can't participate in the U.S. federal student loan system, one can hardly blame them for charging what the market will bear.

    But that's an argument that essentially all schools make regarding their accreditation. That's what accreditation is for, so that strikes me as circular. (And then there's what Kizmet said.)

    You're entitled to your opinion, even when it's based on a familiarity with how IUGS operates today that neither you nor any of the rest of us actually yet has.
  10. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    1) Discussion of Psychology degrees at IUGS is brought by Jan; I'm not sure why she insists on it. This thread WAS initially about non-APA Psych degrees, so mix-up is entirely understandable. No, it seems that IUGS does not have a department or permanent faculty member in Chemistry; apparently they are willing to let student bring their own adjunct - sort of like Union used to work.
    3) It is essentially Big Three for doctorates. What's not to like? People end up as ABDs for all sorts of reasons, just like a working adult can find oneself without a degree for all sorts of reasons. Schools filling both needs are not mainstream but welcome. As to rigor, I'm sure I have no idea; IUGS would do good by publishing dissertations or at least abstracts. Hopefully NAB does examine this in some way.
    4) What do you mean? Clicking "Faculty and Administration" brings the list of 10 people, all with some kind of a doctorate, all "Deans" or "Department Heads". It seems that each dissertation committee is chaired by one of these individuals; there are also "mentors" each student contracts on the side, who likely fill an adjunct role. profiles of "Deans" do not inspire any kind of "awe", but are not particularly awful either. I gather the list of doctoral faculty at say Northcentral is not too dissimilar.

    5) According to Steve F. above, at least one staff member lives on Dominica. But yeah, most are in US or were in US for all their career.

    6) Nope. In terms of reputation, this is a generic for-profit. Some of the faculty/admins seem to have some kind of reputation earned at their other jobs; again, not unlike a generic admin. I agree: if anyone hopes to earn a TT faculty job in the sciences at anything above a CC, they are deluded. I have a hunch most applicants realise that.

    7) There is what seems to be a research proposal writing class, and part of the role for a "mentor" may be research support. It's not nothing; probably not too extensive either.

    8) Yes, it sounds lucrative. I'm not sure they have as many as 100 students though; perhaps they set a price point of $20000, which is a bit steep for what it is, to discourage excess demand. Dr. Weismann is Chancellor and co-founder, while Dr. Sloan is Pro-Chancellor (usually it means "the guy who really runs things") - probably these gentlemen are primary beneficiaries.

    9) This is basically the point I raised. NAB is new to this game; their reputation is to be built. I think comparison to St. Regis is uncalled for, though.
  11. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    I want to emphasize that these weren't rhetorical questions. I don't already know the answers to most of them. Of course absence of evidence really is evidence of absence in many cases, where evidence is to be expected. The questions were more along the lines of a research program for determining IUGS' credibility, a list of concerns that need to be investigated before this thing can be endorsed and recommended on Degreeinfo as academically credible. Similar questions can and should be asked about other unknown mystery schools in places where accreditation standards are opaque and don't communicate much.

    The comparison there was simply that St Regis was a school operated from the United States, sheltering under the presumed 'GAAP' imprimatur of a country (Liberia in that case) whose accreditation processes were unknown.

    Oh, I don't doubt that. Accredited by a sovereign nation state, a model where one transfers in all one's course work and just writes a dissertation, that might get past a credential evaluator, sure. We still wouldn't know what standards the dissertation had to meet. (Which seems to be IUGS' only value added to the process.)

    If a student's goal is simply to get a piece of paper that qualifies as 'GAAP', then it might work. I'm not sure what kind of employer would hire somebody based only on their having a 'GAAP' degree, but I can see it working for people that employers wanted to hire anyway, if they only had a doctorate. If it hadn't blown up, St. Regis degrees might have worked in those situations too.

    I'm just not comfortable ignoring the academic/research aspect of doctoral degrees and entrusting everything to faith in the accreditor.

    I will say that one of the features that I do like about IUGS is their Parapsychology program. I've felt for many years that fringe universities like the old California approved universities might be good places to handle fringe subjects that conventional universities won't touch. (I'm a strong skeptic about parapsychology, but do think that there's some small chance there's something interesting there. I take the same view of ufology.) Now IUGS needs to publish some real research in the subject.
  12. Phdtobe

    Phdtobe Well-Known Member

    In St. Vincent and the Grenadines, just next door to Dominica, there are six medical schools operating. I am not sure if Canada has six medical schools. St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, and Grenada, as examples, have medical doctors as a major export to the USA and Canada.
    I am just saying that if the islands are good enough to accredit medical schools then they are good enough to accredit... Now diploma mill is another thing. I hate those.
  13. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    Wait a minute, perhaps I was missing something important here, I just assumed the OP was talking about PsyD programs and that was why Jan was doing all the hand-waving about it, shouting everyone down furiously with her keyboard telling them their points were not germane to the thread, irrelevant, etc.

    And now I discover the whole point she was making, stomping about madly over, was completely irrelevant to subject of the thread?

    Look, Jan's obviously quite the keep-a-stiff-upper-lip, never-let-em-see-ya-sweat, best-defense-is-a-good-offense type, at least in this milieu, but I dare say what the heck? How does she run through this one with grace? How does she not say "Well, ahem, guess I was being A BIT hypocritical there, heh, heh." I know I would.
  14. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Dominica has two. I read a news article a few years ago that said that a group of investors wanted to open a third one, but that the government declined, saying that the country's hospital system wasn't big enough to accommodate that many students on rotation.
  15. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    It was. The OP was also posted back in 2009, seven years ago, and had nothing to do with IUGS. Post #9 was a recent post by Ani, asking about studying chemistry at IUGS. Presumably Ani chose to post the question in this thread due to its title.

    That was rude.

    The discussion of psychology degrees subsequent to post 9 wasn't irrelevant since IUGS does list PsyDs on its list of programs, even if it doesn't list chemistry. So the credibility of the psychology degrees is certainly relevant to the overall credibility of the school.
  16. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    Well the question was about chemistry degrees, so PsyD degrees are wholly irrelevant to that question. So we're just disagreeing here.

    Rude, perhaps, though rude can go all the way around, and can also include being shown by posters examples of points contrary to your assertions, then casually dismissing them by saying "Ah, but that one was an outlier, doesn't count", or being shown yet another and responding with words to the effect of "Yeah, but how do you KNOW what the story was behind that one, how do you know that degree really helped 'em", or being told "Uh, you know, I happen to know this authority you're citing personally, in fact sat down over lunch with him to discuss the very issue you're claiming to be an authority upon", and then dismissing that person also with the attitude of, essentially "Who cares what you have to say?"

    Rude can be personified in one who just blasts away, making majors of minors, never backing down an inch, and expecting others to just accept their word as gold, to accept being scolded and talked down to, even though they've never established evidence of a scintilla of expertise in anything being bandied about in the conversation.

    So rude can be a whole lot of things. And besides, really, why are people round here suddenly so fragile? Maybe I'm used to a slightly rougher environment, perhaps did a little too much B2B sales in a mature market, squared off in the legal career against a few too many sociopathic attorneys (one of whom once called my wife at home to berate her!) that I consider a little rhetorical roughhousing to be all in fun. People are acting like open wounds and old ladies' pampered cats and Faberge eggs. I don't get it.
  17. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    The World Health Organization keeps a list of recognized medical schools. Many jurisdictions decide whether or not to accept a foreign medical degree depending on whether it was awarded by a school on the list. The WHO decides which schools are recognized by whether they are recognized by the appropriate authorities in their own nation states. These islands are sovereign nation states and hence their approval gets medical schools in their territory onto the WHO list.

    While it's hard to get a medical school recognized in Canada and the United States, and typically only the more substantial universities attempt it, it's easy in some other places. Some places promise off-shore entrepeneurs approval even before the entrepeneur decides to locate the proposed school there. I think that the local authorities look at it as economic development.
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  18. Jan

    Jan Member

    Please refer to response below.
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  19. Jan

    Jan Member

    In regard to your example of the professor in Social Work, we have no idea how this individual obtained her position and the role her doctorate from IUGS assisted her in reaching her current job. Its all speculation.

    Whether the doctorate from Empresarial did or did not assist your second example is inconsequential. We need to look at the big picture and the general level of credibility, validity and acceptability of such degrees in the US and so far no one has been able to produce any evidence to justify obtaining these degrees for career, professional or employment enhancement purposes.
  20. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    Not wholly irrelevant because Jan had a point in that the PsyD program might not lead to licensure. However, she was using this idea (not a fact, at least not yet) and generalizing it to the entire school saying that therefore none of the degrees would be accepted. Also, her definition of "acceptable" was unrealistic.

    "Acceptable" implies that there will be NO questions or doubts regarding the credibility and legitimacy of the doctorate I attain from professional peers, employers or clients, that may negatively impact on the perception of my professional image and integrity"

    Even schools that have proven to be of high quality raise questions. Show up at an interview with a PhD from UNISA and you can expect questions and you can also expect that some (ignorant) people will reject you based on prejudice.
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