American Commonwealth University

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by timothyrph, Sep 16, 2002.

  1. timothyrph

    timothyrph New Member

    I ran a search in the archives for this university and could not find much information. A candidate for lieutenant governor has listed a doctorate from this school. Her bachelors is from the University of Oklahoma and a masters is from Duke.

    It is just a curiosity question. In Oklahoma the fact that she is not a Republican or an ex football player generally means she has no chance anyway.
  2. Formerly William Lyon University. In San Diego. According to Bears' Guide, at one time accredited by ACICS. Appears now to be defunct.
  3. Gus Sainz

    Gus Sainz New Member

    Where did you get this information? Laura Boyd has neither a Bachelors from the University of Oklahoma or a Masters from Duke. Morevover, it is questionable whether her doctorate is from American Commonwealth University. There is, however, an interesting story here.

    Laura Boyd, the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor doesn’t list any credentials in her biography on the official campaign Web site. However, in her bio on the Web site for Who’s Who in the 46th Legislature she is listed as

    • Graduated Duke University, 1970, B.A., German; Marywood College, 1978, M.S., Humanistic Education; International College, 1982, Ph.D., Psychology.
      Positions: Clinical Director, The Family Center of Norman; Private Practice; Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Oklahoma.

    The site for the University of Oklahoma Advanced Programs Faculty, corroborates this by listing her as

    • Laura Boyd, M.S., Maywood College; Ph.D., International College; Clinical & Training Director, Family Center, Norman, Ok.

    Here is where it gets interesting. There are other sources that list Boyd’s doctorate as having been granted by American Commonwealth University, such as this October 21, 1998 story in The Shawnee News-Star entitled Gubernatorial candidate to visit Seminole Thursday (She ran a losing campaign for Governor in 1998.) And another article from the Associated Press entitled Fast finish developing between Boyd, Keating, also from 1998, muddies the waters even further by stating, ” She received a bachelor's degree from Duke University, a masters from Mary Wood College and a doctorate in psychology from American Common Wealth University, formerly International College.”

    In reality, American Commonwealth University was not formerly International College, although there is a connection. As far as I can remember and can piece together (Dr. Bear, Rich, and others, please feel free to correct this and perhaps add dates), what began as the Gaylor Institute, developed into Lyon University, then changed its name to William Lyon University, then morphed into American Commonwealth University, which finally merged with Huron International University. Operations were based out of Southern California.

    American Commonwealth University was accredited by Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), and its graduates were permitted to sit for the California Board of Psychology licensing examination. Huron International University, when they took over the programs, had only California state approval. They applied for ACICS accreditation (about 1997, I believe), and (according to Bears’ Guide) it was granted prior to their closing their doors in 1999.

    As a side note, Huron International University still offers associate, undergraduate, and graduate degrees, but they are based out of Shinjuku-ku Tokyo, Japan, although Dr. Chikara Higashi is still the Chancellor & Chairman of the Board. (He must be an influential and well-connected individual, as he is on the Board of Advisors of the Institute for Global Management and Research of The George Washington University’s School of Business and Public Management.)

    So how does International College fit in? International College offered a very unique program. Back when Dr. Bear used to do such things (although now he ascribes it to youthful folly ;) ) they were very highly rated among nontraditional schools. (Actually I think the exact description in Bears’ Guide was, “the best nontraditional degree program in the world,” or words to that effect.) However, when International College went out of business, they transferred their students to William Lyon University. That’s the connection; it’s tenuous at best.

    (Another interesting side note: In 2000 and 2001 a total of 7 individuals, claiming to be graduates of International College, took the California Board of Psychology licensing examination—all 7 passed.)

    So, as students from International College were transferred to William Lyons University, which was later renamed American Commonwealth University, the obvious question is, from which school, precisely, did Laura Boyd receive her doctorate? Moreover, how does a discrepancy such as this come about? Is this a simple journalistic mistake that gets repeated over and over, or has the individual, at some point, in some way, contributed to the confusion?
  4. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    Re: Re: American Commonwealth University

    If anyone got a Ph.D. from American Commonwealth University, it probably wasn't while it was accredited by ACICS, because ACICS only accredits up to the masters level.
  5. timothyrph

    timothyrph New Member

    To be honest I remebered the previous degrees from an interview a few years ago. I may have gotten some facts mixed up.
    The information on American Commonwealth is from a bio page on under candidate bios for lieutenant governor.
  6. Gus Sainz

    Gus Sainz New Member

    There it is again ( ):
    • EDUCATION: Ph.D. from American Commonwealth University
  7. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    I still think International College was one of the most impressive attempts ever at nontraditional education. Or maybe I was just snowed by all the big names they had. The model was to match a learner and a teacher, who would work out the course of study. I remember one animal behavior student who lived in Gerald Durrell's house for quite a long time; another who became a personal assistant to Yehudi Menuhin; another an amanuensis to Anais Nin; others who worked personally with Carl Rogers, Jonas Salk, and suchlike.

    According to long-time president of International College, Paul Proehl (his day job was as a vice chancellor of UCLA and founder/head of their African Studies Program; in 1980, he bought my Degree Consulting Services business and took early retirement from UCLA), there were disturbing irregularities, which influenced his decision to resign the I.C. presidency, but he never shared details with me.
  8. Gus Sainz

    Gus Sainz New Member

    Re: Re: Re: American Commonwealth University

    You are, of course, correct. According to ACICS’s Web site
    • The scope of accreditation as recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education is that the Council's evaluation and accreditation activities are directed to postsecondary institutions offering non-degree programs and degree programs through the master's degree level that are designed to train and educate persons for careers or professions where business applications, business concepts, supervisory or management techniques, or professional or business-related applications or disciplines support or constitute the career or professional activity.

    At the time Huron International University took over American Commonwealth University’s programs and applied for ACICS accreditation (about 1997), their Web site only offered programs through the master’s level. Checking the ACICS records for that time period proved troublesome. One source showed Huron International University as having been accredited from 1995 to 1997, but not thereafter. However, as Huron wasn’t in operation in 1995, more than likely this was a clerical error as a result of the merger. Moreover, Huron International’s Web site in 1997 contained the following statements on accreditation.
    • Accreditation and Approval
      American Commonwealth University was accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). Huron International University has applied for ACICS accreditation.

    When I looked into this with the ACICS, further investigation revealed that it was American Commonwealth University that was accredited from 1995 to 1997, not Huron. No records exist of Huron ever having been accredited on its own. (Maybe there’s still time to correct BG 15. :D ) However, it is interesting to note that not only are doctoral programs outside of the scope of ACICS’s accreditation, but under the accreditation eligibility requirements in ACICS’s 2001 Directory it says this about a candidate school
    • 6. Its principal programs shall be residential.

    I don’t know how well American Commonwealth University complied with that criteria, but Huron International University’s Web site also offered this bit of information:
    • Currently, Huron International University is a non-residential campus serving mature adults.

    It is quite likely that American Commonwealth University stopped issuing doctoral degrees prior to applying to ACICS for accreditation; I cannot find any evidence of anyone claiming a doctoral degree earned after 1988. (As recently as 1999, however, some individuals were still claiming to have earned doctoral degrees from American Commonwealth University in order to satisfy the eligibility requirements for taking the California psychology licensure exam.)

    But you are correct. Anyone who earned a doctoral degree from American Commonwealth University had to have done so prior to 1993, as ACICS only accredits entire institutions; it does not accredit individual campuses or programs.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 17, 2002
  9. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Active Member

    Gus mentioned me, so I'll chime in.

    His recount of the events around ACU seems pretty thorough. When I surveyed graduates of 6 nontraditional universities in 1992, graduates of Wm. Lyon were in that group. Many of them had been transferred from IC when it closed. They were pissed. I wouldn't be surprised to find someone from that transferred group listing her Ph.D. as coming from IC. As John notes, IC had many good aspects to it; a noble-yet-flawed effort. Wm. Lyon and its iterations were pretty run-of-the-mill. Both are out of business, making the temptation to list IC even stronger.
  10. Gus Sainz

    Gus Sainz New Member

    I agree. In an academic setting the temptation would be to list International College. However, if your state required an accredited degree (as does Oklahoma) for licensure as a marital and family therapist, then the temptation would be to list (out of all of the above mentioned institutions) American Commonwealth University (in hopes that it’s accreditation limitations would slip through unnoticed).

    Under current requirements, an accredited Ph.D. in Psychology would qualify for state licensure in Oklahoma. However, a M.S. in Humanistic Education would qualify on an equivalency basis only if the transcript included 3 courses in Foundations of Marital and Family Systems, 3 courses in Assessment and Treatment in Marital Family Therapy, 3 courses in Human Development, 1 course in Ethics and Professional Studies, 1 course in Research, and at least 300 clock hours of Practicum/Internship. Keep in mind, however, that the standards may have been different in years past.

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