Canyon College and the PhD(c)

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by PsychPhD, Oct 13, 2006.

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  1. jtaee1920

    jtaee1920 New Member

    Does any of this really matter with a degree mill like Canyon? Why would anyone care how a degree is listed at a "school" that is nothing but a mill?
     
  2. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member Staff Member

    Then why the hell was the issue, as framed in the thread title, one of listing onesself as a PhD candidate? Why didn't the thread-starter simply have the gazongas to state in the first place that the real issue is that Canyon is a mill?
     
  3. PsychPhD

    PsychPhD New Member

    Wish people would read the entire thread

    I asked in my original post if anyone had any information to refute my understanding that it was inappropriate to identify oneself as a PhD(c).

    [I think I have more than adequately explained the basis of my interpretation in previous posts, so will not repeat them here.]

    At the time of the original post, I was not aware of Canyon's status as a "diploma mill." And while I have not been convinced this is untrue, I do find it curious that a representative of the university actually did respond to my inquiry and, apparently, took some corrective steps. That does seem uncharacteristic for a true diploma mill.

    The question of ethics Ted is whether one's intent is to misrepresent one's credentials. As has been explored on other threads in this forum, states (Oregon most notably) have begun making it illegal to claim degrees one has not earned. It did seem peculiar that an (apparent) educational institution would indirectly encourage such a practice. As I said before, it is not unethical to indicate in a resume/CV that you are pursuing a degree, but it is not appropriate to list the degree after your name, because you have not, in fact, earned it.

    To be honest, I am puzzled by the venom that this thread has inspired in some. I simply came across something that struck me as odd, and asked for feedback from others who might have some broader insights.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 22, 2006
  4. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Just my take on it

    My opinion is that it's okay, so long as one really is a candidate (i.e., is ABD and thus no longer has coursework to do), and so long as the annotation is clear. "PhD candidate" would be all right, but this PhD(c) stuff isn't good at all.

    If someone is still doing the coursework, it would be okay by me to list it, provided that it's annotated as "in progress".

    -=Steve=-
     
  5. PsychPhD

    PsychPhD New Member

    Why not Bachelor's and Master's too?

    Steve,

    I can appreciate your point, but it leaves me curious -- why just permit this sort of "advance" claim for just for the doctorate?

    By this logic, shouldn't college juniors be able to sell themselves as BA(c)? I'm not quite finished, but hire me as an MBA(c)?

    Isn't the reason that only 1% of the population actually earn doctorates partially because it is very difficult to complete 2-3 years of coursework and a dissertation?

    If someone finishes doctoral coursework but never completes a dissertation -- the proverbial ABD -- do they get to claim the "credential" of PhD(c)? What would this mean for college dropouts? Haven't they partially earned a degree?
     
  6. glimeber

    glimeber New Member

    Re: Re: It's not about ABD, it's about misinformation

     
  7. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Re: Why not Bachelor's and Master's too?

    Steve, I can appreciate your point, but it leaves me curious -- why just permit this sort of "advance" claim for just for the doctorate? By this logic, shouldn't college juniors be able to sell themselves as BA(c)? I'm not quite finished, but hire me as an MBA(c)?

    Well, as I said, I find the "(c)" thing to be dodgy even if one really does have doctoral candidacy.

    Isn't the reason that only 1% of the population actually earn doctorates partially because it is very difficult to complete 2-3 years of coursework and a dissertation?

    I don't know. To speculate, I think it's more that for most people, a doctorate isn't required for what they want to do.

    If someone finishes doctoral coursework but never completes a dissertation -- the proverbial ABD -- do they get to claim the "credential" of PhD(c)?

    No. Candidacy is a specific status that doctoral students have after they have completed their coursework and have had their dissertation proposal accepted. They're a PhD candidate until either they drop out or, preferably, finish their dissertation and successfully defend it.

    What would this mean for college dropouts? Haven't they partially earned a degree?

    Bachelor's and Master's degrees don't have an equivalent status. With those, one has either completed it, is working on it, or has dropped out. There's no candidacy, so if you say you're a "BA candidate" you're misspeaking. However, in my opinion, you could ethically say "BA, in progress" if that is in fact the case.

    -=Steve=-
     
  8. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member Staff Member

    Re: Why not Bachelor's and Master's too?

    The reason we do not see "BA candidate" and "MBA candidate" listed is that candidature implies "coursework finished, only thesis/dissertation remaining." Very few BAs or MBAs require a thesis, so there is no such thing as a candidacy phase in most BA and MBA programs.
     
  9. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member Staff Member

    Re: Wish people would read the entire thread

    If you truly think that Oregon's concern with "claiming degrees one has not earned" has anything to do with claiming doctoral candidacy (assuming that one truly is a doctoral candidate), then you are sadly misinformed. The concern with "claiming degrees one has not earned" has to do with claiming a degree title that one flat out bought with no work behind it ... other than giving the "school" a valid credit card number and then walking out to one's mailbox to pick up one's "degree." As far as ethics and misrepresenting one's credentials, claiming doctoral candidacy when one truly is a doctoral candidate is hardly a misrepresentation of one's credentials. IMHO, it should be up to the individual student to know the difference between a degreed doctor and a doctoral candidate.
     
  10. PsychPhD

    PsychPhD New Member

    Not misinformed, sadly or otherwise

    Fine. Take a poll and ask average people what they believe PhD(c) stands for. I would venture a guess a miniscule minority would be able to explain the difference between holder of an earned PhD and doctoral candidate. There have been similar debates regarding the claiming of a honorary doctorate as a legitimate credential. Why do you think faculty positions are very clear in their requirements to almost universally indicate earned doctorate?

    As I have said many times before, there is nothing improper or unethical in indicating an educational program in progress when it is part of an expanded explanation, i.e. a resume or CV. But that distinction becomes much less clear when you sign correspondence or post your name on a list as:
    Ted Heiks, PhD(c).

    Well, apparently that level of sophistication is not universal as evidenced by the defensive responses I have received from some of these PhD(c)'s. When I inquired of my own program, I was told quite clearly that they would not tolerate even the appearance of impropriety in the reporting of academic achievement. However, some students still continued the practice.

    Look, I never intended to become the "diploma cop" by asking the question. Personally, I do find it offensive and potentially misleading as one who has worked hard to earn my doctorate. I was counseled quite clearly on several occasions that it was not appropriate to let people assume I had earned my degree or the title of "doctor" until I had, in fact, earned it.

    Yes, the letter of Oregon's law is directed at claiming literally fraudulent degrees as legitimate. However, i do not believe it a stretch to extrapolate that the spirit of the law also does intend people to simply not claim credentials that are unearned. It is quite similar to the practice of claiming unearned military decorations -- a practice which understandably makes some veterans quite angry.

    Why should this be any different?
     
  11. PaulC

    PaulC Member

    I would be interested to know what schools have, as policy, an official designation of "PhD Candidate". If a school has an official designation as such, it may be reasonable to use it.

    Why does it matter? If this is meant as a descriptor (i.e., in progress, ongoing, ABD, etc) of where one is in a program, I see it as unethical to use it as though it is an official designation. You could be ABD all your life...so what. To say you are a candidate implies that there is some specificity to where you are and how much time is left and that seems to be too much unknown to use a term like candidate in your CV.

    I am going out on a ledge here and guessing there are few if any schools that have this official status or designation. It may be a generally understaood term within the halls, but is it officially conferred as a status in a program? Which ones, I'd like to know.
     
  12. PsychPhD

    PsychPhD New Member

    Too much ambiguity

    Paul,

    Regarding your question about school policy, I was surprised to learn that Capella does not recognize the status of doctoral candidate, regardless of completion of coursework, acceptance of dissertation proposal. etc. (During IRB review, I was required to change identifying myself as "doctoral candidate.")

    I know some people feel this is a tempest in a teacup, but I do think it bears a resemblance to one claiming unearned military decorations, (e.g. I served during Vietnam, but never actually was in country - but wears a Vietnam Service Medal) Ask a Vietnam vet if this matters.

    Or could I go so far as Bill O'Reilley claiming he won a Peabody Award for his work on Inside Edition, but the award was actually given after his departure from the show? Does this matter? For anyone claiming professional integrity, I would think so.

    Yes, in the overall scheme of things, we are not talking about life or death issues here. But as part of this forum is the discussion of the legitimacy/integrity of distance learning, I do think this issue is worthy of exploration.

    (PS - As I said earlier, I was surprised after a Google search to find other examples of PhD(c) being used, primarily by allied health doctoral candidates.)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 23, 2006
  13. ShotoJuku

    ShotoJuku New Member

    When it comes right down to it, the bottom line for CC staff could potentially say PhD (a-z) - pick your favorite letter followed by Canyon College (DM) diploma mill.
     
  14. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member Staff Member

    Re: Not misinformed, sadly or otherwise

    Originally posted by PsychPhD
    Fine. Take a poll and ask average people what they believe PhD(c) stands for. I would venture a guess a miniscule minority would be able to explain the difference between holder of an earned PhD and doctoral candidate. There have been similar debates regarding the claiming of a honorary doctorate as a legitimate credential. Why do you think faculty positions are very clear in their requirements to almost universally indicate earned doctorate?

    For starters, the majority of the people (the "average persons" whom you wish me to poll) will probably never need to know the difference between a degreed doctor and a doctoral candidate. Those who do need to know can always ask.

    As I have said many times before, there is nothing improper or unethical in indicating an educational program in progress when it is part of an expanded explanation, i.e. a resume or CV. But that distinction becomes much less clear when you sign correspondence or post your name on a list as:
    Ted Heiks, PhD(c).

    If I truly were a PhD candidate, I would see nothing wrong with so designating myself, be that on my signature line here, on a resume, or in a college catalogue wherever I might take a professorship while in candidacy.

    Well, apparently that level of sophistication is not universal as evidenced by the defensive responses I have received from some of these PhD(c)'s. When I inquired of my own program, I was told quite clearly that they would not tolerate even the appearance of impropriety in the reporting of academic achievement. However, some students still continued the practice.

    Are you suggesting that it is somehow representative of intellectual sophistication to actually know what levels of education are represented by various levels of degrees and candidatures thereto?

    Look, I never intended to become the "diploma cop" by asking the question. Personally, I do find it offensive and potentially misleading as one who has worked hard to earn my doctorate. I was counseled quite clearly on several occasions that it was not appropriate to let people assume I had earned my degree or the title of "doctor" until I had, in fact, earned it.

    You could have surprised me.

    Yes, the letter of Oregon's law is directed at claiming literally fraudulent degrees as legitimate. However, i do not believe it a stretch to extrapolate that the spirit of the law also does intend people to simply not claim credentials that are unearned. It is quite similar to the practice of claiming unearned military decorations -- a practice which understandably makes some veterans quite angry.

    Why should this be any different?
    I've never heard of claiming military decorations that were unearned. As I have never heard of such a thing as candidature for a military decoration, I would think that would be an entirely different kettle of fish than claiming candidature for a doctorate.
     
  15. PsychPhD

    PsychPhD New Member

    Well, you have surprised me

    OK, Ted ... uncle.

    I guess I was mistaken to believe that people might find it unacceptable to claim honors not yet earned. That people ostensibly with advanced education might be expected to behave in a manner respecting the integrity of higher education.

    Perhaps it would be more correct to say not that you surprised me, but more disappointed and depressed me. I guess I shouldn't be surprised as we now live in a time when our so-called "leaders" can claim achievements/activities that are flat out false, but large parts of society believe it hook, line, and sinker.

    I'd chalk up validating academic credentials to caveat emptor, but as you have so clearly illustrated, academic integrity is simply unimportant.

    Oh, but about claiming unearned military decorations -- yes, there is no such thing as candidacy -- but it still does speak to respecting honor and integrity. Apparently the problem was significant enough that it there is a proposed federal law to criminalize doing it -- The Stolen Valor Act of 2005.

    Perhaps I'll write my Senator about proposing The Academic Integrity Act of 2006.
     
  16. Dave Wagner

    Dave Wagner Active Member

    Re: Well, you have surprised me

    Since we are sharing our opinions here, I have to say that it seems unethical to mount a sustained attack against the integrity of several named individuals, and even post private, copyrighted email messages, yet remained cloaked in anonymity.

    Dave
     
  17. PaulC

    PaulC Member

    I do have a issue with assigning oneself with the designation of PhD(c). At least the self designation ABD (all but dissertation) speaks to a generality that cannot be disputed nor mitigated by the passing of time. Twenty years after completing coursework and not completing the dissertation, one would still be ABD.

    However, every institution that I am aware of has a set limit of time one can officially be in a doctoral program. After which, if you had not completed the program, you could not be designated as "candidate" as that candidacy status would have expired with the expiration of the time allotted within the policy of the school. However and regardless, you would still and always be ABD.

    So, it is reasonable to consider that if there is no one to oversee the validity of one publicly denoting oneself with the "candidate" designation, then there is open the great potential that such a designation could be abused.

    ABD speaks unambiguously; candidacy is ambiguous and potentially fraudulent. Without oversight of its use, how different is this than self accreditation. Why not let universities that are simply candidates for accreditation advertise they are Accredited(c).
     
  18. PsychPhD

    PsychPhD New Member

    Re: Re: Well, you have surprised me

    Hmm ... if the situation with former US Rep Mark Foley didn't teach you anything, it should have taught you that EMail is never private. In addition, once you involve another party, you have abrogated any right to privacy with that person. Either party is free to share whatever components of that communication they wish. (Apparently you've never seen "personal communication" cited in a reasearch article. Or heard of "Deep Throat" -- the Watergate informant, not the porn movie!)

    Copyrighted? Huh? I have never heard of personal communication being copyrighted.

    To be honest, a few years ago, I would have been swayed by your challenge against anonymity. However, if my experiences on this board have taught me anything is it that there are people here who seek to inflict unjustified, indefensible, libelous harm. There is no way I am going to take that risk to assuage your feelings of propriety.
     
  19. Dave Wagner

    Dave Wagner Active Member

    Re: Re: Re: Well, you have surprised me

    You'll want to make note of it, since you do teach as adjunct faculty. The act of citing maintains ownership credit to the author; however, written documents such as email are "original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression" (Too lazy to cite this correctly; see link below).

    http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=browse_usc&docid=Cite:+17USC102

    Dave
     
  20. Dave Wagner

    Dave Wagner Active Member

    Re: Re: Re: Well, you have surprised me

    Honestly, I think my feelings of propriety experienced while reading your posts were pretty much limited to cognitions of bombast and cowardice.

    Dave
     
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