Central University of Nicaragua Degree Scheme

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by Rich Douglas, Nov 21, 2021.

  1. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    The US acceptance of foreign degrees is a bit tricky, even if you have a NACES member evaluation document, you have sometimes some universities that only accept certificates from certain places. I used to work for Devry University, they only accepted WES certificates at the time.
    As it is up to the employer to accept the foreign degree or not, they can always ask anything they want but the same applies to Canada. Some Quebec employers only accepted Quebec evaluations and not others like the University of Toronto or WES.
    The NACES certificate covers you as you have the authority to claim the PhD in your CV and use it without any fear of breaking laws or other problems but it is always up to the employer to accept it or not.
    It is not a straight forward procedure.
    However, I was more interested in propio degrees. Dr. Coleman mentioned validential, even though is not a member of NACES, it might do if you need a certificate just for a regular job at a company.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2023
  2. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    Congratulations Dr. Coleman. Excellent news for you.
  3. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    If a particular situation required a specific agency's evaluation, I suppose.
  4. cacoleman1983

    cacoleman1983 Well-Known Member

    I'm certain Validential will accept UCN if they accepted Azteca so I would have gotten the full recognition document from them as they seem to recognize any degree as regionally accredited that has a recognized accreditation program partner, is legally operating by law, or has a recognized school associated with the degree. As far as other NACES evaluators goes, I have heard that IEE, ERES, SpanTran, and Joseph Silny and Associates have evaluated UCN's PhD with full recognition in recent years. When looking at the list of NACES evaluators when they were established, it is safe to say that the only evaluators that refuse to evaluate Azteca or UCN are the ones that were established in 1987 during the same year WES was established. I tested this out by emailing a vast majority of them on the list and they were all "refuse to evaluate" for UCN if they originated in 1987. They all use the same blacklist and there are currently 7 evaluators that are still in existence since then. All the other evaluators don't seem to be using that blacklist and will all likely give UCN's degrees full recognition.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2023
  5. cacoleman1983

    cacoleman1983 Well-Known Member

    As far as Azteca goes, I did not receive a diploma from them but I did get my thesis results though. I did not need their diploma or official transcript as it would have been a propio anyway and based on an evaluation from IEE that I shared with you all recently from another student who had earned his Doctor of Science degree which was recognized as a Post-Doc, they would have given it recognition but would have noted "unaccredited program" due to the lack of RVOE. After discussing this result with another member here seeking a higher position as an adjunct to teach graduate courses, his department chair stated that an evaluation with this result would be rejected. I must say, I barely made it out with the official PhD due to the changes in Nicaragua as they have stopped offering their school programs at UCN to international students.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2023
  6. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Thanks for sharing it. Refusing to evaluate is not the same as giving negative results. The refusal is more political in my opinion than academic, WES makes a lot of money for evaluations for admissions into graduate school in the US and Canada. Their partners are not going to like that they are giving positive results to PhDs that cost 5K when people are spending more than 100K in the US or Canada for one.

    I checked and all the cheap options are blocked including UCN, Azteca, San Juan, CLEA, San Miguel, etc.

    Validential is good enough for someone looking to use the degree for employment purposes. It will not be accepted for a faculty position but it might be ok for a regular job. Some people have asked me about these degrees due to cost in particular ENEB that advertises heavily in Canada though groupon so Validential can give an equivalency report for Isabel 1, this could be a viable option for some.
  7. tadj

    tadj Well-Known Member


    Aren’t you slightly exaggerating with the “cheap program refusal” issue in relation to WES? For example, I am also a fan of propios (genuine ones connected to real Spanish universities), but I can understand why some NACES evaluators remain unconvinced of the need to give equal treatment to non-official university degrees, those that aren’t fully endorsed by the country’s ministry of education. Other equally legitimate NACES evaluators are willing to acknowledge the unique Spanish degree qualification and provide some kind of an equivalency report to clients. A propio isn’t a black and white issue for evaluators, so you’d expect to see some tension in that regard.

    Are those really “all the cheap options”? For example, is WES also blocking all the tuition-free public universities in Europe, or a cheap online degree-granting institutions like Nexus International University in Uganda?
  8. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Just so I understand:

    The degree was conducted by the Universidad Azteca, but was awarded by UCN. The evaluation is based on UCN. If the degree had been awarded by Azteca (which they do), it would not have been evaluated as equivalent to RA because of its propio status. And now UCN doesn't do this for people outside of Nicaragua.

    Who supervises the research, Azteca or UCN? (Not the evaluation of the thesis, but the supervision of the work?)
  9. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    WES is refusing to evaluate that it is different from giving an unaccredited degree report. WES could just issue a certificate that states "unaccredited degree from an accredited or recognized university" but choose to refuse to discourage people from taking these degrees. Is this ethical? refusing is a bit drastic in my opinion and clearly sends a message "dont take these degrees, they will not evaluated".

    You are right, I should not have stated "cheap degrees" but "cheap, accessible and DL" degrees. Tuition free universities in Europe are not accessible to most non european citizens at least in DL part time format and the schools in African from public universities normally have low customer service and are not meant for the typical international DL learner. In the 90s, I attempted to register with UNISA in SA and it was technically impossible to do this with so many hurdles. I tried a French University (Marie Curie University) and it was very difficult to do it as a part time international student. The British schools were open to international DL students but very expensive.

    WES and other NACES services at some point were evaluating some of these schools with positive results but then stopped. What changed? Was the volume of graduates that scared them or the quality? There are many so low quality schools in Latin America but why target UCN, Azteca, and alike? I suspect is the volume of graduates, the main issue and the potential conflict of interest with existing business. It is not the same to issue a certificate here and there for non ranked Latin American schools than hundreds of them for a particular school.

    To be fair also with WES, I see a potential liability issue as well. As these certificates can be used for immigration purposes, WES might feel that the USCIC might sue them if they feel that they are issuing certificates that cannot validate.
    The main issue seems to be the outsourcing part. As UCN and Azteca conduct business in areas with poor law enforcement, the potential risk is that the foreign operation is just selling the credential as UCN and Azteca might not have the necessary quality controls in place. This can evolve in a potential scandal that can hurt WES.
    The Spanish propios are a bit different as they dont seem to be going to Africa to conduct operations. This might be a reason why Spanish Universities that issue propio degrees are not being blocked by WES.

    So yes, there might be several reasons for WES blocking them.
  10. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    I think this the bottom line of the problem. Most of the supervision is outsourced as well. A quick look at the operations of these schools seem to be concentrated in Africa and Asia.
    At least the evaluator in Germany seems to be concerned with the outsourcing issue. They seem to be OK for local operations where UCN and Azteca supervise directly but they have problems when the operation is outsourced overseas.
    I think this is why Dr. Coleman mentioned that his is the last batch for this type of arrangement. Future operations would need to supervised directly by UCN.
  11. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    12-year veteran of USCIS here. I doubt the agency would sue. They would likely just issue a rule telling adjudicators not to recognize credentials from the school and/or the evaluating agency when making their decisions. (USCIS adjudicates some 5,000,000 cases per year, large and small.) That would not be insignificant, of course.
    Dustin likes this.
  12. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    This isn't good. It's not just the final thesis, but the process of producing it that must be guided and supervised as well. Otherwise, it really isn't a degree produced by the school. Rather, it is one recognized by that school, who then issues a diploma for it.

    If you go to Azteca to do your degree, that's where you did it. It's not a joint degree offered by the two schools. One school does it and the other issues the diploma. I don't think this is a minor point. (Nothing wrong with a joint degree, of course.)
  13. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    Hijack momentarily: USCIS was nothing but professional and friendly throughout my 6 year immigration journey.

    I was expecting a cold and unfriendly bureaucracy and what I found were universally people who genuinely wanted to see me succeed. If I ever find myself leaving near a USCIS office I'll be applying because they were great.
  14. cacoleman1983

    cacoleman1983 Well-Known Member

    Azteca supervised everything up to grading the thesis but UCN ultimately issued the diploma and transcript. Nothing from Azteca was sent to IEE for evaluation.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2023
    Rich Douglas likes this.
  15. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Thanks for that clarification.

    Nothing about this is personal, nor an indictment of your individual research or research process. (Which I know nothing about.) But I can see the objection to this as I described in an earlier post.

    Coursework-based bachelor's and master's degrees would be one thing--they can inspect the materials and delivery--but a school issuing doctorates in areas in which it does not conduct research, based on work it didn't supervise? No. There is no way UCN can speak to the quality and rigor of the research in question.*

    If I was sitting there trying to sort this out, my question would be: Why is Azteca awarding degrees without RVOE, yet getting "back door" recognition by having them issued by a school outside of the jurisdiction of Mexican authorities? Why not just get RVOE for them? (I think we know the answer.)

    *Echoes of Union: The Ohio Board of Regents' biggest complaint was with Union issuing PhDs in just about any subject without having the research-based schools to back it and relying too much on outside (adjunct) expertise. That's why the PhD Steve Levicoff earned was in in a particular major, while mine was in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration and a specialization. Materially different? I never thought so, but it was necessary to stay true to the process. And it re-emphasized the need to highlight interdisciplinarity, something I found extremely valuable when doing my degree at Leicester.
  16. cacoleman1983

    cacoleman1983 Well-Known Member

    Yeah it’s definitely a controversial situation that I was well aware of through this forum when I enrolled but it was for experimental learning and personal enrichment only. The Azteca / UCN arrangement has come to an end but it has been very interesting participating in the discussion and being a product of this discussion.

    I still may top up my UCN PhD with an American Doctorate which while strange would give me a more relatable experience to my North American peers because while my degree is recognized, there was a major disconnect doing an international degree from a third world country with the process being very hands off. The communication with all parties was strained and sometimes frustrating. I would only recommend my journey for lifelong learning, not for those who need a Doctorate.
  17. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    You might also find if you start publishing that people stop asking questions about the doctorate.

    After all, it's your basic training to be a researcher. If you're doing publishable research it has served its aim.
  18. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    I think a post doctoral certificate might be better. If you have an education degree, it can be in administration or psychology. I think Walden has few and so other schools. With the NACES certificate, you can get admission.
  19. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Yes, but some British Universities do the same thing. I don't want to start a new thread on this but I used to work for a place with similar practices. Doctoral supervision was outsourced. It is too expensive to hire full time faculty, it is way cheaper to hire someone to supervise on demand.

    The only difference is that the outsourced supervision was for a professional doctorate. Some British schools allow students to do experiential projects from work rather than academic dissertations for a professional doctorate.

    The reality is that money talks, universities get creative so they can generate cash with overseas operations that are not closely monitored by the minister of education of the country where the university is located.

    Not too long time ago, I noticed an ad from a company that supervised for middlesex university for a doctoral program.

    Costa Rican universities grant overseas degrees by using a Costa Rican law that allows universities to grant any degree they want as long it is for international operations. The Costa rican government basically gives a blank cheque so universities can bring cash to the country but they restrict this right to overseas operations so it does not affect local students.
  20. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I understand the distinction you're making, but I want to make something clear for readers.

    You mention an academic dissertation. This is, as you point out, different from a doctoral project.

    But to be clear, academic dissertations come in two flavors: scholarly and professional. Scholarly dissertations (or, in the UK, theses) advance scholarship by creating theory or testing it. (Mine was the former.) Professional dissertations are still based on original research, and they're nested into a literature review to demonstrate original contribution, but that contribution is to practice instead of scholarship.

    I know you know, but I want everyone reading this to know.

    As a side note, I still don't understand the difference between a dissertation and a doctoral project. For example, at Union we all did a Project Demonstrating Excellence (PDE). This could take the form of a traditional dissertation--about 80% did (including mine)--but it could also be based on some other creative work--like creating a piece of literature, art, or music. But the researcher was still required to do all the other things you'd find in a dissertation--introduction, literature review, original research, writing it all up, etc. In fact, the non-dissertation PDE looked a lot harder!

    My favorite non-dissertation was a colleague (back for her second doctorate) doing research on the unnamed women in the Bible. She used non-Biblical historical evidence to further flesh out their identities, then wrote some sort of creative narratives of them in first-person. (Don't judge it or expect me to defend it--I'm sure I'm not coming close to capturing its complexity.) But it was the kind of thing you could do at Union if you had the creativity.

    But if anyone can tell me (authoritatively--no guessing) what a "doctoral project" is, I would be grateful.

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