Central University of Nicaragua Degree Scheme

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

  1. mintaru

    mintaru Active Member

    It is precisely for this reason that international UNC degrees are not recognized in Germany.

    There's a backstory, of course. In 2008 two Germans, Nandana Nielsen and Karl Nielsen, opened a campus of NCU's International School of Psychology in Berlin. Incidentally, both were members of the Evaluator Committee of Wilfredo J. Baez's dissertation.

    Relatively quickly, there were voices in the German academic world that questioned the academic quality of these educational offers. There were also reports in German media. The first article I know is in a niche magazine that is renowned in its field and deals with further training in business. I was able to find this article again. It's in German, of course, so here's the Google translation:


    After that, there were also a few other articles in more mainstream publications, but unfortunately, I can no longer find them using Google. This could be due to the fact that most German newspapers have their archives behind paywalls.

    The article I mentioned, of course, doesn't say how it all turned out. I only know this part of the story from a friend who works at a German university in the field of psychology. So you could say that is hear-say. The article says that German authorities were at a loss regarding the issue of the recognition of these degrees. By the way, the German authority responsible for this is the ZAB. This German abbreviation stands for "Central Office for Foreign Education" and that is the authority behind Anabin.

    To solve the recognition problem, the ZAB commissioned several peer reviews of published NCU Ph.D. dissertations. The result is said to have been disastrous. As a result, the ZAB decided that not only the degrees of the UCN International School of Psychology are not recognized in Germany, but also all other degrees awarded by UCN in similar partnerships. For the ZAB, the result of these peer reviews was proof that the NCU did not check the educational quality of the partner institutes in any way.

    As I said, I only know this part of the story through a friend, but when I look at Wilfredo J. Baez's dissertation, it seems extremely plausible to me. In addition, the following sentence on UCN can be found at Anabin: "The branch offices operated by the UCN in Germany and Austria do not meet the local requirements and academic standards of a university institution." How can the German authorities know this, if not through the aforementioned peer reviews?
    tadj likes this.
  2. cacoleman1983

    cacoleman1983 Active Member

    As someone who is currently enrolled in an Azteca/UCN doctorate degree program, it is definitely an interesting situation for UCN to partner with unaccredited schools although Azteca's degree by itself would be propio. Azteca has started partnering with schools that are unaccredited as well provided that the schools is at a minimum state-approved or have been previously evaluated as recognized by a NACES or other recognized foreign evaluation.

    I found another interesting website who is also in the validation of degrees game. Azteca is currently partnered with them which allows dual awards similar to UCN. Here it is www.GUST.education
  3. Garp

    Garp Active Member

    That dissertation is troubling. It is troubling that there were allegedly competent doctoral advisors attached to it. It is troubling that it was posted to the UCN website as an example. Perhaps people are expected to think at 888 pages it must be saying something in-depth so why read it.
    Rich Douglas likes this.
  4. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Back when legitimate, unaccredited, alternative (nontraditional) universities were cropping up, the question of which ones were legitimate was a running concern. These schools were not accredited and, at the time, didn't look like they would ever be. So, was there a difference between, say, California Coast University and Kennedy-Western University? (Looking back, the differences are obvious. But not so much then.)

    Our colleague, John Bear, once suggested that the quality of a doctorate from one of these alternative schools could be (my term) micro-measured instead by examining the quality of the research and the nature of the person supervising it. In fact, this notion was the basis for a very fine unaccredited school, International College, that ultimately didn't survive. The school was based on the idea that matching students with noted scholars and producing good work was most important.

    But, because almost all of these legitimate-but-unaccredited schools are either (a) now accredited or (b) now gone, we're using institutional measures of quality (accreditation or some other comparable form of recognition). But using both criteria--institutional recognition and the quality of research/supervision--does UCN measure up?
    Garp and newsongs like this.
  5. Garp

    Garp Active Member

    It is hard to judge by one dissertation but this one is so bad that I think it causes serious questions to be raised. It reminded me of the type of book report a not particularly scholarly high school student or Community College student might produce. It was just pumped up by sheer volume (like shampoo that builds volume by puffing strands of hair). It is still of poor quality, there is just more of it.
  6. Garp

    Garp Active Member

    Scholarly conclusions to his 882 page research like:
    "The test of whether you preach better and like Jesus comes in actual preaching. Stand
    up like you are facing your audience. Stand in the leveler position; tall, knees slightly
    bent, equal weight on both legs, hands at your sides, head suspended from the sky.
    Take a deep breath. Enter into your Preacher’s state. Speak the Lord’s Prayer to each
    person in the room so they understand it. Do this with an imaginary group right now.
    But do it at a meeting."

    Or this:
    "Take the Jesus ladder and place it on your ladder, matching rung to rung, and watch the
    ladders merge. You ladder is Jesus’ ladder and Jesus’ ladder your ladder. Step up and
    down the ladder as yourself. Now step up and down the ladder as Jesus."

    Could have checked grammar?
  7. Garp

    Garp Active Member


    "The modeling theory of Robert Dilts is sound theory. There are observable steps that
    can be replicated. It is testable. The model presented here is testable as well. But it is
    testable in the hands of persons well versed in the model, who understand the
    underlying principles of NLP and are trained in employing its procedures. Language
    patterns, matching and mirroring practices, management of trance, anchoring
    procedures, and modeling all are observable and testable. Modeling is the primary gift
    of NLP to the world, and this model, mine to you."
  8. Garp

    Garp Active Member

    If I had paid and were in the program would I stay the course? Yes. You paid. It apparently is able to get some positive evaluation results (or at least one we are aware of). I would simply make sure your advisor does his or her job and you are stringent in doing yours so you produce a quality product. UCN is a recognized University. You may at least have the personal satisfaction of completing it and being a PhD if you did PhD level work.

    If I were starting out and had not enrolled I would weigh options carefully (wise advice anyway).

    If I were the school, I would step up quality controls. They risk harming a potential boost to their school.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2021
  9. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I've read only one dissertation from Liberty University--for an EdD. It was horrible.

    I've read only one dissertation from the University of Phoenix--a DM. It was horrible.

    The former made no original contribution to practice, and the author didn't even complete the project he set out to do. The latter was like a book report done by an 8th-grader the night before it was due on a book she hadn't read.

    But I don't want to draw huge conclusions on those miniscule bases.
    Bill Huffman and Maniac Craniac like this.
  10. Garp

    Garp Active Member

  11. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    But don't step on the other side of the ladder. That's where you put the paint bucket.
    Maniac Craniac likes this.
  12. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    But they might not. After all, it appears these agreements bring in revenue without having to do much--or any--actual academic oversight/instruction/evaluation/etc. Just selling the accreditation--and that doesn't seem to be such a hot commodity.
  13. Garp

    Garp Active Member

    I think you have to come up with substantial amounts up front and not much of a payment plan. People may be reticent to put out the money and see how things go in terms of sustaining their own interest and whether the agreements hold together.
  14. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    I admit, those dissertation excerpts made me laugh. But is there a possibility they're that bad because of language translation, where the writer's first language isn't English and words and intent were translated in ways that sound strange to us as English-speakers? I've seen some really bad translations over the years.

    Man, I sure hope that's what happened.
  15. Garp

    Garp Active Member

    I don't believe it was translation (some were in German and it noted that). As Rich pointed out, some duds do slip through. Cannot really say it was indicative of the caliber of dissertations produced. Certainly, indicative of some quality control issues. But UCN seems to rely on 3rd parties to oversee the non local studies.

    UCN is fairly affordable and may meet someone's needs to have an "accredited" PhD. It is unlikely to help them break into tenure track academia at a bricks and mortar campus but then it would be difficult with a Trident, University of Phoenix, or similar doctorate. One woman I saw with the UCN combo doctorate was some sort of counselor or life coach. The PhD probably added value to her marketing and she used it as "Doctor so and so". In that case, why spend 90,000 plus for a Walden or Capella PhD?
    Rich Douglas likes this.
  16. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Good question. I hope the following is a good answer.

    When one pursues a degree, there is an exchange of capital, two forms of it from each side. The student offers up money and academic achievement. The school offers up an education and a degree.

    I would suspect the educational experience at Walden or Capella is superior. One of the things doing a doctorate can do is help you establish Ikigai, your purpose for being. This is especially true for people with significant experience behind them. The doctoral experience can help the candidate answer these four questions:
    1. What do I love to do?
    2. What am I really good at?
    3. What will people pay me to do?
    4. What does society need from me?
    I feel that a perfunctory process resulting in a transactional degree--live in one country, study with some institute in another, have your degree issued by yet another--and all three elements having different cultures and languages--might not be all that transformative.

    Then there is the degree. I think there are three types of schools: ones people have heard of, ones they've not but ignore, and ones they haven't heard of but might raise some suspicious eyebrows. In my opinion, in most situations were a Walden or Capella doctorate is presented, no one will care. (This might be different with a doctorate from UoP, for example.) They've never heard of your school and don't really look further. But a degree from a Nicaraguan university that conducts its programs in Spanish? It might raise questions like, "Why?" Or "What?" The more you have to explain, the worse it will be.

    So, the degree might do just fine for a sole practitioner. It might also be just fine in an employment situation. Or it might not. YMMV. But will the doctorate also live up to its role in terms of developing the candidate? That, in the long run, is where the investment pays off.
    mintaru and Bill Huffman like this.
  17. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    Great post Dr. Douglas!!!!!!!!!
  18. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    I agree. Timing is everything in this business. I completed my DBA from an Australian school 13 years ago and I was able to land an academic job. The same job now goes to people with PhDs from AACSB accredited schools. The same DBA would have not worked now with all the existing competition. The PhD from UCN might work for some now if you can get a positive NACES accredited evaluation report but this report might not be available in 10 or less years due to changing policies and regulations. If you are in the UCN program, just finish it fast and try to use it right away. If you are thinking about it, it might be too late because in 5 years this degree might be just paper. Some people were able to use NortCentral and Capella PhDs in Canada for tenure tracks, now this is almost impossible due to the high availability of PhDs from better schools. The UCN PhD with a positive evaluation report might work for some CC college positions or some professions with shortages now, in 10 years might be just paper.
    newsongs and Rich Douglas like this.
  19. cacoleman1983

    cacoleman1983 Active Member

    I believe that with the current job climate due to the Great Resignation and everything going virtual due to COVID, how degrees are earned and where they are earned may mean a lot less than they typically would. Also, these foreign and for-profit degrees are only a small part of a person's curriculum vitae. Doctorate degrees despite recognition status are icing on the cake and not cake by themselves for those who already have a wealth of experience in the field.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2021
  20. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    I agree, but they have to be credible enough. I recently got a part time faculty position in Accounting based on a DL MSc in Accounting fom an UK institution. If this degree was from Nicaragua, I would have to show something more credible like a certification (e.g CPA). These degrees from Nicaragua, Mexico, etc are risky, if you can get a positive foreign evaluation and the timing is right, they might be worth something but it is all about timing and opportunity. The more important the license is the less important the source of the degree is, if the degree can help you to become a licensed nurse, CPA, psychologist, counsellor, etc then it is worth the effort.

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