CUSGC faculty comments

Discussion in 'The Monterrey Institute for Graduate Studies' started by blodgett, Apr 15, 2002.

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  1. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Forget for a moment that adult, learner-centered, graduate education is supposed to be beyond that. That stuff didn't happen. Except for some really stupid stuff regarding the formation of my committee (such as professors from Mexico being listed as faculty, but Forman not allowing them to serve, and then refusing to even explain why), the real problems I had with MIGS are the same one everyone else has with them. THAT's why I left, not because that a-hole Forman doesn't know what he's doing. (Which he admitted to me, by the way.) MIGS is all a pack of lies. They don't have authority to operate in Florida, but they do. They list faculty members who don't know they're listed there. They had a huge judgment against them in Texas. Their owner advertised the school on one of her sites that also offered a term paper service. They don't have any administration. They don't have the authority to award CEU degrees. The CEU doesn't have the authority to award doctorates. And that's just the heinous stuff. Then there's all the bad PR you refer to, which would double or triple the length of this post.

    Naive or disingenuous, it doesn't matter. This represents an attempt to soft sell MIGS in the best possible light, and to shift the issue from the running of an illegal school to the allegedly typical abuse of a doctoral student. (Which didn't even happen, I repeat. I never began my program.)

    BTW, I notice you list yourself as a doctoral candidate on another website (employer?). Is that with MIGS? Or perhaps another school? If so, can we assume you've been admitted, completed coursework, comps, and have submitted an acceptable dissertation proposal? I have from first-hand experience that that particular term shouldn't be used lightly.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 17, 2002
  2. Bill Highsmith

    Bill Highsmith New Member

    Naaaaahhh. That is just folklore. Here is her lovely sister Elizabeth Blodgett-Montgomery with her niece Tabitha.
     
  3. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Re: You'd rather I'd have said, "Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha?"

    For Real? :D
     
  4. Gus Sainz

    Gus Sainz New Member

    I’m not sure what you mean. Why wouldn’t I want to have this picture on my bumper in Texas? Why the daunting reference to firearms?

    And what’s your problem with Texas? It’s the second time you relate a post of mine to a cryptic reference to the Lone Star State.
     
  5. Chip

    Chip Administrator

    Hmmmmm.

    Well, Cynthia, first I'd like to say welcome to degreeinfo, and I do admire you for having (a) a good sense of humor -- pretty important around here; (b) a thick skin, not easily offended by some of the rather insensitive remarks already made, and (c) a willingness to stand up to the very skeptical view that most of us have about MIGS/CEU/CGS/CUSGC/danzig.com/Macarena lessons/FreeTermPaper.com/whatever it's calling itself this week.

    A couple of points of order:

    1. The faculty letter claiming that MIGS was changing its name from MIGS to CEU due to "public perception" is a crock. MIGS changed its name because Sheila got busted by Florida authorities for running an unlicensed, illegal school there. She's been trying to cover her tracks by renting a PO box in Monterrey and using a toll-free number (which, of course, rings in FL) The fact that you mention Florida as a locus for MIGS/CEU etc is further proof that Sheila continues to flout Florida law. This is not something that a legitimate, respected DL school would do.

    2. MIGS/CEU has, in the past, been incredibly overanxious to parade its faculty members to the public... and in at least one case, they announced someone as a department head who had NEVER EVEN HEARD OF THE SCHOOL, much less applied for or been hired for the position. Of course, when exposed, it was described as a "mistake." And, in spite of John Bear's clear request in advance of his agreement to serve as Rich's faculty advisor, Sheila of course was proudly touting John as a MIGS faculty member on the website until John complained. (This being another excellent example of mill-like behavior, one that you'd never see at a respected, legitimate school.) That being the case, and you having been with MIGS for nearly a year, why aren't they proudly singing your praises on their site?

    3. MIGS has been fined a quarter million bucks in Texas for running an illegal, unlicensed school there... and the sad thing is, they never actually *had* any operations there, other than Serna's law office. The only reason they claimed they did is so that crack attorney Enrique Serna could sue Levicoff in the state where he was licensed. And, conveniently, since Serna basically stipulated, as an officer of the court, that MIGS was operating there, he couldn't very well claim that they weren't when it was no longer convenient. Again, the sort of activity that would be appropriate for a mill, but not for a respected institution.

    4. the Cal State system certainly thought poorly enough of MIGS to give a pretty severe reprimand to Arias... and Arias was rewarded for all the work he put into MIGS by a statement from Serna that describing Arias as MIGS president was a "mistake." Again, not the actions of a respected and upstanding institution.

    5. Whenever anything questionable on the CEU website is revealed here, Sheila has it erased, usually within 6-12 hours. Again, the sort of action very commonly found among mills, but almost never among respected institutions.

    6. There appears to be precious little (if anything) to stand as a testament to the academic quality, institutional integrity, honesty, ethical behavior, or any other redeeming social behavior regarding MIGS. (I am ready to be corrected on this if anything can be unearthed, but I'm not holding my breath.)

    So... I think that if you're attempting to defend MIGS/CEU/CUSGC/ whatever it is this week, you're going to have a near-impossible task of convincing anyone that it's a legitimate operation. It has nothing to do with Rich being "hurt" or Levicoff being sued (although Sheila and Enrique did faaaaaar more to completely destoy their reputation by suing Levicoff than he ever did by pointing out that they were, in his opinion, a mill.)

    I'll give it the benefit of the doubt and assume that you're truly posting independently and without the gentle encouragement of Bruce. (Bruce, in turn, would have been gently encouraged by Sheila... don't let anyone have you believe that she isn't running the entire operation, in spite of the tons of honorary board members who, according to Arias, never show up for board meetings.)

    If you're truly posting on your own behalf, I put you in the same box as Armando... someone who is very genuine and wants the best, but someone who either hasn't done their due diligence and learned of Sheila's extremely questionable past and all of the iffy things that MIGS has done thus far, or else someone who is *incredibly* naive. Either way, as I see it, it's not a particularly flattering position for you or for MIGS. I don't mean that as a slam to you, just as an observation.

    If you really want to understand the MIGS situation, you need to go back and REALLY READ all of the archive on MIGS... it is NOT just a rehash of the same comments, nor is it anybody bickering about their professors or anything of the sort. It is a constant and unending (to this day) series of the most amazing ineptitude (being kind) or incredibly sleazy, unethical behavior (being probably more accurate.)

    You can view the original lawsuit documents at www.ignant.org, where somebody duplicated Levicoff's site before it was taken down. The original filing by Serna is particularly amazing, in that it claims that the 4 students appeared in Serna's office on a nonexistent date (September 31st), and also claims that these same 4 students appeared, simultaneously, in Enrique's Texas office and in Sheila's office, some 1500 miles away, on the very same day. This completely strains any grasp of credibility that a reasonable person would have, and is further indication of the sort of tactics that these folks have engaged in the past.

    I am reminded of Larry Flegle, a college professor teaching at some nondescript but legitimate school, who apparently got sucked into the bogus Canyon College as a "faculty member", and who Steve was kind enough to assist in extricating himself from that mess. Flegle subsequently went on to get suckered by at least a couple of other less-than-wonderful programs. The guy is either completely clueless, or *knows* he's working for a questionable institution. Again, I give you the benefit of the doubt here, but I don't see how any rational person, with reasonable analytic skills, could possibly come away with any positive feelings about MIGS/CEU/CUSGC etc. after having actually digested all of the FACTUAL stuff out there, let alone all that can be inferred by its existence.

    I do hope you'll take the time to carefully read over the material here, going back over a year or more. Much of it is incredibly humorous reading (unfortunately, nearly all of it at Sheila and Enrique's expense) so it's not a complete waste of time. You might also want to check out the articles done by the Chronicle of Higher Education, which also paint a pretty unflattering picture of the operation.

    Once you've actually studied the facts, I think you'll be in a much better position to understand why nearly 100% of the participants here have nothing positive to say about the program.

    As for other MIGS instructors hanging out at degreeinfo? Well... I first wonder if there ARE any other MIGS instructors. If so, I would honestly encourage anyone teaching at MIGS to tell us in detail about your experiences with your students, with the faculty, whether any students have actually graduated, how you found out about MIGS, and that sort of thing... I am personally open to the possibility that there is some legitimate education going on in spite of Sheila's best efforts, but, again, I don't hold my breath.
     
  6. blodgett

    blodgett New Member

    Certainly a lot to respond to this morning. Chip, I appreciate your welcome candid, flame-free outline of the details. When I see flaming I see underlying agenda.

    Thank you, John, for your retraction. That means a great deal to me. Your comment is what I needed to hear.

    I don't consider my position as one of naiveté or deceit. I read the information available about the Levicoff suit months ago and I have carefully read the posts back to the beginning of the thread. I do not deny that CUSGC is plagued (black, I'm sure) with all of the facts that have been posted by the participants of this dialogue. I still hold that illegal practices and flagrant abuse of faculty and students are easily found in U.S. accredited universities, both dotcoms and dotedus. Rich, if it bothers you to be lied to in your graduate program, you'd better get a thicker skin. This is not a defense of any institution. Just a fact. Grad students get lied to a lot. Programs get closed, orphaning grad students. Same kick, new institution. Part of the rite of passage is to figure out how to outwit the obstacles. Sounds like going back to Union is the right thing for you. I, too, needed to change universities after a divorce. The ex was a professor where I was a student. He certainly wasn't going to find a new university.

    (By the way, in reference to the comment on the black plague, rumor has it that it was unnaturally spread because the Christians burned cats when they burned peasants. Cats eat rats, thus the natural predators of the diseased rats were destroyed, leaving humans to reap the rewards of shortsightedness. That doesn't speak well of a certain group of people with power. I'd appreciate a source of different information.)

    Y'all seem to need personal information from me that is not available from your google search:

    In reference to how I came to mentor students for them, MIGS posted a note on the DEOS list in, I think, Nov or Dec of 2000, and I responded. I have needed to work at home, and that requirement will continue for some time to come. The school was new then, and already the controversy was rising. I did not, and still do not see that honest, truthful, exemplary, reflective, and 100% legal leadership is a guarantee anywhere. I have witnessed fine teaching in the midst of institutional deceit. MIGS looked no different. As far as being owned by shysters, this too is nothing new. Any business person can buy a school, or start a school. Honesty is not a requirement to succeed in business. It takes a good business person to run a school correctly. It takes good teachers to take care of the students. It looks as though the former is not in place with MIGS. Administrative honesty does not guarantee either good or poor quality teaching but makes a huge difference to the students.

    Do you remember way back when NOVA was considered a diploma mill? Is it still considered a diploma mill? What has changed? Leadership? Paperwork?

    So you think I'm a plant. I would imagine that if I were a plant, gently nudged by Bruce Forman, that I would be defending this institution rather than discussing my experience with both cyber and land-based schools.

    You ask if I mentor PhD students. I don't mentor PhD students, I mentor Masters students. You all know that a candidate can't teach at the same level, just as a Masters student can't teach Masters students, but can teach Bachelors, and just as Bachelors can't teach Bachelors students but can sometimes teach in the community colleges. (You'll check the website and see that there are Masters programs, too.) I do a good job. These people have proven to be just like any other honest graduate student, willing to work up to the standard that I set for them.

    You suggest that I am lying about my status as a PhD candidate in dissertation stage of my work. If you were truly as capable of digging into individual's personal doings as you claim, then you wouldn't need to ask. I'll give you a clue, though. It's not a cyber school. I am enrolled in a brick and mortar school where people shout at each other in the halls. Wouldn't miss it for the world. The peace of cyberspace can't compare. The rest I'm sure you can figure out for yourself. I'll send you my cv if you really think I need to prove my worth, but I'm inclined to send my cv only to people who are interested in my value as an educator. I do need an income and I teaching is something that I do well.

    I refer you to my comments to Dan yesterday about world view and response to people. You assumption that I am a liar and plant is indicative of being entrenched in a nasty situation. Lies and lawsuits will do that. Been there, done that, bought the tee shirt. I do hope that your home institutions offer you enough positive regard to counter your experiences so well expressed here.

    Thanks for the compliment, by the way. Just for your information, I did whitewash over the green and have the wart surgically removed before putting on 200 pounds and hopping on my broom. Oh, and I am familiar with Santeria. I'm not sure about the dancing in blood part. Seems like a good way to take a fall. I'm sure that you all know that Wiccans don't sell services to universities for the purposes of doing evil. Business people, on the other hand, sell services for all sorts of reasons. As you know, plenty of folks can do the evil thing without help from any deity at all. As far as MIGS resorting to witchcraft, are you sure you didn't throw cats on a fire?

    In reference to John's retraction, I now have a question. Since neither my students nor I have recently received any correspondence directly from administration, what do you suggest that I tell my students? As I said in an early post, one is close to graduating and needs her degree to get her promotion this summer. Her program was cleared by the Illinois state dept of education.

    I'm asking you to consider the students for a moment. This is not a matter of choosing which juicy words to throw at a teacher but is very much a matter of how to help students with the disappointment that is sure to come with having dashed career goals. Coarse attacks won't put things right. Steve, were you in my shoes how would you KINDLY advise these Masters students? I will not be rude to my students so I appreciate kind but straightforward language.

    I'm offline for a few days. Moving back to the Heartland. You all have plenty of time to *thoughtfully* and *reflectively* consider how best to advise Steve to respond to me.
     
  7. blodgett

    blodgett New Member

    Oh, almost forgot. Rich, yes, yes, yes, yes and more yes. The title of my dissertation is "The Process of Accessing Information on the WWW by People with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury."
     
  8. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    A phenomenological study, certainly.:D
     
  9. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

     
  10. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    So....it appears that the time is approaching when the MIGS gang will have to put up or shut up. If this particular student jumped through all the hoops, satisfied all the degree requirements and paid all tuition/fees, it's going to be very interesting to see what happens. If the CEU refuses to issue the degree, then what? The only options will be to either 1) Fold operations, or 2) Place a rush order at Kinko's for some diplomas and transcripts.

    Option 1 would probably be best for all, but Option 2 would really make things interesting this summer.


    Bruce
     
  11. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Excellent subject matter, Cynthia!

    Perhaps a good sampling group would be individuals associated with the following entities:

    Trinity College & University
    Accrediting Commission International
    World Association of Univerisities & Colleges
    Etc...
    Etc...
    Etc.................................................... :D
     
  12. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    I'm still trying to figure out what your motivation is in this thread. What are you trying to accomplish?

    Then why are you still trying to justify it? I think that you have a choice to make.

    If you accept the criticism of MIGS that has appeared here, then you need to decide whether you want to remain associated with it.

    If you disagree with the criticism that has appeared here, then you need to present a coherent defence of MIGS if you hope to change our opinions.

    It's also a fact that what you are saying is irrelevant to the issue at hand. Are you really trying to suggest that all the damaging information on MIGS are just the kind of graduate student gripes that one would find at most universities?

    I think that your cynicism is getting you into trouble. If you see most academic relationships as exploitive and most university administrators as shysters, then it's possible to rationalize associating with anything.

    I think that "being entrenched in a nasty situation" is an apt description of your association with MIGS. I think that you know that perfectly well, and it is why you decided to post here. But before we can be more positive and supportive towards you, you need to decide what it is that you want from us. Again, I think that you have some very serious decisions to make, and we can't make them for you.

    I hope that this indicates that you have finally reached your decision.

    I guess that you have to make sure that your students all know what you know about MIGS. Don't hold anything back. But what to do about it is their decision. If some of them decide to bail, that's probably best. It's tragic if they wasted time and effort, but it would be even more tragic if they continued to waste more. If some of them ask you why you didn't warn them a year ago, you will have to decide for yourself what to tell them.

    The suggestion that MIGS administration isn't communicating with you is troubling. Do you think that the operation will survive, or is it in the process of folding? If it folds, your students' choices will be made for them.

    But if this thing continues, some of your students may want to complete their degrees. They may already know all the dirt, or they may decide that they can live with it. In that case, do you want to see them through? Are any of them so dependent on your support, as a thesis advisor or something, that they couldn't continue if you resigned?

    If I were you, I would tell all my students everything I know immediately. I would try to find them suitable alternative programs if they desired that. I might stick around for a few months to try to help those students that are near graduation, and then I would bail out myself.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 17, 2002
  13. Bill Highsmith

    Bill Highsmith New Member

    The black plague comment had to do with you and your trivializing of the serious issues in the posts with your synopsis. Compare Chip's summary of the posts to your summary: "bad marketing." Do you see a slight scope difference? I trivialized the black plague by calling it an inconvenience to call attention to this.

    Of course, you knew this. Trivialization and redirection is a common ploy in debate when there is no substantive reply.
     
  14. blodgett

    blodgett New Member

    Quick jump on before packing the computer.

    Rich, my methodology of choice is phenomenology. I'm not looking for the existential meaning of accessing information on the web so this is a grounded theory. There is no current theory that addresses the process that I'm researching. There are plenty of socio-economic implications for distance ed providers who do NOT attend to the needs of a very huge population of potential customers. I want to figure out what all of this means. I imagine that any results would be useful to the ADA folks who are trying to come up with useful disability friendly website guidelines.

    As far as where I'm at, think of cows and cranes, lots of cranes. Big cranes (with wings). Because of my feelings about the place I don't choose to openly say that "'this institution' engages in 'these practices' and does 'this and that' to students and faculty in 'this department or college,'" but you can certainly figure it out. Here's a link to an old paper. http://www.anrecs.msu.edu/research/blodgett.htm
    The markup at the end is a mess, but I didn't do the tech work for that proceedings.

    As far as I can tell, Rich, other than Dr. Bear you and I are the only voices in this fray who have had our fingers directly messed on. I'm sure I may have missed someone who quietly outed themselves. I wouldn't mind taking our conversation into a private discussion. There are others registerd in this forum who do NOT participate because of not desiring to be flamed at the first opportunity.

    In response to whoever it was who asked if I'd stick with my students, I can't see doing otherwise. I've been shat on in the last few years of my graduate education (NOT by my major professor and committee, I must say) but I won't drop my students in mid...cyber. They deserve better.

    I look forward to the yards of responses that I'm sure to see next week. I do hope that there will be a friendly summary somewhere.
     
  15. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    I admit that I'm not Steve but he's in such a kind mood this week perhaps I can jump in on this question. ;)

    This is really a sad situation when students have done real work and paid real money to a degree mill. The best thing for them to do is to find a real school so that their work and money can have the chance of leading to a real degree. They could also try to take MIGS to court to get their money back. (This is a very long shot in my opinion.) You are correct though that it is a very sad situation for any serious student to get tangled up with a degree mill.
     
  16. Cynthia--

    In your first post, you said: "I have read nothing on the CUSGC website that claims to be US accredited, but describes the international status of the accreditation."

    If you use the Internet Archive at http://www.archive.org/ and enter http://www.degree.com/ in the box and click "Take Me Back" you can see several versions of the MIGS site and watch the language change from "If you are interested in an fully accredited 100% distant learning research based graduate (masters and doctorate) degree please sign in here" (May 8, 1999) to "Earn a fully accredited research based Master's or Doctoral Degree from your home at your own pace…" (May 10, 2000) to "Earn a world class, internationally respected Graduate Degree from a fully accredited, prestigious, 30 year-old University" (Dec. 5, 2000) to "Earn an internationally respected graduate degree from a fully recognized 31 year-old University, the Center of University Studies" (Aug. 9, 2001).

    Currently http://www.degree.com/ is redirected to http://www.ceugraduate.com/ -- possibly because degree.com had been mentioned in several negative articles, such as:

    "Texas Fines Distance-Learning Institution"
    Chronicle of Higher Education, November 5, 2001
    http://chronicle.com/free/2001/11/2001110501u.htm

    "California State U. Investigates a Dean's Ties to 'Degree.com' Institution"
    Chronicle of Higher Education, December 18, 2001
    http://chronicle.com/free/2001/12/2001121801u.htm
     
  17. tcnixon

    tcnixon Active Member

    Re: Retraction


    Now, tell me there isn't a story there. Clearly the other Dr. Bear must have been over-qualified. Come on, that "Vanderbilt" name must surely be a made-up school name! And the audacity to have two MAs. Must have given Bruce all sorts of feelings of inadequacy.

    As to the marketing, yes, that was once the major issue related to them, but it appears that, as of today, they are operating illegally in the state of Florida. If anyone has information to the contrary, I would be quite happy to look at it.


    Tom Nixon
     
  18. Chip

    Chip Administrator

    Helping current MIGS/CEU students

    OK, I'm going to cut to the chase here regarding the graduate students you're advising.

    First. it would be good if, when the students enrolled, they enrolled in MIGS rather than CEU or whatever it is this week. If so, my first call would be to the Florida education authorities, who are well aware of the MIGS situation. If those students are having any interaction at all with the Florida office, then authorities can take more severe action against Sheila, and can probably help get their tuition refunded. (The money will probably have to come from the sales of a couple dozen of Sheila's famed "Internet Success Kits", but that's another story.)

    Second, I would get a copy of the Chronicle of Higher Education article describing the Texas fine and the fact that FL authorities refused to grant MIGS a license to operate, and phone up the consumer protection advocate in the student's own state attorney general's office. Armed with the information that MIGS solicited a student in their state, the AG's staff should be able to help secure a refund.

    Third, I would suggest that all of the MIGS students that have any way of contacting one another get together and, as a group, make a proposal to (for example) Union Institute, for a special arrangement. If these students have been working with faculty mentors who are all qualified (i.e., real credentials and working at regionally accredited schools) and if the work they are doing can reasonably be judged equivalent to the work required at an RA school, it ought to be possible to find a school that would acquire all of the MIGS students, accept their current work, and allow them to complete their programs.

    It's a potentially awful situation, and I really, truly, feel bad for the folks that got sucked in, but I'm wagering that some regionally accredited school out there would (a) like to help out this group of students and (b) get a whole bunch more students quickly in the bargain. It would seem to be a win-win situation for everyone involved (except MIGS).

    The other thing I would highly recommend is that anyone who knows a MIGS student should encourage them to read the entire thread history here on MIGS, dating back more than a year, and also read the articles in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Knowledge is power, and MIGS undoubtedly doesn't want people to know about all of the shady and unwonderful stuff that MIGS is and has been doing... but thanks to Steve, Gus and others, much of the dirty laundry is available here for inspection. The archive speaks for itself.

    It will suck to realize that the work already done may result in no degree, or a degree signed by Bruce Foreman, or, at the very best, by somebody in Mexico that may or may not have the authority to issue the degree... but the sooner one cuts their losses, the better off they'll be.
     
  19. Chip

    Chip Administrator

    Aw, shucks, Kristin! Now that you've tipped off Sheila to the existence of her dirty laundry, I'll bet that her crack legal team will be on the phone immediately to try (unsuccessfully) to get MIGS' old websites removed from the Archive.

    Fortunately, as I've made a habit of in these cases, I've already safely and permanently archived the relevant pages so that even if they do disappear, the evidence will still be available for all to see.

    I hope that some day, DegreeInfo will have it's own little archive of less-than-wonderful school websites for people to gawk and giggle over :)
     
  20. Guest

    Guest Guest

    You may not mean it this way but *inclusive* environment usually means liberal and rather than tolerant it tends to mean intolerant of anything that does not fit within a narrow definition. *Inclusive environment* can often mean silencing anyone who disagrees and can be anti academic.

    Strong ideas and opinions are meant for an academic environment where they can be discussed and worked over with wonderful opportunities for disagreement and defense of ones ideas and beliefs.

    Just a side note but it is a trend I have noticed among insitututions of higher learning which has been documented on a number of televsion programs such as Prime Time (IIRC). Conservative speakers are shouted down and denied free speech, etc.

    One of the best courses I ever took was from a Critical Sociologist (Marxist). He challenged students and did not want people to simply barf up his ideas. He wanted you to present logical reasons for belief or disagreement. He was somewhat sarcastic but demanded we think. He told us that out purpose for coming to university was NOT for grades it was to learn how to learn.

    Excuse, my diversion form the topic of MIGS. Es tut mir leid :)

    North
     

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