Employment with an unaccredited degree

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by TeacherBelgium, Dec 2, 2020.

  1. TeacherBelgium

    TeacherBelgium Active Member

    Thank you. I appreciate it.
  2. TeacherBelgium

    TeacherBelgium Active Member

    I too love the Netherlands...
  3. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    Well, at least in the United States the Associate degree is technically half of a Bachelor's degree. You should be taking more upper-division level courses in the Bachelors degree program, but I never really found that to automatically translate to the courses being harder, although in my experience the writing requirements called for more stringent APA formatting and much longer papers.

    About the University of Phoenix... People who would call University of Phoenix "fake" usually belong to the know-nothing Reddit crowd that thinks every school that is for-profit is evil or "fake", and every nationally accredited school (although Phoenix is regionally accredited) is substandard and will banish you to a life of unemployment if you get a degree from one. Don't pay any attention to those people. They don't know anything, they're just regurgitating what they've heard from the mainstream media witch hunting and other know-nothings online. That being said, University of Phoenix has a bad rep for a number of reasons and a number of them are legitimate reasons.

    University of the People's peer grading system isn't unheard of but it's not common in the United States, at least not to the extent that all of your papers for every class in your degree program are graded by your peers. They don't use all copy-paste material from the internet. They have deals with some lesser-known textbook makers to provide ad-supported ebooks, and having had a chance to examine a number of the books from a friend who was enrolled there, I noticed that they are usually from authors and publishers that are known more in their own countries than they are internationally, but the books were very similar in info and scope as any others I've seen on the subjects presented. One book was from an author and publisher from Sweden for a class in Organizational Behavior, and I swear the book could've passed for an earlier edition of Ronald E. Riggio's textbook "Introduction to Industrial/Organizational Psychology", a textbook widely used in colleges in the United States.
  4. TeacherBelgium

    TeacherBelgium Active Member

    But that name: university of the people.

    The ENEB degree gives you a university Isabel degree and for much cheaper you get a university degree from a uni that is 200 places higher in the global ranking than University of the People. The internet is also full of complaints from teachers who taught there.
    University of the People sounds like a diploma mill name in the same way that Concordia college and university sounds like a diploma mill name.
  5. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    I'm not so sure about the Concordia name, I see no problem with it myself. While I'm okay with the University of the People name, I can understand how others may look at it with some criticism.

    The rankings (and more squarely those organizations that produce rankings) aren't as important as they take themselves and the overwhelming majority of employers don't care about them. In the United States, you may get better traction with a University of the People degree than an ENEB/Isabel degree, but both are more likely to run into some resistance when compared to more/better recognized schools.
    innen_oda likes this.
  6. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Concordia College and University WAS a diploma mill. That was the "bad" Concordia - no relationship to the mostly-associated "good" Concordia schools.
    I think the bad guys picked the name as camouflage - easy to hide among the many "good" Concordia schools. Typical trick.

  7. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Neither of them sounds like a diploma mill name. The former doesn't sound any stranger than, say, Friends University, particularly to non-Western ears. The latter only seems like it to people on forums like this because there was an actual mill with that name.
  8. TeacherBelgium

    TeacherBelgium Active Member

    Well it would definitely be weird to me to have a diploma from a school that shares their name with a mill but then that will likely just be me.
    If others aren't concerned about that, it shouldn't stop them from attending that school.
    It's just that concordia college and university has a Belgian founder living in Antwerp, Belgium. In the 2010s (the beginning) he appeared in all journals here.
    So I would be terrified to have a degree from a school that has a name that resembles that name.
    Others should be free to do what they see as a fit, though.

    University of the People is really a weird sounding name.
    It makes university education sound '' BOGOF ''.
    But then some people could say the same about other schools.
    To each their own.
    I just don't like their name and I don't like their university in general.
    Very ungenuine people.
    I say that with a reason.
    I had personal contact with them and they treated me really unfairly.
    They apologized but the wound still hasn't fully healed.
    Ever since, I try to avoid reading about them as much as I can.
  9. Mac Juli

    Mac Juli Well-Known Member


    To a native German speaker, the "problem" - if you can even call it a problem - is that "University of the People" sounds translated like "Volkshochschule". This is something like a mixture of an adult high school, a CPD institution, a center where you can learn and enjoy a lot of courses without exam for the sake of learning and meeting people etc. (see here for details if you want to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folk_high_school) - but rather not an institution of higher education, even if you can take courses whose credits can be transferred there.

    So, confusion is inevitable! :)

    Best regards,
    Mac Juli
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2020
    innen_oda likes this.
  10. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

  11. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Is it a hill you would die on?

    If the hiring manager said they're hiring the engineer with the Almeda degree, and their manager said they're hiring the engineer with the Almeda degree and your boss say you're hiring the engineer with the Almeda degree. And they're not hiring him despite the degree but they're hiring him because they don't give a damn about the degree either way, are you willing to quit or get fired over it? I'm not. I'll advise. I'll recommend against. I will voice my objection. But when these decisions are being made and where hiring the person with the right skills determines the size of my profit sharing check, I'll only go so far.

    Tougher still would be the "legitimate but unaccredited" or even "unaccredited and highly suspect" but somehow remedied by another credential. Let me explain what I mean...

    It caused quite a tizzy on this board when we uncovered an LBU alumnus who graduated from Regent Law School (RA/ABA) and was serving on their staff. Some argued that this was simply a mistake and someone slipped through the cracks (twice) at Regent. My argument was that it was likely that Regent simply took a favorable view toward LBU as we have seen with other accredited religious schools taking toward unaccredited schools of the same denomination. That aside, imagine a candidate rolls in with a bachelors from LBU or Columbia Pacific, or the University of Sedona or, pick something from Florida's exemption list just for fun. But then they managed to get an MBA, an MS, a JD from a school with bulletproof accreditation. Maybe even one with a little bit of respect around it. The media could absolutely blow it up if they so chose. But for the average person flying under the national radar it would present an interesting dilemma to the accreditation aware manager.

    Well, this is the other thing, too. We always talk about it as if it's the qualifying degree that is from a questionable source. My degrees, though some here might not care for the schools, are from undeniably legitimate schools. If I started sporting a Master of Christian Education from an unaccredited bible college it's not going to cause me much trouble at work even if I list it on my resume. A few reasons for this...

    1. It really is truly irrelevant to my job. It's a superfluous qualification on my resume that would never be a deal breaker or a deal maker. It's like how my resume also notes that I hold the CompTia A+ certification. Nobody really cares about it (but I leave it on more for nostalgic reasons these days).

    2. An employer might be willing to kick up a fuss over a relevant credential. They might even be willing to kick up a fuss over an irrelevant one if it bleeds into work. If I start sporting an unaccredited PhD in Physics and it becomes the norm around the office for me to be Neuhaus, PhD, then they might well take issue with it even though a PhD in Physics, obviously, has nothing to do with being an HR manager. BUT an employer is far less likely to take up that battle when it involves religion. While HR, as you probably are aware, warn everyone not to put stuff on their resume that indicates any protected information such as your religion, race, marital status etc, people do it all the time and it makes things harder for us, HR, rather than them. For HR the problem presented is that now we have information we legally cannot consider in a hiring decision. It's like we're a lawyer with inadmissible evidence. Worse yet, we're worried now that our idiot associate will mention it later in the interview process.

    Please note that I'm not saying that one should freely go out and start sporting unaccredited degrees. Far from it. And, in many instances the outcome will be just as you describe. Even if you slip through the cracks there is no guarantee that, 10 years into your tenure, that I don't suddenly appear in your executive suite as the new VP of HR, find it and send you packing. The situation I'm describing is one of highly specialized skill. While it happens frequently where I am, it's also a miniscule total of the hiring we do.

    To put it bluntly; if you're job can be had through a typical job posting, it probably doesn't apply to you. These are the jobs where we rely on staff recruiters and headhunters to deliver us a unicorn. And we're willing to pay handsomely for that unicorn even if the unicorn has a bullshit degree on their wall.

    And, FWIW, I have only encountered unaccredited degrees a handful of times. Far fewer than NA degrees which, themselves, are extremely rare. The most common degree fraud I have come across my desk is claiming unearned degrees. The majority of the time this is when someone attended the school but didn't graduate (including one instance where we had an applicant who thought he had graduated from Cornell but his graduation was held up because he had never taken the mandatory swimming test) or, much more rare and quite a bit more intentional, claiming graduation from a school they never matriculated in.
  12. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    The most frequently flagged legitimate school I have seen has undoubtedly been American InterContinental University. It just...there is something about it. I feel like even if they had called it American Continental University it would be easier on the ears and eyes.

    That said, no, the average person does not hear "University of the People" and absolutely not Concordia and think "diploma mill." The best diploma mills have names that sound like they could be real schools and Concordia falls into that bucket.
    Thorne likes this.
  13. SpoonyNix

    SpoonyNix Active Member

    FIRST, when did you take courses at UotP?

    I took two undergrad courses last term. I am looking at my grade spreadsheet right now.

    Each course had 8 journal assignments. Graded by professor. 15-20% of overall grade.
    Each course had 2 quizzes. Graded by professor. 20-30% of overall grade.
    Each course had 1 final exam. Graded by professor. 25-30% of overall grade.
    1 course had 2 modules. Graded by professor. 5% of final grade.
    That's 70-75% of the grade coming SOLELY from professor assessment.

    Each course had 4 written assignments. Graded by peers. 15% of overall grade.
    Each course had 8 discussion threads. Graded by peers. 10-15% of overall grade.
    That's 25-30% of the grade coming from peers. I did not agree with all the peer assessments, but it's not like I was being given F's on A+ work. Rarely, I would get a low B when I thought I deserved a solid A or better. I never complained to a prof, yet on at least 3 occassions the prof bumped my grade up. And both profs monitored the discussion threads.


    Both courses I took centered around Creative Commons textbooks. These weren't crap books, rather they are the same books used in many traditional university programs. There were also dozens of links to articles to read and a lot of videos we needed to watch. You make it sound like someone just copied and pasted content willy-nilly.
  14. Thorne

    Thorne Active Member

    Not a degree mill, but my fiance in Australia (and all of our shared friends + her family, two of whom are involved in HR for medium-large companies there) said that University of the People sounded either fake or subpar.

    I agree that it's not a degree mill name, no self-respecting degree mill (LOL) would use a name that sounds obviously wrong.
    innen_oda and SpoonyNix like this.
  15. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Die? No, but I assume that's hyperbole. But I have had several experiences in my career where I've had to stand on principle. It's worked out okay.
    Ethics are never superfluous. If a candidate lists a fake degree on his/her resume, that's the end of his/her consideration.
    I've had a few as a hiring manager. I treat them the same as degrees from regionally accredited schools. I see no reason to discriminate between the two. (But I argue, vociferously at times, that there IS a difference between the two categories in terms of acceptability, even if I personally believe there should not be one.)
    I agree. Oxymoronic school names are dumb.
  16. SpoonyNix

    SpoonyNix Active Member

    "Accreditation hysteria seems to be mostly an American thing."

    "In America I believe your mentality is representative. Here in Belgium fortunately people are more open minded. "

    "I'm talking about a small country in Europe (that's on the other side of the ocean where people eat more than McDonald's) where people are open minded.
    In education, in accepting other people's identities etc. Not trying to compare with ' Murica', rest assured."

    o_O Say wuuuhhhhhh?
  17. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    One problem is - there's an unaccredited school with the same initials - Atlantic International University - of Hawaii, right smack in the Pacific!

    I remember years ago on DD, one proud poster stated "I got my Doctorate in 9 months from AIU." He never said, but you can guess which AIU he was talking about. :)
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2020
  18. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Oops! I said "unaccredited." Well, AIU Hawaii is now accredited by ASIC, UK. Let's just say no US accreditation - i.e. none recognized as such by CHEA or USDoE, then. :)
  19. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Unaccredited schools are permitted in Hawaii. They have to go by a list of State regulations that are more relevant to consumer protection, than anything to do with academic rigor or quality. Refund policy, what can be charged for, what can't, courses must exist, etc.

    I think no degrees in less than a year might be one of the rules -- probably that guy was exaggerating by a few months. Yeah, he'd have done that - any day.
  20. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    This is a good update. I say that because, as I understand it, at one time (in the Masters programs at least) all of your formal papers were graded by peers with the exception of the final class project which was a group project. The things my friend shared with me showed that the only other things graded by the Instructor were the discussion postings but those too were also graded by peers. If that has changed, that's a good thing. I don't think I could deal with so much peer-grading knowing how many misjudgments are bound to be made in a system like that.

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