Extending an Idea: Diplomas

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by thomaskolter, Jul 25, 2006.

  1. thomaskolter

    thomaskolter New Member

    I was thinking about this a little it came up in another thread. Could a unaccredited school call their degrees a DIPLOMA program and get around much of the stigma. Well think about it degrees are put into a certain camp aren't they the Harvard or Peen State or Bryn Mawr institutions. But there is little legal oversight on non-degree titles like Certificates, Diplomas and the like. Yet the latter do have value especially in business and applied skill areas. So why not have unaccredited degrees be called a DIPLOMA?

    Instead of a BA or BS what about a DiplB (Diploma Bachelors) for a Masters a DiplM (Diploma Masters) and for a Doctorate a DiplD or Diploma Doctorate? There are other options like a DIPLOMA with a concentration like a Diploma of Business or Diploma of Liberal Studies. Those side nice, professional and not degrees as the other titles would be known.

    Any ideas here, comments?
  2. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Well, in the interest of this being a though excercise, I would say that if you call them "Diploma Bachelors" you have crossed the line. If you stick with "Certificate" or "Diploma" perhaps that's vague enough to be all right. Go further and have the courses be ACE evaluated and they'd even be useful for transfer to real universities.

    Having said that, if one is to go through all that trouble, why not just apply for accreditation? Is it that difficult for a well-organized, reasonably rigorous institution to get accredited?

  3. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    In general, unaccredited schools in the US can issue all the "certificates" and "diplomas" they want. An example is Ambai, which apparently had some issues with Massachusetts state law for issuing unaccredited MBA degrees. So now they issue unaccredited "Management & Business Administration Diplomas". They also dropped the term "university" from their name (now they are "AmbaiU").

    In practice, the free market would put a much higher value on an accredited MBA degree than on an unaccredited AmbaiU "M&BA diploma". But if an employer wants to hire someone with the Ambai credential, they are free to do so.
  4. morleyl

    morleyl New Member

    You probably could get away with things like Master Professional Diploma for masters level etc.

    The question is what if they call it diploma but the wording implies degree equivalent? Meaning it could mislead someone to accept as a degree.

    Regardless of how its presented, the main driver is whether the entity giving this document is respectable.
  5. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    A respectable entity would take the necessary steps to be able to offer legitimate, recognized degree programs rather than go through these sorts of shenanigans.

  6. thomaskolter

    thomaskolter New Member

    Well then lets simplify the title to Diploma and lets assume the program says its not an equivalent credential to a bachelors, openly. I just point out there are options of learning not covered in many accredited programs like learning strictly by contract for a full degree credential that a Diploma would be a fairer one to offer. Above a certificate and below a degree.

    Its just a talk on could a school considered close to a diploma mill or is one offer a option that a state would have a hard time arguing against. Example could be a lifelong learning program offering a Diploma so a businessman with suitable experience could hold some sort of credential- yet not hold a degree. And have it useable in all fifty states and the territories not to mention abroad.

    Lets assume its clearly stated to not be the equivalent of a degree, not accredited and is for granting of a credential for life experience or tutorial study with mentors or whatever. It all above board would this be an acceptable alternative to a BA/BS designation for an unaccredited "degree"?

    Again I'm just bouncing off ideas.
  7. morleyl

    morleyl New Member

    Look at this site.. it may help you

  8. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    Diploma in UK has special meaning and may not be the same as in USA. Also this may apply to other countries.

    Diploma from accredited qualifying body such as City and guilds or even my Diploma in Electronics Engineering from ICS earned in 1985 are categorized based on UK NVQ framework.

    Also Diploma from DETC accredited provider lets say CIE may caring over
    academic credit and be considered a valid credential. For example
    Diploma in Electronics Engineering Technology with lab may be short 20 to 40 units from AAS degree ( CIE 120 units required for AAS). A person may later use the credit to study for bachelors degree and save a year or maybe 2.

    Here is an example of diploma used in a different way.

    The exercise is actually in practice by some providers in USA.

    Calcampus has a 60 credit diploma that they state is equivalent to Associate degree in general studies.(unaccredited)

    Now check this out
    A possible loop hole?

    California University Credential Evaluation.
    They award evaluation report and a diploma of equivalency.

    What about Graduate and Post Graduate Certificates and Diplomas ?

    Aren't these credentials, I hold an 18 unit post graduate diploma from RA University.

    I also agree that Certificate or Diploma that states completion of a course is not the same as Bachelors or masters diploma.

    We have master Diplomas / Certificates form Breinbench if a person scored above 4 ( out of 5) the person gets Masters certificate. For example I have Master Written Russian :).
    Or Master Telecommunications IK Analyst.

    We have this practice today in USA.

  9. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

  10. thomaskolter

    thomaskolter New Member

    Yes but my view is different the program would just be FOR a diploma that is not accredited (openly stated), not in a field requiring formal licensing as a credential to meet that (they COULD take it as an additional area of learning) and would be stated as being equvalent to one, two or three years of university study. A school would likely request state approval since its not a degree granting institution or do so abroad.

    Lets state it this way if it offered three levels of education and used accredited courses, work related job training, major recognized examinations, CEU courses, learning contract courses (in-house) and unaccredited degrees that are documented properly for partial credit the levels would cover-

    General Diploma (GenDipl) 30 credits.

    Fellowship Diploma (FelDipl) 60 credits.

    Regent Diploma (RegDipl) 90 credits.

    Learning contract courses could carry no more than 20 credits and must be with two mentors with an advanced degree related to the field and have a detailed study plan. In this case meeting the same amount of work as six college classes. But would allow for focused study in a topic applied to a field like Applied Business might cover several related topics with a coordinated plan.

    Unaccredited Degrees would be assessed and granted no more than 45 credits if a fairly rigorous program- nothing for a clear diploma mill.

    Portfolio assessment will also cover no more than 30 credits and in this case at most can make up half a diploma's requirements.

    All this assembled on a internet file site for employers to review all elements of the students diploma including what was granted credit wise for any area.

    Now lets assume this sort of program as an model would this be an effect tool for parties to get a credential from unaccredited schools and would Dr. Bear approve? (he is a keen judge of quality)
  11. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    Who/how is it decided what is or is not a clear diploma mill?
  12. thomaskolter

    thomaskolter New Member

    Well f you look at Dr. Bears old work Clayton University used to be well regarded by him (1980) with real contracted learning for degrees and Columbia Pacific University would fall in the safer area of an unaccredited degree. But I think a 7 day to get degree for life experience off a submitted resume would fall in the unacceptable catagory.

    Ultimately I would have a reviewer with at least a Masters independant of the student and mentors they have selected by the school make that determination. And what credit to grant. Perhaps a few such persons.

    Another option would be make the entire program a contracted learning with six units one a mandatory Great Books liberal arts component, and five areas of guided study and projects to earn a diploma at the highest level. Guidelines strictly determined for the number of mentors and an oversight by another party. Example a DiplReg in Business Studies might have Management & Supervision, Accounting Operations, Marketing, Computer Applications, Law and Business Communications each guided by two parties with at least a Masters and an oversight mentor to make sure the program is satisfactory.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2006
  13. RobbCD

    RobbCD New Member

    Why go through all this trouble? Just go to an accredited program.
  14. thomaskolter

    thomaskolter New Member

    Because the contract learning can include college work already done for part of or all the requirement for study units as well as established work experience. Let me explain lets say you have take 12 college level philosophy courses you could just apply for a Philosophy Unit having it checked by a mentor. Also if your going for Management & Supervision and have done that professionally for lets say 10 years and have done academic study in that most of that unit could already be met. The goal here is flexibility and to be sure the work earning it is real and valid. Also in some fields this is a fine option like writing or creative art how do you normally learn those trades WRITING and PAINTING this simply takes the apprenticeship approach and makes it flexible.

    I would consider in a creative area to allow those with established respect in the field to be a mentor if overseen by someone with an academic credential of a certain level.

    The goal here is to have dutiful oversight by proper persons not some degree mill practice in use. There could also be standard units with independent study of specific work and specific assignments where the oversight could be lighter than cusomized units.
  15. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    How is this different from Charter Oak or the other assessment colleges, or even the prior learning assessments conducted by many accredited universities?

  16. RobbCD

    RobbCD New Member

    It's not. This is just re-inventing the wheel to conform to some goofy, anti-accreditation agenda.
  17. morleyl

    morleyl New Member

    I don't think anyone is anti-accreditation from reading the thread. Accreditation is not the end for everything. If you really study what accreditation means in different places maybe your perspective would be different.

    Its one thing to want a piece of paper to be recognized by the paper itself but its another to just be recognized for knowledge or to learn.

    With the Internet, you could learn a full degree on your own without attending class. Will it help you? of course but you could not go to someone and said I know enough for a degree without some testing? no.

    The first thing you need to accept is that good accreditation is not cheap. If prospective students read your views on how bad unaccredited degrees are, the school may be empty for the first two years.

    I think the accreditations that make sense are those that focus on course contents like ABET etc.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2006
  18. RobbCD

    RobbCD New Member

    If learning was your only goal, then you could do it online or in a library and no-one would care. But that's not the goal, is it? The goal is a diploma or degree that is recognized and respected. For that, you need validation from a credible third party. That is the purpose of accreditation. And you can save the "accreditation is expensive" excuse. Many accredited institutions (community colleges and DETC or South African universities) offer degree programs that are less expensive than milled degrees. The difference is that you'd have to take time and work to earn them, instead of just buying them.
  19. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    Like I pointed out in Friendlyman's thread, California has some 1800 unaccredited schools that do exactly that. There are thousands of unaccredited postsecondary schools around the United States. You go to one of those bartending or truckdriving schools and you get a diploma. There's nothing new or unusual about the idea.

    That would depend on what kind of claims the schools were making about their diplomas and on how credible those claims were, I guess.

    Well, if a school wanted to argue that its diplomas are degree diplomas except that they aren't degree diplomas, then it would have problems on multiple levels, from logical consistency to legality to credibility.

    If an unaccredited school wants to offer some kind of professional development course and award a diploma for its completion, they can. Hundreds of schools already do that.

    There are going to be state regulations governing it. In California it's the BPPVE's state approval process.
  20. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    No, because accreditation agencies can (and do) apply accreditation "retroactively" to qualified schools. There is no need to dismiss a legitimate school simply because it is too young to be fully accredited.

    For example, Olin College of Engineering has been unaccredited since 2002, when it opened. But who cares? Olin is a great school, it will receive full RA and ABET accreditation, and such accreditation will apply retroactively to the first graduating class.

    The University of California's new Merced campus is another example. It only opened last year, and is not accredited. Again, who cares? UC Merced already enrolls nearly 1,000 students, who are not concerned about its current unaccredited status.

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