For-profit degrees are worthless.

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Petedude, Mar 26, 2012.

  1. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Forget it, if you do a degree after your doctorate, you're officially a junkie!
  2. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    I got my MBA after my PhD...what are you trying to say??

    BS - not for profit
    MS - not for profit
    Grad certificate - not for profit
    PhD - for profit
    MBA - for profit
  3. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    It depends a lot on timing, place of position and luck. If you apply for a position in a small city in a field that is in demand, chances are that the PhD from a for profit might work as there might not be any applicant willing to take the job in that place.

    Some for profits such as Sullivan, NCU, Trident, Argosy are not very well known in the academic world. Chances are that the people hiring might not even know that the degree was earned online in particular if the candidate has a strong resume.

    Some state schools pay very little, I have seen ads for assistant professors paying 50K at some places. I strongly doubt that places like this are attacting tons of resumes from top schools. In this case, the for profit PhD might work given that you might not have competition at all.

    We are over killing these programs, they have some market at places where they cannot afford big guys with AACSB accredited PhDs.

    Bottom line is that you need to keep your expectations realistic, you are getting a degree that is accredited but has little brand recognition.
    If you want the big bucks and a position at a highly ranked University, you cannot expect that a for profit PhD would work for you.
  4. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member Staff Member

    Thank you for saying what needed to be said.
  5. mathguy

    mathguy New Member


    I am glad your NCU degree paid off for you. Are you in a tenture track position at your B&M University? In what discipline?

  6. friendorfoe

    friendorfoe Active Member

    Not a bad short list, the good thing about the IT field however is that it's more about what you can do than it is about the degree you have. That said management can be a different story and often a BS is required just to get in the door in a lot of organizations (like mine) but for small to medium sized companies it's skill and nothing but that counts.

    As for Ashford, a great choice if you like sprints of work, short intense bursts. Bellevue is not intense at all but it is relentless, like a marathon...steady pace but never seems to end. Both schools are awesome quality wise and both have excellent student support. Bellevue even just recently cleaned up their Blackboard which is nice though their online library still sucks (Ashford's rocked).

    I don't know anything about Trident.
  7. Shawn Ambrose

    Shawn Ambrose New Member

    Well - I teach at a small liberal arts university that's ACBSP accredited; I'm an Assistant Professor on the tenure track, and the Capella Degree hangs on my wall...
  8. ryoder

    ryoder New Member

    Everybody seems to want tenure track positions. I like the idea of a school with no labor union and no tenure. This is more realistic in our competitive society and will help weed out teachers who lost the ability to teach.

    So the fact that a lot of the for profits hire adjuncts doesn't really upset me. I have had tenured professors who were much worse at educating students than TAs on stipends.
  9. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    I much prefer adjuncts who are out working in the real world in their field vs. a tenured professor who hasn't been a practitioner in years, if ever.
  10. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    At the University that I work, some administrators positions pay as much as tenure track positions. An administrator only needs a bachelors degree.

    If we remove tenure, we would have a very hard time attracting qualified professors as it takes more than double the time to qualify to become one plus six years of hard work of probation (only 50% make it to tenure). Professors represent the best of the best when it comes to academics and have demostrated that are able to contribute to knowledge.

    Universities get their reputation based on research and not so much on teaching. You need the brain power to publish high quality research in order to maintain the academic model we have.

    For profit institutions are not there to advance knowledge but just to make a buck. In this case, I agree that professors at these institutions do not need a doctorate and do not need tenure as you could fill positions only based on part time faculty with master;s degrees.

    This was the case in the past. Teaching institutions were made up of mainly practiciones working part time with a masters degrees and only research institutions would hire full time faculty with a PhD. Today this is different as the doctorate has become the new master's, many doctorate programs do not require original research and are made for practicioners and not academics (e.g DBA, DM, EdD in Management,etc). Many doctorates do not even require publications so graduates have not been exposed to conference presentation, publication, etc that is the skill required for tenure track positions.
  11. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I used to feel that way. In fact, I took my MBA from a school based on that design (National). But as I became more involved in research (during my Ph.D. and since), I've really come to appreciate the value of well-researched theory and the framework it provides for practice, especially in applied fields like business, human resources, accounting, etc. In fact, it is atheoretical teachings that can get practitioners into trouble, offering ideas based on little more than the advice of some author giving tips that few besides he or she can leverage.

    "There is nothing more practical than a good theory." Kurt Lewin, 1945
  12. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    I have to respectfully disagree.

    Maybe it's because my current field of study (psychology) has such high stakes (the emotional well-being of my potential future clients), but I'm much more interested in absorbing the stories and experiences of actual clinical practitioners, as opposed to tenured university professors who haven't had client contact many years, if ever?

    All my internships at the Master's level included a minimum number of direct client-contact hours, since actually doing the job is the best way to learn the job. I would much rather listen to someone who has "been there, done that", as opposed to someone who spouts theory and tells me about the journal articles they've co-authored.
  13. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    This is a natural reaction from a practitioner. Nothing wrong with that. But all that practical experience you cherish is based on the theory and research that went into building the discipline and, therefore, the field of practice. It did not come from a bunch of practitioners stumbling around until someone figured it out and taught it to others. It came from painstaking research--and the documentation of that research. And most of that research occurred at universities.

    The challenge of bridging the gap between theory and practice is a difficult--yet vital--one. Dismissing theory as somehow being less-useful is a mistake. It is vital to understanding what it going on so sound practice can be developed. Theorists can and often to become effective practitioners. It is harder, however, for experienced practitioners to walk back to the research and theory that underpins their practice. Your post is an example of that difficulty. Still, some practitioners do it--mostly by either conducting field-based research or by doing a doctoral degree.

    A word on theory: theory isn't the vague speculation unsupported by facts as it is depicted in the press or by people working an agenda. Theory is constructed from--and tested by--research. Theory leads to what we often call "facts," which are really well-supported theories. Theories are not unsupported conjectures--those are called "hypotheses." When you reject theory you reject the field you're working in.

    Finally, consider that learning about what's really going on in one's field can free one up to see the world in exciting and new ways. One can use this exploration as the basis for creating new knowledge as well as passing along to others sound practices that work. But something that retards this phenomenon is the use of universities as training schools for practitioners. As working adults, we go to training with an eye on utility and immediate application. "Don't give me all that useless junk, give me some tools and techniques and tips on what to do." A typical executive development program might last a few days or a week or two. But a master's degree will last 2 years or so. Let's not be in a hurry to take all that educational opportunity a degree represents and turn it into a training class. Transactional learning is fine for growth (consolidating one's knowledge and skills at the current level). That happens well in corporate training classes. But a degree program can also be an opportunity for development (going to the next level developmentally, professionally, and/or intellectually). Don't miss it.
  14. ryoder

    ryoder New Member

    I have read my fair share of journal articles and much of the research that makes up the information systems literature is almost worthless to practitioners. If you are a company that wants to improve customer contact, you might want to purchase CRM software. Do you look for university students' dissertations on CRM software or do you call the Gartner group and get a paid copy of their research, which lists the short list of CRM vendors? I have never in my 20 years seen a single IT implementation take scholarly research into account when making choices of build or buy, or vendor selection, or whether to modify the software or run it as is. I have also never seen business process changes come about as a result of scholarly research articles.
    For that, the company hires another company to evaluate the business and recommend changes. Maybe that other company is influenced by scholarly literature, but I just don't know for sure.

    It would be helpful if the 25 year old kids in college writing their dissertations worked in an actual IT job with actual systems before writing articles covering best practices for CRM systems.

    So I guess I am saying that private companies tend to use private research firms findings when looking for information systems guidance.

    I realize that other verticals are different. Muscle and Fitness magazine cites journal articles all the time in an effort to help their readers pack on lean muscle.
  15. friendorfoe

    friendorfoe Active Member

    This is a "chicken & egg" argument but one I've debated on a bit. Personally, I'm with Bruce, I'd much rather learn from practitioners than from lifelong professors any day. I'm not discounting theory, theory and the thought process behind certain intellectual constructs and frameworks are very important and exist for a reason (usually to solve a real world problem). Just ask any project manager how important that can be. That said there is the famous quote that no plan survives first contact with the enemy for a reason and that is because real life does not fall neatly into a framework. Change is inevitable and always inconvenient when it comes to planning. Theoretical constructs that allow for major change are loosely defined and thus have less applicable value for a given real life problem, however if too narrowly defined, becomes good for only a fraction of real life scenarios. Experience however provides one with the ability to read the landscape and make changes on the fly, with confidence and a measure of certainty. Of course their experience is gained from applied knowledge and based upon a theoretical construct.

    My experience is that practitioners do not dismiss theory at all but instead provide the much needed caveat behind it and can explain real world applicability better than some of my professional professors have. I appreciate both schools of thought but practitioners can add that little extra that lifelong professors cannot. This is why experience is so much more important than education in the job field (most of the time). I do not see adjuncts as being devoid of research and theory, I see them as being fully pragmatic. On the flip side they are not on the cutting edge of theory either like their full time research professor counterparts may be. But knowledge, like technology has a maturing process before realizing real world applicable value. As such I like to read about cutting edge theory (and technology) but am often reluctant to be the front runner until I see it more proven in the real world.
  16. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    I'm not totally dismissing theory, and I apologize if I gave that impression. My opinion is that those who are actually working in the field are the ones best suited to train those who are going into the field. The best professors I had at MSPP were full-time teachers, but also had a small private practice on the side, so they didn't get swallowed-up in theory and forget the practice aspect. I think it also helps that MSPP (as far as I know) doesn't have tenure for their professors.

    I'm indebted to theorists such as Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck (although Ellis did engage in actual counseling almost up until his death), but I learn the most from people who can explain the theory, but also explain how to apply that theory in the real world.
  17. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I hope others reading this thread pick up on the fact that we both value theory and practice, and admire those who bridge the two. An example of this is Dan Pink's Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Written in the style we expect from popular management books--an accessible model (in this case, "MAP"), stories, lots of advice, and a huge section of tools and applications--it is nonetheless based in research and theory. But most important, it challenges conventional wisdom regarding workplace motivation. It truly represents theory changing practice changing performance changing results. Highly recommended.
  18. carlosb

    carlosb New Member

    Does Business School Research Add Economic Value for Students?

    I also used to feel the same. Not so sure now:

    Does Business School Research Add Economic Value for Students?

  19. NMTTD

    NMTTD Member

    Here's my take on this. On paper, a for profit degree is like any other degree in that its a (hopefully) RA school giving a bona fide degree. HOWEVER, having gone to a RA for profit, I can tell you that while on paper they look ok, in actuality you often do not get the same quality of education as from better known schools. I have had the (dis)advantage to go to 2 different for profit schools. 1 that was RA and 1 that was NA. The RA one will transfer, get me into a RA grad school, etc. However their education (if one can truthfully call it that) was sub par at best. The NA for profit had an EXCELLENT education, but being that its NA, wont be as well known or accepted. I have learned from being on this forum that a well known NON profit state school (if possible) is definitely the way to go. Name recognition, better quality education, guaranteed accepted credits and degree, etc... So while on paper the for profit degrees arent exactly WORTHLESS, they certainly *can* put you at a disadvantage educationally.
  20. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Having gone to more than one, you should know better than most people to be wary of describing for profit institutions broadly, as though they necessarily had anything in common other than their tax status.

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