Foreign DL Graduate Degrees

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Filmmaker2Be, Jun 8, 2020.

  1. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    What most people object to are outright mills. I pay money and I receive a paper in return. Almost everyone can agree that this is fraud. The reason one man's mill is another man's non-traditional education is that most people you talk to recognize that life experience, to some level, should count for something when it comes to a degree. If you have 20 years in law enforcement, yeah, that should probably count for at least a few credits in a relevant field. If you built up your own business or you teach insurance licensing courses for a living or you play some badass folk guitar, all credits.

    The thing with a mill is that they'll give it to you even if none of the above is true.

    Generally speaking, the average person on the street uses the word "accredited" to mean "legitimate." Poll random people on the street and they'll all probably swear that National Accreditation is better than Regional since, you know, nations are typically bigger than regions.

    Unless licensing or immigration is at play, the odds on an employer ever asking for a degree evaluation is slim. Do employers do it? Of course. Otherwise degree evaluators wouldn't have a business. However, people underestimate how many employers they are and how few of them actually want to go through that much effort. And, frankly, though we think it's the worst sin in the universe to employ someone with an unaccredited degree it generally doesn't matter one way or the other as long as the person does their job well.

    This Groupon deal is so cheap that it doesn't even register as tuition in my mind. We're talking about a program that manages to be cheaper than Nations. Like Nations, just do it, why not? Especially if you're not after a career where this credential is vital, the absolute worst case scenario is a few hundred bucks down the toilet. You could have spent that on Udemy or even Coursera without any special effort.

    Unaccredited does not equal "fake." And "not recognized by WES" doesn't mean fake, either. Sounds like the perfect price point for an experiment for those who have the time and inclination. The only way it will ever really create issues is if you go in for a job interview with an active participant of this forum and, even then, if its me I'm likely to just wave it through if you're otherwise qualified.

    I hate to say it, but I think people are generally sick of the convoluted accreditation scheme we have in the U.S. and the constant bickering over what is good enough that comes from for-profit fights and the like. We have a student debt crisis, we're in the midst of a pandemic and we are at a time when former politicians and academics who are not exactly fringe are telling us we're about to see a presidential coup this fall. It's just not really registering the same way it once did.

    This school is very unlikely to bring about the same surge that the classics like Columbia Pacific once did. And, you'll notice that even for all the attention CP once drew, John Gray still feels comfortable calling himself "Doctor."

    I love these discussions but I do feel like some here might be working themselves into a tizzy over some stuff that is only really a crisis on this forum. I think a lot of folks are enjoying this discussion for the wild ride it provides. But I get the sense that some are getting themselves worked up. So I just wanted to put this whole thing in perspective.
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  2. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    Neuhaus, didn't John Gray earn his PhD from Columbia Pacific when they were given that short lived status as equivalent to accredited by California (plus when it was closed down his degree was in the time frame CA considered still legal for use)?

    From Wiki:

    "On June 2, 1986, the California Department of Education granted all of CPU's programs full institutional approval for a three-year period, ruling that CPU's curricula met California Education Code Section 94310(b)'s statutory requirement of being "consistent in quality with curricula offered by appropriate established accredited institutions which are recognized by the United States Department of Education."[7]"

    If I recall, they later dropped this status and had the "authorized" category under the new department of consumer affairs that oversaw the issue of state authorization

    Not that I am into Gray's version of pop psychology but it made him money.
  3. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Not only did John Gray receive his PhD from Columbia Pacific, but a fellow CPU grad was his (now) ex-wife, Barbara deAngelis, another Pop Psychology author. IIRC it was John Gray's first marriage, her third. Mrs, who also billed herself as a "relationship expert" went on to a total of five marriages. One spouse was magician Doug Henning. I guess the magic wore off. After their divorce, Mr. Gray is said to have re-evaluated his thinking on relationships. He went on to a second marriage, which lasted until his wife's death, some years later.

    I believe Mr. Gray eventually took his CPU degree (was it AMD or Intel?) off his later books. Don't know what Mrs. did. No offense, but I don't read books on relationships by people with her kind of track record. One divorce was enough for me. Two might kill me. Four or five? I shudder. . . that's Mickey Rooney or Tommy Manville territory. Or Bobo Jenkins - the Detroit bluesman. Bobo was married nine times, I heard. Great musician.

    I think I put most of this into another thread years ago. oh yeah ...

    One blogger summed it up well: "Men from Mars, women from Venus, PhDs from Uranus."

    PS - I forget when John Gray earned his CPU degree. I believe it was during State Authorized times, but regardless, he decided to omit it from his later books. Good move, I say. The stigma seems to pervade the ranks of all grads as I see it, however unfortunate or unjustified that may be.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2020
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  4. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    I meant to say "Fully Approved times." I'm pretty sure he had the PhD before 1984, the year of his divorce from Barbara. As I said, I'm not sure of the date. It may be in the thread I referred to. To me, it doesn't really matter as folks tend, rightly or wrongly, to treat all CPU degrees alike, no matter how unfortunate or unjustified the results may be.
  5. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Yep. Guitarist, singer, bandleader. All Blues, all the time. Gee, I wonder what made him so good? :)
  6. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    I heard wrong. Wiki says Bobo was married ten times. First at age 14! (He left home at 12.)
  7. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    I agree. I don't think people really distinguished between "Full Institutional Approval" (supposed to be the equivalent of accredited standards), Authorized, and imploded.

    People also often do that anyway when the want to speak with derision. Even accredited distance learning doctorates are referred to as correspondence, by mail, online doctorates and so on.
  8. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I wasn't clear. I was talking about those who pursue such degrees, not those who comment on them.
  9. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I surveyed HR professionals and, generally speaking, they couldn't make the distinction, either. But once given brief descriptions of the two, both moved (in a statistically significant fashion) in the way you'd expect.
  10. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    This gets it wrong.

    Yes, such language ended up in the legislation, but no one ever took it seriously. (It was supposed to equate California Approval with accreditation and apply that to all approved schools, not just CPU).

    The state soon got swamped in having to approve all of those schools (instead of just authorizing them) and did an awful job of it. But no one ever took California Approval as equivalent to accreditation, irrespective of what the legislation said.
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  11. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    This is wrong, too. Sorry.

    For a very long time, California operated a three-tier system: Accredited, Approved, and Authorized. This was administered by the BPPVE.

    Accredited schools were those accredited by a recognized agency. The BPPVE didn't bother with them.

    Authorized schools were unaccredited operations that submitted affidavits attesting to 13 different areas of operation. That and a statement saying you had at least $50,000 of assets towards the operation of the school got you Authorized. The BPPVE didn't evaluate your application, nor your subsequent operation. It was a wild time back then (1970s until the law changed).

    The BPPVE also evaluated PROGRAMS at unaccredited schools and, if they were deemed worthy, granted them Approval. Thus, a school would be Authorized as a whole, but could be Approved for one or more of its programs. There was no institutional approval under the three-tier system.

    The State decided to eliminate the Authorized category and go to institutional Approval for all unaccredited schools. (It also handed this over to the consumer protection people and out of the hands of the education department.) Noble, but the newly-created CPPVE couldn't handle the load...and didn't. But it created quite a stir. Some thinly-operated diploma mills simply shut down. Others moved to other, less-stringent states. Some did a hybrid, moving most of their operations to another state's jurisdiction and keeping a much smaller version (usually just a program or two) in California for its Approval. And still others never left at all, even though they were licensed in other states and not California. But the real kicker for the CPPVE was the sheer number of schools to approve--both good and bad. That, and huge fights like the one with CPU really bogged things down. They never recovered, and now the State is threatening to shut down Approved schools that do not have accreditation (or are on a clear path to it). This threatens many schools, including one for whom I do some pro bono work. WASC is inhospitable to these schools--mainly because they're small and operate without a lot of financial reserves--and DEAC isn't a very good fit for them. They're being squeezed out of existence (like Ryokan). It's rough.

    Hope this helps.
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  12. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the great explanation, Rich. Really tells how easy it was to get "authorized" status, by affidavit. Then authorized status was eliminated and all were "approved instead. I'm beginning to understand why CPU degrees during "authorized" and "approved" times are treated about the same. They have about the same standing i.e. unequivocally unaccredited. Then the school lost all status.
  13. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Yeah, that's the point. When the three-tier system was in place, having an Approved degree program was rare. For a long time none of really big operations hand any--Pacific Western, Kensington, Kennedy-Western, Frederick Taylor, etc.

    Interestingly, CCU pushed all of its programs through the Approval process, becoming the first unaccredited school in California to have all of its programs Approved. Another interesting tidbit: the well-respected International College had an affiliation with an accredited school for its bachelor's, California Approval for a master's, and the doctorates fell under its Authorization.

    It was a wild time. I researched it all for my PhD at Union.
  14. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    One note: the Department of Education used to publish a guide to accredited schools. When it quit doing it a private company did it for a few years. It was right then that the language in the new California law about Approval being comparable to accreditation came into being. That guide, thus, listed those unaccredited schools in California as if they were accredited. And because some people didn't know that the guide was no longer a government publication, there was some confusion over whether or not the federal government also recognized these schools as accredited. They did not. It was corrected in subsequent versions of the guide until it went out of publication.
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  15. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Rich for picking up that baton.

    No matter what, CPU was never accredited. Period. Legally, CPU was in the same boat as the University of Sedona. At its height, maybe just slightly ahead because it wasn't exempt and, at one point or another, at least appeared reputable.

    That's my point, though, that John Gray "uses" an unaccredited doctorate. And it is mentioned but no one really cares, to be honest. The controversy centers around was the degree basically purchased. Insert an unaccredited school that requires coursework and you have far less outrage.

    Interestingly, I was just speaking with a friend whose mother became an attorney (like mine!) later in life. Somewhere in the mid-90s she decided to go to law school. The problem was that she went to an unnamed "experimental" college that had closed and did not keep records for her bachelors. The law school accepted a letter from the former President/Provost (whatever) who was, years later, a tenured professor at a state university which attested to the fact that her education was completed and at the bachelor's level. She was admitted to law school and went on to make a nice career for herself.

    I honestly wouldn't be shocked if we began seeing a greater push to move back to the state approval sans accreditor system. It's bulky, expensive and convoluted and the states rights people would love it.
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  16. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Anything to save bulk, expense and convolution! Not that it affects me - but I think it would be great as long as the State agencies have regulations with teeth in them - enforcement strong enough to fine or shut down non-compliant or dishonest schools. California had some good regulations - but I think the enforcement budget might have been a little slim. Offenders stayed on the books for a long time past their "best before" dates, occasionally.

    The trend until now has been away from the state approval concept - "Accredit-or-die" laws from Alabama, Wyoming, (I think) Minnesota -- and now California handwriting is on the wall. I'd like to see a reversal - but I'm not sure it's coming any time soon.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2020
  17. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    They don't. But should he do something scandalous it will be one more thing raised about him, fairly or not.

    You know who cares? Schoolboards. Police departments. Other public functions. And the media who cover them.
  18. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    If it was accredited, the accreditor probably would have required that the records be kept by another school. If not, oh well.
  19. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    It's been discussed. But despite our picking at it, the US educational system is the best in the world. It's hard to mess with that success, even when it could be better.
  20. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    This is often required even when the school isn't accredited. The state is very often the player that requires records to be stored. In her case, I get the distinct sense that there were no records. It sounds like it was a collective of PhDs who got together and decided to award degrees in a less formal setting.

    It certainly isn't bad. But by what measure is it "the best in the world?" We have some schools that rank top in the world, that's true. That doesn't mean that the system itself is good, however. Harvard is Harvard. We could nuke our entire accreditation scheme tomorrow and Harvard would still be Harvard. Harvard could withdraw from accreditation tomorrow and it will still be Harvard.

    We aren't tops in terms of testing. We have lots of people who want to study here, though, that's probably due more to the relative strength of our economy.

    If anything, I think that in many ways any positive outcome we have is despite ourselves rather than because we're just doing such an exceptional job.

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