I am leaving the NCU DBA program........

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by truckie270, Apr 23, 2007.

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  1. Dave Wagner

    Dave Wagner Active Member

    Yes, a doctoral program should be very difficult, but for most students admitted to a open-enrollment doctoral program, it will be made impossible for them to complete. In fact, it must be impossible for most admitted students to complete.

    Consider non-profit school A and for-profit school B, which are both in the same accrediting region and can ultimate comment on each others' activities.

    Non-profit school A estimates it has the resources to produce 10 doctoral graduates a year, so it admits 12 students through a highly selective admission process knowing that if all 12 succeed that it could conceivably grant diplomas to all 12 students.

    On the other hand, consider for-profit school B's market analysis that indicates that 200 students are available for admission. For-profit school B decides to admit all 200 students in one year, because, after all, these students should not be denied their dream of earning a doctorate and are willing to pay to pursue that dream. For-profit school B regularly tells students how rigorous the program is and how tough it is, but the majority of the students are able to complete the coursework and the comprehensive exam. Oops! The courses weren't tough enough! Oops! The comps aren't tough enough! Oops! So perhaps 75% of the original cohort want to submit a doctoral proprosal and the lights start to dim. Oops again. School B must evolve what constitutes a doctoral proprosal and further delay all the students. So perhaps 100 of the students simply won't quit because they really wanted to earn the doctorate for teaching in higher education. Still, the students keep paying and paying even though the requirements keep changing to slow them down or frustrate them into quiting the program. Committee chairs run wild. Committees fall apart and are reconstituted several times. Record profits are reported to shareholders. Students are ignored but they still won't quit! The administrators ask themselves, "Why don't some of these people quit so we can say they weren't patient enough or smart enough?!" In the end, there are 100 students several years down the road who expect to receive the diplomas they have so patiently worked toward and payed for. Shareholders are filled with glee about the profits. The real ethical question is will for-profit school B grant diplomas to the nearly 10 times the number of students as their non-profit colleagues in roughly the same years? Moreover, did they really have 100 diplomas to sell in the first place?

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2007
  2. PhD2B

    PhD2B Dazed and Confused

    Personally, I think the way NCU lays out the dissertation process is the way more schools should lay it out. I like the fact that each component of the dissertation is put into smaller, more manageable courses which then leads to the dissertation.

    DSU's doctoral-level research courses are not intended to produce the dissertation itself, but are more for teaching students how to conduct research and give them some practice. However, these courses could certainly be used to produce research leading to the dissertation.
  3. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    Yes Dave Wagner, for-profit schools may admit students into doctoral programs who cannot complete a dissertation. Do for-profit schools admit more of these kinds of students than not-for-profit schools? Probably -- though I have no proof of that. Should those same students be denied their dream -- or should they be allowed to enroll, only to fail? That's an interesting thought. It also presupposes that some students are destined to fail. The doctoral BAR is unwaivering and unmerciful.

    I speculate that NCU created the post-graduate specialization certificates as a pressure-valve-release for doctoral students who can't complete the dissertation process e.g. the students who don't complete a dissertation can leave with some dignity because they receive a certificate that allows them to teach in that area of specialization. Consequently, their time, money and effort isn't without a reward of some sort. A dissertation is very very hard. It's simply unfreaking believable. Law schools have the unwaivering and unmerciful BAR to maintain their standards; and the dissertation is the unwaivering and unmerciful BAR of the doctorate. :eek:
  4. dlady

    dlady Active Member

    Um, maybe.

    BUT, doesn’t this suggest a level of rigor around for profit degree awarding that is often assumed lacking?
  5. Dave Wagner

    Dave Wagner Active Member

    No, the fictitious open enrollment scenario could be better termed fraud or incompetence masquerading as "rigor". Ironically, perhaps a few of the professors could be participating in a doctoral program from which they could not graduate.

  6. bing

    bing New Member

    Only for some areas. Not all areas have graduate certificates. Unless you are in one of the 5-6 specializations I don't think you get a certificate. And, at that rate, you have to take certain course choices to even get the certificate.


  7. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Good analysis, this is the bottom line of the problem. A for profit is there to make money so wont turn down even one application as they want to maximize profits. They will tend to make the course work easy as they dont want students to quit early in the program. On the other hand, they dont want so many graduates as this is translated as bad marketing to them as students wouldnt want to graduate from a shool that graduates 200 PhDs per year when the national average is 10-20 a year, this would also raise to many eye browes even to the accreditation agencies. So they will try to put a bottleneck at the dissertation level once they have cashed most of the money from the student.
  8. bing

    bing New Member

    It's not much different than Purdue's doctorate programs(at least in engineering, which i can speak about some). The coursework wasn't bad at all. Plenty of people seemed to get through the coursework. The dissertation was the bottleneck there and yet it's a non-profit. I say non-profit tongue in cheek because I think higher education is mostly all about profit. Higher education is a business about like any other business. Don't let anyone tell you differently. In fact, universities can have some of the most cutthroat "businessmen" out there, in the form of Chancellors and Presidents.


  9. bing

    bing New Member

    Non-profit schools and profits

    In fact, just reading an article about universities(the non-profit kind). Sounds about like what my "for profit" company does when they spin off a company or fund smaller ones.

    "Some observers believe the recent push to bargain harder “amounts to a belated recognition that their [technology-transfer offices] weren’t always extracting the best possible terms,” according to the article. “Now, the tech transfer offices are learning to negotiate smarter terms,” such as demanding stock in startup companies."


    And then there's a favorite article I read a while back...

    "Focusing on Limbaugh’s tragedy also distracts from the true villain of this little morality play: Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of Limbaugh’s beloved “little blues” (as he called them in e-mails to his maid/dealer). Purdue makes more than $1 billion a year off OxyContin and has largely resisted pleas from drug abuse advocates to make its bestselling narcotic less addictive and more difficult to resell. In the face of its huge profits, Purdue’s $10,000 “grants” to local police forces to help them launch sting operations and even its multi-million ad campaign to “promote awareness about prescription drug abuse” seem like window dressing—which they probably are. The company also has successfully fought off several dozen class-action lawsuits seeking damages for what they claim was the manufacturer’s foreknowledge of the pills’ potential for misuse."



  10. buckwheat3

    buckwheat3 Master of the Obvious

    Bing exactly!
    I have told many people; and firmly believe that if you have a decent GPA and the CASH on hand, you are on auto pilot to just about any school in the US other than a few ivy league's out there.

    It is all about generating the revenue. With all the RA schools out there; along with the online situation growing year by year, you can safely bet more & more schools are looking at students as a commodity to compete for!

    Any naysayers dont believe me? I will take my tiny B.S. and my tiny transcript, my tiny GPA, from a tiny SACS RA school, (if anyone is willing to front the cost of the application fees) I bet I could be admitted to about 80-90% of the schools out there!...We are on to something here! A study maybe?

    Now this is dissertation title material:

    Distinctions Blurred: Social Implications of the Ph.D Venue, For Profit Education Vs. Not For Profit Education, Is Anyone Safe from Financial Obligation?

    ahahhahahah, Gavin
  11. Shawn Ambrose

    Shawn Ambrose New Member


    Well put, it's all about money. At the brick and mortar school, the doctoral students who are earning the "free" tuition are TA's in large undergrad sections, making peanuts while grading papers, making coffee for their chairs, etc.

    Profit or non-profit, higher ed is about money.

  12. raristud2

    raristud2 New Member

    This includes the board of trustees, government, and corporate grantors.
    A non-profit university I attended currently has for-profit restaurants and stores all over the place. Subsidiaries, partnerships, and space rentals galore. A starbucks in the library of this non-profit university is a subsidary of the university. There is, for example, MCDonalds, Subway, Barns and Noble, and a restaurant that has a buffet. Last but not least, there was and still is the on-campus flee market . :D Shame on those non-profit universities. ;) .
  13. buckwheat3

    buckwheat3 Master of the Obvious

    Oh Yes!
    And let's not forget the latest controversy swirling around the for profit/not for profit schools...that I heard here first, then yesterday on NPR......Drum roll please.....Favored student lending service status on our esteemed Campuses! Yea everyone's hands are dirty on this issue of what constitutes a "for profit" school!

  14. bing

    bing New Member


    http://www.endocyte.com/about.html . Purdue has a piece of the action for this company, too. Another Purdue spinoff from their incubator generator that they have some control over.

    Incubators are big business for universities. I can't think of a large university that doesn't have them. When a business gets started up they generally provide some prof, who had a hand in development, a very nice deal to help lead the company. This then is only a part of how the universities control the businesses. Generally, one may find such relationships via faculty disclosures. You can't beat the loopholes that these non-profit schools have. They make gigantic profits via the non-profit mode of operation. This is also why huge state schools have so much pull in state legislations. For profit schools can only drool over such potential windfall possibilities.

    Oh, then there's the business of non-profit schools accepting so many foreign students at the expense of their own state residents. The reason is that the out of staters provide more revenues for the schools. The John's Hopkins Gazette stated that foreign students generate "significant revenues". They further state, "Others, like Australia and New Zealand, are primarily encouraging foreign students as a means of generating additional revenues. " So true. Yep. Non-profit schools are big business. Foreign students...that's a whole 'nother business.

  15. friendorfoe

    friendorfoe Active Member

    Boy, and I though I was cynical. ;-)

    You guys are something else. First, Dave's post about various for profit schools getting their professors, admissions personnel, board of directors, CEO, etc. all working on the same hustle to extract money from the pockets of hopeful doctoral candidates is simply priceless. I've been in management for a brief time and may have limited knowledge of organizations at large, but it would seem to me that getting that many people, much less doctors, to agree to do the same thing with an underlying tone all while keeping the conspiracy hush, hush would be difficult if not impossible. It couldn't possibly be that a for profit is simply trying to turn out a better product, cheaper than non-profit? And as for open enrollment, there is a plethora of non-profit schools that are fairly easy to get into, you could say, open enrollment though there are to be sure minimum qualifications, just like many for profits have.

    The primary difference I see between for profit and non-profit is that at least for profit schools do not hide their intentions under the wafty notions of serving mankind selflessly all the while cashing huge checks to keep the mirror shine on that ivory tower.

    As you can tell, I am a bit cynical too, but the other way. All schools are in it to make money, otherwise you would have very selective admissions at Harvard and Yale (which they do) based solely upon the students ability to succeed (which they do not) and the tuition would be very inexpensive because after all, it's about the education and NOT the money, right? Wouldn't Duke University then charge less than their estimated $95,000 for their online MBA and instead simply be very selective in who they allow into the program? I mean, how much does it REALLY cost to provide those MBA learning opportunities? Wouldn't the state sponsored and federally underwritten University of Texas McCombs school of business be somewhere around cost for their MBA instead of a whopping $45,000+? After all, what is their cost? Especially after receiving millions in endowments and tax money.

    And to say that these schools are not making profit? Non-profit does not mean nobody profits. There are plenty of those who discreetly suck at the tit of these huge non-profit, overpriced and very hypocritical schools who sneer and look down their noses at the local for profit competition.

    So who is being genuine here?
  16. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    God bless America!

    I can beat that: Broward County General Hospital in Fort Lauderdale has a McDonald's in it. When Adella had Noah at one point she was hungry, and the cafeteria was closed, so the nurse said I could always get her some Chicken McNuggets.

  17. jmetro

    jmetro New Member

    Hands down!!!

    You win, hands down....That one's funny!
  18. Dave Wagner

    Dave Wagner Active Member

    Sure, but it doesn't take a conspiracy to bloat a for-profit open-enrollment doctoral degree program; just the profit motive and one person with authority to say yes. Moreover, it is perfectly legal and can be packaged as academic "rigor".

    It is important to understand that earning a doctorate is different than any other academic pursuit. For example, there is a secondary teaching credential waiting for every person who is admitted and satisfies the requirements of that program; however, there is not a doctoral diploma waiting for everyone who is admitted into the open enrollment program, nor can there be because accreditors will howl. The doctoral process is variable length and nonstandard; it is very easy to deny that the student has met requirements at any stage of the process by slowing them down with (even unnecessary) changes, etc. Even strong students who could have attended another school are ensnared in the killing field along with weaker students. (Note the nature of the doctoral process why JDs who insist they be called academic doctors [i.e., scientists] or paid as doctors while teaching are laughed at; the JD did the same degree as the person next to them, which is not a doctoral experience at all.) Earning a doctorate is like entering a marathon in which the terrain and length of the course can be altered at any time without warning or reason.

    Friend, open-enrollment doctoral programs at for-profit schools are similar to a slow-motion train wreck where the carnage inflicted on somewhat innocent passengers is staggering.

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2007
  19. dlady

    dlady Active Member

    You have reached this conclusion how? Because doing a dissertation is hard? Because you have done some research to demonstrate that for-profit PhD candidates have a higher drop out rate? On the premise that trying and failing is worse than not trying at all?

    I don’t see it, so help me understand what premise directly leads to this conclusion?
  20. jmetro

    jmetro New Member

    Well then what can we do?

    If the picture is that bleak then why do we have any PhD graduates at all? I would expect that if a student build relationships with his/her instructors and faculty advisors, we should see a dramatic decrease in the number of unplanned course corrections. Secondly, if the program was clearly and accurately described down to the individual competency level, we would have no doctoral students in that kind of a position.

    I believe the burden of graduation should be on the student not the school.

    With that said, I believe in a level playing field. Any other field, will be levelled by the laws of supply and demand.

    That's why distance learning is so important. It enables more people to attempt a program. Because no one wants to waste their time, people only join clearly defined programs (like Valdosta's). I admit that if a dissertation board needs to be changed, it needs to be changed. I had that happen for my MBA. But at that point it was the burden of the school who promised XYZ degree for ABC subjects passed and DEF thesis written and GHI defense.

    The school must keep its end of the bargin.

    I'm sure that you know what really happens better than me Mr. Dave but, really by paying them money and following their published curriculum (even if it changes) we have a valid learning contract. By default any such contracts are enforcable (sp?) through law if necessary.

    I agree that a JD is nothing like a PhD and that a MD is totally different than a PhD but they are all professional terminal degrees in their field of study hopefully leading to creation of new knowledge in the field.

    If I'm right, the PhD is the knowledge creation degree whereas the JD and MD allow practice of certain types of knowledge in a public venue.

    That's my two cents. Changing the ground may be what it feels like on the receiving end but the written policy can't easily be changed without a real fight on your hands.

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