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

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

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  1. jmetro

    jmetro New Member

    Isn't it in the school's best interests to see that the program is designed in such a way to be beyond reproach regardless of the number of admissions allowed?
  2. Dave Wagner

    Dave Wagner Active Member

    How so? Please falsify the scenario, if possible.

  3. Dave Wagner

    Dave Wagner Active Member

    How so? Please falsify the scenario, if possible.

  4. PhD2B

    PhD2B Dazed and Confused

    I can falsify your scenario about as well as you can provide evidence that your scenario is true.

    My statement was in response to Bing's request to you. Mainly,

  5. Dave Wagner

    Dave Wagner Active Member

    Large parts of the thread were about why the for-profit open enrollment scenario could be true, so let's hear about why it must absolutely be false.

  6. PhD2B

    PhD2B Dazed and Confused

    I'm not saying your scenarios are false. There doesn't seem to be evidence either way on this issue. However, there does appear to be counterexamples from both FPs and NFPs, none of which proves anything.
  7. Dave Wagner

    Dave Wagner Active Member

    Ok, but there are some enormously-important but unanswered questions.

    Profits at for-profit universities with open-enrollment admissions policies are growing rapidly along with their doctoral programs, but where are the graduates? When will they emerge?

    How will the for-profit universities graduate ten or twenty times the number of doctors as their non-profit colleagues without losing their accreditation, which depends upon peer review?

    Is it fair to students to relieve them of ten of thousands of dollars before they learn that they don't have the requisite skills or motivation to succeed in the program?

    Will the students file a class action lawsuit when they discover that a vast percentage of them never had a chance of graduating? Are non-existent diplomas being sold?

    I ask these questions not to put anyone on the spot but to suggest that this madness stop.

    Dave the Ruminator
  8. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member


    There is an obvious problem with this policy. When I was looking for doctoral programs, the record time for admission was given by Touro International University. I filled an application online and paid about $100 USD and given admission in less than 24 hrs without any evidence of graduation.

    The logic behind this is simple, even if we get 100 dollars per applicant and get you to take one course, this is income that wouldn't have gotten otherwise.

    The administrators know that they cannot graduate so many PhDs as they would lose credibility but still take as many as they can get in. I don't buy the argument that non for profits are doing the same thing. How many traditional doctorates you know that can offer admission to a PhD candidate in less than 24 hrs with only 100$ upfront? If admissions are open, do you really want to be in a class room full students where more than half are not supposed to be there? If the average performance is low, how can you maintain a minimum level of quality?

    Some people are asking for evidence, do you really need to do so? If a school is willing to take any PhD applicant that is willing to pay 100$ without even looking at your transcript, Do we really need to probe that it wouldnt be possible to graduate all of them without rasing many eye browes?
  9. Dave Wagner

    Dave Wagner Active Member

    It would be interesting to research the current doctoral admissions policies, especially at all the for-profit schools.

  10. bing

    bing New Member

    I didn't realize Touro had such poor admission standards. Even with NCU, they required my transcripts before admitting me. I'm guessing that when you applied to Touro that it was sometime ago, though.

    I had applied to University of Newcastle(UK) and the turnaround was quite fast. I'm guessing that it all took less than 3 weeks. All they needed was my transcripts and a brief overview of my research interest. I applied to University of Newcastle(AUS) and it was a fairly quick turnaround, too. Their brief overview of my research interest was even shorter than Newcastle(UK). For either school, there was no phone interview, no GRE required, nor anything else that I am aware of. Just transcripts and a brief overview of research topic. I was granted conditional acceptance at Newcastle(AUS) based on faxed documentation. (the unseen variable was that they had to match up my statement of interest with some professor who had a similar interest)

    I would consider Newcastle(UK) to be a good school on par with many good U.S. non-profit schools. In light of all these comments about admission standards, it doesn't seem to bode well for many of the good foreign schools then, eh. I'm guessing that many top notch schools take in a ton of money on the application process, too, and yet don't admit anywhere near the numbers they allow to apply.

    My personal thinking is that most students who enter the pipeline at NCU will not complete the doctorate. I don't think it is a function of the school, though. It has more to do with the fact that the student either cannot cut it in the dissertation phase or can't deal with the dissertation due to whatever personal reasons. The same thing can be said with most any doctorate program at non-profits...the majority entering won't finish.

    Karen Onofrey, Arizona State University, wrote that less than 50% of the students there complete the doctoral studies(USC reports the same figure by the way). The main culprit? It's not the coursework leading up to the dissertation. It's the dissertation itself. That's the same culprit with for profits. A Canadian article I read, by Peggy Berkowitz, said that some schools have PhD completion rates around 34.4%. That seems fairly low, too. In the end, it's still that dissertation and if you can't write one you are not going to finish at ANY school. So, with USC and ASU, are you thinking that they have poor admission standards, too? Is that why you think they aren't able to graduate PhD's? (and don't get me wrong. i don't think ncu is in any league close to usc and asu. with ncu, i feel i know what i am getting in the end. an ra phd...if i can finish. i don't even have any thoughts that they will do for me what csudh did upon graduation. csudh sent me a ballcap, pen, and a clock for being an alum. i'll likely get no freebies at ncu.)


  11. bing

    bing New Member

    Is this some sort of accreditation rule? Is there a requirement for any school to graduate the number they admit?

    You seem to be willing to ask the profit schools to answer your graduation questions without asking the non-profits to do the same.

    I just did a Google search. There appears to be a many lawsuits against schools on their graduation rates. I didn't see any results on suits against profit schools. That doesn't mean they aren't there already.

  12. jmetro

    jmetro New Member

    Questions answered...

    You know as well as I do that the lead time for graduation of applicants is 3 to 5 years. You know as well that just like bing has said already numerous times throughout this thread, the main culprit in non-graduation is the dissertation (a factor which applies to ANY legitimate school). I would expect profits to continue to increase through the forseeable future (that is the next several years). I would expect graduates to emerge when they meet the RA standards.

    Easily answered. I answered this question at least four times throughout this thread so far from two different points of view.

    For-profits and non-profits can dramatically increase their graduation rates without negatively effecting peer review and accreditation by actually creating true peers. That is, by putting a system in place to make it possible for people to complete the requirements of the degree program in line with accreditation standards, the school can uphold the obligation to academic standards while issuing as many physical degrees as possible.

    That just makes sense.

    If it doesn't work out that way in the "real" world, then "falsify my scenerio" if you can...but you won't be able to prove a negative and my objection is framed as a positive assertion meaning that you won't be able to falsify (same as what you did in the thread above).

    Of course the correct answer has to be "YES" and at the same time "NO".

    Ultimately the obligation to graduate rests with the student. They must have the human capital to complete the program they begin and the self-knowledge necesary to understand when things are goind bad for them.

    With that said, it is in the best interests of everyone involved if the student does in fact meet all the requirements, generate new knowledge for society, and go ahead to graduate.

    Therefore the school has the obligation to provide the framework in which the student is developed. If the framework is flawed then accreditation should be revoked however, if the program has solid design and meets the objectives of accreditation - no one can say anything about a graduate who meets every requirement and succeeds. And so walking past the angels and demons on the pathway to enlightenment, man reaches out and claims the only thing that is really his...

    As far as ethics go...
    Yes, it is ethical to take the student's money so long as the student wants to give the money. Eventually if it is going too poorly for a given student, there will come a point that the implicit opportunity cost of finishing the degree versus "something/anything else" will be too high for the student to continue the program. That's the point at which ethics will be taken to its extreme value. Does the school issue consolation prizes? Does the school provide time off to finish the dissertation? Does the school provide mentoring and other tactical assistance in combating fatigue and disinterest? Does the school do a good job of retaining its students during this most grueling of processes?

    Those are the ethical questions that need to be raised.

    Clearly it is NOT ethical to accept money for a service that can not be provided and this fact makes it in the schools' best interests to ensure that the graduate meets the requirements. Can this concept be taken too far? Degree mills take this concept too far every day. Are there legitimate ways of ensuring everyone a fair shot at graduation? Is it appropriate for the school master to ensure that the student is retrained and retooled to meet the requirements of the day? The answer to each is YES.

    Therefore in summary, it is ethical to take money for a good or service. But then the burden begins to rest on you to ensure that the student has the human resources and the external tools necessary to reach out and grab graduation. It is not ethical to take money without a good or service. The school must provide consolation prizes, issue more resources and tools on a case-by-case basis, and do everything in its power to graduate the student who meets each and every requirement for graduation.

    The point needs to be made that in any functioning learning process each party the learner and the mentor must be doing everything that each can do to ensure the success of the student.

    "POSSIBLY" to the first question and "NO" to the second.

    Let's start with the second question. It is not possible to validly sell a non-existent product. Think with me...A snakeoil salesman sells water in a jar as an antidote to freezing...However distasteful the concept may seem a valid transaction has taken place up and including the point that the water is tested by being used for the purpose for which it was purchased. It's really the outcomes that are measured when it comes to snakeoil salesmen.

    But the utility of the degree is outside the scope of discussion.

    We're discussing the product sale. The product (education) exists and is available to each student who can successfully demonstrate the competencies necessary to graduate as defined by the institution they choose. What is illegal is selling degrees, making the students work for the degree, and then issuing a document which can not be used in Oregan or half a dozen other American states. This is the point at which the process breaks down - the point of utility.

    As far as class action law suits go, we have a very very long time before the culture puts two and two together and begins to glom up in coalitions against low graduation rates. First there have to be lots of little individual test cases which go in the favor of the plaintiffs and few reversals on appeal. After that then a class action might be sanctioned by a well-meaning judge.

    The problem with the concept of suing the hand that feeds you is that, the school only needs to show that they gave the student every opportunity to succeed to prevent any exposure to this charge. The more conservative school will want to do more and show that the student actively did wrong in the attempt to graduate concluding in a negative graduation outcome for the student. Of course, the students might not all be capable of passing the course of study under normal circumstances!

    This is to be expected. This helps retain the intrinsic value of the degree and all PhDs as a whole by ensuring that only those who do the best work in the field graduate.

    To win a class action, the students must show that had they met every graduation requirement including the dissertation, they would not have been allowed to graduate. To prove this, some students would have to go "undercover" completing even the dissertation and not graduate having met all the requirements. It is very easy to prove a positive, if the students can prove that they could have met the graduation requirements in a court of law, they will have, by default, proven their right to graduate and must therefore be granted the degree.

    Simple as that.

    Anyway...Congratulations to Dave Wagner for keeping this thread interesting though I suspect we were all drunk during most of last night and early this morning so our logic may not be the cleanest but nonetheless we persevered and came up with some really nice arguments, counterarguments, and discussions of all kinds.

    Here's what I'd like to have a response to in closure of this topic (as far as I'm concerned):
    1. Can everyone graduate if they meet the graduation requirements?
    2. Can a school prove the proactively rigour of its program?

    (Hint: The answer to both questions is, "Yes").

    Jacob, the Logician Wannabe
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 27, 2007
  13. Shawn Ambrose

    Shawn Ambrose New Member


    Thank you for a thought provoking and reasoned response.

  14. Shawn Ambrose

    Shawn Ambrose New Member

    According to the Capella University Catalog:


    A prospective learner must have a 3.0 in Master's degree program accredited by the US DOE or internationally recognized institution.

  15. jmetro

    jmetro New Member

    Thanks Shawn...

    I appreciate the sentiment.

    I don't think that graduate enrollment processes would be too different between the two.

  16. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    The Canadian education system is public so admission into a PhD is competitive as PhD students normally receive a salary from the University. The system is very slow as you rely on the availability of the supervisor that nomally is very little as Universities are increasing ratios of students-professors due to cutbacks. It is not uncommon to wait a year just for your supervisor to read a draft. The average student takes about 5 years but quite a few take 6 or 7 years to finish it. In addition, some feel that their chances of a tenure track are very little so many students quit because they feel that there is no point to do it rather than the difficulty of the dissertation phase.

    Here we are taking about the othe side of the coin where you get paid instead of paying for education. PhD students are normally hired by professors to do some specific job, it is on their best interest to keep you long enough to profit from you.

    Some UK or Australian Schools are seeing the business opportunity of doctorates and are opening programs with easy admission standards. However, these doctorates are not PhDs but DBA, DITs, etc as they want to keep the PhD as the most recognized credential.

    In a way, they all after the money but the difference is that for profits don't receive goverment grants so they rely only on tution fees so the pressure is there to cash as much as they can from prospect students.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 27, 2007
  17. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Did you apply for a PhD or DBA? As I mentioned before, UK and Australian schools are seeing DBAs as cash cows too. They also after the money and the DBA is a good way for them to make the money from doctoral programs and still be able to differentiate between the "professional" and a real doctorate.
  18. dlady

    dlady Active Member

    So if Dave Wagner is right, there are some schools actively engaged in fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud?

    Those are such strong statements, I just don’t know.

    Since, according to this boards generic strong opinions, I fall into just about every negative category concerning how I have acquired my education, the utility of my NA degrees, my ability to spell without a spell checker, and so on, I guess I can be a good test, because I’m finishing up my coursework at NCU and will start the research process July / August.
  19. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    I don't think there is a conspiracy, but the problem is that when they find themselves with so many students at the dissertation phase they might be forced to make it difficult for them to graduate as they don't want to lose the business because the accreditation agencies might see this as a lack of quality. Also bear in mind that schools like NCU and Walden are mainly concentrated in doctoral programs so it is normal to graduate more PhDs than the average school so accrediting agencies might not have PhD quotas on them as that would be unfair given their market target.
  20. Jigamafloo

    Jigamafloo New Member

    Wow - for the M.S., I was on conditional status until Touro recieved transcripts and verified everything. I wonder why the difference?

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