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

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

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  1. Andy Borchers

    Andy Borchers New Member

    A reply to Jacob

    Jacob - thanks for a good post.

    Here is a question, though. If DL programs hope to be perceived as credible, how can they if they accept candidates that traditional programs won't? I looked in to full-time doctoral programs in business several years ago. The top programs required GMATs in the 650+ range. Even weak state programs wanted 550+.

    I know that the GMAT isn't perfect (or even near so), but taken on the whole it does measure something regarding intellectual ability. My take is that US DL programs that don't use the GMAT/GRE and accept students with 3.0 masters programs are opening themselves up to a wide range of students.

    Regards - andy

  2. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

    I have no problem with taking an entrance exam; I had to take the GRE to get into my graduate program, and I did fine. My problem is that some residential (definitely not all) doctoral programs I've looked into wanted me to take the GRE again, even though I passed their minimum score the first time I took it.

    Do these schools just assume I got dumber after finishing an RA Master's degree?? :confused:
  3. bing

    bing New Member

    A word on traditional programs

    I agree that the GMAT isn't perfect and it might actually reflect a person's intellectual capability. (I have no doubt that some DL schools accept some candidates that traditional schools would not even consider.)

    I don't know the stats but I would guess a good many of the candidates at DL schools might have the "beans" to get into many traditional programs. Many students choose the DL route due to factors other than not being able to obtain admissions to a traditional b&m program. For me, I was in a doctoral program at a very selective b&m engineering program. For various reasons, I did not stay. The main factors were family life and money(tied to family life). Also, there were a good many students quite younger than me. I actually have found a richer common bond with DLers, even via "Internet buddies".

    From what I see, there are traditional schools that want to have the DL cash cow but don't yet want to bring that nasty DL doctorate into the fold with the other programs they offer. So, schools like this might offer a DM, a DMgt, DCS, DocSocSci, or the DLS. This then is a distinguishing factor by itself. Do you think DL programs should not use the PhD?

    Even amongst non-traditional, mostly DL schools, there is a large difference on the emphasis. For instance, in a good article in which you were interviewed(your comments were very good, btw), http://chronicle.com/jobs/2003/08/2003080601c.htm , Nova's quote was,

    "We're not training people to be researchers at Harvard, Stanford, or MIT," says Randolph A. Pohlman, dean of Nova's graduate school of business and entrepreneurship. "We're training people who already have considerable industry or academic or administrative experience to move up or get jobs at teaching-centered colleges and universities," he says.

    So, Nova is mainly training people to get teaching and admin jobs in academia. This isn't my goal, though. Given that, I doubt Nova would be a good fit for me. My goal for obtaining a doctorate would be to complete it(because i have the desire to achieve a higher distinction) and then use it to enhance my career in a consulting capacity. I enjoy researching and writing but don't feel that academia is my dream. I'd rather stay in the corporate world...where in my industry the doctorate is valued likely more than with other industries.


    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2007
  4. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    The guy who scored the highest on the GRE in my Masters program was put on academic probation for getting two letter grades of C. Conversely, the other two students who had the second and third highest GRE scores were ace students throughout the Masters program. It has been said that the GRE (or GMAT) is not an accurate indicator of whether someone will complete a Masters program -- and that's why many schools will waive the GRE if the student has an undergraduate GPA of 3.5 or higher for their last two years of college. However, a dissertation is extraordinarily difficult, much more so than the coursework for a Masters degree. With that in mind:
    • Would a GRE (or GMAT) score be an accurate predictor of whether someone would be more likely (or able) to complete a dissertation?
    • Is a GRE/GMAT appropriate for entrance into doctoral programs? Should it be a requirement?
  5. dlady

    dlady Active Member

    This is scenario #3 of the possible solutions to the fictional FP PhD scenario:

    If FP graduate many, then no rigor
    If FP graduate few, then revenue conspiracy
    If FP graduate the same as everyone else, then open enrolment means low quality graduates

    This is a bad scenario without supporting data, because all of the possible outcomes validate the proposition; or put another way, there is no possible result that can prove or disprove the premise.
  6. bing

    bing New Member

    I haven't seen any schools that would waive the GRE but there might be many out there. I know that the program I was in, previous to NCU, said, "Are you kidding?" When I was looking at Indiana State University's technology doctorate, the director there told me it was THE number question..."Can I get the GRE waived?" The answer is a hardy no...at ISU anyway.

    The GRE does not determine perseverance. It only seems to be an indicator of capability. Having said that, the MCAT is the same thing. HOWEVER, many doctors currently practice medicine here who had poor MCATs. They went the island route to study medicine and did indeed end up passing the USMLE exam. These doctors might have had a tougher time in medical school but they persevered and made it. Even very bright people are lazy. If so, they won't accomplish much.


  7. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Um, no. The logic is simple because it is wrong.

    The break-even point for a student in such a program is three courses (or more). By then, a formal admissions decision will have been made. There is no gain for a school to admit students who have to drop almost immediately afterwards.

    The marginal revenues (variable revenue minus variable cost) of a single course could not possible pay the pro-rated costs of attracting that student and support the administrative, admissions, and other overhead it took to get him/her.

    For-profit schools have just as much interest in seeing their admissions be successful as anyone else.
  8. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Boy, I've read a lot of whoppers in this thread. I'll weigh in:

    GRE/GMAT scores do not correlate well with academic success. They correlate less effectively than either undergraduate grades or work experience, making both much better predictors.

    The difference between "for-profit" and "not-for-profit" falls into three distinct areas. First, there is tax status. For-profits pay income tax, not-for-profits do not. Next, there is fundraising. For-profits cannot raise funds through tax-deductible donations; not-for-profits can. Finally, the distribution of excess revenues. For-profts may either retain these earnings or distribute them to the owners. Not-for-profits must retain them.

    The tax status of the school doesn't affect any of the following: admissions, quality of services, quality of education, marketing, or operations.

    "Open admissions" is being mis-used on this thread. It doesn't mean "no standards," or "everyone welcome." It means that everyone who meets the admission standards is admitted. This is true for about 90% of all colleges and universities in the U.S.

    I would like to see the evidence that proves some schools admit significantly more students that they can graduate. ("Significantly" meaning beyond normally anticipated attrition.) This would be an incredible fraud and, I suspect, its conspirators would be subject to RICO.

    A better dichotomy would be nontraditional and traditional schools. Or, better yet, schools who's primary market is the traditional student and schools who's primary audience is the working adult.

    I've never attended a for-profit university. I was, however, a campus chair for UoP for a year, and an adjunct for another two years. And I've been an adjunct at two other not-for-profits, as well as a full-time assistant professor at a traditional state university. The most responsive to students' needs and concerns? UoP, hands-down. The worst? The state university, by far. I still remember the lines that snaked around campus, filled with students waiting hours in the sun just to sign for and receive their financial aid checks. Bizarre. And while the add/drop process at the state university would take forever, students at National University (also a not-for-profit) could walk into any campus location and sit right down and do it. No lines, no fees, and they could see everything in real time throughout the 30-something campuses. And this was in the early 1980's!

    Generalizations and stereotypes can carry one only so far on this subject.
  9. Andy Borchers

    Andy Borchers New Member

    I don't doubt that on an anecdotal basis - some folks with good GRE/GMAT scores will fail. But taken on the whole, IMHO there is a statistically significant (but far from perfect) relationship between GRE/GMAT and intellectual capacity to do graduate business work. The GRE/GMAT isn't the only measure to consider (undergrad/MBA program quality, grades, recommendations, etc. are all relevant).

    Further, my concern is the extreme cases - Two students with a 560 and 570 GMAT are effectively identical as best the test tells. Two students with a 450 and 750 GMAT are likely to be quite different in ability. The lower GMAT student may make it through perserverence. But the 750 GMAT probably has greater native ability. Harvard's Business School is probably justified in their MBA admissions in saying "no" to the 450 and "yes" to the 750. Indeed, given their number of applicants and the number of spots they have to offer, they have to say "no" a lot.

    I've worked in (and been a student in) part-time masters and doctoral programs. What I've seen suggests that some sort of screen at least at a gross level is probably desireable, especially in doctoral programs.

    Does the GMAT predict one's ability to do a dissertation? The NSU program director said "yes" to this when I talked with him several years ago.

    Regards - Andy

  10. carlosb

    carlosb New Member

    Thanks for weighing in! I sometimes wonder what a new visitor must think of DI when visiting for the first time. Some of the conspiracy theories expressed here are just plain weird IMHO.
  11. carlosb

    carlosb New Member

    I took the GMAT on a whim and did not find it to be that terribly difficult. I tend to agree with you. It would seem to me that anyone that cannot score at least 500 should seriously consider whether doctoral work is suitable or at least refresh in the weak areas.
  12. Dave Wagner

    Dave Wagner Active Member

    "Bad"? What do you mean by "bad"? It was a fictitious scenario illustrating a point about overbooking a for-profit doctoral program; it might be plausible until data is found to accept or reject the scenario. It could be falsifiable as well, if there were clear evidence that accrediting bodies do not discourage large number of doctoral graduates and open enrollment programs do not exist, whatever open enrollment means...

    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2007
  13. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    Dave Wagner, how do you spell backpeddle? :D ;)
  14. Dave Wagner

    Dave Wagner Active Member

    Yes, screened-enrollment is essential at the doctoral level.

  15. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Dave and Andy,

    What about open hiring for instructors? Some schools like the UoP hire virtually anyone with a RA master's degree as an instructor. Since they pay about minimum wage, their turn over is pretty high so they have a hard time keeping good instructors.

    Isn't this even more scary that open admissions? Most of the complaints for the UoP is for the quality of their instructors.
  16. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I don't agree with this at all, and it is contrary to my personal experience.

    Potential UoP instructors go through a rigorous screening process. First, their resumes are reviewed by one or more Campus Chairs. Those that seem like good prospects on paper are interviewed on the phone.

    Success at that level leads to a process called Assessment. During Assessment, candidates are split into small groups. Each candidate is required to do a 20-minute presentation of their own making. Facilitation skills are emphasized, and these presentations are scored by a small panel of experienced faculty members. Also, each candidate goes through a one-on-one interview with either a Campus Chair or an experienced faculty member.

    Candidates who make it through Assessment are invited to enter the Faculty Development Workshop. This is a 4-week class that (a) simulates a UoP class (learning teams, group and individual assignments, presentations, classroom learning, etc.), and (b) teaches facilitation skills. Candidates are also taught about UoP and its policies and procedures. Most important, candidates are still going through the evaluation process, and some are eliminated even at this late point.

    Successful candidates are assigned their first class, and assigned a mentor, too. This mentor helps prepare the new instructor for his/her first class, as well as sits in on one or more class sessions (and prepares a report). Even at this point, the new faculty member is subject to termination, even during the first course. (I've done that.) Of course, employment is on a course-by-course basis, so everyone is subject to termination at any time simply by not being offered classes to teach!

    Even with all of the above, some bad instructors slip through. So, instructors are observed periodically and evaluated at least annually. Plus, students fill out surveys at the end of each course, the results of which are analyzed for problem areas. Of course, UoP is highly sensitive to student complaints, so students have access to any staff member, Campus Chair, Director, or even the Campus Director.

    Now, do bad instructors exist at UoP? Sure! Are there campuses less diligent in their screening? Absolutely. But in my experience, complaints about instructors did not top the list of students' complaints. They mainly complained about their academic counselors who, ironically, didn't work in the Academic Affairs department! (They worked for the facility manager!) And the main complaint stemmed from inaccessibility--the students/counselor ratio was about 250:1.

    I've taught at several traditional universities. I've never seen an instructor screening and preparation program like UoP's. There's a lot to complain about regarding UoP, even with some instructors. But "open hiring"? No.
  17. Dave Wagner

    Dave Wagner Active Member

    Rich's post articulates most of my thoughts on UOP's hiring practices as I understand them. UOP is fairly selective in who it hires.

    Additionally, UOP screens for current work experience beyond the master's degree and most instructors I've met have had experience teaching adults. A poor instructor would have trouble getting through the training, which includes teaching lessons (on-campus) and interacting productively with other faculty in group projects.

    It is unlikely that a poor instructor at UOP would last longer than one or two classes because of end of course student surveys. Peer reviews happen at least once a year without notice until the class has already started. In fact, it is almost annoying to be evaluated all the time by everybody including the students. Contrast UOP with your average community college where people who are partially known to the administration are hired and stop by to pick up the textbook from the department administrative assistant; show up to teach and turn in the grades and you are on your way to a teaching career at a community college...

    The issue I was addressing was doctoral programs; UOP's hiring practices for teaching undergraduates and masters degree students don't apply to the doctoral level. Evidence of publishing in the topic beyond the RA Ph.D. would be the starting point for recruiting dissertation chairs.

    I recommend that you test UOP's hiring practices by applying yourself.

  18. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    An all this for minimum wage, wow! sorry, I did not know it was so rigorous to become an instructor there. This assumption was based in many comments that I read.
  19. truckie270

    truckie270 New Member

    I don't quite understand where the minimum wage figure comes from. I teach for UOP online and the pay is decent and well above minimum wage.
  20. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Do the math, 1000 dollars for a 8 week course and you spend 10 hours a week. Yes, a bit above minimum wage.
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