Ireland's Chief Science Advisor has bogus degree

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by galanga, Oct 11, 2005.

  1. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    I have a little Yorkshire Terrier, Guinness. He loves to play "fetch the monkey". I will throw his stuffed monkey into as hard to find spot as I can. He will work tirelessly until he finds his monkey. When Guinness is challenged with a good monkey search, I know of no better description than "he works very hard". Sweeney claims to have worked hard for his PWU degree. If that is sufficient then I believe that Guinness deserves a PWU PhD in monkey searchology.

    P.S. Guinness's search methodology is not really very impressive even though it is very cute. He will typically run hard between the normal places looking in those same normal places over and over. The longer he goes without finding his beloved monkey the more frequent the breaks where he comes running up to me and pleads for hints. A hint consists of me screaming at him, "Get your monkey!" and then to wave my arms towards the general vicinity of his favorite toy. Now he will add the new hiding place to his mental list of normal hiding places once he finds it so, it is getting very difficult to stump him with a new place. The whole time he is running very fast and working very hard, though.
  2. George Brown

    George Brown New Member

    Hi Jake,

    Thanks for the comments. Good to see a fellow PhD candidate passionate about a topic dear to our hearts!

    I am working approximately 12 hours a day, 7 days a week on my thesis at the moment. I left a 6 figure job, hardly see my wife and three kids (who totally understand my dedication, as do my kids, as they see it as an investment in the future). I have no life, except for my research at the moment. Am I dedicated? Probably. Will my study pass muster? Hopefully, but it is certainly not a given. I reckon you might be going through some of the above issues as well, but have no idea about your personal situation.

    Do you reckon anyone at CPU went through the above? What about Kennedy Western? I have spoken to the wife of a PhD from CPU and she said she hardly saw him over a 3 year period, juggling his fulltime job and his PhD. Is my dedication better than his, just because I am doing my study at the University of Adelaide, and his was at CPU? I know of a KW PhD candidate right now who has left the US for extended leave and holed himself up in his summerhouse in Africa to write his dissertation. Is that dedication, or is he misguided?

    I am not defending the shills and millists - you know me better than that. What I am trying to say, and ask of you, is do you think CPU/ KWU PhD candidates are villains or victims? Do/ did they know what it was/ is like to study at an RA instituion? Is/ was it really that different?


    Sir Chancellor Lancelot Brown :D
  3. Dave Wagner

    Dave Wagner Active Member

    Absolutely hilarious...! ROFLOL!

    Unfortunately, Guinness has no money for tuition, there are no university professors to confer such a degree and no journals to publish his research.

    Ironically, Guinness' monkey searching does otherwise seem to qualify as doctoral research though. ;-)

  4. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    That's not for him to decide. There's no right to be called "doctor". It's a form of address that other people choose to use as a sign of respect.

    That's pretty combative. My opinion is that he should either mount a credible defense of PWU or else back down gracefully. He doesn't seem to be handling this very well.

    A lateral move?

    I'm not an academic, just a civilian. And my opinion is decidedly mixed.

    On one hand I don't want to see the guy marched out, given a cigarette and shot. But on the other hand, I don't recognize him as expert in higher education either.

    Of course the (rather remote) possibility still exists that a PWU biotechnology doctorate IS academically sound and worthy of respect. But that case has to be successfully argued.

    I guess that I have no problem with him staying in government employment provided that his new position doesn't require a doctorate, doesn't require expertise in higher education, and is consistent with the gentleman's real qualifications and experience.

    But that requires some humility out of him and some compassion from his colleagues. If he insists on being a pugilistic jerk about this, then he probably should just be summarily sacked.
  5. Guest

    Guest Guest


    I doubt anyone who chose to earn a CA approved degree did so because they thought it was easier. In the 80's and 90's there much fewer accredited options available. And they were state approved,available for licensing and regularly listed in DL guidebooks. So as mentioned before it should come as no surprise that people actually earned these degrees.

    So I think George makes a good point as to where to to direct the criticism. My own opinion is that in the case of state approved schools such as CPU the fault lies with the agencies that approved them in the first place. Rather unfair that these schools are deemed bogus now when they were considered acceptable then. So why should students take the brunt of these criticisms?

  6. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I was only able to finish the damned thesis because I've had since 1 October 2005 to work around the clock, around the week. Before that, it was squeezed in every which way but loose around my previous work schedule as Chief Architect and my life as a husband and father to 3. (What is it with the number 3 when it comes to children?)

    The question that comes to mind is this: (I've seen it posed before in other ways) -- "If they submitted a grocery list -- would they also still be conferred?" In Chasse's last year at Summit, before he passed, he reportedly vetoed 5 dissertations, resulting in the resignation of several provosts. Someone said to me on that matter, "Yes, but if there had been proper supervision during the process, they wouldn't have failed in the dissertation."

    Um, well, it says in my current school's copious doctoral thesis documentation that I shall not consider my advisor's OK to go to examination and defense as a promise of anything. Advisor is cautioned to never represent the final outcome. The others could disagree and I could fail, even without recourse. (Could also pass with revision required, pass summarily, or have to redo majorly. 5 possible outcomes: pass no changes, pass with changes, redo with re-examineation, fail unconditionally, or ammend for lesser degree -- the ol' face saver.)

    It is stressed again and again that I shall not consider it a done deal until the deal is actually done. I was politely told not to use D.Litt.(cand.) as the custom considers that very, very gauche. (Ooops!) There are no givens until they are ... given.

    So, who failed those 5 Summit dissertation writers? Their provosts? Chasse? The scholars in question? History knows -- we can only speculate. Is it true that unaccredited schools always pass dissertations, even when they are grocery lists? Can't say on that hearsay alone (although I was told this by a source close to the metal -- it's still just hearsay, after all).

    So self-reports of how hard it was mean much? Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. I have no tales of sitting in the XYZ library at midnight while others went to campus parties -- because, well, it's a distance degree I'm aiming for. No romantic stories of monumental battles of willpower over trying to figure out how to make my next tuition payment (since I was given a scholarship that waived that). No hairraising stories of others who came out of their defenses weeping for having failed (because I've never been outside the room where the defense call is made).

    But I have this darned thesis. Sitting here. Staring at me.

    Now, in the case of the Irish Chief Whatshisname -- he could have done wonders for substantiating his claims to all the rigor in the world -- had he produced a credible dissertation. I dare say a goodly number of scholars, had he done that one thing, would turn the other way after having read it, and moved on. His credibility as a scientist who must not misrepresent data would have been spared a great blow.

    But he elected instead to insist that he is as worthy as anyone to be called Doctor Chief Whatshisname. At that point, rigor no longer mattered in anyone's mind. Where are those damned data? I'm a Chief Scientist now, too. My data for my thesis is all in one big zip file, and will be for some years to come. That's what scientists try to do: protect the data from which conclusions are drawn. No Chief Scientist (no matter from whence the degree) bunges the job so badly that he refuses to provide access to concerned parties to that data. In this case, that data is the mystery dissertation.

    And that's what irks me about this whole thing more than the accreditation issues.
  7. Alan Contreras

    Alan Contreras New Member

    The main problem with the "hard work" defense is the "self-reported" part, and it is that distinction that is quite significant in separating legitimate institutions from those less so.

    The difference is the presence of identifiable faculty with provable credentials who spend a lot of time and energy evaluating student work and deciding whether it is sufficient. In the case of doctorates, the end result is almost always in essence a public document. If I want to know whether someone's doctorate issues by Oregon State University represents enough "hard work," I go read it in the library and come to my own conclusions. Otherwise I need to know who the faculty were and what, in general terms, they did, on a regular basis. This can be discovered in the case of accredited and some state-approved schools. In the case of most unaccredited schools and true carp, it cannot be discovered becaue it never happened.

    One reason that degree mills are a good way to make money is that they do not have faculty in the usual sense of the term. No costs, all revenue.
  8. George Brown

    George Brown New Member

    Some great points Quinn and Alan. As I mentioned previously in the thread - show me the money! Show us what you've got and then we will decide. And if I decide its ok, is that enough? Or if its passed external examination by two RA faculty, is that enough (in the case of a PWU University of Adelaide acadmemic staff member, it was). Clearly no hard and fast answer. But its fascinating stuff, unfortunately to the detriment of folks like McSweeny.

    Ok, enough from me, some more news:


  9. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Irish Examiner:
    If this is the case why was it ever Calif. approved? What was the point of such investigations if it is still operating?
  10. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    FWD: f this is the case why was it ever Calif. approved? What was the point of such investigations if it is still operating?

    John Bear: The Pacific Western under discussion never was California approved. They were California authorized back when that was a nearly automatic non-evaluative process. When the more rigorous State Approval came in, they moved their "campus" to Louisiana, and when Louisiana booted them out, to the famous empty room in Hawaii, all the while run from California.

    Confusion reigns because the owner of the Pacific Western under discussion started a completely separate unrelated school in California, offering nothing but narrowly-defined business degrees, designed carefully to meet California Approval standards. He named this unrelated school "Pacific Western University."
  11. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Good one!! I will admit to being a bit confused. Thanks for the explanation.
  12. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    PWU also tells the candidates/co-conspirators that they can claim their not-California-approved-degree came from the California-approved school. If you recall, this was one of the lies that was propogated by Mr. Sweeney.
  13. RXI

    RXI New Member

    Pacific Western University-Hawaii may have appeared to be a seperate school for legal reasons but the two schools appeared the same to all who inquired about a degree program. The Websites were almost identical, the staff was the same, the faculty was the same, and so on. Students of the Hawaiian Branch sent their study materials to the California address and the diplomas issued were the same. The difference was what area or major a student was working for. If you wanted a degree in business, then that was California. If you wanted a degree in something else then that was the Hawaiian branch. Many people 'may' have graduated from the Hawaiian school and may not know the difference. The did give a student ID numbers that had a C or an H designation at the begining of the number.

    "Pacific Western University of California is the same ownership as Pacific Western University of Hawaii, which is run by the same people from the same building" (Bears' Guide, 16th ed., p213).

    In 2004 PWU was purchased by a new group of people and the Hawaiian Branch seperated to its own address and renamed American PacWest International University.

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 17, 2005
  14. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    That sounds like inside information. I'm curious how you know these things.
  15. RXI

    RXI New Member

    Hi Bill,

    I, like several other here, called PWU and inquired about a degree program. The information was explained to me in a very open manor that my particular program would go through the Hawaiian branch. I felt they were very honest about how the program worked. I also kept an eye on their web sights for about a year out of curiosity before I called. The student ID numbers I belive was explained to me though I honestly can not tell you exactly when in our conversation that was brought up. I talked to them several different times but this was a few years ago and those people are now gone. All anyone has to do is call and ask.

    The new ownership is explained on their up-dated website under the 'About Us' button. You may view it at...


  16. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    American PacWest International University. Thanks for that information RXI. That's approaching a generic name for such a school, reminiscent of Calvin Trillin's generic name for a pretentious French restaurant, "The Maison de la Casa House."
  17. George Brown

    George Brown New Member

  18. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Dr Bear
    Sounds like an airline company to me!!
  19. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Then one would think they are the same. Where were the government investigators on this?
  20. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Interesting. Again I ask where were the government investigators on this?

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