Is there anyway to verify a friend/coworkers Degree?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Ultimale, Jan 11, 2005.

  1. scross

    scross New Member

    Questioning credentials

    This is a perfectly valid idea. And you'd be amazed at what you might find ... it just may not make much of a difference.

    To add to jerryclick's examples, here are two that I'm personally familiar with. I know of a couple of others, but I don't remember all the details.

    Example 1: Person A, with almost completely bogus credentials, managed to worm his way into a position as a V.P. in a medium-sized company. Result: collusion, fraud, embezzlement, firing of some underlings and intimidation of others in an attempt to cover up his own actions. Person A's misdeeds were ultimately discovered and he was terminated. Threatened with criminal prosecution, he was forced to make at least partial restitution, and he went underground for a while. The company was wounded but survived.

    Example 2: Person B, with bogus or at least greatly embellished credentials, was brought in from outside to be a V.P. in a large, multi-faceted company. Against the better judgement of many, he was put in charge of a large, expensive, and absolutely critical but ultimately ill-fated project, which he was not at all qualified to manage. Result: endless thrashing, personal "sweetheart" deals with vendors, and massive cost overruns. The project failed, divisions were forced to close, and the company was driven to the edge of ruin. Fortunes were lost and lives destroyed (I mean this literally). Person B managed to deflect blame from himself onto others for a remarkably long period of time, and at one point even managed to collect a healthy "performance" bonus (upper management was wealthy, but not very bright - just before things really hit the fan they talked about what a great job he was doing). He was ultimately fired, but not before the company lost most of its experienced employees and was reduced to a shadow of its former self. Portions of the company survived but just barely, and many of its substantial assets had to be liquidated.

    In both instances the individuals came highly recommended by executive search firms. In both instances the individuals had outside co-conspirators who helped maintain the illusion. (For example, even if you're the devil incarnate, it's amazing what nice things you can get a vendor or consulting firm to say about you if you're throwing millions of dollars in business their way.) In both instances the personnel department either did not, or could not, do their due diligence beforehand.

    It was peers and underlings, themselves having bona fide education and experience in their fields, who suspected almost immediately that the "person" didn't match the "paper". Acting under their own volition, they made discrete inquiries into the actual backgrounds of these individuals. Turns out that both had quite colorful histories, not that upper management was willing to listen - not at first, anyway.

    Now to add insult to injury, in both instances after being terminated the individuals involved still managed to wrangle equal or better positions in even larger organizations. One of these happened to be at a government (federal) entity, where they had access to taxpayer money - yours and mine. I'll spare you the details of how these engagements turned out, but let's just say it was deja vu all over again.
  2. scross

    scross New Member

    Forgot something

    Oops, forgot to include this link. I've posted this in another thread, but it seems appropriate here, too. Read this to see how these situations can play out.
  3. Kit

    Kit New Member

    Re: Forgot something

    I read the link, and was right there with the author of the article until finding this under the heading "Faithful Correspondent":

    But at least give Callahan credit for getting her associate’s degree; she did some legitimate schooling after high school, right? Actually, even that is debatable. Much like Hamilton, Thomas Edison administers an external degree program for older students that gives course credits for life and work experience, with no required attendance. It has no resident faculty, no classrooms or library. The SAT is not required, and all applicants are accepted. It’s a noncompetitive correspondence school.

    Considering the subject of the article it's ironic the author didn't complete his own research. If he had he would have discovered that TESC is a legitimate publically-funded college with tough requirements and full regional accreditation that is certainly not "much like Hamilton".

    The examples he cited to equate TESC with diploma mills are either misinformed or simply false. By including the statement "much like Hamilton" he is stating that TESC and other legitimate distance colleges grant credit indiscriminately based on information on a resume. Of course this isn't true, any experiental credit granted must be stringently proven, it's not simply fee-based handouts. Further, open admission policies are not at all unusual in B&M colleges with required attendance and most colleges do not require the SAT for enrolling students who finished high school five or more years past and/or have already completed some college level courses. Also, distance programs requiring no physical attendance are by no means limited to distance-only colleges. Many are offered through colleges with names the author would surely recognize, such as Stanford, Penn State, and USC at Berkeley. Yet he implies such programs and policies apply strictly to distance colleges.

    This article is just the latest of many investigative pieces that are either incompletely researched or going for sensationalism. Whether print or broadcast, more often than not these pieces end up lumping legitimate distance education right in with the worst diploma mills. They seem determined to ignore the fact that legitimate higher education is as much about business as it is about learning. There are many students who have legitimate reasons for not being able to attend traditional programs but are perfectly capable and willing to complete or further their education. These include members of the military stationed abroad, students with family responsibilities, students who must work full time while completing their degrees, and those with physical handicaps that make regular classroom attendance impossible. Fortunately the business of legitimately accredited higher education has responded to fill the needs of such students. Lumping these schools and their students together with diploma mills and those who dishonestly buy their "credentials" is a grave injustice.

  4. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    Mr. Friedman graduated from Cal State Long Beach the same year
    as my aunt.

    She was present at his graduation.

    Because he is known UFO researcher and in odds with some one in government, the need by some one there to destroy his credibility resulted in his record from CSULB erased.

    Today if some one will try to check on him he never even attended the school.


    This is even more common for Jews in former Soviet Union.
  5. Kit

    Kit New Member

    Re: get a clue

    Actually plumbdog does have something of a point, the miss was in the reasoning due to a lack of understanding of office politics.

    Checking out a co-worker's credentials by yourself when that isn't your job is right at the cliff's edge of ethical behavior in any business. Calling a person to whom you would consider doing such a thing a "friend" is downright underhanded back-stabbing. Besides which you would not only be possibly "outing" that individual but also your own company's H.R. department and the person who hired the individual with false credentials. Of course, the person who ultimately hired that individual may also be your boss. Your reasons are understandable though, and that's where plumbdog misses the point. Maybe he or she hasn't been out in the real world much, or has just been extraordinarily lucky and never had to work with anyone whom everyone in the company knows is a complete jackass. If your co-worker was not acting like that in the first place then chances are you wouldn't even be thinking of going about verifying his doubtful credentials by yourself. I certainly can't blame you for wanting to get rid of the disruptive company jerk, and that desire is no reflection at all on your own abilities, confidence level, or sales accomplishments. But because of possible implications for you and your career due to the reasons stated, it's something that has has to be weighed carefully before diving right in. You'd best carefully weigh the company climate first and be absolutely certain such an undertaking is not going to come back and bite YOU in the ass. As undeserved as it may be, that's unfortunately what happens to plenty of "whistle blowers" despite the legitimacy of the information they uncover.

    I'm not telling you not to do it, just be careful what you do with any information you might find so that it doesn't come back on you. This is especially true since as you say, you emphasize 'ethical selling' in your training sessions. You don't want to give anyone else reason to question your ethics, you've worked too hard for the past 7 years to have that happen.

    In the meantime, if it's any consolation you're surely not the only one who can identify the company blowhard. Clearly your superiors and customers know it as well. After all, if his work and credentials are so impeccable then why hasn't HE been the company's top sales person for the past 7 years? His behavior toward you is undoubtedly a reflection of doubts of his own abilities, which considering the sales figures he certainly does have reason to worry.

    Good luck to you,
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 13, 2005
  6. plumbdog10

    plumbdog10 New Member

    I always invite opinions in reaction to my statements. But, I'll stand with my original post.

    Thank you for your always informed positions. Let's agree to disagree, and move on to the more important purpose of aiding the success of distance learning.
  7. plumbdog10

    plumbdog10 New Member

    I always invite opinions in reaction to my statements. But, I'll stand with my original post.

    Thank you for your always informed positions. Let's agree to disagree, and move on to the more important purpose of aiding the success of distance learning.
  8. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    My view is that academic fraud shows a significant flaw in character. I believe that is not a coincidence that in many stories of academic fraud there are also examples of further flaws in character. So my opinion is that the person should be fired even if he's been doing a great job.

    The only good thing about academic fraud is that a person can be fired even many years after being hired if it is discovered that they lied on their job application.
  9. scross

    scross New Member

    re: Lerner

    I'm not familiar with Mr. Friedman or his work, but I imagine you both would find this article interesting: ET Visitors: Scientists See High Likelihood. The tone of the article is remarkable - you don't often hear reputable scientists talking this way.

    As far as "never even attended", I have a personal anecdote in this area: over a decade ago my wife and I both graduated (within a few months of each other) from the same large state university. A couple of years later we inquired about graduate education there, only to be told that they had no record of our degrees. Our records, along with those of tens of thousands of other graduates, had been temporarily misplaced during a bungled computer upgrade. Apparently there were backup copies but easy no way at the time for the registrar's office or anyone else to get access to them (they were probably recorded on paper or microfilm, locked away in a cave somewhere). I've heard through the grapevine that it's taken years to get this problem resolved. And it's still not fixed 100% - we've finally started receiving requests for donations from the alumni association, but their letters have our graduation dates out of whack by a full 20 years.

    Now back to the subject at hand ...

    Kit makes some excellent points: you normally wouldn't start asking questions about someone's background unless they gave you legitimate reason to do so, and you do this at your own risk. But you can learn quite a bit about a person by simply saying to anyone who has a past connection "So tell me a little about so-and-so." An even more discrete method is to just mention the person's name in passing and watch the reaction you get: a rolling of the eyes, a look of utter horror, or the muttering of "God help you!" are excellent indicators of a possible problem. You can then play detective and follow up with more direct questions; at this point the generous use of alcoholic beverages often proves fruitful in eliciting open and honest responses.
  10. lcgreen

    lcgreen New Member

  11. LBTRS

    LBTRS Member

    Re: get a clue

    From your previous post...

    " We don't live in a bubble

    Having worked in the past in a sales environment, and having to listen endlessly to some JackA$$ about how smart he is, how much smarter he is then the rest of the sales force, etc. At some point, it would be nice to call these morons out. When someone acts like an authority on everything, yet they can't back anything up. The act gets old."


    Just Kidding!
  12. jfowler11

    jfowler11 New Member

    I can think of many reasons why you would not want to be working with someone who lied about their qualifications. That was a rather ignorant remark...
  13. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Calling someone ignorant who posted something you don't agree with 11 years ago--on your very first post, at that--is really something.

    Welcome, I guess.
  14. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

  15. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Let's start playing a "Where were you?" game whenever a really older (let's say, 10+ years) thread is necromanced using the date of the last post.

    Let's see....April 2005.

    I was counting down the days until my discharge in June. I believe it was either March or April that I took a trip to Colorado for the triple purpose of finalizing the conclusion of my practice swing marriage, getting to say I'd seen the Rockies and walking through Colorado Technical University so that I didn't have to say I'd graduated from a school whose campus I had never visited.

    I had adopted a sort of "mountain man" persona that last year as I had been reading a lot of Thoreau and thought, perhaps, after my discharge I would just live in a cabin with no utilities to "think." It was while hiking in Colorado that I discovered that I can only handle the wussy hiking of the East and the oxygen levels of the lower altitudes. It was a necessary revelation.
  16. airtorn

    airtorn Moderator

    I'll play.

    April of 2005 had me living/working in the UK and my youngest child was a month old.
  17. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I was in Fort Lauderdale, working for what is now Keiser University and finishing up my Bachelor's from Charter Oak.
  18. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    I was in Tallahassee, doing my PhD.
  19. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

  20. nyvrem

    nyvrem Active Member

    enlisted into army in 05'

    2 depressing years.


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