Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by Alan Contreras, Jul 30, 2004.
I hesitate to write stuff like this because I don't want to be (inaccurately) seen as one of those people who advocates that state approval/licensure, on its face, should be enough. Clearly, in many states -- maybe even most... I don't know beause I have not (yet) done the research -- it is not nearly enough. But from the onset of my interest in this issue, I have choked a bit on the notion that accreditation by a USDoE/CHEA-approved agency should be the sole, salient differentiation or threshold.
Are we saying that there is not one single unaccredited (by any USDoE/CHEA-approved agency) college, university, seminary, bible college, divinity school, etc., which is, nevertheless, worthy of approval by such as the ODA due to the high standards imposed upon it either by itself or by its state?
Or, similarly, are we saying that no state's approval/licensure procedure for degree-granting institutions is sufficiently rigorous, universally applied without exception, and strictly enforced over time that any of its licensed institutions may be presumed by such as the ODA to be acceptable even absent said institutions having achieved accreditation by a USDoE/CHEA-approved agency?
I certainly hope that that's not the case!
For example, I thought everyone agreed that California's BPPVE's standards -- when enforced, that is -- were sufficiently rigorous that any school meeting them would be acceptable to the ODA... if not out of hand, then at least subsequent to the ODA's specific investigation. I realize there's an enforcement problem in California, but for our purposes here let's pretend for a moment that that's not the case. Is not the BPPVE's standard, generally, of sufficiently high quality that any degree-granting institution conforming to it (again, assuming adequate enforcement) could reasonably expect to be considered acceptable to such as the ODA -- even without USDoE/CHEA-approved accreditation?
And aren't there other states whose standards even the likes of CHEA respects? For example, I thought New York was tough.
If all of that is true, then how can any state, in good conscience, summarily reject diplomas from another state's unaccredited (by any USDoE/CHEA-approved aggency) degree-granting institutions as long as the state making the decision about accepting the diploma knows that the state-licensed institution granting it is virtually guaranteed to be ligitimate, rigorous and worthy simply by virtue of its state's high-quality and generally-acceptable licensure/approval procedures?
As long as we're on the subject, what are the states that pretty much everyone agrees can be relied upon to bygod never issue an operating license to a degree-granting institution that isn't objectively rigorous and worthy (even if it doesn't have USDoE/CHEA-approved accreditation); to frequently inspect said institution to ensure that its standards are being maintained; and to bygod yank the license of said institution if said standards ever fall?
Does anyone know that?
Here's one: http://www.ntps.edu/
I'm another one rooting for the outcome on this case. This case could not have come along at a better time (for Oregon) as it is in the early formative stages of the law. When it gets to court, it can be:
(A) tossed out (doubtful, but possible)
(B) shot down,
(C) Accepted as-is.
If it should be shot down by the courts, the Oregon legislature will re-write a (hopefully) "K-W proof" law.
At worst, this case will point out any weaknesses that may possibly be inherent in the law, and it can be tweaked, or possibly just some changes may be made in the Manual of Procedures for Mr Contreras' Department.
At best, there will be legal confirmation that the law as it stands is a good one which will pass constitutional muster.
Oregon has a long tradition of being pioneers in new things, this law is another one of them.
Lovely machines, they have on hand. Definitely not a distance-learning institution! Here's what else they have for their students to fly.
Bill Huffman: "Even CCU found a far superior course which was to drop their questionable doctorate programs and go for accreditation. "
Cehi: I agree with your comments. I have read previous responses on this site that CCU use to offer the Ph.D., DBA, and the Ed.D. degree programs. I am curious, Bill, do you know which of CCU doctoral degree program was found to be questionable? Or, was all their doctoral degrees found questionable? Thanks, Bill.
Bill, those are some pretty sour grapes... acidic and not good for you. Gives you gas.
I too see the irony in the ODA protecting the people who are angry at the ODA from their own institution which failed some pretty basic tests. Very amusing and interesting.
As always, your post is interesting and thought provoking. I think state regulation is enough if the states take that job seriously and do a thorough job. Clearly the Federal government sees enforcement of minimum standards as the job of state governments with the exception of egregious situations like Columbia State.
Unfortunately as you point out, California is an example where that goal has not been realized. States like Oregon, Florida and New Jersey do a far better job of seeing the situation as it is and creating regulation that provide the kind of basic protections that are expected in our society.
Because of states like Wyoming and formerly lax Hawaii and Louisiana, it is only resonable that states seek additional safeguards beyond any state approval. There will likely always be such states where enforcement is near non-existant.
As a comparison, if Wyoming offered driver's license for payment of a fee without written and driving tests, I would also expect my state to reject those too.
One of the strengths I see is that if a few states take their job seriously like Oregon, it would do a great deal to protect all of us from the likes of K-W. PWU, etc. Sure it will put pressure on legitimate unaccredited schools, but lets not kid ourselves. Most unaccredited schools are degree mills or very close.
Their will always be niche schools such as the NTPS, and they will be able to deal any requirements. Any way, these are interesting times in education and I am glad to see government taking the steps it has.
I think New York would have to be considered the toughest State regarding approval. They are the only State to be granted an exception to the '92 Federal law that prohibits States from being recognized as accreditors. I don't know the politics behind that (and I suspect there are some wonderful inside issues) but to this day, New York State Regents approval is recognized as accreditation by the US DOE. Other States that do a credible job are Virginia, Connecticut, and California. California has an extensive set of regulations that are accreditation-like. There have apparently been a few foul ups and procedural get-arounds that California needs to deal with, but all in all, I think they do a credible job given the scope of their operations (254 degree granting schools). And they are innovative. In CA, 25% of all practicing attorneys come from non-ABA State Approved law schools. On the other hand, Oregon is trying to do the right thing but is hampered by a lack of resources (2?) and (IMO) a poorly written and administered law. Hopefully this situation will improve in the not too distant future.
Unfortunately California is an example of failed regulations. State politics gutted the dept and there is little if any enforcement. Heck, the infamous K-W actually operates secretly from California along with the likes of FTU and PWU. It takes more than desire it takes action.
As to Oregon's efforts, I think you mischaracterize them. They seem well thought out and executed. The only real question is do they meet the letter of the law. I think this lawsuit will be a relatively easy hurdle for Oregon to jump.
I do know that the CCU DBA did not require a dissertation. I do not know what other (if any) doctorates were offered by CCU.
I am only guessing that CCU was the institution that the ODA evaluated the doctorate of and was found substandard. The pieces fit the puzzle pointing to CCU. Look at the list of institutions on the unacceptable institutions list.
For CCU it says, "Not a diploma mill under Oregon law. Does not meet standards required for degree use in Oregon."
The other institutions on this list say things like "Appears to be a diploma mill" or "ODA has no evidence ..."
I would never even consider tarnishing my UC Berkeley Bachelor's degree by topping it off with a degree that it illegal to use in the great state of Oregon!
I have a few questions for anyone that can clarify..
1. K-W seem to operate similar to University of Pheonix from an online point of view. They clearly seem to offer courses in order to get degree. Are we saying this is not the case and its a front?
2. Someone on this thread mention that they were denied approval by Oregon because of their PhD programs. Could they have been approved for other programs and not this one?
3. Does Oregon recognized UK based Mprof or Dprof Degrees based on work related projects?
Just curious on this issue
background information for you
You can find Senate Government Affairs testimony from Lt. Cmdr. Claudia Gelzer here. In it, Lt. Cmdr. Gelzer describes her experiences going undercover to learn of K-W's practives.
There is more detail about K-W courses in her testimony. As for a UofP comparison, Phoenix is accredited. That means an independent accreditor has taken a look at their programs and found them acceptable. K-W is not accredited, and has chosen not to present a dossier to Oregon arguing the merits of K-W. Instead they are arguing (in their suit) that the State of Oregon cannot regulate the use of terms pertaining to academic credentials.
Do you think that the for-profit K-W is bringing suit as a matter of principal, because this is a point of ethics that the owners feel must be defended?
Such a purely moral stance would seem to run counter to the content of the testimony of Andrew Coulombe, "Former Employee , Kennedy-Western":
In some cases a state is generally considered to have a good law on college oversight (New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Texas) but there are odd loopholes, often related to entities that claim to be foreign or religious, or there are simply enforcement issues.
For example, the entity called Washington International University operates out of the Philadelphia area, where it has an office. Its license to issue degrees comes from one of the smaller Caribbean islands, one that makes no pretense whatsoever of having a postsecondary education capacity.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has determined, using its own laws, that the entity is operating illegally in Pennsylvania, and has asked the PA attorney general to uproot the illegal degree supplier. This may or may not make its way up the AG's agenda.
In the meantime, the supplier, which everyone knows is a PA entity, sits there cranking out "degrees" flagged in a foreign country.
So does Pennsylvania really have "high standards?"
By the way, Gov. Schwarzenegger has recommended that the California agency be removed from consumer affairs and made a subunit of the department of higher education. That is one reason why they are holding off on filling the director job.
Alan, which Caribbean country and can you point me to where they say that? I ask because I can't find any information on their web site or on their domain name record that mentions anywhere other than Pennsylvania.
We have a letter from the attorney for Washington International University stating that it is a British Virgin Islands corporation.
Of course, he also states that it has no office in Pennsylvania, while the PA department of justice has evidence to the contrary.
Washington International was kicked out of Hawaii in 1999 and paid a settlement to the state.
They were just claiming to be incorporated there? That's not the same as claiming degree granting authority. Even if that's their claim, I seriously doubt anyone in BVI is aware of it or would endorse it.
I'm not trying to defend a degree mill; I'm just pointing out that incorporating in a jurisdiction like BVI is conceptually the same as setting up a Delaware corporation. It shouldn't reflect on the educational reputation of the country or territory in question.
Speaking of that, BVI does actually make a "pretense", as you call it, of having a postsecondary education capacity, specifically H. Lavity Stoutt Community College in Road Town.
This would seem to have some pretty significant ramifications. Could such a move have the potential of restoring the credibility of the BPPVE? I can't help but think this would be a good move although I'd bet the department of higher ed. is not thrilled by the prospect.
Separate names with a comma.