Kennedy-Western University

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by tcnixon, Jul 14, 2004.

  1. tcnixon

    tcnixon Active Member

    I don't know if others have had a chance to see this yet, but it was passed along to me. It appears to be some truth, some almost truth, and some less-than-honest assertions.

    I wish we had someone who lived in Wyoming that could go check out its facilities.

    Setting the KWU Record Straight

    by David Gering, Director of Corporate Communications

    Recent news coverage unfairly and erroneously categorizes all non-accredited online universities, including KWU, as diploma mills, making it incumbent on the University to set the record straight.
    The University is taking your concerns utterly seriously, and we are preparing a wide-ranging and aggressive plan that addresses them. We hope to implement it within a couple of weeks, but even after, that plan will not be a silver bullet nor will it have an immediate impact. The latter is the nature of public relations, not a function of our effort.

    Meanwhile, starting with this week's issue of the student newsletter, and continuing in the future, we are providing more info that will help to mitigate student concerns. As to media relations, we have responded to numerous news stories that involved Kennedy-Western. I have been interviewed by reporters in Washington, DC, Pennsylvania, Alabama and Oregon, among others. Whenever possible, we are identifying stories in process and attempting to provide our point of view and context. Again, media relations is often adversarial and always without guarantees of balanced reporting.

    Meanwhile, we want you to know how we are countering the incorrect and unfair accusation that we are a diploma mill. In coverage on diploma mills, reporters often ironically acknowledge that there is no generally agreed upon definition of the term, sometimes citing the Council for Higher Education Accreditation that has explicitly said so.

    Yet, in the past year, there has been a growing effort to define non-accredited universities as diploma mills merely because they operate online. This is intellectually dishonest and is a grave disservice to consumers and students, confusing everyone by attempting to eliminate the distinction.

    Carrying this further, the definition of diploma mill put forth by Oregon regulator Alan Contreras on his website generally jives with what had been the prevailing definition. The problem is that Mr. Contreras has made no effort whatsoever to determine whether his criteria apply to Kennedy-Western. If he had, this institution would not be on his list of mills. It is incumbent on Mr. Contreras to rectify this situation by examining the facts, which would provide him conclusive evidence that KWU isn't a diploma mill.

    Here are a number of distinctions that make clear the University is in no way a diploma mill.

    • Kennedy-Western has invested significant sums to provide genuine degree programs of academic integrity comparable to traditional universities.

    • A diploma mill wouldn't choose to be licensed in a state that requires a $100,000 annual performance bond.

    • A diploma mill wouldn't invest $500,000 (and growing) in developing and implementing the leading learning management system, Blackboard(tm), used at many traditional universities.

    • A diploma mill wouldn't invest many thousands each year to provide students access to the eGlobal® online library of 30,000 books and periodicals. Kennedy-Western University has made these investments and many others.

    • All KWU professors have degrees from accredited universities, as required for Kennedy-Western to be licensed as an online university.

    • Three-quarters of KWU professors have doctorates, the balance master's degrees.

    • Unlike other universities, including some that are accredited, KWU requires its professors have at least a master's degree and five years of traditional classroom teaching experience.

    • Many KWU professors teach at major traditional universities.

    • All KWU faculty must meet criteria that exceed those of some well-known accredited online universities. KWU has actually rejected applications of professors from those institutions. KWU professors' profiles are listed on the University's website for all to see. None have any ownership stake in either Kennedy-Western or any other university.

    • Unlike the diploma mills often mentioned, Kennedy-Western University has never sought accreditation from bogus and suspect accreditation organizations, those that obviously maintain criteria that don't require academic rigor, faculty standards and learning management and delivery systems.

    At best, it is flippant to suggest that professors "moonlight" at Kennedy-Western. It is worth noting that other accredited institutions, including for instance University of Phoenix, have no full-time professors either. However, KWU professors actively participate in the development of curriculum and selection of textbooks, and, unlike even some other accredited online universities, KWU professors actually teach all of their courses. Significantly, they are actively involved with their students through the University's Tutorial Assistance program.

    There is nothing secretive about Kennedy-Western. The University hosts frequent visits by its students, professors, alumni, industry analysts and the media. The institution maintains a permanent corporate headquarters in Wyoming where it is licensed. KWU's Wyoming corporate office is staffed with a core faculty team, student advisors and administrators. It is inspected by the state on a regular basis as well as without notice.

    Kennedy-Western also has a large administrative office in Southern California where the University maintains student transcripts and records, as well as hundreds of representative dissertations, theses and final papers for inspection.

    Unlike many diploma mills, KWU's offices aren't dank, dark and hidden in some out-of-the-way location, neither are its offices in someone's living room, garage or former motel. KWU doesn't have a post office box, nor does it hide its operations in a foreign country. Certainly, unlike diploma mills, no KWU executive has ever been charged with or convicted of violations of either state or federal law.

    Founded in 1984, KWU has operated continuously since then serving 30,000 students. The institution has operated under the same name for all of those 20 years, and it has never changed names to somehow hide its operations or ownership.

    Online education isn't suitable to all students, but a Kennedy-Western degree program is especially suitable to mid-career professionals needing a flexible, asynchronous, academically rigorous program. KWU's non-accredited status affords it the opportunity to provide such an education that is in great demand. However, it is disingenuous to judge Kennedy-Western and its degree programs as academically sub par merely because of its non-accredited status. Kennedy-Western University isn't and never has even approached the definition of a diploma mill.

    In sum, online education has a legitimate and growing place in the spectrum of higher education opportunities. With a modicum of effort, it is easy to sift the genuine universities from diploma mills.

    Tom Nixon
  2. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    I notice that they don't even bother to claim that they catalog all of their dissertations. I guess that the non-representative dissertations are considered trash? I further guess that the representative dissertations are not really representative of most of the trash that is signed off as a dissertation by KWU.

    They fail to mention that no KWU executive has been charged with any crime because KWU has bounced from state to state to avoid operating illegally in those states.
  3. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    K-WU says:
    Carrying this further, the definition of diploma mill put forth by Oregon regulator Alan Contreras on his website generally jives with what had been the prevailing definition.

    Did this university executive really say that? Groovy. I dig his scribe. He's givin' it to us easy. But are his boots laced? What's his song, King Kong?

    K-WU says: The problem is that Mr. Contreras has made no effort whatsoever to determine whether his criteria apply to Kennedy-Western.

    Au contraire. The problem (one of them, anyway) is that K-WU has apparently made no effort to invest the $400 necessary to apply to be removed from the Oregon list. Quite a few schools have successfully done so.
  4. Mr_E_2000

    Mr_E_2000 New Member

    Big Deal. KWU is still a phony school.

    KWU spends a lot of money. They're still not accredited - and media bias is against them already. Since they claim they do more than a diploma mill, why not take the next step and apply for accredidation? DETC perhaps? <sigh>

    Oh...That requires some form of legitimate academic criteria...Something KWU can't provide.

    Just my .02 worth!

  5. codekiller

    codekiller New Member

    I agree with mr_e_ 2000

    They are spending all this money to be state licensed why not used that money to become acis,detc or reginonally accredited at some point they need to stop fighting the system and become part of it if they want to truely be taken seriously. Another thing they could do is stop taking life experience credits that takes away from the school's creditability(start excepting clep tests instead). Why not try to become an ace accredtited university sure tuition will costs more and they may have to change a few things but Im sure student wouldnt mind paying a little more for a more creditable degree that has a better chance to be accepted at other universitys and jobs legally throughout the united states.
  6. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Why? Because accreditation would interfere with their business, not enhance it. The reasons for that should be patently clear. Acknowledging this makes all the angst over K-WU's actions (and inactions) go away.

    A magician pretends to saw a lady in half. He doesn't have to sew her up later.

    A business pretends to be a university. It doesn't have to bother with academic standards.
  7. BinkWile

    BinkWile New Member


    KWU still does not give a logical argument why in today's day and age they would not seek at least some form of accreditation. It would seem to me that if I wanted students to keep coming back and recruiting others, I would go for some legitimacy.

    This memo just makes KWU come off as creepy...

    To quote one of my all time favorite Christmas Specials:

    I wouldn't touch them with 10 1/2 foot pole!
  8. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    The story that they seem to sell their victims (referred to as students by KWU) is that KWU is so advanced in its academic methods of targeting successful career individuals that none of the accreditation agencies have caught up with them yet. So that's why they don't go for accreditation. They'll wait until the rest of the academic world is forced to catch up to their leading edge policies.
  9. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

  10. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    Like the Georgia teachers, that is until someone figures it out and blows the whistle.

    I also enjoyed the irony in the KWU letter about how great they are because they only hire RA professors. (They can afford this because they apparently use them so seldom that it really doesn't cost much.)

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