Discussion in 'The Monterrey Institute for Graduate Studies' started by mcqueary, Feb 10, 2001.
For those of you that don't want to go to the website, MIGS is now on the list of schools that cannot legally be used in Oregon.
To be able to use a degree in Oregon, it must either be:
a) accredited by a USDOE-recognized accreditor; or
b) approved by Oregon's Office of Degree Authorization.
I guess this means that the state of Oregon is gonna get sued!
Or maybe not. It's a lot harder to intimidate state governments with lawsuits. They will answer right back with a flock of attorneys in expensive suits that live for that kind of stuff.
Tom, I did go to the website and saw MIGS on a list of schools that are commonly referred to as "degree mills" by John Bear and other distance education experts. In fact, the list boasts many of the absolute worst degree mills in history, from what Dr. Bear and others have said in the past.
Just to clarify, John has rarely publicly called a school a degree mill. I believe this is why he has used the term, "less-than-wonderful". You get sued 7 or 8 times, it tends to make you careful.
I would be surprised if the good doctor did not admit referring to a number of schools on that list as "mills" at one time or another.
MIGS doesn't appear to be in the ODA list of unaccs updated 19.2.2001 .....
Originally posted by Neil Hynd:
MIGS doesn't appear to be in the ODA list of unaccs updated 19.2.2001
Yes, one poster even devoted a new thread to this phenomenon. However, the ODA site clearly states that not all unaccredited schools are shown on that page.
John Bear wrote regarding his recent discussion with an Oregon official:
Of course I cannot speak for him, but it is my understanding that his only concern is whether CEU (which he appropriately accepts as a legitimate accredited Mexican university) really and truly does embrace MIGS, knows exactly what they are doing, and will award their degree to people completing the Ph.D. work. My understanding, from this morning's talk, is that he is awaiting further communication from the people in Monterrey, and will make his decision whether or not to have MIGS on the official list at that time.
This was a serious concern of mine early on. During the development of MIGS have come events that make this more clear. First, the government has included MIGS in its approval of CEU. Second, the International Handbook of Universities included MIGS in its new listing of CEU. Also, the MIGS board of directors has several CEU officials sitting on it. Too, all Learning Contracts and degree awards will be approved by CEU. Finally, there is a statement from the Rector of CEU that brings all this together at:
While MIGS must do many things to establish itself and its credibility, it has a headstart by its integration into the CEU. The CEU is faced with awarding doctorates for the first time, a bridge many schools have had to cross in their respective histories. "For everything, there is a first time."
Rich Douglas, Ph.D. (Candidate)
Centro de Estudios Universitarios
Monterrey, NL, Mexico
There's an article on Oregon's Office of Degree Authorization in the current (February 01) issue of Oregon Business -- complete with a big photo of the head of said office, Alan Contreras, smilingly holding a copy of . . . Steve Levicoff's book "Name It and Frame It." Well, at least they spelled my name right in the article. (The site is www.oregonbusiness.com but I found almost nothing there).
Not surprising, since Steve actually names MIGS by name in one of his criteria. Something about how if someone from the school objects to a school being called a degree mill, then it is a degree mill. I've always found this to be a silly argument, especially when MIGS has been criticized on this very forum for NOT defending itself against this kind of thing. Whether the Oregon official found this on his own and accepted it at face value, or if he was urged into action by Steve is moot; the action has been properly reversed. It was a premature judgment made without the facts.
It was Steve citing MIGS in his NIFI degree mill criteria that urged me to post my little comparison on a.e.d., using Steve's own NIFI criteria in evaluating his alma mater, circa 1977 (after it had been in operation for a few years). It was all in good fun, but some people really took off on it. The thread about The Union Institute being a degree mill got a life of its own, far beyond the scope of my post. Funny how that happens.
I would encourage serious students of distance and nontraditional learning to consider reading "Person-Centered Graduate Education" by Roy Fairfield, one of the founding fathers of Union. He goes to great lengths to describe Union (and mentions Walden and Nova along the way). I used his loving descriptions of Union back then (a contemporaneous telling; the book was published in 1978)and found the program met many NIFI criteria. Again, all in good fun, but very illustrative.
Wasn't it four (IIRC) of the 75 NIFI criteria that was satisfied by Union? How many are satisfied by MIGS? I count quite a few more than 4. If I printed out the MIGS catalog on my own computer then used that for some of the questions requiring a printed catalog I could probably even count a few more. BTW, if NSMI really made 20 million dollars between 1991 and 1998 I'm really surprised that MIGS can't afford to print up catalogs.
BTW Rich what about my 1 criteria for my MW (Monkey Wrench) criteria? I claim it is a sure bet that if my 1 MW criteria is met then we're talking degree mill for sure. That one MW criteria is if the school founder or a member of the board has a get rich quick type web site and they advertise the school on that web site then it's a degree mill. My challenge is try and show that UC Berkeley (my alma mater) mets the 1 MW criteria.
Did MIGS really say they can't afford to print up catalogs? Or is that just an assumption? Perhaps there is another reason. I've received hundreds of catalogs from nontraditional schools over the last 22 years, many much less informative than MIGS' website. Plus, students receive a comprehensive, printed Student Manual (which I edited).
MW "criteria"? Perhaps "criterion"? A common error, but perhaps just a typo. It's hard on this board because you can't go back and edit your post "post facto." Many of us have cringed after reading what we've accidently posted!
Which degree(s) did you take from UC Berkeley? Any others? Have you, perhaps, completed (or are you enrolled in) a nontraditional degree program?
I dunno; I've got to say I agree with you on the catalog thing (one of the great Zen DL koans I used to ask myself was "Why does Jones mail printed catalogs?"), but some sort of "prospective student manual" (or prospectus) would probably be a nice thing. I'm always more comfortable having something written for me in a permanent medium before I sign on with a school, since it just makes life easier. (Ex: I would not cite the Luton PhD-by-publication bit so much if it were on their web site and not part of their printed prospectus; I can cite the latter, but they could change the web site at any time.)
That being said, my main overriding concern about MIGS at the moment is the lawsuit; it's clouded my judgment about other aspects of the school such as the marketing, assessment of prior learning, and so forth. I feel as though I'm being watched and could get a certified letter at any time if I'm not extremely cautious about what I say and how I say it. That's not a position I want to be in when I evaluate a school.
Without naming names, some schools in the past have made my "do not recommend" list just by suing (or threatening to sue) somebody for libel. My general feeling is that stable universities just don't do that sort of thing unless the case is particularly nasty, since the cost (in terms of general "good vibes") would almost always seem to outweigh the benefits. Do they really want people who weigh in on DL issues -- people like me, or John Bear, or Kristin Hirst, or Vicky Phillips -- to be a position where we might legitimately feel threatened? Does anyone at MIGS really think that the lawsuit against Steve will win them any friends?
Sheila markets some things I wouldn't buy, but I know she's competent enough in this business to know that the best way to sell a product is to come across as genuinely *nice*. The same applies to universities, even nontraditional ones.
You'll never see me say a negative word about the Universal Life Church because, even if they do sell Ph.D.'s, they're honest and humble (and cheap) about what they do. And if Harvard started going around suing people over newsgroup posts, I think I'd consider them much less prestigious.
So I don't know. I don't really understand what the folks at MIGS think they have to gain from this lawsuit, but I wish they'd take a good, long look about how this sort of behavior might affect the opinions of the folks who write books on distance learning programs. Nobody likes to be a potential target, and this lawsuit feels like a warning shot.
The last refuge of scoundrels is criticizing grammar - Bruce Tait 2001
Lighten up Rich, I was just kidding!
I guessed not-being-able-to-afford it just so that it gave me a chance to get in the NSMI claim to have pulled in $20,000,000 in 8 years. (I hope that's on Steve's list of things to investigate during discovery. ) (If you haven't listened to Sheila's audio about business being bad go back and listen. I think it's hilarious!) I guess it could also be because they think it might change too frequently to bother getting it printed. Or ? (Without trying too hard I could probably come up with even more insidious reasons but nothing I could come up with would come close to the hilarity of the http://www.nsmi.com site so I'll just let it rest.)
I should have said criterion, Thank you. I guess I was just jealous of Steve because he has 75 NIFI criteria and I only have one MW measley criterion. (Have you started looking for advertisments for Cal on the World Wide Web yet? ) However, my one measley criterion doesn't mention MIGS by name so maybe you'll like it better than the 75 NIFI criteria. [insert hopeful smilie here]
I "took" a BA in Computer Science from Cal, all done the boring normal residence way. My only encounter with distance learning before reading Bear's Guide was ICS ads on matchbook covers. I remember as a little kid being very intrigued by the matchbook ads and asking my Dad about it. He said ICS was a bad school that just took your money and you got very little in return. I'm not really interested in distance learning for myself. I bought Bear's Guide for research purposes because some lawyer was sending me threatening emails. I found it very funny, very interesting and overall very entertaining (both the book and the lawyer's emails). Oh yea one last funny, the lawyer's name was Rotbard, really I swear it's true.
Thanks for the fun,
Bill Huffman, [email protected]
I am given to understand that ODA specifically withdrew the MIGS entry, in which case I rather doubt if it is on any other of their lists of unaccredited institutes as you infer.
I, too, was poking fun. I've left many a grammatical stink bomb because I'm thinking faster than typing, and editing on the fly.
I really was interested to find out if you'd done any distance degree programs. (Thanks for the lengthier post that followed this one.) While there has been lots to criticize, it important to note that this effort is hardly the work of one person, and that there will inevitably be mistakes made. That said, I really don't want to be the focal point and prime defender of a process I do not control. If anyone really looks at what I've said about the school, the bulk of my comments have been about the learning processes and the value of the credential offered. Certainly there's room for lively debate on both counts. However, because I don't have an operational role, I really can't wrestle back-and-forth with how it is managed, marketed, etc. (Not that I don't comment privately to those who do these things.)
I don't think you could call it true distance, but I did my undergrad (Curry College in Milton, MA) very non-traditionally. I did 30+ credits through CLEP & DANTES, and a whole bunch more through portfolio, finishing my B.A. in a little over 2 years.
I don't believe there was any intent to infer that it was on another ODA list. The best status we have is what has reported by Dr. Bear.
Separate names with a comma.