1. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure parsing my statement to that level reveals anything interesting. CEU has been awarding college degrees for more than 30 years. The CEU will also do the same for those degrees earned through MIGS.

    I hope your "confusion" clears. (Your word.)

    Rich Douglas
  2. Gus Sainz

    Gus Sainz New Member

    Hello Rich:

    Thank you the excellent links to information on Mexican education. However, although I do not mean to distress you, I think you still have much to be concerned about. I too have refrained from posting on the subject of MIGS, but your recent comments require a response.

    The key to getting a degree from a Mexican university recognized in the United States is not the "certificado de estudios" (certificate of study) issued by the Secretary of Education in the state where the school is licensed. The key is the reputation and legitimacy of the school itself, and the manner in which the degree was earned. As you know, the "certificado de estudios" is not a degree at all; it is simply a transcript. Its putpose is to document how a degree was earned, and solely students wishing to apply for admission to another institution make use of it. I sincerely doubt anyone considering accepting or evaluating a PhD for whatever reason, will defer to a "certificado de estudios." Moreover, in the majority of cases it is not issued by the Secretary of Education of the state in which the institution is located, but by the institution itself, and then simply approved by the proper authorities, by signatures, documentary stamps, etc., accompanied by the appropriate fees, I’m sure.

    It is true that in the case of a public institution or one that has been granted “libre” or independent status, it is not necessary that any recognizing authority sign the "certificado de estudios." One can only speculate why only the transcripts from private institutions in Mexico—in order to be considered valid —must be signed by the recognizing agency or authority, which may or may not be the state’s Secretary of Education. The “titulo” (the term diploma can be quite misleading, as it is the equivalent of a certificate) from a public university, or even one that has been granted “libre” status, are not questioned or subjected to such an ignoble procedure.

    Actually, the Vice-Rector apparently has little to say; the link is dead. And, the link in the drop-down menu on MIGS Web site has been removed. It is interesting to note that the Vice-Rector had states in his (now removed) letter, “The Secretary of Education of the State of Nuevo Leon, the state of our incorporation and of our main campuses, has approved our entire educational curriculum through the doctorate level (traditional and virtual) including our distance learning programs under MIGS.” Yet in the very next sentence he confirms that the CEU is autonomous by Presidential decree (the only way an institution can achieve “free” status). He writes, “Further, the CEU enjoys an Autonomous Presidential Decree, obtained in 1970, that allows us to independently operate and add schools, divisions and degree programs within the University.” So it appears, that the CEU did not need approval to contract with MIGS or start issuing “doctorados”, or any other “titulo” or even “certificado de estudios.” So what, precisely, is the involvement of the Secretary of Education and honorary trustee of MIGS? Is it just a case of MIGS’s superb marketing team “piling on” to appear more legitimate and accredited (a phrase used liberally through their Web site although we know a Mexican university is not accredited in the usual sense)? Maybe the Secretary (and I don’t necessarily mean him personally, it could be any number of people he oversees) really does approve each student’s learning contract as the Vice-Rector described in his letter, “After completion of a prospective students assessment package and learning contract we in turn submit the package to the Secretary of Education of the State of Nuevo Leon for individual approval for each student.”

    Here you bring up several excellent points. No one argues the CEU’s legitimacy, and they rightfully deserve their listings. However, once an institution is approved, most, if not all, publications rely on the institution to provide them with the information to be listed. (IIRC, Dr. Bear relates an interesting story about a listing in Who’s Who or some similar publication and it’s hilarious.) Interestingly, the MIGS recently changed the text on their Web site at http://www.degree.com/unesco-listing.htm describing the CEU’s listing in the UNESCO Handbook of Universities. Whereas before it listed MIGS as a division of the CEU, it now reads simply “Institute.” If MIGS is listed in any publication, it is because the marketing team wanted it so. The MIGS is not a school, the MIGS does not grant degrees, the MIGS is not owned, nor is it a division of the CEU. Although it appears that the original intent was for MIGS to be an independent entity granting their own degrees piggybacking on the CEU’s legitimacy that turned out to be easier said than done.

    It appears that the CEU exerts very little, if any, oversight of the MIGS programs. In a recent phone call I was transferred to seven different persons in four departments until finally, one person said she thought she knew of someone who might have heard about the MIGS. The only person who had even heard of the MIGS was the administrative assistant to the Vice-Rector, who confirmed that there was some kind of contractual agreement between MIGS and CEU for a Web site, but that she didn’t know what it was, and the only person who knew anything about it was Sr. Enrique Serna, the owner of MIGS. But I believe you are correct, Rich, it is the manner (perhaps as evidenced by the certificate of study) in which you earned your degree that will determine its acceptance.

    So what will a “certificado de estudios” from MIGS look like? Is there such a certificate for a doctorate? Will it show how fast one can advance to candidacy status? Will it show that transfer and portfolio credits were utilized? Will it list the members of the graduate’s advisory committee and reflect the fact that neither the faculty mentor nor anyone else on that committee holds an advance degree in the major area of academic specialization? Will it state that all exams were unproctored and open book? I couldn’t agree more, the certificate of studies (oh, heck, let’s call it what it is, a transcript), will help make or break the degree, regardless of who signs it. However, it has been true in the past; the more non-traditionally (especially if reflected on a transcript) you earn your degree, the lower the acceptance. But however accepted a Mexican degree may be, it is quite a stretch to state it is comparable to one from an accredited U.S. school because of the transcript.

    Strangely enough Rich, I think I know what you mean when you state that the process to approve the CEU degrees is an ongoing one. I recently spoke to Mr. Enrique Serna, one of the owners of the MIGS. When I asked him if there were any students that I may contact to discuss the program, he insisted—no fewer than a half a dozen times—that MIGS did not have any students, and was not accepting any applications. He said they were awaiting a license from the Florida authorities, and that there would be a big grand opening announcement on the Web site. Upon further questioning he did admit that their was one or two persons in the process of submitting learning contracts and getting them approved, but that it wasn’t official. They weren’t really students, he said, they were just testing the system, a trial run, as it were. Don’t shoot me; I’m just the messenger. Getting that bit of information cost me almost an hour of my time, in addition to having to frustratingly deal with lawyerly (though not very skillful) evasion and hypocrisy. Oh, and the thrill of being threatened with a lawsuit.

    I do not recall anyone doubting, commenting or assuming anything about how the process is being conducted, so your defensive posture is a tad bewildering. (Then again, maybe not.) However, from the information on the Web site you provided, as well as the letter from the Vice-Rector and CEU’s own site, as an independent “free” university, approval from the Secretary of Education is not needed for the school, the programs, or the degrees. And as far as adhering to the process in a different manner that that which is laid out and documented, the only deviations that I have noticed, are that your learning contract has not been approved by the Secretary of Education and the MIGS failed to assign you a mentor from their “faculty.” How can anyone say the process to issue a degree isn’t being followed if the MIGS (through the CEU or otherwise) hasn’t graduated any students? We can only hope you will share with us what the process entails when you receive your “titulo”, as well as what is listed in your “certificado de estudios”.

    I understand that every new venture undergoes growing pains; the MIGS should be no exception. However, all the evidence points to the fact that their original business plan had to be modified significantly, and the owners are acting like they resent having to further conform to any established norms of academia. The MIGS (and this is a personal opinion) was a brilliant concept that could have resulted in wonderful opportunities, but was sullied by an inept and incompetent execution. And, as the saying goes, the cover-up is always worse than the crime. (Legal disclaimer for the trigger-happy MIGS legal team: I am not implying that the MIGS ever did anything illegal.)

    I am pleased to see, Rich, that for the first time, you admit to having had concerns. Until now you have feigned ignorance or dismissed issues as irrelevant. Unfortunately you still do not have this “straight.” It is pure spin to claim that the "certificado de estudios." lends validity to a Mexican degree and renders it comparable to a U.S. regionally accredited one. On the contrary, the mere fact that a "certificado de estudios." is even necessary to validate the degree is demonstrative of the paucity of oversight and controls many Mexican institutions exert over their degree granting processes. There are two very important and obvious reasons for the "certificado de estudios." First, degrees and transcripts from many private institutions in Mexico are not to bet trusted. Second, any opportunity for the government to oversee and authorize anything is another opportunity for a "mordida." That is a simple, cultural fact of life “South of the Border” (although you might be amazed how much goes on here in the good old U.S.A. as well). So, tell me once again, since the MIGS/CEU is a prestigious, autonomous university, why is it submitting itself to this unnecessary and demeaning process?

    Issues concerning the "certificado de estudios", aside, I can make few suggestions that will enhance the usefulness and acceptance of your degree. First, the CEU (or even Dr. Arias and gang) should either do a leveraged buyout of the MIGS or sever their contract with them and create their own virtual graduate school with proper oversight. In addition, the CEU should concurrently develop residential doctorate programs. Of course, this will only come to pass if they come to feel that their association with the MIGS is harming their reputation in Mexico, so it is not likely. The MIGS marketing team will see to that. Until they do, however, it will be common knowledge that a CEU PhD was earned through Monterrey Institute of Graduate Studies, and you will be much better off if everyone mistook it for the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Studies (a very similar name, but I’m sure it’s just a coincidence), a truly prestigious Mexican institution that even has U.S. regional accreditation.

    All that having been said, my hat is off to you, Rich, for boldly going were no man has gone before. I admire your guts. I could never jump headlong into such a commitment, knowing so little about it, be willing invest so much time, relying only faith and trust in the people involved. I guess I’m just getting old. Fortunately for me, there are now so many safe, secure, affordable, and universally accepted U.S. regionally accredited alternatives to choose from. As I see it, there is only one winner in all this—Dr. John Bear. In spite of all the brouhaha concerning the MIGS, he has been steadfast and loyal. There can be no greater proof of the fact that when he gives his word—when he makes a commitment—he keeps it. Kudos.

    In parting, let me just share this: a search of the ANUIES database at http://www.anuies.mx/anuies/directorios/direct.htm lists the CEU as only granting high school, bachelors, and masters (Bachillerato, Licenciatura y Maestria) degrees. However, since we know that the MIGS team lurks on this forum, I imagine that they will rectify this forthwith, as the ANUIES Web site actually allows a visitor to edit the listing. Isn’t that special?

    Gus Sainz
  3. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I started off with a big response, but that won't answer you any better than this one: MIGS does the instruction, the CEU approves and awards the diploma, the state awards the certificate. Nothing has changed to indicate any different.

    Oh, and the Vice-Rector's letter is still there.

    Rich Douglas
  4. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Oops. Here's the link: http://www.degree.com/vice_rector.htm

    (I left out an underscore the first time. And the IHU listing hasn't changed at all.)
  5. Gus Sainz

    Gus Sainz New Member


    First I stand corrected concerning the link for the Vice-Rector’s letter. Actually, I’m glad that everyone can now verify the accuracy of my quotes for themselves.

    At first I felt that you were so overwhelmed by reality that you were rendered uncharacteristically speechless. But golly gee, Rich, you make it sound so simple, feel like a fool for not understanding. Please be patient with me. With so many years of educational training under your belt, I’m sure you’ll help me comprehend. [​IMG]

    You state el MIGS does the instructing. Precisely what kind of instruction have you received from el MIGS or anyone listed as their faculty?

    You state the CEU approves and awards the diploma. Because no diplomas have ever been awarded by the MIGS through the CEU, we can only speculate this will be so. However, what approval did you receive from the CEU? Have you had contact with any of the faculty at the CEU? When I called most everyone there wasn’t even aware of el MIGS existence. Was your learning contract approved by el MIGS’s Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Bruce D. Forman? If so, what are his credentials for administering a academic doctorate program, and specifically what qualifies him to approve a PhD program learning contract in Business? How can he approve a contract with not a single person on your committee holding an advance degree in the major area of academic specialization? You stated Dr Arias was on your advisory committee. Is that usual? The President of the institution? And should we simply ignore el MIGS’s criteria that every learning contract is to be approved by the Secretary of Education? You stated yours was not. If so, how on earth was it possible for you to advance to candidacy?

    You state that the state awards the certificate. Go ahead; tell us again how your ”certificado de estudios” (nothing more than a transcript signed by a Mexican government official who has a conflict of interest because he is a trustee of the very same institution he is charged with overseeing) is going to render your degree comparable to one issued by U.S. regionally accredited institution. I think not. The truth is, not only will the degrees from el MIGS (through the CEU) have less acceptance in Mexico than that from any other autonomous university, it will, consequently, have even less acceptance in the United States.

    I can see it now. An evaluator states that he or she has never heard of (hopefully) el MIGS or the CEU. You whip out your signed transcript stating, “Voila, this makes everything primo very good!” (Kinda like the post I’m responding to, huh?) Gimme a break! Why don’t you simply have the good Secretary of Education write you a letter stating that el MIGS is better than Harvard? How prestigious is a degree, if its acceptance is in direct proportion to the naiveté or ignorance of the evaluator?

    As long as you want to keep it simple, let me just ask you a direct question.

    Does the CEU pay MIGS for doing the instruction, or does the MIGS pay the CEU for the diploma? You have stated that the MIGS shopped around Belize and elsewhere for an institution to grant their degrees. (It is simply amazing the inside information you are privy to.) What was the deal, we will pay you X amount of dollars per degree approved? Isn’t that simply buying a degree? Isn’t the MIGS then simply a middleman, regardless of what kind of money and/or effort they extract from a student? Won’t you save money buying direct from Earlscroft?

    Please accept my apologies if you have deemed that the tone of my previous post was not civil enough. In my zeal to correct blatant misinformation, I sometimes forget that you are both a student and an employee of the MIGS, and feel obligated to defend them on both counts. I did nothing more than take your advice when you told me to contact the MIGS and the CEU directly. I do believe, however, that if Alan Contreras could have witnessed any of my conversations, he would’ve placed the MIGS on the ODA list for life, with no possibility of parole.

    I have come to the conclusion that in the interest of diplomacy and tact, I am doing a disservice to those who are seriously pursuing a degree via distance education by allowing misinformation to be posted as fact. Therefore, Rich, from here on out, I will be blunt. Let me share my “boilerplate.” The CEU (for degrees up to and including the masters level only) meets GAAP, and the MIGS simply passes GAAS!

    It is my opinion—based on everything that has come to light, as well as, the conversations I have had with the staff and owners of the MIGS and the CEU—that anyone who would choose the MIGS as a degree granting institution for a PhD, either lacks the intellectual capacity or the research skills necessary to do reputable, serious doctoral level work capable of withstanding peer review. The only, I repeat, the only attraction to the MIGS, is that of being able to get (notice the lack of the term earn) a degree with significantly less work and effort than that required for a similar degree from any other reputable institution of higher learning. Therefore, I believe, that even if you might encounter initial acceptance of your degree—however you define it, although where I cannot imagine, and probably more due to ignorance than anything else—as the MIGS grants more and more degrees, the caliber of the graduates and their work (they will publish, wont they?) will relegate them to the status of a Century University. Think of it, a Mexican Century University.

    Your predisposition to prolifically post in defense of the MIGS, while completely and illogically ignoring any legitimate concerns that are raised, are only further proof that that your inability to conduct a due diligence examination of the facts, will render you impotent to inherit the mantle of distance education “guru” (everything you’ve ever posted, or stated you are doing or have done, leads one to believe this is your goal) from Dr. John Bear.

    You are right about one thing, however, nothing has changed. And that is not a good thing.

    Gus Sainz

    "An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."
    --Sir Winston Churchill
  6. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    Mr. Sainz writes:
    How can he approve a contract with not a single person on your committee holding an advance degree in the major area of academic specialization?

    John Bear replies:
    I am the chairman of Rich's committee. Recall that he completed everything but the dissertation while enrolled at Union. His doctoral dissertation relates to the acceptance of "nontraditonal" degrees in the business world. My doctorate in communication was very much a business degree; my dissertation was about the ways corporations deal with consumer complaints. I have been an exceutive in the traditional business world (Bell & Howell; Midas-International, and when I sold my educational marketing business (hey, business and education together again) to the world's largest educational publisher a few years ago, I stayed on in an executive capacity with them for a year.

    Mr. Sainz writes
    You stated Dr Arias was on your advisory committee. Is that usual? The President of the institution?

    It is delightfully unusual (although I did have the Provost, #2 person, of the 35,000-student Michigan State University on my guidance committee; he happened to be interested in my research topic).

    My reading persuades me that Dr. Arias is a leading and prominent researcher in the areas of technologically-mediated interaction, and the interactions between technology and society. I was impressed by the 4 or 5 of his papers that I read, and by my meeting with him last fall.

    Rich and I have both expressed our concerns about various aspects of this program. I would like to think that those 3 or 4 (my guess) folks who subscribe to this forum and have a serious interest in MIGS for their own purposes would be grateful to Rich for being the stalking horse for them and all who follow.

    If, three years from now, he's teaching at UC San Diego, earning full doctoral pay, there will be a bunch of happy people

    And if he's standing at the Interstate 5 off ramp in his sombrero and gown holding a "Will teach for food" sign, then a lot of people will be able to say "Ha ha ha ha ha ha, I told you so."

    Like the old psychiatrist joke ("Get married, raise a family; if that doesn't work, come back and we'll try something else"), I kind of wish there could be a moratorium on this topic until there is new information. Unlikely, I realize . . . but maybe Chip can put all the MIGS stuff into a single folder, so that them as wants can deal with it, and the other 96.3% can easily avoid it.
  7. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    This is a little spike of clarity in an otherwise useless exercise. They are indeed the writer's[/B} conversations. Certainly no one else is involved.

    Rich Douglas, who'd love to see a comparison of the list of conspiracy theorists here and the callers list to Art Bell....
  8. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    The third member of my Academic Supervisory Committee is now in place. Just as Drs. Arias and Bear are indeed on the MIGS faculty (Dr. Bear appointed so he may be my faculty mentor), so is Dr. Satterlee. Dr. Satterlee holds an Ed.D. from Nova Southeastern as well as a D.B.A. from Sarasota. Considering that my degree program is in Business with an emphasis in Distance Education Administration, I think this group is particularly well-suited for the task, and I thank them.

    I am reminded of my Union committee, where I did my first doctoral work in Higher Education. No one--NO ONE--had an advance degree in Education. NO ONE. My core faculty member was a psychologist. The second reader had her Ph.D. in History. Dr. Bear was one adjunct faculty member while Dick Crews (M.D., Harvard, a psychiatrist and President of Columbia Pacific University) was the second. Neither of my peers did their Union Ph.D.'s in a related field, either (psychology and business). Still, they all had very special gifts and insights, and were uniquely qualified. I owe them all my sincere gratitude.

    As for shoving all this stuff into one folder, I heartily agree. Why MIGS is brought up in other threads is beyond me. Yep, but it all in one folder. Then burn the stupid thing.

    Rich Douglas
  9. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    I suggest instead of burning it, mark the folder "What can happen when individuals with no knowledge of the business of education try to start up a school." and store it for historical reference.
  10. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Who could argue with that? I am particularly fond of "the business of education" reference. When contemplating my MIGS program, I had originally considered one in education. However, my bachelor's and master's are in business. Then it struck me: the business of education! So I applied for the business program and added a specialization in distance education administration. After all, "business" is definitely the tack I take regarding nontraditional higher eduction; that it is indeed a business. But let's be reminded of criticisms proferred because some schools act like businesses.

    Rich Douglas
  11. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I would hope this and other MIGS/CEU threads will soon be closed now that the section dedicated to that topic has been designated and made available.

    Rich Douglas
  12. bgossett

    bgossett New Member

    This topic has been moved to the "Monterrey Institute for Graduate Studies" forum.

    Bill Gossett
  13. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    Okay, since that didn't start up an argument how about if we instead name the folder, "Trying to start up a school is a lot harder than starting up a degree mill. (contrary to the apparent initial thoughts on the part of certain individuals)" [​IMG]
  14. T. Nichols

    T. Nichols New Member

    Dr. Bear wrote:
    "I would like to think that those 3 or 4 (my guess) folks who subscribe to this forum and have a serious interest in MIGS for their own purposes would be grateful to Rich for being the stalking horse for them and all who follow."

    This subscriber is very interested in MIGS and very grateful for the pioneering spirit of Rich and the work both of you are doing in this endeavor.

    T. Nichols
  15. thomas

    thomas New Member

    I too would like to thank Rich Douglas for
    all that he has done. Although he never
    intended to be the spokesperson for those
    of us intersted in CEU. I must also aplogize to Rich for taking all the heat while some of
    us sit back and lurk.

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