Neo-Inquisition To Purge Infidel Credentials

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Guest, Mar 26, 2001.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    With the recent threads concerning time bombs, net searches for degree mill doctorates, and the like, it seems as if a new inquisition has begun to develop.

    The battle cry of the neo-inquisition: "Purge the infidels of all less-than-wonderful credentials."

    The following methods will be utilized to force all infidels who hold such credentials to recant, and embrace the truth of a properly accredited credential (RA, GAAP, Professional):

    Revealing the Time Bomb!
    Lighting the fuse on the Time Bomb!
    Mental torture!
    Physical torture!
    If all else fails, erasing their name from the heretical diploma!

    Imagine! A utopian society filled with properly accredited credentials!

  2. David Yamada

    David Yamada New Member

    Russell, I'm not sure I join you with the exclamation marks, but I do share some of your concerns.

    I write as an individual who holds three RA degrees and who is seeking a non-RA, Calif. approved degree primarily for the educational value and not expecting to use it as a credential in my day-to-day work.

    Let us caution ourselves against engaging in the same kind of blanket condemnation of all non-RA programs that some ignorami apply to all RA distance learning programs.

    Particularly in the case of DL graduate programs, when accreditors were completely resistant to granting accreditation to them, advocates for DL had to separate out the good from the bad non-RA DL graduate programs on qualitative terms. I suggest that we apply that practice when appropriate.

    Instead, let's be on the lookout for any lousy DL program, RA or non-RA, that threatens the legitimacy and acceptance of quality DL programs.

    All things being equal, RA is the way to go. But all things are not equal (esp. cost and program flexibility), which means that until accreditors become more open-minded about the ways in which people can earn academic credit and the institutions that get the stamp of approval, we're still not at a point where we (i.e., those who believe DL is a valid educational delivery system) can afford to dismiss all non-RA options.

    Correct me if I'm wrong in naming it, but doesn't the unconditional bashing of non-RA DL programs conjure up a sort of DL "Stockholm effect," i.e., siding with your captors?

    David Yamada, [email protected]
  3. Chip

    Chip Administrator

    I'm in complete agreement with David's sentiment here.

    While I'm not convinced of the value of someone pursuing, say, a Cal Coast degree, I'd still not go looking for Cal Coast degree holders and try to bust them.

    On the other hand, I have absolutely no problem busting people with degrees from Trinity, Capitol, Earlscroft, Palmers Green, Columbia State, etc... because these are clearly frauds and no one in their right mind could believe that they legitimately *earned* a degree from these frauds.

    So... I think that as long as the inquisition relates to genuine mills, then we have no problem.
  4. Guest

    Guest Guest


    I, too, am an advocate of distance learning, believing it will become progressively absorbed into the traditional academic community as solid DL opportunities continue to develop. I also have three RA degrees (B,M,DMin), and am pursuing a Ph.D. via research through Potchefstroom University (GAAP) in South Africa.

    The original post was actually a stab at humor, considering the current witch hunt which seems to be taking place by some in the DL community. I agree that fraudulent credentials should be exposed and eliminated, however, if not kept in check the inquisition spirit could proceed much further than originally intended.

    For example, my masters was completed residentially at a RA and ATS accredited school. I was able to take 6 hours (2 courses) via directed study. Of the 54 hours, 6 were completed via DL. To some, this might pose a problem, i.e., why was the whole degree not completed on campus? It is the possibility of such extremism that could pose a problem.

    And who knows? Perhaps the day will come when it will be questioned as to whether one missed any classes during one's degree program, thereby, lessening the status of the degree. Humorous I know, but certainly possible.

  5. bgossett

    bgossett New Member

    Exactly. And to make sure I'm on this week's hate mail posting, I'll add Concordia C&U and Ashington U. to the sleazes mentioned.

    Bill Gossett
  6. H. Piper

    H. Piper member

    Originally posted by Russell A. Morris:
    The original post was actually a stab at humor,

    No, it was a direct hit at humor, although not near as funny as your Thurston Howell U thread. I'm surprised David didn't notice your humorous intentions.

    There probably isn't much to worry about in revealing scammers. If someone gets sued, as Steve has, then let it be a learning experience. While I, and others, have stated unequivocally that the MIGS stance in their lawsuit is not only wrong but pure bullshit, I don't feel sorry for Steve at all for being the defendant. It's obvious he is enjoying himself, and rightfully so. I have been involved in two lawsuits myself in the past year, and enjoyed myself immensely in both of them. If you haven't done anything wrong, what is there to worry about?

    Now BillDayson, someone I have considered one of the most level-headed, objective, informed, and articulate members of the DL newsgroups since I began reading the AED a year ago, says he feels sorry for Maggie Jensen. I cannot see this as a wise expenditure of energy on his part. If she has done nothing wrong, she has nothing to worry about. If she has, she'll get what's coming to her. Plain and simple.

    So let us have common sense for our main course, with two scoops of good humor (the Harvest Hills brand is fine by me) for dessert.
  7. tcnixon

    tcnixon Active Member

    Hmmm, common sense? As has been said elsewhere, common sense ain't so common. While it appears that Ms. Jensen is getting her comeuppance, I hesitate to intrude in her life (although I understand well Steve's reasoning for doing so and would not dispute the ethics involved). I would be more concerned if this became a hobby for Steve (and others) whereby anyone without the proper credentials is hunted down.

    However, having said all that, if Ms. Jensen does indeed have her doctorate from Saint George, then this is a monumentally stupid thing for her to have done. In addition, I blame the school more. Due diligence is not a bad thing. Having some idea of the market for education professors, it's amazing that their best candidate would be her. I don't know her and I don't know anything about her, but there's lots of folks out there with reasonably prestigious doctorates in education who can't get jobs.

    Tom Nixon
  8. David Yamada

    David Yamada New Member

  9. levicoff

    levicoff Guest

    Tom's point is well taken and worth noting to our merry little band of mill-busters, although I would change the nomenclature in a minor way . . .

    Busting the chops of degree mills, and even exposing persons in professional fields who hold degree mill credentials, is a wonderful hobby. What it should not become is a lifestyle.

    For students and prospective students, the stakes are both high and expensive if a mistake is made in the choice of a school. I would not recommend that anyone make a full-time gig of what we do here )except, perhaps, for John Bear, for whom this is a vocation as well as an avocation. The rest of us, hopefully, "have a life" outside of this forum.

    For every Maggie Jensen, there are a hundred others who have wrangled their way into traditional academe, politics, human services (including licensed professions, whether or not they are licensed), or other fields using bogus credentials. To expose all of them is impossible, to expose many of them would be a neurosis, so we pick and choose sparingly. The object is not to ruin someone's life, but to expose the situation that exists so potential educational consumers will know what to look for, what to avoid, how to spot red flags, etc.

    It is notable that, in the Jensen/Mercer situation, the e-mail to Mercer went to almost 50 people - the faculty of the School of Education at Mercer, as well as key administrators like the president and provost. Other than the initial reaction from Jensen herself, how many responses have I received? None. While there is the possibility that a directive went out to the department not to respond (just as I have never heard from anyone at MIGS other than Enrique Serna, probably based on legal advice to the others), we cannot speculate on what, if anything, is happening internally at Mercer as a result of Ms. Jensen's bogus doctorate being exposed.

    Nonetheless, the issue has been brought to the forefront at Mercer, and my "job," as it were, is done. When the next instance of such a situation arises, I may - or may not - take action. More likely, I will be preoccupied with important things, like getting a suntan.

    The bottom line is that if we have done anything to bring these problems to the forefront, to influence a prospective student to take a right turn instead of a wrong turn, to point out the good/bad/ugly in this field, then we have accomplished something.

    There is a fine line between a hunt and a witch hunt. I can't be bothered with either, but if we do nothing at all, then we have contributed to the problem. Aye, laddies and lassies, it's a fine line we tow . . .

    End of sermon. That will be five cents, please.
  10. H. Piper

    H. Piper member

    Originally posted by tcnixon:
    I would be more concerned if this became a hobby for Steve (and others) whereby anyone without the proper credentials is hunted down.

    I've heard of worse hobbies, Tom. People in responsible positions should be able to responsibly account for their actions and not fear a small newsgroup or a "swearing swami". (Who is the AED News writer? Whoever he is, he is far more entertaining than factwatcher.)

    And what happened to snipping original posts for brevity, Tom?
  11. H. Piper

    H. Piper member

    Originally posted by David Yamada:
    I wonder how many well-meaning, but perhaps naive and uninformed (and maybe foreign) prospective students end up at degree mills and have No Clue of their situation.

    That concerns me, and saddens me, as much as the degree-mill student who *knows* it's a mill but is trying to score a quick-and-dirty (literally, in this case) credential.

    Geez, let's lighten up a little here, folks! Could someone please show me a case of someone who has been wronged by getting a mill degree and being exposed?

    Earlier I expressed a bit of sadness over Earon's plight with CCU. Somehow it just doesn't seem right that he did all that work and his alma mater has, basically, the status of "mill". (I will not apologize again for generalizations, as this matter has been discussed at length in previous threads.) But Earon made it very clear that he desires no sympathy for his situation. Why not? Two reasons: He did take his chances on a non-RA school, and he has the body of work he did as evidence of his upstanding morals and ethics in claiming a degree.

    There are children starving in disease-ridden, war-ravaged shanty towns. Surely we can find better places for our sympathies than bearers of mill degrees.
  12. Jack Tracey

    Jack Tracey New Member

    I don't especially object to exposing those who are passing off their bogus degrees as if they were legitimate. I do object to ambushing them with TV cameras and microphones at their homes or offices. This seems gratuitously cruel and totally unnecessary if the true intention is simply to remove them from their positions. If, however, the true intention is to continue to provide cheap voyeuristic entertainment then that should be stated up front. Jack
  13. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Certainly your point is well taken. However, I suspect that many of these people have engaged in basically somewhat deceptive if not unethical behavior in obtaining diploma mill credentials. Remember, this is not the same as a legitmate unaccredited degree (although in general I have little regard for unaccredited credentials). We are talking about people who answered those adds for earning a Ph.D. in 30 days or getting a whole Ph.D. in whatever you like for $$ and life experience. These people then took that degree and passed themselves off as *experts*. The departments who hired them are at fault but let us not forget the primary perpetrator. I have no solid evidence but suspect most of these people knew they were getting a diploma mill degree. If they had a first degree then surely to God they were smart enough to realize this. They may have gleefully deluded themselves into believing they deserved the Ph.D. based on their phenomenal intellect and life experience. Bringing to public light their degree serves not merely to expose the credential but to warn others. Besides as Steve has pointed out if one's credential is legitimate one does not need to defend it.

    People who deserve to be called Dr. are the ones who earned the legitimate (not merely legal) Ph.D's, Ed.D.'s, D.Min.'s, D.B.A.'s.

  14. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I would concur with North and say that most people who obtain a diploma mill credential are well aware of what they are doing. This would be especially true, IMO, for those who already hold properly accredited (RA, GAAP, Professional) undergrad and master's degrees.

    There may be a limited number of individuals who, under certain circumstances, may benefit from a degree from one of the better unaccredited schools (e.g., some CA state approved schools, etc.). However, most of those who obtain degrees from the blatant diploma mills surely know what they are doing. How could an intelligent, rational and literate person (especially one who already holds a RA degree) believe that a legitimate Ph.D. could be earned for $300.00
    and a few pages of course work?

    I would suspect foul play to be the prime impetus in obtaining such a credential, i.e., to use the *degree* to deceive, mislead and otherwise misrepresent one's qualifications.

  15. tcnixon

    tcnixon Active Member

    Yes, I'm sure you've heard of worse hobbies. That being said, not all of the people who earn degree mill credentials have "responsible positions". Most don't. Most have rather ordinary jobs. Do I think we should be spending time going after the junior account sales associate at Neiman-Marcus? I value my time more than that.

    With the specific case of "Dr." Jensen, I have much less problem with it because she works in a school of education (as do I albeit as an adjunct). These are the teachers of teachers. The bar should be set higher for them. Now do I really care about the linguistics prof who specializes in Austro-Asiatic languages and where she got her Ph.D. from? Nahh.

    As to snipping posts for brevity, I do about 95% of the time. So what's your point?

    Tom Nixon
  16. Guest

    Guest Guest

  17. H. Piper

    H. Piper member

    Originally posted by tcnixon:
    Do I think we should be spending time going after the junior account sales associate at Neiman-Marcus?

    My point exactly in calling for common sense measures earlier in this thread.

    As to snipping posts for brevity, I do about 95% of the time.

    Not in this thread.

    So what's your point?

    Loma. (If you don't get it, ask Bill Huffman.)

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