News story re. hospital administrator with K-W degree

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by galanga, Dec 3, 2004.

  1. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    KWU is NOT anywhere near a standard academic institution. It is much closer to a totally fraudulent diploma mill that requires zero work than a standard academic institution. I say this because the utility of their degrees are more on par with an unaccredited degree mill because they are an unaccredited degree mill. KWU also pulls the same credit for life experience scam that the more obviously blatant diploma mills use. This is what firmly places KWU into the same category as the rest of the diploma mill, IMHO.
  2. JimS

    JimS New Member

    It has been almost twenty years since I graduated at UMUC, so things may have changed a lot since then. But, I remember testing out of three nuclear engineering courses (two at the junior level, and one at the senior level) in the same format as KWU courses. We had professors assigned to answer questions (over the phone, since we were separated by about a thousand miles and this predated email and instant messaging). The professors were not used very often as a learning resource because of the crappy communication system. A lot has changed since then. My first nuclear engineering courses were taken B.C. (before calculators!).

    If I seem reluctant to share information, it is only because there are certain people on this forum who make negative comments about any input that is contrary to their ideals. They don't realize that this isn't a perfect world where some us have to make compromises and live with less than ideal situations.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 6, 2004
  3. DaveHayden

    DaveHayden New Member

    Now that is what I call rationalization! I can certainly understand compromise, but taking a degree from an out and out degree mill will only hurt you in the long run. K-W has been identified as such in the national news. It isn't like there is ANY chance it will slip under the radar! I wish you well but feel for the situation you are willingly putting yourself in
  4. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    The Carpathian Machiavel

    Lookit, mes chuckwallas, Machiavelli wasn't talking about academic degrees;
    he was talking about honors, distinctions, and ranks of nobility. Sheesh.

    Besides, as Senator Bennett of Utah recently pointed out,
    "Stupidity trumps Machiavelli almost every time."
    (And, oddly, he wasn't talking about KW!)
  5. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    Uncle, even when I don't understand what you are talking about, I still enjoy your posts. :D
  6. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    The important difference between a standard school and the woefully substandard KWU, is that real schools have a definition of what a degree means with required courses and elective courses. When courses are "challenged" or "tested out" they apply towards this known and defined definition for the major. The way that degree mills, like KWU, work is that life experience is more a hazily defined concept that satisfies a generally non-quantitative number of units of a poorly defined graduation requirement.
  7. revans

    revans member

    Do phony degrees really do that much damage ?

    Do all these fake, phony, substandard degrees really do as much damage as you think---if so, why are there so many of them and why do so many folks keep buying them. They must work somewhere, at least for a time (vid. Rich Douglas' dissertation results). Heck, at my place of employment, a school, there's a coach with a supposed Ph.D, from a very dubious Bible College, not RA accredited. He's called Dr. by most; I am often not called by my title nor is it presented in school documents to the point that some students doubt that I really do have a Ph.D from an RA institution.

    I think that fake degrees really work most of the time in most sectors except the most highly learned professions. Again, I have no proof but that's my unfortunate impression.
  8. clichemoth

    clichemoth New Member

    I read this and . . .

    I fail to see how K-W's practices are much shadier or more substandard than RA Kaplan (where I currently am a student). Kaplan "exams" are equally as much of a joke as these seem to be, with every Q directly ripped from the text . . .

    Instructors leave little room for any sort of free discussion, and just want the exact textbook answers (In defense, they haven't all been like that, but the majority have)

    Message boards are graded purely on quantity over quality. . . And those who actually put some thought into the questions then have to respond to the one-line copied answers.

    Papers seem to be graded far more on the proper use of the APA format than on content (Heck, I snuck the "Eating five batteries" diagram from Homestar Runner into one w/ no ill effects, but if you leave one extra space after a period, you're toast.

    And yet, a Kaplan BA is just as good as Harvard, Oberlin, or UCLA and K-W's a mill . . . Why aren't they both mills?
  9. Gus Sainz

    Gus Sainz New Member

    Re: Do phony degrees really do that much damage ?

    Many of us are familiar with what Willie Sutton the bank robber reputedly said when asked why he robbed banks. He said, “Because that's where the money is." From a more personal perspective, Dr. Evans, why don’t you tell us why you purchased a bogus degree from Bridgewater University? The answer is bound to be interesting and could possibly shed some light on the issue you broached, especially since, at the time, you already held a legitimate doctorate.

    Bogus degrees, just like counterfeit bills, do indeed work. Both work extremely well right up until their true nature is uncovered.

    Like you, I too have seen a decline in the rigor of the course of study required for a Bachelors degree in the United States. I also have seen inflation take its toll on the value of the dollar. However, just like the devaluation of the dollar does not justify the crime of counterfeiting, lower academic standards do not justify the fraudulent use of diploma mill credentials.

    Similarly, although both are to be condemned, there is a notable difference between the fraud of “cheating the system” to acquire a degree from a legitimate institution and simply acquiring a degree from a degree mill. In the first instance, the perpetrator ends up with a legitimate degree (albeit illegitimately acquired); in the second case, regardless of the work done to attain it, he or she ends up with a bogus one. The first case is similar to a thief that steals real money; the second case is tantamount to counterfeiting.

    And no, there is no positive social impact that is derived by either counterfeiting currency or the proliferation of degree mills. To suggest that this is so is akin to suggesting that robbery serves a positive role because it teaches the victim the value of money.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 6, 2004
  10. revans

    revans member

    Re: Re: Do phony degrees really do that much damage ?

    (1) I have several "purchased" degrees; they are on my wall to look pretty. In fact, some look better than the real thing. I bought different sorts to test the "mill" system and to have some grist for internet jousting. In this respect, they operate as personal experimentation in existential educational research. Of course, I don't use these degrees in my professional activities, not from ethical qualms, but in order not to be thought an utter fool. Actually, Gus, I am a very honest person, very opinionated, but quite direct and honest. I believe that I am much more skeptical of the system of higher education than you seem to be. (I could be wrong on this point).

    (2) Unlike you and many on this forum, I think milled degrees do serve a positive social purpose, not on the level of individual fraud, of course, but as as an indication of and pressure on both a declining educational structure and also a concomitant increase in credentialism. On my view, the rampant spread of milled degrees calls into question the functional distinction between authentically degreed individuals and those holding these (perhaps legal titles) but academic worthless titles (since no true academic process has taken place in resepct to the award/purchase of these fake degrees).

    I agree with you that there is major distinction between "cheating the system" to obtain a "legitimate" degree and simply buying a fake. On my view, the former is a much more egregious fraud because it involves corrupting and destroying a system internally, pushing standards lower; it is much harder to detect and rectify such fraud. Simply buying a fake diploma can be much more easily found out with a little effort and some probing questions; it is much harder to expose an authentically credentialed fraud, at least, in my experience.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 6, 2004
  11. revans

    revans member

    Re: I read this and . . .

    Good question...low standards abound; what institutions get accredited may ( I say "may") have to do with money and educational politics. I don't know specifically about either of these two institutions.
  12. jouster

    jouster New Member

    Re: The Carpathian Machiavel

    Not to mention the fact that the famed Florentine had an...ah...somewhat elastic relationship to truth and accuracy, not to mention morality. He tended to chop 'n' change, contradict himself and ignore obvious inconsistencies and falsehoods whenever it suited his intent.

    Hmmmm...sounds familiar.
  13. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    Re: I read this and . . .

    Maybe just as accredited.

    Just as good?

    In a pig's eye!
  14. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    Re: I read this and . . .

    You are apparently looking at KWU through a straw. For example, here's a reponse I made earlier to the same question.

    The important difference between a standard school and the woefully substandard KWU, is that real schools have a definition of what a degree means with required courses and elective courses. When courses are "challenged" or "tested out" they apply towards this known and defined definition for the major. The way that degree mills, like KWU, work is that life experience is more a hazily defined concept that satisfies a generally non-quantitative number of units of a poorly defined graduation requirement.

    If you still don't have an appreciation for the above paragraph in the context of KWU then point me to the graduation requirements for a KWU Bachelor's Degree of English, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, etc. etc. I've looked and asked for such a thing but apparently no such graduation requirements exist from KWU. Please explain to me how a real school cannot have such a basic thing defined.
  15. clichemoth

    clichemoth New Member

    Re: Re: I read this and . . .

    I wasn't defending K-W. I was bashing Kaplan. :) Personally, I wonder if any DL-only program can truly be equivalent to a legitimate RA residential program. . . I just don't see it.

    And you're right, it is insanely odd that K-W doesn't define any graduation requirements . . . Especially since people do receive different courses and different bills. . . It would seem that they would have such a thing, even if it was meaningless.

    It's basically "you get what you pay for". . . And in K-W's case it's not much. In Kaplan's case, it's less than it should be.
  16. PaulC

    PaulC Member

    Re: Re: Re: I read this and . . .

    That's an interesting question. I suppose it depends on what one is looking for in their program. It has been proven beyond doubt, in dozens of studies, that learning outcomes are at least equal between distance learning and B/M classroom learning, accepting that anecdotal experiences on both sides are expected..

    However, we all know that there is more to the "college" experience than learning outcomes, so I think it is more than reasonable to posit that the two cannot be considered equivalent.

    Your experience with Kaplan sounds unfortunate. Keep in mind, there are numerous blogs and forums out there dedicated solely to the opportunity for students to recount various less than wonderful experiences and unfair practices with any number of RA B/M schools. These learner frustrations did not come into being upon the inception of distance learning.

    As a personal observation, I have taught as an adjunct for a respected 130 year old liberal arts college. I could offer up legitimate tales of woe regarding learner experiences, college policies, grading practices, financial aid bungles that, were they associated with any of the online universities, would be used as proof of the substandard for profit, distance based experience vs B/M.

    I have come to realize that what I hear from online learners, I hear the same from B/M learners. If one happens to be going to an online university, the troubles experienced are attributed to the online/distance nature. It is unfortunate as I think it further supports a perception that has no empirical base.
  17. Kirkland

    Kirkland New Member

    Don't mean to open up any old arguments but let's face it... KWU is as thinly bona fide as an operation can be that purports to be a university. Yet, due to aggressive advertising, it is listed frequently amongst reputable institutions with no indication of the differences to the uninitiated. Reminds me of a Far Side cartoon where the wolf is dressed as another sheep. It is an educational land mine.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 24, 2004
  18. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    Right, Kirkland. Thanks for the summary of the problem. What bothers me about the endless foofaraw over the ODA list is that carping about this or that detail of ODA and making personal attacks on Contreras obscure the less-than-wonderfulness of K-W. It's a bit like the Columbus Lighthouse in Santo Domingo (can't imagine why I thunk of that): the old joke was that whenever the thing was turned on it dimmed the rest of the lights in the city.

    The ODA list may or may not accurately describe quality; I think that mostly it gets things right, but there are a handful of schools that seem to me to be given short shrift, and a smaller handful that may be overrated. Big deal. But the ODA list does not create or bestow quality. So K-W is what it is--or isn't--regardless of what the ODA is compelled to say due to a stop-loss strategy by the State of Oregon's lawyers. The idiotic crowing about a "victory" for K-W is purely nominalist. Some of us prefer realism.

    And what laws the State of Oregon makes about the use or labeling of unaccredited degrees are in se none of my business. I don't live there.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 24, 2004
  19. clichemoth

    clichemoth New Member

    Re: Re: Re: Re: I read this and . . .

    Maybe on some levels they are, and it is simply a matter of personal needs and skills. . . My learning process is very auditorally oriented . As such, the Kaplan system really isn't a great fit for me because you don't hear anything.

    I've been a B/M student also. . . Yeah, all of these issues exist in that environment as well, the difference is that there, such problems are usually connected directly to individuals with names and faces and personalities. I had politically slanted and incomprehensible profs at OU, but I would'nt say the whole institution was a pit as a result.

    With DL, the problems are attributed to the institution as a whole because it is largely anonymous. You don't meet profs, deans, and advisors in person, therefore you don't attach the problems to personal differences with them.
  20. Kirkland

    Kirkland New Member

    What is interesting to me is that the status quo was changed as a result of KWU's action. I believe the situation has improved for graduates of hundreds of legitimate state approved schools (~250 in CA alone) that don't appear on that list (but could) and were nevertheless adversely affected by ODA policies. I believe it is a good thing to protect civil liberties since I see no place for public gag orders of the type that were previously promulgated by the ODA. It didn't change that KWU is still thinly bona fide.

    What bothers me about the ODA is that it over-reached, capturing all manner of species in its net with not only its list but its stated policies.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 24, 2004

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