Online DHA - 12 months - $15k

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by chrisjm18, Aug 8, 2020.

  1. Steve Levicoff

    Steve Levicoff Well-Known Member

    That’s not quite my logic. In fact, I don’t know that I’ve ever called TRACS an accreditation mill, although I’ve been critical of TRACS for some 30 years, even to the extent of writing a full-length book on them that hung up their reapproval by US-DoEd for almost two years.

    My objection to TRACS historically has been that they were approved by DoEd under shady circumstances, and that their doctrinal position is both unconstitutional and discriminatory. I’ve discussed this both in my book and over the years in these fora, so I have no desire to repeat myself in this thread.

    At this point, my objections include the notion that they have gone beyond their historic scope in terms of the institutions they accredit and that their standards continue to be mickey mouse. For a fairly accurate historic overview of TRACS, read their wiki at

    Notable in the wiki is the list of TRACS-accredited schools, some of which are so ridiculously small they make VUL look big. I’ve noticed that their current list includes more HBCU’s than when I last looked at the list, and imagine that an HBCU association has put the word out that TRACS accreditation is easier to get than regional. I certainly don’t blame the HBCU’s for that, since the goal in getting recognized by TRACS is likely to have their students qualify for federal funding. Regardless of the quality of TRACS compared to the regionals, the fact that they are recognized by DoEd and CHEA accomplishes that goal.

    As for holding that non-regional accreditors are accreditation mills, I have never held that position. To do so would condemn highly respected professional accreditors like ABA, AMA, APA, CACREP, ad infinitum. IMO, TRACS is and has always been mickey mouse, but an accreditation mill? Hardly.
    Johann likes this.
  2. copper

    copper Active Member

    According to the CFR, the USDE states, "Nationally recognized accrediting agency, nationally recognized agency, or recognized agency means an accrediting agency that the Secretary recognizes under this part."

    To me, that includes all the accrediting agencies RA, NA, programmatic, etc.

    furthermore, "(b) The Secretary lists an agency as a nationally recognized accrediting agency if the agency meets the criteria for recognition listed in subpart B of this part."

    It sounds like all these accreditors, RA included, now become "nationally recognized" by the Secretary of the USDE making this differentiation unnecessary, if not obsolete. Although, the accrediting bodies still makes those distinctions not the USDE. The USDE either recognizes it or does not!
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2020
  3. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    I thank you, Dr. Levicoff, for this explanation. I should remember that there is indeed a difference (at least sometimes) between mere mickey-mouse and outright mill status. (And I, too, sincerely believe there can be such a difference.)

    When I spoke of "Non-RA accreditors," I failed to specify non-RA institutional accreditors - e.g. DEAC, ACCET, ACICS etc. - and Yes, TRACS. I neglected to say I did not mean professional accreditors, viz. the distinguished organizations you cited - ABA, AMA CACREP und so weiter. No matter - my premise was mistaken anyway and I apologize for the multiple errors.

    Dang! I don't get to crank up the Everlasting Lake of Fire this time... But today I learned... so again, my thanks. :)
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2020
  4. Garp

    Garp Active Member

    And really are any of you in any position to assess what is "Mickey Mouse" or not? The answer is probably no. None of you have done research/current research on criteria used, assessments, metrics and so on in order to determine whether there are substantive differences in their criteria to make the statements. So, the US Department of Education says they are the same (no difference) and until anything substantive and authoritative comes to light to dispute that, I will go with them.

    Not that Steve's opinions aren't amusing.
    chrisjm18 likes this.
  5. Garp

    Garp Active Member

    I believe they are all now Instiutional Accreditors.
  6. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Steve's ideas are from the early 1900s. I wouldn't consider him a current SME on higher education accreditation.
    Maxwell_Smart likes this.
  7. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Definitely "no" re: me, at least in this case. I DO know that Mickey Mouse and Mill are indeed different - I did say that, in my apology and I'm still confident of it. Are this accreditor's standards Mickey Mouse, as was suggested? No comment, then or now. Beyond my pay grade.
  8. Maxwell_Smart

    Maxwell_Smart Active Member

    The word in bold is most important. Some hold a grudge forever for mistakes an institution made decades ago, and that can be fair, but it's only fair if the problems haven't changed or things have gotten worse since the incident(s) first occurred. TRACS had a lot of problems decades ago. What's been their problems since? That's the question people in the current time should ask themselves before making a final judgment on them.

    I know nothing about the teaching reputation and quality of this school. What I do know is that it is a small school. Very small. Tiny. The size of the school and faculty can have an affect, but not in the way most would think. Ratios are important. If you're only enrolling 200 or students, a small staff like the one they have should be sufficient, at least in theory. Through the experience of attending many different schools over the years, I've learned (and I'm sure others here have done the same) that the quality and abilities of the administration are most important. You can have a tiny staff and receive a very good education (I have), and you can have a large one and receive a very crappy education (I have!).

    Lastly, let me touch on this from their Wikipedia page:

    The Virginia University of Lynchburg was formerly a member of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association. After exiting the USCAA, Virginia University of Lynchburg is now a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association NCCAA. They are currently ineligible to join the NCAA and the NAIA due to insufficient academic accreditation. They are athletically known as the Dragons. Men's sports include basketball, football, and track and field; while women's sports include basketball and track and field.

    That sounds bad on the surface, but here are the issues with it: For starters, the NCAA is an athletics association. Considering all of the complete BS that they have put KIDS through over the years with their ever-changing and objectively unfair rules involving academics and financial matters, they are a joke to be looked at as any credible authority on what educational accreditation is or isn't "sufficient". The U.S. Department of Education has already made the decision that TRACS is sufficient, so the NCAA's position is irrelevant (assuming that's how they actually worded it). As for the NCCAA, it can't be too bad since it actually includes bigger schools that are also members of the NCAA.

    So look, you go to this school, you know what you're getting. You're getting a degree that will still be treated with the same minor NA utility matters as we're all aware of, and you're getting it from a tiny school that isn't well-known at all. But, it's accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accreditor, it's legal, and it's legit. For some, this will be enough. If a person wants more glitz, they can go to a bigger more well-known school, they can pay a lot more money, and they may or may not arrive at the same outcome a degree from this school would've helped them achieve.
    sideman and chrisjm18 like this.
  9. copper

    copper Active Member

    I think if you have a background in healthcare and/or administration and are looking to enhance the resume, it should work. I believe employers in the healthcare industry are looking for a "rubber hit the road" administrator. In other words, a focus on practicums that give the graduate student real life experience actually might hold more weight than a dissertation nowadays.
    felderga likes this.
  10. Jan

    Jan Member

    According to TRACS, VUL was placed on probation in 2013 and retrieved their full accreditation status in 2014.
  11. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    That happens even to big schools. What's critical are the reasons. Sometimes this can happen because of finances, and that happens often with smaller schools.

    EDIT: Looked it up. Yep, it was a financial stability issue. It was corrected.
    chrisjm18 likes this.
  12. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    To get the issue out of the way: VUL may be a mill according to Steve Levicoff, but hardly anyone else shares his criteria. To the rest of the world, it is a small, obscure, accredited institution of higher learning. There are aspects of the school that may be worth a discussion (example: how a school of 200 can support a football team, when our university with enrollment roughly 60 times that can't afford to?), but virtually no one will call it a mill. Unless, of course, they are caught selling diplomas; in this case TRACS will yank their accreditation almost as quickly as a RA accreditor would.

    Now, the degree itself is a curious beast. To me, it's a part of a breed: many schools offer a type of degree aimed at executives who wish to be called "Doctor X". So schools offer these; more often than not an EdD, limited-residence, with watered down research expectations, and often fixed length (24 months, even 18 months). It has nothing to do with the kind of school VUL is: a dean I encountered in my job searches had one of these babies from Penn. VUL just takes this concept to logical conclusion, for the masses. In a way, admirable. But if Steve wants to call this a name, "Mickey Mouse" or "doc-lite", I would not object too much. This is not to bash the graduates: they got an accredited doctorate; good for them!

    I'm going to pass on an opportunity to flame a little by pointing out that Steve earned his doctorate, a PhD at that, in 24 months, overwhelmingly by distance (he will insist it was not an "online degree", a distinction without difference). This situation is entirely different. Union at the time required an individualized learning contract. It also required a substantial dissertation or a product substantially equivalent to one. Steve in his day was a master of both collecting credits at blazing speeds, and an unusually prolific writer. "Two-year wonders" such as himself were very much NOT the norm at Union - hence that program was, for all it's uniqueness, much closer to what is usually expected from a PhD program. In the other words, not a "doc lite". It is curious how the likes of Union of Walden draw more ire from traditional academics than "executive" cookie-cutter docs their own institutions award.
  13. felderga

    felderga Active Member

    So on a personal note emotionally I'm actually now quite interested in this program since VUL is a HBCU. My dad attended Edward Waters in Jacksonville in the late 1950s but had to drop out due to finances and was immediately drafted in the Army and never went back. Similarly my father-in-law turned down an opportunity to attend Morehouse and also ended up in the Army as well. Part of my life long learning quest has been more about self fulfilment and legacy as there are a few lawyers (including a US Federal Judge) in my family but no doctors or PhDs (doctorates). HBCUs served an important purpose at one time as they were the only vechiles for higher education and today are still very much relevant. So in many ways it would be fulfiling earn a doctorate from a small but historic school like VUL However I do have some questions about course cirrculum (especially if no disteration or study project is required). Hence I will be contacting them shortly before I seriously decide whether to withdraw from Trident which after this term I would have 5 classes left (roughly $14K) so cost wise it would be a wash. More importantly its obvious that VUL is offering this degree to also probably help the school's bottom line finances (so if I'm going to spend the money why not have it go to a worthy instiution instead).
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  14. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    My only issue with the program is that it doesn't seem to have a dissertation or comparable capstone project. The fact that VUL is an HBCU, I care less about TRACS accreditation (might not make sense to some, but that's okay). However, as I mentioned above, I would pursue this program if it was a DBA. I haven't worked in a healthcare setting and have no plans of doing so. Hence, a DHA would be of little or no value to me. One of my aspirations is to graduate from an HBCU or an African university. Good luck with your decision.
    felderga likes this.
  15. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    Here is a game from 2019 on ESPN between the Virginia University of Lynchburg Dragons and the Morgan State Bears:

    ESPN, pretty cool!
    felderga, copper and chrisjm18 like this.
  16. Futuredegree

    Futuredegree Active Member

    Did anyone apply for the program this semester? I found it very interesting. I wonder if it makes a difference since the school is nationally accredited rather then regionally accredited? Will this make a difference in the career industry field?
  17. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Read through the thread. We talked about RA and NA. Ultimately, it's your decision about whether an NA degree will work for you. Everyone's different. For some people, it's RA or nothing else. For others, it doesn't matter.
  18. felderga

    felderga Active Member

    I just filled out the online form for Spring 2021.
    novadar likes this.
  19. felderga

    felderga Active Member

    So did speak briefly today with someone at VUL. There isn't a dissertation for the program. The practicums kinda serve as a study project as the student will perform case study using either primary or secordary data (i.e. systematic lit review). Students are encourage to work with a real life problem affecting a real organization. Also the courses are really 8 week modules over the 16 week semester so at most 2 classes at the same time.

    So one of the reasom I'm considering the switch is partially due to difficulty with my doctoral project thanks in part to COVID-19 ( I wanted to do research on HIT like telehealth and barriers with adoption in skilled nursing and home health seetings). Also my company wants a NDA with Trident before they commit to participating so I before I go down that path with HR and Compliance now might be a good time to switch. Also I really wanted to do a DHA as oppose to DBA and thus far in the last two courses with Trident I haven't really been locked in. In my opinion there been a bigger focus on steps to complete the doctoral study project as oppose more dedicated learning on business topics. At any rate I'm going to continue to explore this option and will determine my next steps if I get accepted.
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  20. copper

    copper Active Member

    Curious if they accept some of your doctoral coursework in transfer.
    novadar and SteveFoerster like this.

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