President of Accredited University claims Phd from Louisiana Baptist University

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Pugbelly2, Nov 9, 2015.

  1. Pugbelly2

    Pugbelly2 Member

    Louisiana Baptist University is always a good topic on this board. It usually has a way of stirring the pot. In any event, Mark Milioni, the President of Baptist Bible College (MO), claims a PhD from Louisiana Baptist ( LBU also lists him here on its alumni page (Outstanding Alumni). As most of us know, Baptist Bible College is regionally and nationally accredited while LBU is unaccredited. Granted, Mr. Milioni also holds accredited degrees, but I still find it interesting he would pursue, earn and proclaim a PhD from an unaccredited institution that so many people on this board view as illegitimate. I am aware of the BBFI connection (BBC is the flagship institution of the BBFI, LBU is a BBFI approved institution, particularly for mission training). I still find it quite interesting.
  2. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    This isn't terribly uncommon. Denominational affiliation often matters more than external accreditation in religious circles. In the eyes of the Orthodox and Catholic Churches, a graduate of Liberty University is not "more qualified" than a person who graduates from an unaccredited program approved by the hierarchy of the respective church.

    St. Sophia's Seminary in New Jersey is a good example and one I've mentioned before. It is the official seminary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA. If you want to be a priest in that denomination then an unaccredited degree from St Sophia's is the straightest path. And cross-over between Orthodox jurisdictions is pretty common. I once met a gentleman at a retreat who had an M.Div. from St Tikhon's (ATS) and yet his doctorate was from an unaccredited (but approved by his bishop) academy and he was teaching at St. Vladimirs (also accredited).

    Now, it's quite possible I believe to question the academic rigor of some of these unaccredited schools even when they have a denominational affiliation. But, utility wise, it shouldn't be terribly surprising when people pursue degrees at these schools. We did this before when we looked to see how many graduates of Trinity College and Seminary (IN) were employed as professors at accredited schools. I'm pretty sure we also found a president in that search but I'd have to look back to see who it was.
  3. RAM PhD

    RAM PhD Member

    His bio is listed as follows on the website:

    Dr. Milioni graduated from Baptist Bible College in 1988 with a Bachelor’s degree in Pastoral Ministry. He continued his education at Luther Rice Seminary, earning a Master’s degree in Ministry; at Regent University, earning a Doctorate (abd) in Leadership; and at Louisiana Baptist University, earning a Doctorate in Communications.

    The "earning a Doctorate (abd) in Leadership" statement appears to be past tense. If one completes all doctoral requirements except the dissertation (abd), is it correct to say one "earned a doctorate?"
  4. Pugbelly2

    Pugbelly2 Member

    I agree with you. However, this isn't a church setting. It's an academic setting and, to my knowledge, BBC does not accept transfer credit from LBU. I just found it odd that the President of a school that does not accept transfer credit from LBU would claim a PhD from LBU on his resume. I suppose, as you implied, it's because LBU carries weight within the BBFI even if it carries little-to-no-weight at BBC.

    To me, things like this add some credibility to LBU.
  5. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    No, that's sketchy, he earned no doctorate by being ABD, so that sentence is a non-sequitur.
  6. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    No, not at all. It's like saying you "earned a high school diploma (all but eleventh and twelfth grades)".
  7. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    I would say that this doesn't so much lend credibility to LBU as it lends credibility the individual who holds the degree.

    Hiring decisions are very different from academic decisions. I could very well get a job at Harvard as an HR person. That doesn't raise the profile of Colorado Technical University. Harvard might very well never accept a single credit from CTU and might never admit me to one of their graduate programs. But they might just hire me if my experience matched their desired qualifications.

    Granted, President is a pretty big leap from HR lackey. But my point is that in the case of a job, the candidate is being evaluated. In the case of transferring credit the school and the coursework are being evaluated.

    And yes, it is academic in the sense that this is an accredited college this college happens to share a denominational affiliation with LBU. That means, among other things, that LBU is known to the school (moreso than just a random unaccredited school). Credit transfer issues may very well have more to do with requirements of one of their accreditors than how they view LBU.

    Now, the Abd issue. I really hate it when people refer to "earning an ABD" or "earned a doctorate (ABD)." That dissertation is kind of important. I really wish we awarded licentiates in this country specifically to fill that gap. But we don't so, this. I like Steve's example. I also thought it would be fun to start saying I have a PhD (ABECD), that is, all but enrollment, coursework and dissertation.
  8. RAM PhD

    RAM PhD Member

    My sentiments exactly. So, Mr. Milioni has no earned accredited doctorate.
  9. RAM PhD

    RAM PhD Member

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  10. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    I'll go half a step further. My understanding is that (in some schools) if you bail out prior to completing the dissertation they award you a Masters degree. So the person in question might be able to say they earned a Masters. As for the whole ABD thingy, I think you can only throw the ABD card as long as you're still enrolled. To me, the ABD implies that you're still working on it. To say you earned a Doctorate (ABD) when you're not still working on it is more than sketchy, it's deliberately deceptive.
  11. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Let me just say that we don't know whether Dr. Milioni is presently enrolled in the Regent PhD program or whether that was a thing of the past. We are relying on some specific phrasing to draw conclusions. It's equally possible that it is just a poorly written biography (presumably written by a staff member).

    But we've also shown that a member of Regent's law faculty has a ThB from LBU and used it to get into Regent's law school. But when I first mentioned that it was chalked up to someone "slipping through the cracks."

    I'm no unaccredited degree lover. And I cannot ever imaging recommending an unaccredited degree program due to the myriad limitations associated with unaccredited degrees in this country and abroad. But accreditation doesn't make degrees "real." It merely verifies that those degrees accredited are legit. There are clearly unaccredited programs that have acceptance within their circle. This is just another example. Employability is a separate issue from credit transfer. And both of those are separate whether a degree qualifies a person for continued study (that is, does this bachelors degree from LBU meet the requirements for admission to BBC for a Masters program?). LBU doesn't appear to be selling degrees. And their degrees qualify you for ministry credentials within their denomination and there is clearly ample crossover with accredited schools.

    This isn't a potential vindication for unaccredited schools. But it is potentially enough ticks toward "legit" for LBU to just stop harping on it.

    That aside, I think it is safe to say that there are a number of ways one can represent themselves that are deceptive. We should probably take care to ensure that we are not publicly accusing a seated college president of academic fraud based solely upon our interpretation of his bio on the school's website.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 9, 2015
  12. Phdtobe

    Phdtobe Well-Known Member

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    Koolcypher Member

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  14. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Mass shootings are the norm here as well. That doesn't mean we have to like it.

    I get what the author of that article is saying. But at the same time, I just can't get on board with "i want a certificate of completion for a thing I didn't complete." Believe me, I see more than a few resumes with "PhD (ABD)" on them. Often by people who will absolutely not be finishing that PhD any time soon.

    I know Columbia is/was doing an M.Phil. for doctoral candidates after they passed into candidacy. Good for them. And the comments on that article indicate that universities in CA award some sort of certificate of candidacy. Whatever. The problem is that ABD was a thing that adjuncts used to put on their syllabus to indicate that they were doctoral candidates. Now, the flood of ABDs makes ABD a title unto itself. I've had job candidates say things like "I earned my ABD two years ago" as if it were a degree. Perhaps I'm being overly critical but it sounds an awful lot like some people want a consolation prize.

    I spent over two years at the University of Scranton. My consolation prize when I dropped out was that UofS just started offering associates degrees so I was able to apply for graduation after I left. It was NOT an opportunity to claim a BA (All but 48 credits). If you can pull that same trick off with a masters degree from a failed PhD program, good for you. Otherwise I don't see how you can claim you've "earned" anything or demand certification for you're having "completed" something that you, by definition, didn't complete.
  15. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Yes, in some cases. But not as many as you might think, since many require a master's for admission and are built on this prerequisite. But in some systems (and at some schools), students are admitted to a PhD program from the bachelor's, sometimes earning a master's along the way.

    So the person in question might be able to say they earned a Masters. [/quote]

    No. One should not claim a degree not awarded, even if one thinks such a degree has been earned.
    No. I agree with your sentiment, but the concept of "ABD" is an unofficial one. That, unfortunately, means it is unregulated and crops up all over the place. I'd prefer it do what it was designed to do--indicate one is working on a dissertation.

    Perhaps awarding a master's (even if one has already earned one prior to admission) for failed or lapsed doctoral candidates would be a good idea. It would dump the use of the ABD, I would hope. That's what happens in the University of Leicester's DSocSci program. If you don't do a doctoral thesis--or if your thesis fails--you're issued a master of science degree. I don't know if it's been done, but that's what the regulations say.
  16. RAM PhD

    RAM PhD Member

    Joshua Didlake could very well have slipped through the cracks. I can't imagine Regent having an open policy of accepting unaccredited undergrad degree as entrance in their JD program.

    What makes a degree real?

    LBU isn't selling degrees outright, they do require "some work," but the work is substandard. Fill-in-the-blank workbooks do not a PhD level course make.

    Who is harping on LBU? As one who has had "interaction" with LBU, I can state from experience the degree requirements are far less than that of regionally accredited schools.
  17. RAM PhD

    RAM PhD Member

    Looks like a bit of discrepancy in the two websites regarding the LBU doctorate:

    LBU Website: Dr. Mark Milioni is President of Baptist Bible College, Springfield, MO. He earned a Ph.D. in Leadership from LBU in 2013.

    BBC Website: Dr. Milioni graduated from Baptist Bible College in 1988 with a Bachelor’s degree in Pastoral Ministry. He continued his education at...Louisiana Baptist University, earning a Doctorate in Communications.
  18. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    I am a Nobel laureate in literature (abwap). [all but winning actual prize]
  19. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    I believe the PhD in Executive Leadership (or what ever it is called) comes under their school of communications.

    LBU is an interesting school. I cannot attest to the academics but they have a small bricks and mortar campus (not housed in a local church), some acceptance of graduates, and a number of fairly well known alumni. Not to mention attracting prominent commencement speakers.
  20. Helpful2013

    Helpful2013 Active Member

    This kind of analysis is exactly what I see DegreeInfo as being for, and I hope prospective students heed it. Thank you for sharing your experience, particularly since you have an accredited PhD as a point of comparison to LBU.

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