Residency requirements - licensing implications

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by PsychPhD, Mar 15, 2007.

  1. Steve Levicoff

    Steve Levicoff Well-Known Member

    Yepper, that I did.

    I never graduated from an online program. When I received my M.A. from Vermont College, it was part of Norwich University, not Union, and they did not have an online program at that time. When I did my Ph.D. at Union, they also had no online program. At both schools, everything was quite personal - not in today's "cyber-learning" mode, for lack of a better term.

    Yes, yes, and I'm not sufficiently familiar with them to call Walden crap. However, I generally consider all proprietary (profit-making) programs to be crap, and both Capella and Walden are proprietary. (I will give kudos to Capella, though, for having achieved CACREP approval.)

    As for Union, their program model today is much different than when I was enrolled. They no longer have room for adjuncts or peers on one's doctoral committee, they had room for more than a limited set of majors, and they didn't play games with the "interdisciplinary studies" banner. Union was one of the most unique and creative doctoral programs that ever existed; now it's merely a non-profit (at least at this point) imitation of the competition that has sold its soul in order to survive. Would I enroll in Union today? Hell, no.

    Remember, kiddies, I grew up in this field when we did not use terms like online education or even distance education - back in the good ol' days, we called it alternative ornon-traditional education, and it fostered an atmosphere of both creativity and excellence. Today's online atmosphere is merely another example of dumbed-down education in general and, yes, I think it's crap.

    Like I said, get over it. :D
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 16, 2007
  2. makana793

    makana793 New Member

    Dont know why I'm jumping in this conversation but I should add my 2 cents. First of all to each his own, so Steve if you feel that certain DL degrees are crap thats your feelings dude. Sure there are some limitations to DL degrees. But for some people online learning is the only accessible means of education. While online education may not be on par with traditional learning, it at least provides some audiences access to a learning environment. Folks with busy schedules or public safety and military members rely heavily on online learning to enhance their careers.
  3. simon

    simon New Member

    It should be obvious that some individuals put down the academic accomplishments of other posters because they actually feel their degrees are inadequate. So their negative comments are actually revealing about their own situation NOT anyone elses.
  4. Steve Levicoff

    Steve Levicoff Well-Known Member

    Please, that's the vaunted DOCTOR Steve Levicoff. But seriously, you seem to be hung up with titles, right down to your username and your bio line. I have never focused on my degrees or my title, and have gone out of the way to be just plain Steve. My basis for that has always been that when you've got the real thing, you don't have to flaunt it. Try it - it may humanize you a bit.

    You may be sparring with me, but it was not my intent to spar with you. Nonetheless, psych, you're acting like a degree mill graduate - someone with an inferior education who has to constantly defend his position. It doesn't become you. Stop acting like you've been backed into a corner - you're only as cornered as you feel you are.

    Well, considering that I'm quite liberal, I see no reason for you to trash the Fundies - they're wonderful folks. As for "stunningly hypocritical," not at all - distance education as we know it today is far different than nontraditional education that I got to know in years past. My positions on some issues changed as the field changed.

    Well, since my books have been published by two of the leading evangelical publishers in the world (Baker Book House and Moody Press), I don't think I have to prove myself to you, sport. And yep - I don't even take myself seriously. I don't have to. Of all the credentials I hold (and they are many), the one of which I'm most proud is my Commercial Driver's License. ;)

    When I wrote When the TRACS Stop Short, TRACS was not approved by CHEA. And the book hung up their DoEd renewal by almost two years. So yes, I take credit for their having implemented sufficient improvements to become reapproved by DoEd and ultimately being approved by CHEA - not because of my own ego, but because that's what was said by the Chronicle of Higher Education. And what have youaccomplished?

    Cool. So go attack them - don't bother with me, little boy.

    Nope. In fact, I didn't even know about until someone cited it on one of the DL fora. But that has been discussed in the past (either here or on DD, I forget which). But hell, man, you're reaching down to the bottom of the barrel for something to argue about, so I'm not surprised that you would ask the quesiton.

    As it happens, I did ultimately find out who wrote the foundational article on me in Wiki. I have no objection to the article - although it's not totally accurate, it's fairly spot on. I was fascinated that someone actually did such extensive research on me, but past that point, I'm beyond getting my rocks off on articles about me.

    Then you haven't read my work. I have, in fact, endorsed a few select unaccredited programs. Moreover, while I have no beef (there's a pun in there that I won't touch), I have negatively critiqued some RA programs.

    By the way, I don't think of myself as an expert these days (compared with a few other folks). I intentionally retired from higher education, and except for an occasional opinion I have no significant interest in this field.

    Nonetheless, if you had done your research, you would know that I have always held stringent standards regarding residency in all helping professions - especially ministry, since that was my focus area, as well as psychology and counseling. I'm with Andy Borchers (see his post above) - I would no more recommend a psychologist, counselor, or pastor who went the non-residential route than I would recommend a surgeon who went that route.

    My only objection to TRACS these days is from a doctrinal and church-state perspective (which I raised in WTTSS)- I'm not in a position to critique their quality, although there's no doubt that their acceptance level is not as universal as RA. But neither is the acceptance level of several national and professional accreditors. I have also been quite critical of DETC, but have not written as extensively on that since it doesn't interest me (they're not in my field). Ditto some of the trade and technical accreditors.

    But as far as accreditation goes, I have always been openly supportive of the RA concept, and have no problem when they accredit proprietary schools. Whether I like it or not, that is the trend today. I don't have to enroll in one, and I may think that they're guilty of dumbed-down education, but frankly, it's not an issue of concern for me - my official (degree-earning) learning days are behind me, and I'm much happier waking up in the middle of nowhere with a nice mountain in front of me.

    So excuuuuuuuuuse moi, psych, if I don't get my pants as crapped up as you do by an opinion with which I may not agree. Lighten up, dude - life's a beach. :D
  5. pugbelly

    pugbelly New Member


    With all due respect, you sound a lot like some of the people I've worked with through the years that refuse to believe that anything today might be as good as it was "back in the day." You know the type..."Kids today don't have respect the way we did back in the day...Today's NFL players couldn't compete with great Steeler teams of the 70's...Today's online education is crap compared to the old brick and mortar schools of yester year..."

    I've attended crap online/distance schools and crap brick and mortar schools. I've also attended crap classes at great schools and great classes at crap schools. Quality can't be boxed and stereo-typed the way you seem to believe. Quality will vary dramatically from school to school, program to program, and from teacher to teacher.

  6. Steve Levicoff

    Steve Levicoff Well-Known Member

    This may surprise you, mankana, but I'm in full agreement with you.

    Let me make it clear - my objection is not to all distance degrees, nor even to all online programs. There are some great exceptions to every principle.

    Some of the public safety programs (especially in the Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement fields) are quite exceptional, and distance education has always been a great asset to members of the military.

    I just didn't want to disappoint PsychPhD - he's obviously a glutton for punishment. :D

    Let me make it clear - my primary objection to online programs is methodological - I find them boring as hell. (And I have had both good and bad experiences with online courses, although I never pursued a degree that way.) I found a couple of them excellent, but I've found some to be totally inane (especially those that use Blackboard and similar programs). They bore me. But that's the nature of education today - the old memorize-and-regurgitate style of learning as opposed to the type of creative research and critical thinking on which I was raised.
  7. PsychPhD

    PsychPhD New Member

    There will always be debate

    And I would agree with that presumption, Andy. However, a psychology licensing board isn't an "reasonable uninvolved third party." The foundation of behavioral science is supposed to be a devotion to scientific rigor not intuitiive opining.

    The issue I have with the Kansas decisions is that their published requirements do not disqualify distance delivered programs. They left "or equivalent" wording in the law and regulations specifically to allow for the possibility (probablity?) that there would be graduates of non APA accredited programs worthy of awarding a license to practice.

    It was then a board of psychologists that used the intellectually lazy standard of adding days on a calendar to declare the offerings non-equivalent. I am flabbergasted that this continued into the court system. It boggles my mind that anyone would consider calendar days when discussing educational offerings of any modality.

    Well, my friend, here is the crux of the debate.

    If you look on paper, I think most "reasonable" people would agree that DL and campus-based programs look comparable. Our courses have the same names. We use the same texts. We practice with the same standarized tests. But, as you see here in this forum, some people take serious issue with what happens IN the courses -- the usual argument is "anyone can make something look good on paper." I would concede that is a reasonable point. However, to truly make an informed decision, one would have to spend the time to actually investigate what happens in DL classes. There are organizations devoted to the study and improvement of distance learning (most notably the Sloan Consortium;, with evidence of the educational validity of online learning.

    It also is worth noting that Capella graduates have licensed in 19 US and Canadian jurisdictions, the majority of which likely have the same sort of wordings in their licensing laws/regulations as Kansas. In posting of this question, it was not my intention to spark yet another debate on the validity of online psychology programs but discuss the issues relating to the interpretation of a very specific aspect of them.

    Personally, I find it peculiar that some of the biggest critics of online psychology classes are graduates of other online programs (or non-traditional programs, like Dr. Levicoff.)

    Frankly, it is rather troubling that Dr. Levicoff could earn all of his degrees through non-traditional means (including old style correspondence courses but primarily through portfolio review), yet he declares that to be "quite personal" and dismisses modern online learning as "crap." Particularly enlightened is his "I got mine, tough noogies about you getting yours" sentiment embodied in his "get over it" comments.

    Where would his "expert" status be today if in the 1970s everyone clung to the very prevalent belief that college learning could only happen with 18 -24 year old (primarily male) students sitting in classrooms on campuses? His alternative path inspired "creativity and excellence" but online learning is "dumbed-down." I wonder if the "experts" of the 1970s shared his assessment of the alternative education he so enjoyed. When I was an undergraduate (at a 1980s campus based program), I volunteered as a mentor to a student in the community's middle school. It was quite striking that the school had been built in the 1970s on an "alternative" plan -- there originally were no classrooms, it was built on the "open" model. Problem was, the open model proved unworkable so now the town had a school that was a testament to a failed approach. Unable to afford just tearing it down and building anew, the "fix" entailed putting up movable walls. This meant while you couldn't see the adjoining class you certainly could hear them!

    Sometimes "alternative" is just a bad idea.
  8. Steve Levicoff

    Steve Levicoff Well-Known Member

    Again, Psych, you presume much. Not only did I never receive credit for an "old-style correspondence course," I never completed any such course in which I did enroll. I have always been open about being an ADD'er (you can review it in the DSM under 314.00-01), and corresondence courses bored me as much as online courses do today. Yepper, I did primarily portfolio assessment - which most people cannot pull off - but would have done lousy at testing out/CLEP-ing, etc., at which most people are much better than I could ever be.

    In other words, who's generalizing now? ;)

    Easy answer: If nontraditional education did not exist, I would not be a college grad today, let alone having a Ph.D. My objection has always been to "rote" education, and that's the way I view most online learning. It stifles the freedom to learn.

    Again, you're generalizing. You may have worked with a crap alternative program. I have worked with good alternative programs. And crap alternative programs. In short, they're just like any other type of program - including online. You've got good ones and bad ones.

    The type of program you worked with may have been for LD kids (I don't presume either way). But there are many meanings to "exceptional" (just ask a bright ADD'er) - those kids who are not smart enough (whatever that is) for the traditional classroom, and those who are too smart for the traditional classroom. (And in either case, it's often a matter of motivation.)

    Gotta admit, incidentally, I've never used the word crap as much as I have in this thread. Wonderfully descriptive, isn't it? :D
  9. simon

    simon New Member

    This thread began with a relevant and significant discussion regarding the unfavorable status of Psychology licensure in Kansas for graduates of Capella/Walden BUT subsequently digressed to a hyper-intellectualized and totally unrelated discussion revolving around the inferiority of distance online clinical doctoral degree progams!

    What prompted a poster to pre-empt this thread and to disparage these degrees while exulting their own? IMO, the answer is obvious and I suggest that we return to the original focus of this thread and ignore what is clearly not of any value but merely a vehicle to roil and spew personal dissatisfaction onto others.
  10. GME

    GME New Member

    Hi Dr. Levicoff,

    If you don't mind my asking, on what specific course offerings is this view based? Were they introductory, upper level or graduate courses?

    My experience of online learning is limited to attending Capella (Phd psychology) and designing coursework for the grad program for which I work.

    Neither environment had any rote elements.

    On the other hand, some of the online classes offered by the Los Angeles Community College system do seem to call for some rote recital of facts (at least in their examinations). But then that is perhaps not totally unexpected for their level of coursework?

  11. simon

    simon New Member

    I suggest that the question you pose be directed to an expert in the field of distance education, perhaps Dr. Bear, who has no axe to grind and will provide an objective response. IMO you are inadvertently reinforcing such negative posts by responding defensively to such disparaging comments. In fact there is no need for you to be defensive or need to explain anything because the party who is placing posters on the defensive is in no position to do so. Just my impression.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 16, 2007
  12. GME

    GME New Member

    Hi Simon,

    Thanks for your note. I think any impression of defensiveness is just that, an impression on your part. In my post I was trying to get to some factual basis underlying Dr. Levicoff's opinion. Not out of any desire to defend anything, but more out of curiosity since rote learning is so at odds with the strengths of online learning (which I think you will agree tends to be very constructivist in approach).

    That said, there are indeed online courses that rely upon rote recitation of fact, but in my experience that tend to be introductory in nature and/or not academic offerings (for instance, online CEU courses that require the completion of a quiz to receive credit).

  13. PsychPhD

    PsychPhD New Member

    Efforts appreciated but ...

    While your sentiment is appreciated, it ignores a basic reality regarding the issues surrounding distance learning: Regardless of the original question, some people are incapbable of looking past their distaste for the concept of distance learning to be able to intelligently discuss the legitimate issues and instead "spew personal dissatisfaction on others." (Which one could argue is the very situation in the Kansas decisions.)

    Dr. Levicoff's ad hominem attacks wrapped up in his faux humility after he demanded being credited with "expert" status is emblematic of this phenomenon.

    Frankly, I would love some ideas on how do deal with that sort of petty drivel because, sadly, he is far from being the sole practitioner of it. Regardless of any additional information one presents, there will always be another dubious attempt to discredit it, usually with red herring arguments and name calling. (And, part of my reason for posting this issue here was personal experience with licensing board members from several jurisdictions who appeared to embrace the same "debating style." The Kansas decisions were the first official embodiments of this.)

    Unfortunately, after witnessing this tactic here on several occasions, it would appear that many "contributors" to degreeinfo are more caught up in their own narcissism than a dedication to offer a valid source of information and/support for people hoping to learn about distance learning.
  14. buckwheat3

    buckwheat3 Master of the Obvious

    Come on, you know this forum is all about distant learning, yet you provoke these folks. If a person can get a graduate degree via the distant format what's the big deal. RA seems to be content with the whole affair of distant learning.

    Now there are 6 regional bodies made up of a wide variety of people from different academic backgrounds and if they claim x or y school should be of value then my money is on them, so lets add something constructive here in these discussions and stop trying to denigrate those who take some extraordinary efforts to make something of themselves...even in the face of some degree snobs.
  15. PsychPhD

    PsychPhD New Member

    It's all very psychological

    As one who spent the better part of the past 25 years either attending or teaching campus-based or online classes, your observation is on the money.

    However, that is not the point.

    I don't think anyone debates there are good and bad campus and online classes. That is the nature of any human endeavor.

    Where things fall apart is when individuals succumb to what we in psychology call confirmation bias - a tendency to interpret information in a way that confirms our preconceptions.

    I posed this question because I knew that there exists a pervasive bias against distance programs but this was the first legal decision that affirmed it. In examining the rulings -- as I explained before -- it was sadly surprising that the quality and content of distance programs did not seem to be considered at all; it boiled down to a simple accounting of chronological time.

    My own hopeless optimism was that on a forum devoted to discussing distance learning, a posting about the acceptance of distance degrees might prompt some brainstorming of how to deal with the prejudices or at least some basic commiseration.

    Well, you saw what happened.
  16. simon

    simon New Member

    Hi GME,

    The gist of my post was to point out that posters were being goaded into a unproductive and defensive repartee by a poster who was not providing valid criticism regarding online doctorates in Psychology BUT was unjustifiably negating their very existence! Not only did this vituperative attack have absolutely no association with the topic of this thread BUT IMO was merely a subterfuge for expressions of diffuse anger. No more, no less.

    Now if a poster comes along with valid criticism and an earnest level of receptivity to discuss the negatives,limitations and positives of an online distance doctoral programs in Clinical Psychology, that is a totally different scenario. However, this was not the case and what has occured is that a very significant thread has been negated and voided. Simon
  17. simon

    simon New Member

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 17, 2007
  18. GME

    GME New Member

    I was told by the former chair of the Capella psych program (who also had a hand in establishing a number of b&m psych programs), that Fielding, which on its face met APA accreditation requirements, had to go pretty far down the road of a lawsuit against APA in order to gain accreditation.

    Seems to me that similar things will happen in some states with regard to licensing.

  19. PsychPhD

    PsychPhD New Member

    It's not just self-enrichment

    Again, simon, I have no issue with the sentiment you are expressing, but it deviates from the real world problem -- people in authority do make decisions based upon incomplete evidence.

    It would be nice if we could all be satisified with the intrinsic reward embodied in earning a college degree. Believe me, I don't need anyone's "validation" to be proud of my accomplishments.

    The problem arises -- and the negativity shown here raises concern -- because we do not live in a vacuum. Some of us may have sought education solely for personal enrichment. But, I would venture a guess that a fair number did so to advance their careers in some way. I am proud of what I have accomplished and am confident that I acquired the training and skills necessary to be a competent psychologist.

    However, if there are people out there (e.g. the Kansas licensing board, Kansas district court judges, the Kansas Court of Appeals) who choose to adopt a very narrow view of the validity/value of distance learning (a la Levicoff), it doesn't matter how self-actualized I feel about my degree -- they have decided that I cannot use my credential in the profession for which I was trained.

    I agree completely that the Levicoffs of the world cloud the real issues with their personal vitriol and red herring arguments. I wish it were as simple as just ignoring them and they would go away.

    However, as such people do exist beyond the confines of this forum, the greater challenge is how to defuse their negativity and forward the understanding of the benefit and legitimacy of distance learning.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 17, 2007
  20. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    I have been following this thread despite the fact that it has no application toward my own situation. It seems to be a bit of a unique situation. There have been some interesting facts established, some good arguments made and even a bit of heat thrown in (although I like my discussions more on the mild side). I think that the question above is a good one. I don't know if I have an answer but somewhere in the thread it was mentioned that there are lawsuits pending in the great state of Kansas related to the core issue of the thread. Perhaps these will move the argument forward.

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