SATS Principal has degrees from "degree mill"?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by johnrsorrell, Oct 26, 2005.

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  1. johnrsorrell

    johnrsorrell New Member

    I was about to pull the trigger on my enrolment at SATS and then I found an old thread where someone said that Dr. Christopher Peppler, principal of SATS, has 2 bogus degrees from a US degree mill.
    Is there any validity to this rumor?
  2. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    Go ahead and pull it. SATS is accredited and its institutional conduct is rigorous and ethical. You are on solid ground.
  3. CLSeibel

    CLSeibel Member

    In its very earliest days (back in the 1990s), SATS openly promoted its relationship with this unaccredited seminary in Florida.

    However, as others have suggested, it has long since moved on to stronger and more credible ties. Even back then, I had no reason to conclude that SATS was ever motivated by ill intent.
  4. Bill Grover

    Bill Grover New Member

    As I recall Peppler does have one doc from a millish US school. However, he also has a (later?) doc from Unizul. While I disagree with the lack of certain Theology courses at SATS (as Bibliology and Theology Proper , last I looked) , I am thinking that the school is indeed credible and substantial.
  5. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    Chris Peppler's (accredited) doc from Unizul is indeed later than his other one.
    Posters on this forum have applauded the redoubtable Dr Clifton (whose absence is keenly felt) for adding accredited degrees to supplement and in a sense rectify earlier unaccredited ones; the same courtesy ought to be extended to the amiable Dr Peppler.
  6. DesElms

    DesElms New Member


    Firstly, what Janko, CLSeibel and Bill Grover said. It's the institution, not its personnel, that is accredited. You'll not be shooting yourself in the foot in the least to go ahead and pull that trigger.

    However, secondly, I certainly understand your concern. It's valid... maybe even sound. I, for one, would not mind a bit if this now became a launching pad for an interesting and thoughtful discussion of completely legitimate institutions which have working for them those with an allegedly questionable credential of some kind. We, here at DegreeInfo, often call such situations to the attention of the public -- outing people, as those in other fora like to call (and criticize us for) it -- and our concomitant downlooking upon them. Yet here we have Dr. Peppler... a clearly brilliant, ethical, spirtual, decent, honorable, well-intentioned, effective pastor, teacher, and principal of an accredited institution of higher learning, with, possibly, at least one questionable credential... or so it is alleged.

    If so, then how is he different, I would ask purely for the sake of argument, from others of whom we, at DegreeInfo, are so frequently critical for similar reasons? Why are the likes of Dr. Peppler okay, but others we've so roundly criticized -- and who often end-up as a member or a friend of the likes of what I call The Crabby Forum (and other such places) -- are not? Are we showing the Dr. Pepplers of the world some kind of favoritism? A double standard? Or are we not really as rigid as we're so often accused -- usually elsewhere -- of being?

    I think this is a perfect opportunity to discuss -- thoughtfully and intelligently -- an issue, or maybe a behavior of ours, for which we, here at DegreeInfo, have been oft-criticized in other fora. We can, if we choose, take this opportunity to examine or defend our collective position right out here in the open, where it belongs.

    I'm so interested in both sides of this issue being fully represented and explored that I humbly request that those in the Crabby Forum (whom I know are reading this) who still have active and usable usernames here come back and use them to participate in this thread. If you do, don't be afraid to get a little passionate about it here if you're so moved. Just keep it civil and constructive -- even if critical -- and keep your points comments both on-topic and aimed at the issues and the salient points of the opinions expressed (rather than those who express them), and you'll be in no danger of being banned or anything like that.

    I think this could be cool... that is, if we conduct ourselves with dignity and afford others and their opinions the respect they're due.

    Or maybe not. Maybe no one cares. I just thought I'd try to spark some intelligent and thoughtful debate about a potentially "hot" issue; while, at the same time, warning all that it really needs to stay intelligent and thoughtful (and on-topic and not about personalities) or moderators will most definitely step in. I'd love to see, for the benefit of newbies and others who are still trying to get their minds wrapped around this curious world of distance learning and accredited-versus-unaccredited institutions, this whole thing hashed-out by the very sharp folks that I know hang-out in this place... or who merely lurk... including those critical of it.

    C'mon, everyone... chime in!!! I see that Janko, who posted his immediately above while I was writing this, has already done so.

    And so it begins...
  7. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    It's the Mouseketeers!:p :p :p
  8. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Re: Re: SATS Principal has degrees from "degree mill"?

    OK, I'll bite, but only partially.

    When I think of the whole process that has affectionately been called outing, I imagine Madame DeFarge, knitting as the guillotine drops. I hear a certain roar of approval in the mobus vulgaris, smell the sweat of the downtrodden working folk who'd been told they should go eat cake. I hear the call of the tick-tick-tick (or, as they say in The Corisican Brothers, the bomb de terror), and the sense of personal satisfaction that some seem to have that vigilante justice has been doled out yet again.

    And the keep them guessing, almost Oil of Olay-esque renewed youth of those who watch the blade slide down, reassured, once more, that all is well with the world because another "degree holder" has had his head torn from him.

    No, wait. The guillotine example is not a good one. It implies swift, clean, instant effect.

    I see the Puritans, standing around a pillorying, throwing the rotten tomatoes and other various foodstuffs of their attempts to humiliate, rather than set things right in a civilized fashion. I hear the swift swoosh of the beaners as they sit in the back, shooting their beans, reminding those in the pews to stay awake during the sermon, lest they miss the public spectacle. When the eggs and tomatoes run out, the great Scarlet UA is placed on the tomato and egg covered dame's lapel, for the required period of penance. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Decent Country Preacher who knocked up the dame in the first place carries with him the secret knowledge that under his own overcoat, over his own heart, is ....

    Oh, to heck with the literary allusions, for I have come here to bury the unaccredited degree holder, not to praise him. The degrees that men earn live after them, the work they did for them is oft interred with their bones. So let it be with the UA degree holder. Noble RA holders have told you that UA degree holders are ambitious; and if it is so, then it is a grievous fault.

    The degrees may or may not be earned, but RA holders are honorable men, they are all, all honorable men, come I to speak at the UA degree holder's funeral. They were my friends, my UA degrees, and my skills for which they were conferred did they my personal satisfaction's coffers fill: did this in them seem ambitious?

    Yet RA degree holders say they are ambitious; and RA degree holders are honorable men.

    I speak not to disprove what RA degree holders speak, but here I am to speak what I do know. Some of you approved of such degrees once, not without cause, what cause withholds you then, to now approve them?

    What cause, indeed, now withholds you to approve? The need for the unaccredited degree has vanished, now that the "real" universities offer DL. So men who were not frauds, liars, and shills in the obtaining, somehow, some day, after the turn of the millenium, suddenly became men of dishonor, deserving of Scarlet UA and public humiliation for their once acceptable deeds.

    But these people were too ambitious; so say the RA degree holders, and they are all, all honorable men.

    So bring on the tar, the feathers, the tomatoes, the eggs, beaning utensils, a full bag of beans, the knittin' fixin's -- Madame DeFarge is having a howdown showdown over at the Guillotine Bar and Grill ... there's a lynchin' to be had -- children get in free so they can get learned real good what we do to them nasty UA degree holders what's got too much ambition. (Offer not available in Quebec, void where prohibited. Professional driver on a closed course. OAC. Not valid in states ending in "n".)

    P.S. There ain't no such thing as an ethical person with just one questionable anything. That's like being just a wee bit of the ol' pregnant, now, isn't it, luv? Either the person is ethical, or they are not. Which is not to say that this person is not -- but that perhaps the anything in question is not questionable. Now, I don't know the school, or the person in question -- but I do know something: the Devil is in such details. Or so I've heard told.
  9. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    partial bite

    Uh huh.

    I'd hate to hear how you talk with your mouth full, Quinn.

    I think we agree on this matter but it's a bit hard to tell.
  10. Jack Tracey

    Jack Tracey New Member

    Re: Re: Re: SATS Principal has degrees from "degree mill"?

    I believe that "ethical" refers to behavior. Because a person can modify their behavior it is easy to imagine that someone might behave in an unethical manner at one time and in an ethical manner at some later time. In this way an unethical person can become an ethical person. Of course, it works in reverse as well.
  11. Mark A. Sykes

    Mark A. Sykes Member

    I do not know the details of Dr. Peppler's credentials and cannot comment on his specific case; I am speaking instead, upon DesElms's invitation, about irregularities in academic records.

    I think an individual's intent, as demonstrated by how the unaccredited credential is presented, makes the difference. If someone purchases a bogus degree in order to satisfy requirements for employment or promotion, he has violated the trust of his employer - or in the case of the public sector, compromised the integrity of a public office - by willfully falsifying details about his education. I do not accept any argument that the degreeholder is the victim having acquired the degree in good faith; you don't 'earn' a degree with an application and a check any more than you can get great deals on genuine Rolex watches from a guy on a streetcorner.

    Such a person should be 'outed' - here or elsewhere - and face the consequences, be they termination or prosecution.

    On the other hand, if someone has properly accredited academic credentials and it is these alone upon which a career or reputation is built or office is held, but whose spotty history nonetheless bears a bogus degree then I think we should grant leniency. That person has acknowledged his insincerity with the fraudulent diploma and reaffirmed the validity of accredited degrees. With a nod to QuinnTylerJackson, it is a far, far better place he went after finding a school on the CHEA institutional directory.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 27, 2005
  12. DesElms

    DesElms New Member

    Re: Re: Re: Re: SATS Principal has degrees from "degree mill"?

    When I took freshman "Introduction to Philosophy" some 30+ years ago, the gist of my final paper was much that; and one of my illustrations was that of a co-conspirator who plots with others a multiple-felony bank robbery, but who would not dare commit a misdemeanor traffic violation while driving to a planning meeting. I got what I now realize was an undeserved A+ on the paper, by the way... and the course. Go figure.
  13. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: SATS Principal has degrees from "degree mill"?

    Now that I'm sober (oh man someone turn out the lights) ....

    One thing that is missing from the whole equation of "outing" is a little thing called all the facts.

    Someone who says he's Harvard, but didn't go -- is one thing, but in the unaccredited institution arena, one man's thrift store is another man's junk yard is another man's antique shop.

    Degree that started out as a decent choice for someone who knew his future needs, all of a sudden becomes problematic.
    Person who thinks it's a junk yard makes a few calls, sends a few emails, posts a few links ... and the whole ball gets rolling. Social momentum comes into play as opinions all of a sudden take on new weight in such a scenario, as others chip in their views on the junk yard.

    "They outright sell degrees!" someone proclaims. "I heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend that you been goin' aroun'."

    "They made my pet gerbil Henry a Ph.D.!" declares another.

    "Must be so! Burn the witch! Burn the witch until there ain't no burn left to burn!"

    I've seen it happen that way, as far back as 2001, with people other than myself. Speculation, innuendo, assumption, gun powder, match.... boom. That's not tick-tick-tick -- that's throw gasoline, throw wood, throw match. The Molotov Cocktail at the CV, as opposed to the "timebomb in the CV", if you will.

    Now, someone can come along and say, "Hey, I didn't go to that school, it's not my responsibility to use due diligence before I start a barn fire in someone's life...." But, um, actually it is someone's responsibility to practice due diligence when they plan to torch a barn -- to make sure there's no people inside the barn, for instance.

    If the issue of unaccredited degrees were really as simple as "they're all bogus" -- these discussions would have ended years ago. Two major specialists in the interpretation of such things disagreed on specific schools for years. But somehow, in the heat of the night, when someone comes across someone on the web they think is doing something "fishy" -- time to break out the torches and get the crowd hopping.

    Ethical behavior includes ethical means of expressing dissent and disagreement. Reacting to something perceived as unethical does not obviate the need for rule of law, and does not open the door with the golden key and permit the mobus anything goes access to the lives of private citizens.

    Sure, sure, the Expose-em-high Apologists will rationalize their own "outing" behavior as being correct and proper. They "only" do it in gross circumstances. They only do it while praying the rosary. They only do it with certain "well-known" less-than-wonderfuls. They only burn barns that deserve to be burned to the ground.

    The end does not justify the means when the means is unethical, even in the grossest of cases. There are legitimate means to deal with those. But what about the cases where there is no legitimate recourse? In the cases where there is no legitimate recourse -- maybe there's a good social and legal reason there is none.

    Now, the specific question raised was should Dr. X be somehow exempt from certain pillorying behavior where Dr. Y is not? (Or something like that.) An examination of favoritism or double standard. That is like (given what I've just blathered on about) saying: "Is there anything wrong if we allow our movie stars and sports heroes to stray widely from the law, but hang the commoner high in the wind?"

    Should tortious interference be committed when we deem it acceptable? (For any value of "we" -- I'm not being personal here, I hope you realize.) Against those whom we (again the impersonal "we") deem it fit?

    If that is truly the attitude that people are going to vest themselves in, then the cry from the rafters of "self-righteous vigilantes!" will certainly follow.

    Nobody should be raked throgh the mud. Period. It is unethical. It is cruel. It can be illegal (in all states, not just those ending with "n"), if it ventures into certain realms. It is not noble. It is not honorable.

    In the gross cases, there are ethical, disinterested, legal, noble, and honorable means to deal the cards. These means, in those cases, are there for a reason.

    Those who would expound upon the many metaphysical joys of accreditation would speak of the lofty Golden Standard it represents. There is also a Golden Standard in the matter of which I speak. Would those who defend the ubiquitous (and some would call for mandatory) adoption of standards as the cure-all abandon them in special cases that personally irk them?

    And yes, this even includes those who "sweat it out and paid through their noses" for their RA-credentials. That someone else "did the traditional time" by paying for what they wanted to pay for at a place they wanted to go should say, "There's no way I'm gonna let someone else think he can bypass what I had to go through!" is akin to my saying "Since I have suffered X for the last 16 years, everyone else should, too, and I'm going to make sure that happens." (Or, to put it another way: "You think you had it hard? At least you had a school! I studied in a rolled up newspaper at the bottom of the lake! Well, at least you studied! Every day, when I went to class, my teacher cut me in pieces and danced on my grave!" Um, yeah -- well ... nudge nudge, wink wink... saynahmore, nudge nudge....)
  14. Kirkland

    Kirkland Member

    Re: Re: SATS Principal has degrees from "degree mill"?

    I'll take a chew on this topic since I post on both sites.

    I am sure Dr. Peppler is an honorable man and has good reasons for his academic background. I suspect he is no different than many valuable and successful people. What concerns me is this concept of "questionable" and what the standing aversion is to things "questionable".

    How do we defiine what is questionable and what isn't questionable? Like Hemingway who described his writing style as being like the tip of an iceberg leaving the rest to the reader's imagination, so too is the word "questionable". Damning and emotional, yet unspecific and unscientific. Are we equating questionable with unacceptable? What some worry about may not be a concern for others. Many worry about things they would like others to worry about thereby creating an issue where one may not exist.

    These things work both ways. For example, acquiring an academic degree in an absurdly short period of time from an institution, even one regionally accredited, based on credits from CLEP testing rather than struggling through course work for years, could be considered questionable. Starting or teaching at unaccredited schools and then proclaiming there is no reason for unaccredited schools to exist is questionable. Any distance education these days is potentially questionable since it is still misunderstood and mischaracterized. Few people, especially those who accomplish things, are immune to questions. Should we live our lives in such a manner that we placate all who may have an opposing opinion? The negativity attached to what is called questionable may actually hint to the bias and be in the interests of those raising the questions.

    My advice is: know what you are about, know what you are doing (and have been doing), and be prepared to defend yourself at all times. This works as well for individuals as it does for nations.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 27, 2005
  15. Jack Tracey

    Jack Tracey New Member

    Re: Re: Re: SATS Principal has degrees from "degree mill"?

    To me this advice seems unassailable.
  16. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: SATS Principal has degrees from "degree mill"?

  17. Guest

    Guest Guest

    The Goose and Gander Principle

    As I said, Janko:

    and in response, you asked, in summary:

    My answer is, yes, one size should fit all, goose and gander alike.

    Which means that I should apply it to myself, first most of all.

    When I am absolutely perfect, free of sin and flaw, I'll be sure to let everyone know*, so they know they have my particular set of standards to seek as a beacon.

    Until such time, I'll have to settle for allowing geese to be geese and ganders to be ganders, and seek to temper my own conduct rather than that of others, while at the same time wishing for a world where both sides of the fence keep their barns standing (so the geese and the ganders, bulls and goats, lions and lambs have a place to sleep).

    *No worries -- it won't happen T.S.O.A. As you were, folks -- no perfection to see here. Move along.
  18. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    And the specific actions? What about those?
  19. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    It would help a lot if somebody could post a link to that old thread. I'd like to know which 'US degree mill' this is, who made the charge and what their evidence was.

    I notice that the SATS staff page doesn't say where faculty and staff earned their degrees.

    I did find this: Dr. Christopher Peppler DipTh (BTCSA)- MTh (ITS) - ThD (ITS)_- PhD (NU)_- DTh (UZ)

    But I'm not really sure what 'ITS' is (not the ACI 'accredited' DL school in Florida, I hope), or 'NU' either for that matter. (Natal University?)
  20. JamesK

    JamesK New Member

    Re: Re: SATS Principal has degrees from "degree mill"?

    There is this thread, where a post by "Russell" says

    Note that this thread was found by Google, not the forums's search function.
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