University of Sedona Dissertation

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Garp, Mar 9, 2016.

  1. RAM PhD

    RAM PhD Member

    And you should be confused. Ethically, it is NEVER ok to obtain and use substandard degrees in theology (or any other discipline). If the nomenclature of academic degrees is used, religious schools should be held to the same standards as any other institution. That said, if a school wants to offer some form of training and award a diploma or certificate, that's a different matter entirely. A PhD from a substandard school is not a PhD.
  2. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    I don't agree with this, if I want to study metaphysics at U of Sedona or any other school for personal interest, why should be unethical to study this field at a religious school? I believe you mean using the PhD and deceiving people with the degree and selling your self as an expert or psychologist.

    I personally have studied metaphysics, parapsychology and other religious courses at different schools during the last 20 years for personal interest and have chosen unaccredited schools mainly because of cost, I believe one of these schools granted me a MSc in Metaphysics but I will never put it in my resume for a job as it is irrelevant but I don't see nothing wrong if I want to use it to teach Metaphysics at a spiritual church or becoming a metaphysical minister.

    The ethical issue is about deception, again, these schools should not grant degrees that people can use to abuse the system. A person with a BSc in Engineering and professional license can do a PhD from U of S and then sell him self with a business card as a "John Doe PhD Professional Engineer" making people believe that he is an engineer with a PhD in engineering.

    A clear case of unethical behaviour is below, senator Don Meredith uses the title Dr when the guy never touched a real school but he is a pastor of a Christian church armed with a PhD from a religious school. I wouldn't have a problem if he used the title "Rev Don Meredith" but the title Dr in a public service job just sounds unethical and ridiculous.

    Tory Senator Don Meredith Touts Degrees From Unaccredited Schools
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2016
  3. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    I agree with this.
  4. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    I think a number of issues intersect such as religious freedom, academic integrity and so on. b4cz28 in his exuberance painted unaccredited institutions with too broad a brush (though generally correct). As was pointed out by me and others, there are some unaccredited institutions that are so for religious reasons, yet would likely stack up against any accredited school in terms of quality and have bricks and mortar campuses. I think six or seven schools were mentioned.

    I don't think accredited religious schools would appreciate unaccredited schools being restricted to religious titles since they also issue those. A Masters or Doctorate should meet normative criteria for that level.

    Without question many unaccredited religious schools are substandard or mills.

    How do you protect academic integrity and religious freedom. Is there a way to require all schools operating in a state to meet certain standards to issue degrees without requiring accreditation? We require religious people to meet certain standards to drive and they are issued a license by the state.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2016
  5. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    This is a really good point. The issue really extends beyond accreditation.

    Consider how much heat "Dr. Laura" takes for calling herself "Dr. Laura." Yes, she has a PhD. But it isn't in psychology or counseling; it's in physiology. Yet, she dispenses advice as if she's some sort of Frazier Crane sort. No one argues that Dr. Laura's PhD is "fake." However, it's being used in an arguably questionable context where one might feel it is misleading. This takes us back to our unresolved debate over the mental health practitioner who possesses a PhD in an unrelated field. Or the nurse practitioner who has a PhD in English Lit.

    Even if the degree is legitimate how it is used in the context of your professional life matters a great deal.

    The guy who taught my English Comp course as a freshman has a completely legitimate Doctor of Education degree. Yet, if he put on a white labcoat and walked around a hospital introducing himself as "Dr. Z" then people would likely take issue. If he started offering advice on life and love as "Dr. Z" we might incorrectly assume he's a psychologist.

    Unaccredited religious degrees, when used in the context of a purely religious setting, are really not so controversial. The fact that schools find exemption is a natural extension of the fact that churches themselves receive a fair degree of autonomy from government interference.

    And, again, some of these degrees are necessary for admission to either small denominations or small, but completely legitimate, clergy associations. The unaccredited American Institute of Holistic Theology, for example, as a longstanding relationship with a very well respected interfaith temple in NYC with the clergy ordained by both bodies routinely passing back and forth and sharing a clergy association. Could they do it without academic degrees? Sure they could. And one might argue that they would have a bit more clout if they did abandon the degree method. The licentiate is also up for grabs in the U.S. as this credential is largely (but not completely) unused in US higher ed. So that's fine, if I start the Neuhaus School of Theology, I'll stay away from academic degrees. But that doesn't mean I would support taking away a school's right to award an M.Div.

    One might have an opinion about what a good M.Div. looks like. But the reality is that the degree is wholly religious. And if a religion gets by with shoddy M.Div. programming, that's their business, not anyone else's.
  6. b4cz28

    b4cz28 Active Member

    Great post. That's been my line of thinking as well. I might be painting with a slightly bigger than needed brush. The problem with unaccredited schools is they have no rules to play by. Someone donates money to school, school can grant a degree to said donor. Just an example. Another would be columbia seminary granting 90 hours for ministry training (Sunday school). They might be. A great school but they have no rules to play by.
  7. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Not all that much heat when you consider that she's been on the air for decades.

    She has a master's degree in counseling (from USC) and is a licensed counselor.

    I've been pilloried on this board for maintaining that health professionals using the title "doctor" when they're not licensed at that level--and this is a prime example--are misleading. Her use of the title "doctor" is professionally incorrect because it implies she is a psychologist or psychiatrist. She has an academic title, and using it outside the context of her practice would be fine. Further, I would consider her radio work as an extension of that practice. If she wants to get a radio show talking about physiology, then she can "Dr Laura" it all she wants. But using that title--which is both a professional and an academic one in different settings, is incorrect. It would be as if I was to walk around a hospital introducing myself as "Dr Douglas." Technically true, but very much NOT true in that context.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2016
  8. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    I'd say the amount of heat she's endured is comparable to the severity by which you have been "pilloried."

    I think the crux of the disagreement is that your phrasing "licensed at that level" implies a rigidity of the hierarchy that isn't really there. LMHC is not a lower tier of the same licensing tree. An LMFT doesn't, with time, upgrade their license to a psychologist license. These are all separate and distinct licensure paths which do not cross. Nor can a licensed psychologist (typically) just opt to obtain an LMHC, LMFT or similar license by virtue of their education and training. The accreditation requirements differ for each license. The focus of practice differs. And they are, in fact, all separate careers not lower steps of a ladder leading to a higher tiered license.

    Add to that the fact that there are PsyD's and PhD's available in substance abuse counseling, mental health counseling, social work and all of the other licensed areas and you have situations where an LMHC with a PsyD in Mental Health Counseling falls into your list of someone trying to impersonate a psychologist.

    An LMHC with a PsyD in Mental Health Counseling or an LMFT with a doctorate in marriage and family therapy has an academic degree in their licensed field. Dr. Laura does not. The two situations are not comparable.

    Indeed. I recall a meteorologist when I was a kid who had a call-in/writein segment called "Ask Dr. So-and-so." His PhD was in meteorology so the title of the show was in no way misleading. If he started dispensing sex advice under the same title, I would have had an issue with it (also because the evening news would be a weird time to be dispensing sex advice).

    However, I digress. My point is that Rev. Dr. Jones at the Shiloh Baptist Church may be using his unaccredited doctorate (and maybe his unaccredited M.Div.) in a context where it is appropriate and where accreditation simply doesn't matter. Rev. Dr. Jones may even teach at a bible college where the accreditation of his degrees is of no issue. Unless Rev. Dr. Jones is using his degrees in a situation out of that context with fraudulent intent I fail to see why his unaccredited religious degrees is such a blight on humanity.
  9. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    The jokes write themselves.
  10. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    I guess it's a little bit like the Dr. Phil thing because he's not a Clinical Psychologist either is he? Maybe it's just a show business thing but the fact is that no one seems to care. Maybe that's too bad but it's true nonetheless.

    Hmmm . . . where did we leave that pillory?
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2016
  11. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    I think it's right beside the ducking stool, Kizmet. :smile:

  12. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Is he not? :shock: :question: :question: He's at least got the proper degree to be one. From the Wiki, I learn that Dr. Phil completed his Ph.D. degree in clinical psychology in 1979 at the University of North Texas. He then joined his father, Joe McGraw, in Wichita Falls, Texas, where the elder McGraw had established his private psychology practice...

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2016
  13. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    More info, also from the Wiki:

    After starting CSI, (Courtroom Sciences Inc. - not the CSI TV franchise - J) McGraw ceased the practice of psychology. He kept his license current and in good standing until he elected to retire it 15 years later in 2006

    So - no longer practising (his choice), but he was the real thing, duly licensed and certified, for a good long time.

  14. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Right. Kinda different.
  15. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Oh, it's there all right. When I was a learner at Union, some 80% of us were studying psychology--it was really rare to meet someone who was not. Almost all of them were licensed as counselors (with master's degrees), seeking the PhD (to become psychologists). Not exclusively, but that was the idea.

    Entire schools were established in the 1970s in California to bring people along this continuum--MFCC at the master's level and psychology at the PhD. Lots of unaccredited DL schools. That's why I employed the construct I did. And this association--the master's with counseling and the doctorate with practicing psychology--makes using the title "doctor" without being licensed as one is misleading in a health care context. (Remember, the title "doctor" can be academic, professional, or both.)

    This is currently straining the nurse practitioner field. When my wife became an NP, the master's was used to get qualified. More and more, the doctorate is now used. But when in the clinic or hospital, those DNPs refrain from using the title "doctor" because it connotes "physician," which is not the case. This is a situation in flux, so we'll see how this all works out.

    Dr. Laura should not use the title "doctor" in practice (including her radio show) because it connotes something--psychologist or psychiatrist--she is not. Dr. Phil, as someone who was licensed at that level, has a much more firm claim on the title's use.

    I'm looking forward to Dr. Laura's radio show on physiology. It should be a hoot.
  16. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    OK, my mistake.
  17. b4cz28

    b4cz28 Active Member

    First of no accredited seminary would hire anyone without a properly accredited degree to teach in most cases. People do care, sadly most do not know the difference between unaccredited and accredited. Go over to Tyndale's website and you'd have no idea without some digging the school was not legit. Its about education, proper accreditation insures proper standards.

    If you were a Christian you'd understand that the bible, and understanding it, is very important for people's salvation. There's a lot of false teaching out there. Some very harmful to peoples salvation. If you buy a degree how is that not a blight, and mind you that 99.99999999999999999999 % of unaccredited school are mills. So citing a few as legit does not overcome the fact that most are mills.
  18. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Either explain this figure, or retract it.
  19. RAM PhD

    RAM PhD Member

    The 99.99% is probably stretching it a bit, but his point is well taken and true--the majority. When Levicoff wrote NIFI in the early '90's, the vast majority of religious schools he surveyed were mills. The vast majority remain so.
  20. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    This is incorrect. And we've proven it many, many times when we dig through and find professors with unaccredited degrees teaching at accredited seminaries. We've even found at least one instance of a President of an accredited seminary whose degree was from an unaccredited school.

    The problem here is that you're making up facts on the fly while simultaneously holding that a "true Christian" would never attend an unaccredited school because that would be deceptive.

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