University of Sedona Dissertation

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

  1. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    "Religious degrees" are academic degrees (or in some cases professional). A theology PhD in most cases has a lot more education (credits and years) than standard PhD tracks. No one should advocate allowing substandard degrees to be issued unless they meet normative standards for that field.

    The argument that because a school calls itself religious, it can issue substandard degree titles is ridiculous. The state may not interfere theologically but surely it has a right to set standards for degrees as it does for drivers licenses or any other number of regulated activities.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 1, 2016
  2. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    I think Neuhaus main's argument is that these degrees are not harmful, they might not be ethical but people calling themselves Dr in order to raise a profile to sell themselves as wedding ceremony officiant or spiritual gurus is not really causing harm to society so there is no point to go after them.

    I personally think this is a legal issue, religious schools should not be allowed to grant degrees that might lead to confusion. If there is a need to use of the tile "Dr" in order to sell these degrees, they should be restricted to a DD so the public cannot confuse them with psychologists or other professionals.

    I hire adjuncts at the University level and we hardly check degrees as we mainly rely on previous experience, it wouldn't be so difficult for an BS in Accounting to get a PhD from Sedona in Business Metaphysics (or similar title) and then start teaching as an adjunct. Once you fool one person, the next school would rely on the previous school and the person can become a professional adjunct with a PhD from Sedona in Business Metaphysics. We recently found a guy with a BS and a PhD from Rushmore that has been teaching for years, we cannot remove him from the adjunct faculty because he has been teaching successfully for more than 10 years and he argues that the PhD is legal, We need to bring this to the union and provide legal evidence and no one wants to go through the hazel, the same can happen with a UoS PhD in business metaphysics. Again, the fact that the degree is legal to use can lead to confusion.
  3. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    In the eyes of the state of Arizona it does. Florida has laws against using the title of "Doctor" unless you have a doctorate and specifically allows for degrees from religious exempt schools to meet this requirement.

    So, on the one hand, RAM PHD says that Sedona can't make a person a "doctor." On the other hand, the states are the ones who possess the degree granting authority. So...

    There are a handful of religious groups that have a "Pope." The Roman Catholic and Coptic Orthodox are the most obvious example. But those are religious titles. They are granted by purely religious entities. From a legal standpoint, Pope Francis's title is no more legitimate than Pope Michael's, and vice versa.

    The government doesn't recognize a "true" Catholic Church. It recognizes the right of each religion to determine religious titles for themselves.

    As for President RAM. That's an odd example. Because you can absolutely incorporate a legal entity today, appoint yourself the president and plaster it all over your business cards, LinkedIn and everything else.

    Granted, the President of a company seldom uses the title "President" as a title. But it isn't unheard of. University presidents, for example, do it all the time.

    Again, what matters is the context in which you use whatever degree or title you are granted. If the President of Harvard uses the title "President" when engaging in university business then that's the university's business, not anyone else's. If that same university president is driving around in a black limo and traveling overseas to meet with heads of state while attempting to guide U.S. foreign policy, then it's an unethical use of the title. But within the context of the university it is perfectly fine.

    Accreditation does not make degrees legitimate. Degree authority comes from states. And, in some states, the approval process is quite rigorous. In others, not so much. Some states don't allow for religious exemption. Some do. Some accredited schools have top ranked programs. Others have programs that are considered a "joke" in academia and elsewhere. Accreditation does a lot of things but it doesn't erase the fact that the acceptance of a degree from an institution is done on a case by case basis in many areas.

    But to sit there and say that the approval of a state, which alone retains the right to grant a school degree authority, means absolutely nothing and that the degrees from a particular school with said degree authority are so illegitimate as to render them not just worthless but a non-existent fraud and then to accuse others of pomposity? Really?
  4. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    That, coupled with the fact that many of these unaccredited degrees are only used "in-house" within a denomination and irrelevant to those outside.

    That's a weird position to take, in my opinion. Is it OK for someone with an accredited PhD in Biblical Studies to use their titles in a way that might "cause confusion?"

    So, since you "hardly check degrees" then wouldn't it just be wiser to claim to have a degree from a respected school that they didn't graduate from?

    It just seems to me that you're basically saying that because employers (your's included) are too lazy to do even the most basic due diligence in hiring that we should change the entire system around to make up for that ineptitude. That's a bit like saying "Well, we don't run background checks so we should just make prisoners get a tattoo on their foreheads because otherwise we'd have to exert a modicum of effort."
  5. RAM PhD

    RAM PhD Member

    The issue of substandard, fake, illegitimate degrees will never go away. As long as people are willing to buy them, someone will sell them. My opinion matters little in the broad scope of things, as I am only one person among 7+ billion; however, I would never recognize, acknowledge or reference someone as "Dr." based on a doctorate from a school such as UoS. Not because of academic snobbery or elitist arrogance, it is simply a matter of ethics to me.
  6. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    The use (and, in many cases, even the issuance) of the title "doctor" is largely unregulated. You can't stop it, but you can refuse to play into it.
  7. RAM PhD

    RAM PhD Member

    Indeed, and I refuse to play into it!
  8. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Adjunct hiring is mainly based on references and previous teaching experience. Verification of degrees as you know, it is costly and time consuming. We are talking about a contract for a course here and not a full time position. A person might have good teaching experience and evaluation and a PhD from an unaccredited school, the problem is that many times the hiring committee does not check because the urgency of hiring a person that might need to replace someone.

    Yes, people claim all kinds of things in a resume but a fake degree is an easy way to fire someone but not so easy with a UoS degree. The rationale is that once a hiring committee has accepted a credential, we cannot disqualify the individual 10 years later based on lack of qualifications because a "lazy" hiring committee hired this person 10 years ago and accepted the qualification as acceptable and the person did not misrepresent himself with a fake degree but declared a degree that he holds in a resume.

    This might be a very specific matter of our union but a person with an accredited PhD in Biblical studies with a BS in business does qualify to teach business while a person with an unaccredited PhD in Metaphysics doesn't. The school of business is full of examples of people with PhDs in philosophy, social science, etc that teach at the business school, this is fine as long as the PhD is accredited in the eyes of our school.

    The PhD degree is a philosopher degree, this means that you have learned to think and contribute to a field. Many schools accept any accredited PhD as long as you have 18 graduate credits in the teaching field.

    In any case, you win, I have to let it go this one to rest.
  9. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    The United Metaphysical Churches have been around for a while. It seems not much different from the Christian Scientists in using a term for its denomination different from that term's usage elsewhere.

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