Unusual Honorary Doctorate

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by newsongs, May 18, 2020.

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  1. newsongs

    newsongs Member

    Honorary Doctorates don't usually carry much "weight" but this one looks substantial. He appears to have been practicing in his field for quite a while. No other degrees are mentioned, but life experience is clearly a large part of the basis for the honor. The field is counseling and is hands (paws)-on rather than distance education. With his medical condition, it was probably imperative he be honored by the school at this time. Virgina Tech has a decent reputation.

    https://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2020/05/18/therapy-dog-doctor-degree-graduation-virginia-tech-eg-orig.cnn
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2020
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  2. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Virgina Tech? Never heard of that school. Could it be Virgin or Vag*na Tech? Don't mind me. Today, I'm being a typo police :D
     
  3. newsongs

    newsongs Member

    Given your proclivity with proofing skills, you'll have a field day with me...ha. The mistake could have been worse. I'll grab a second cup of coffee on the west coast. Apologies to Virginia Tech!
     
  4. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    You're fine lol. Don't we all proofread best after hitting the submit button? Haha!
     
  5. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    In what way does it look "substantial"?

    Honorary doctorates are nothing and everything simultaneously. They're nothing in that they're merely awards. They're everything in that they are doctorates just like any other. The basis for the award is different--honorary vs. for cause--but the title is the same: doctor.
     
  6. newsongs

    newsongs Member

    The dog in the story looked "substantial"... an attempt at satire!
     
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  7. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    The article explains it all.

    I think it changes the discussion entirely on what the meaning and purpose of a doctorate is. We might start to see a trend where talented and experienced professionals like the one mentioned in the article will be awarded terminal degrees based on their portfolio of experience and achievements. I'd go so far as to say that if HE didn't have a doctorate, then NOBODY should have a doctorate because it would seriously devalue their significance if they were to be held back from someone who has contributed so much to his field.
     
  8. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    This is nothing new. It is how graduate education got started in the US (at Harvard). John Bear tells us about it in his books.

    In the late 1970s, National University revolutionized higher education using computer power. They built a single-entry database system that was used all over the university and connected each campus in real time--quite an achievement back then. The University offered degrees through the master's degree--no doctorates. Still, they awarded the half-dozen or so faculty members who designed and led the implementation of this system earned (not honorary) doctorates for the achievement (the DSc). One of them was a professor of mine who related the story to me, but it was also documented elsewhere. Each of them wrote up their experiences and the results, but these were not really doctoral dissertations. The degrees were awarded on the basis of their achievement, not some subsequent thesis written about it.

    As for this article, I'm not sure it rises to the level of Harvard awarding an honorary master's degree to Kermit the Frog. You know. A talking sock.
     
  9. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    There's no consistency in how honorary degrees are awarded. Sometimes they are awarded to local politicians and, I'm sorry to say, I don't think I've seen a single holder of political office do anything worth a damn, let alone a doctorate. Yale awards Masters degrees to faculty upon receiving tenure. Honorary doctorates have been awarded to amazing contributors and to people who donate a lot of money. Then, of course, you have the degrees that are awarded posthumously when students perish before graduating.

    As Rich says, the end result is "doctor." Not nearly as many people care about the dissertation, its topic, how it was delivered etc as some on this board would lead us to believe. Personally, I think that the D.Sc. story for NU is pretty cool. I am split between wishing that happened more and being glad it isn't a common practice.
     
  10. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    I always love a good John Bear story.

    The one thing that both Kermit the Frog and Moose the Dog have accomplished is bringing joy to countless people.
     
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  11. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    John told the story about Harvard, as well as the one about Kermit. The NU tale is mine.
     
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  12. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

  13. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    At the ceremony where Kermit the Frog got his honorary doctorate, a (human) graduate was quoted as saying that she had worked her tail off for four years, and they give a doctorate to a sock puppet. I think it was Admiral Byrd's pooch that got the fine honor of "Doctor of Faith and Fortitude."
     
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