Who is Margaret Soltan, diploma mill expert

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by John Bear, Nov 8, 2005.

  1. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    I've just listened to a 12-minute interview with her on Irish radio, in the matter of the science advisor there with the Pacific Western doctorate. She was introduced as an American diploma mill expert, and indeed she did speak knowledgeably and accurately on the facts and issues, although she went further than I would in calling Pacific Western "one of the better-known diploma mills."

    She is a professor of English at George Washington University, and I'm wondering if anyone here has run across her before.

    Link to her interview:

  2. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Her blog, "University Diaries", has addressed diploma mills on several occasions.
    Follow the link to the latest entry, which in turn will lead you to others.

    Looks like she has also just posted about the interview in question.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 9, 2005
  3. davidhume

    davidhume New Member

    This is truely incredible!

    There is someone else in the world who is an expert on diplomas mills and they do not post at Degreeinfo!

    Ummm.. that makes her suspect
  4. DesElms

    DesElms New Member

    That sort of small-mindedness and egotism is not what either characterizes Dr. Bear, or motivated his thread-starting observation/question. From what I know of him, he believes there's more than enough room in the universe for as many diploma mill experts as it can handle, even if they don't happen to post at DegreeInfo... that is, as long as what they say is true, accurate and misleads no one.

    Cheap shots don't become you, David. Would you mind, therefore, knocking it off, please? Thanks.
  5. George Brown

    George Brown New Member

    I may be missing something, but I don't think David was having a shot, just a passing 'tongue-in-cheek' comment. Am I wrong?


  6. ashton

    ashton New Member

    I also interpreted davidhume's remarks as tongue-in-cheek. It reminded me that if all the people interested in distance education were to post here, the number of posters would be so huge, we would hardly ever recognize a poster's name or ID; the people we recognized would be buried in a flood of newcomers.
  7. davidhume

    davidhume New Member

    I just won $100!

    I bet myself that Des Elms would be the first to bite! He hasn't let me down.

    Thank goodness George et al have a sense of humour.

    But do think seriously about the heading of this thread - " Who is......." It does smack of something, doesn't it?
  8. DesElms

    DesElms New Member

    Who knows. But that's how I interpreted it. Considering the source, I don't think that's unreasonable. If I misinterpreted, however, then I apologize...

    ...but I don't think I did.

    DegreeInfo should have such problems.

    Nice try at a recovery, David; but you, me and God know that I wasn't even on your mind when you posted, earlier. Also, if you bet yourself $100, then how could you be up a hundred by winning, or down a hundred by losing? Oh... wait... I just bit again.

    Nor will I ever.

    Indeed he does. It's just misdirected, in this case.

    Only, it seems to me, to those who seem to have ongoing issues with, and/or negative things to say about, John Bear; and/or who post frequently in other fora that do.
  9. davidhume

    davidhume New Member

    Des, you will be excited to know that you were formost in my mind when I posted.

    Why did I post? Because when Dr Bear asked 'Who is..." then goes on to answer his own question " She is..." and it is in relation to someone who has spoken knowledgeably on diploma mills in a public forum, then there is something in the post that perhaps only the likes of Freud can explain.

    As life on this forum can be precarious, I will say no more....

    Oh, except to say that I see the lady in question is now our newest member to Degreeinfo....
  10. DaveHayden

    DaveHayden New Member


    Welcome Margaret!

  11. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    exhumation makes sceptics of us all

    Deadeye Deselms nails it once again, subsequent bullroar notwithstanding. Hume's humour (sic) fell deadborn from his keyboard, since it was a humourless shot at Dr Bear.

    Ms? Dr? Soltan was last heard from by me commenting on a brouhaha involving a professor at the University of Alaska in Nome whose doc was from IUGS in St Kitts.

    No one has ever, to my knowledge, actually gone over the St Kitts accreditation protocol--which does exist and is not the business licence on offer from Cayman Islands, BVI, etc. I wish some one who is expert in the substance of accreditation requirements would do so in a new thread; it may have merit, it may be substandard, it may be risible, but the term accreditation is used by a sovereign government--not a British dependency like the other two cited, or Montserrat for that matter. I would be interested in a quality assessment of the current SKN state of affairs. Perhaps John or Rich--or Caldog, who did yeoman service on another question relating to accreditation--can oblige. If not, some one else expert in comparing accreditation standards among different accreditors should do so.

    Here is the link. Last revision was in February of this year, apparently.


    Oh, yes. Proleptic welcome aboard to Margaret Soltan, who has not yet posted.
  12. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    I thought that David's post was just a bit of humor. (Heaven knows that we need it.) Degreeinfo does tend to be insular sometimes. So he feigned surprise at discovering that there are people interested in our issues who don't already post here.

    I REALLY wish that our Degreeinfo threads wouldn't always turn into ego-battles.
  13. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Active Member

    DesElms, I thought that you were probably mistaken until I read this post. Sorry for thinking that you were mistaken. :)
  14. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly

    This symbol means "just kidding"

    Am I the only person who can see that David put a ;) in his post? Looks clearly tongue-in-cheek to me.

  15. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly

    Re: exhumation makes sceptics of us all

    Deadeye Deselms nails it once again, subsequent bullroar notwithstanding. Hume's humour (sic) fell deadborn from his keyboard, since it was a humourless shot at Dr Bear.

    I found the original commant wasn't, but the subsequent one, well, no, it's not what I would have said. But back to the business at hand!

    No one has ever, to my knowledge, actually gone over the St Kitts accreditation protocol--which does exist and is not the business licence on offer from Cayman Islands, BVI, etc.

    I'm not the expert you requested, but I've looked at the standards for SACS and for the University Council of Jamaica and the ones for St. Kitts/Nevis don't seem out of line. I'm basing that having read the guidelines in PDF a while back, they seemed more comprehensive than the web page you listed.

    However, I don't think the question is whether the standards are okay, but instead whether they're observed. Is it possible that Berne paid someone off? Sure, it's possible. Or that they simply made a mistake when accrediting Berne, based on whatever Berne told them. It's not like iffy schools have never been accredited by U.S. regional accreditors.

    I've always thought that the Eastern Caribbean states should assign the task of tertiary accreditation to the OECS Education Reform Unit.

    Oh, yes. Proleptic welcome aboard to Margaret Soltan, who has not yet posted.

    Yes, welcome!

  16. Steve Levicoff

    Steve Levicoff Well-Known Member

    Margaret Soltan? Never heard of her.

    But keep in mind, kiddies, that an indicator of whether one is a degree mill "expert" is not whether you consider yourself one, but whether other consider you one.

    That said, I'm surprised no one here has done a basic Yahoo or Google search on her - you would find well over 3,000 references (which is far more than I have ever had on a search engine). Many of which are quite impressive.

    Obviously, John Bear has given a passing grade to her interview on Irish radio (and actually, I like the fact that she includes Pacific Western as a mill, which I have always done myself).

    Frankly, also welcome Margaret and hope she establishes herself as an active participant here at degreeinfo. (And, not putting too much significance on gender, we have needed a prominent female expert in this field since Marcie Thorson cut back on her involvement). But I don't know how hopeful I'd be about Margeret becoming involved here more - unlike many in this forum, she appears to have a life. :D

    . . . not to mention that she may not want to get involved with the ego games that are often played around here - like in this very thread. No wonder I retired from this biz. :p
  17. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    Re: Re: exhumation makes sceptics of us all

    I notice that the St. Kittsean accreditors aren't members of the INQAAHE.

    Something that worries me about places like St. Kitts is that none of the universities that they accredit are domestic. They are all run by Americans or other foreigners who have been attracted to set up operations there.

    So there's a real mixed message. On one hand we are supposed to believe that this accreditation is sound and comparable to our own. But on the other hand, these governments want to attract off-shore schools in order to promote their own economic development.

    One suspects that they offer attractive regulatory regimes in order to do that. If it was as difficult to create a new university St. Kitts and its neighbors as it is in the United States, then what would induce all these American educational entrepeneurs to look overseas?

    I'm not reassured by accreditation procedures that seem to exist for no other reason than to place fig-leaves over iffy schools run from abroad, so that they can proclaim their 'GAAP equivalency' in their marketing back home.

    Probably the best things that these islands could do is to get away from treating higher education in the familiar tax-haven and shipping-registration-haven manner. They might be well advised to create a single regional accreditation body to replace their many individual island processes. And they should bring in outside observers and advisors, whether from an American regional accreditor, from the Association of Commonwealth Universities or whatever, to lend the thing some international credibility.
  18. decimon

    decimon Well-Known Member

    She addressed that with this:

  19. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    The adjective is "Kittitian".
  20. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    Four years ago, in a St. Kitts thread, Adelheid (where is Adelheid?) identified quite a good site, run by a former Golden Gate U. registrar, Jason Vorderstrasse, quite an expert on St. Kittsian accreditation:


    Sadly not there any more, but thankfully available through the Wayback Machine at www.archive.org. The version I just looked at had quite helpful summaries of the following St. Kittsian degree-granting institutions (as of 3 or 4 years ago):

    * American Conservatory of Music
    * Berne University
    * Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College
    * Eastern Caribbean University
    * Grace University School of Medicine
    * International University for Graduate Studies
    * International University of Health Sciences
    * Medical University of the Americas
    * Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine
    * St. George University International
    * St. Kitts & Nevis College of Further Education
    * University of America
    * University of the West Indies
    * Wakefield International University
    * Windsor University

    Eastern Caribbean University was one of my favorites. It was run from a garage in Smithville, Texas, offered degrees based on the study of James Bond films, and was fully accredited by St. Kitts.

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