Yahoo search reveals plenty of mill degree holders

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by geckoz, Mar 26, 2001.

  1. geckoz

    geckoz New Member

    Just on the broached subject of SGUI Ed.D faculty member at Mercer, a quick search of Yahoo for "Kennedy-Western" reveals quite a few highly positioned employees with Kennedy-Western credentials. No doubt a more thorough search of the web for people with dodgy credentials will reveal some startling results.

    So, what has been uncovered at Mercer is just the tip of the iceberg.

  2. tcnixon

    tcnixon Active Member

    And this has long been known. However few have wanted to follow-up on the thousands of people doing this.

    Nor do I necessarily see much value in tracking down all of these people.

    Tom Nixon
  3. geckoz

    geckoz New Member

    The scary bit is, that there clearly is value in purchasing a higher degree, given that some accredited universities do accept academic staff who have such degrees.

    If a university misses or turns a blind eye to a Ph.D gained from places like Kennedy - Western, then I am highly suspicious as to the quality of their offerings. It also shows that such a university does not carry out adequate quality control.

    I wonder how much credibility my education would have if I wanted to pursue a higher degree and then said that my academic supervisor was such and such, and this guy has a Ph.D from KW or similar institute of lower learning. All of my creditibilty would been blown to bits, and most likely, I'd have to do some catch up studies. Time and money wasted.

    These things do have consequences. And I do believe the onus is on the reputable university to check up on the qualifications of their academic staff. However, the last few hours that I've spent searching through the net, it is clear that many are failing in this duty.

    cheers, (however uncheerful these discoveries are....) , geckoz.
  4. Guest

    Guest Guest

    This is correct! Using Yahoo, Google and other search engines will reveal more than a few instances where graduates of less-than-wonderful schools list the degrees.

  5. levicoff

    levicoff Guest

    You raise an interesting issue here, and I'm sure that the scope of this problem (legit schools having faculty members with phony degrees) is much larger than we realize. Moreover, the problem will continue to grow due to the increase in online programs and so-called international programs.

    However, I would respectfully disagree with the notion that a student is always the loser because of one faculty member with a questionable degree. In the better nontraditional graduate programs, the onus is largely on the student to design his or her degree program. Therefore, it is the student rather than the faculty that often determines the credibility of an individual's degree program.

    Thus, I have seen instances in which mediocre programs come out of The Union Institute (my doctoral alma mater), even though Union has an outstanding core faculty. And I have seen outstanding programs come out of Luther Rice Seminary, which has a mediocre reputation as a school.

    I do not doubt that someone like Rich Douglas, for example, could do a credible program even though he is enrolled in MIGS, a degree mill. (Well, I'm not holding my breatgh, but I do not doubt the possibility.) [​IMG]

    Even then, however, a person who has done a credible program with a questionable school will still have to do some heavy tap-dancing to prove that his or her individual program was credible, and the pedigree of the degree (the institution) can still be a millstone around one's neck.

    With regard to persons who hold degree mill doctorates that have managed to gain positions at legitimate schools (such as Maggie Jensen being hired by Mercer University with her doctorate from St. George University International), there are mills, and there are mills, and there are mills. It takes substantial research to document how MIGS is a degree mill (one has to dig deeper for information that does not appear on their web site), while it is quite easy to determine that St. George is a mill (which can be done by reviewing the web site itself).

    Still, the notion that someone could be naive enough to believe she has a credible doctorate when she works with people who do have credible doctorates is as absurd as the notion that a credible school would have hired her in the first place. Even then, the students at Mercer may have Maggie Jensen for one or two courses, and her phony doctorate should not end up reflecting poorly on their Mercer degree.

    (Informational note: Mercer's School of Education grants degrees through the Ed.S. - what used to be called the "masters-plus-30" and is also known as a C.A.G.S. The School of Education does not grant doctoral degrees.)
  6. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    Geckoz writes:
    And Steve writes:
    I simply don't believe that Mercer doesn't know. The education department obviously vetted her when she was hired. And the other faculty would have had an interest in who their new colleague was. This wouldn't have been missed.

    My guess is that Ms. (Dr.) Jensen is somebody who they wanted very badly to hire. Perhaps she has some extensive experience with inner city Atlanta schools or something. Unfortunately she only had a BA, and university regulations may have made it difficult to hire a faculty member without an advanced degree. So everybody agreed to look the other way while she got one as quickly as possible.

    They probably thought that doing that would make her entry more presentable in their faculty roster, but instead it has led to people trying to destroy her career and reputation.

    My guess is that many of those in high places with bogus doctorates follow a similar pattern. Probably few of them were hired in an open competitive hiring situation, especially given the unemployment rate among people with doctorates. Instead they were insiders who the bosses wanted to promote but for their lack of a terminal degree.
  7. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I agree with Bill. Positions such as the one in question could not possibly have been secured on the basis of the St. George doctorate alone.

  8. David Yamada

    David Yamada New Member

    It appears there was a brief period of time (mid to late 80s?) when doctoral degree holders from institutions roughly at the level of Calif. state-approved status were being considered for academic and other positions that traditionally were reserved for folks who possessed RA doctorates.

    I think this was particularly the case with Columbia Pacific University and the pre-accredited version of The Union Institute.

    It would be interesting to know if many who turned up in that Yahoo search fall into this category. If so, some understanding would be appropriate. In the case of Columbia Pacific, in particular, it was a leading non-residential university for a brief period of years, before its round of troubles. Based on earlier editions of Bear's Guide and the word on the street, it was seen as a legitimate, albeit unaccredited, alternative. Many enrolled in it with only the best of intentions and did serious academic work there.

    Nevertheless, based on my admittedly casual acquaintance with Kennedy-Western (i.e., looking at its catalog once or twice), I would share concerns expressed here.

    David Yamada, [email protected]
  9. H. Piper

    H. Piper member

    Originally posted by BillDayson:
    So everybody agreed to look the other way while she got one as quickly as possible.

    They probably thought that doing that would make her entry more presentable in their faculty roster, but instead it has led to people trying to destroy her career and reputation.

    Bill, it sounds as if you disagree with Steve's tactics regarding Ms. Maggie's millstone.

    Steve can be harsh - brutal sometimes. (This from one of his biggest fans.) But I have a good deal of experience and knowledge of human nature and human psychology. Should I "enroll" in a mill and get a quick doctorate so I can put up a "The Doctor is IN" sign like Lucy on Peanuts? And then should I get righteously indignant and say, "How dare you!" when Steve confronts me and my employers with my bogus educational credentials?

    No, I think I'll sit back and watch Maggie and Mercer lie in the bed they made while Steve jumps up and down on it with glee.
  10. Gerstl

    Gerstl New Member

    From Steve:
    I think it would depend on the student/professor relationship. The effect of this on the typical mercer grad is probably small--this will blow over quickly enough. Consider, however, the student who chooses someone with a degree mill degree as a doctoral advisor. In many fields you are defined by your advisor for many years (in my subfield, people ask about my advisor, not my school). If your advisor gets canned b/c of a fake degree, it could take many years to get out from underneath the noteriety. Additionally if any students have her as a PhD (yes, I know Mercer Ed doesn't give one) or masters student, they might find themselves starting over.

    From B. Dayson:
    This is almost certainly the case.

    From H Piper:
    Somehow I can't picture Steve and Maggie in the same bed [​IMG]
  11. JMcAulay

    JMcAulay New Member

    Marginally apropos, many moons ago on a.e.d, I mentioned my awareness of a community college Professor who was called "Doctor" by his colleagues, yet the school Catalog did not show him as the holder of a Doctorate.
    He did hold a Bachelor's and Master's from RA institutions and was in addition qualified as a Psychiatric Nurse and California Marriage, Family, and Child Counselor (now "Marriage and Family Therapist"). I was advised by one who claimed to be in the know that his Doctorate was from a California Approved school, not RA. Of course, he did not require a Doctorate for his position with the school.

    Perhaps this might not be uncommon.

  12. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    Yes, I do I guess. Actually I am kind of reacting emotionally, while intellectually I am undecided.

    I think that I have always been a strong opponent of degree mills and sham schools. I enjoy seeing them exposed. But I am less comfortable extending that to individuals, destroying their careers, reputations and lives.

    If a person is an out and out fraud, fine. Take down the scam artists and medical quacks. If they are endangering the public, by all means go to the press. But in some of these cases, the people destroyed may have a lot to offer. Obviously using a fake degree is a very stupid decision, and it is even worse for an employer to encourage an employee to do so. But in some cases at least, the person is competent and the decisions were all made for the best of motives.

    If we all were destroyed for the stupid decisions we made in the past, few of us would be here today.

    Actually I don't know how I would handle this, except that I would do it more quietly and with less glee. These kind of ethical breaches shouldn't just be ignored and certainly something should be done. But I guess that I would try to avoid breaking things unless it were absolutely necessary. Start out politely and discreetly, and work from there.

    These people may have been the ones who poured the gasoline on themselves, but I take no pleasure in tossing the lit match.
  13. David Yamada

    David Yamada New Member

    Bill's post is a thoughtful and balanced one.

    Distance learning and alternative higher education in general are done no favors by degree/diploma mills and those who pony up mill credentials as legitimate. But I agree that a more discreet approach is appropriate, at least at the beginning.

    I'm equally curious to know how Mercer dealt with her doctorate at the hiring stage. Entry-level, full-time teaching positions are at such a premium now that a respectable regional university like Mercer will have its pick of some pretty decent people to fill Assistant Professor slots. In addition, hiring committees tend to have their ear to the ground as to which graduate schools are producing strong candidates for teaching gigs. If a school is unknown to a committee, it seems almost a sure bet that someone would check it out!
  14. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Bill's point is well taken!


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