Thursday, October 11, 2007

Dirty Little Secrets of Higher Education, Incest for Fun and Profit Part III

There is a dirty little secret that the administrators of NHMCCD and other colleges really don't want the public to know. Their fancy Ed.D and PhD degrees more often than not are bought and paid for from degree mills. One of whom is Walden University. Yes, it has the same name as the fictitious Walden University of Doonesbury fame. Now technically Walden University is an accredited university, but when you start looking at the degrees it is accredited to offer, you start to understand just how incestuous this place really is. Here is the text from their Accreditation records online:
Accreditation at the Doctoral level is limited to the PhD in Applied Management and Decision Sciences; Health Services; Human Services; Psychology; Public Health; and Public Policy and Administration; the Doctor of Education; and the PhD in Education. No Commission approval required to offer degree programs at the bachelor’s and master’s levels in the disciplines of social, behavioral, and health sciences; education; business; public policy and administration, including interdisciplinary programs, and to courses in other disciplines that support these programs.
You'll note that every degree program is geared primarily towards a public servant job, there is a reason for that. Public servants, like school principals and teachers and college administrators (I'll get to that in a moment.) all are generally paid in proportion to their education level. The higher degree can boost the salary quite significantly. And it is automatic too, as soon as the degree is bestowed, the higher pay kicks in, so there is a strong incentive for public servants to shell out a few thousand dollars to an online degree mill to get a sheepskin (even if it is a faux sheepskin). Most of them know that in a couple years when the accreditation agency starts looking closely, the accreditation will be pulled, but by then, it won't matter.

These places are the ITT Tech of higher education. They have no standardized testing requirement for you to enroll, all classes/tests are online (and open book), and the thoroughness of the dissertation committee is probably pretty spotty at best. The classes start every month too. They probably even give credit for "life experience" too. You would be amazed (or perhaps after all the things you've read here, maybe you wouldn't) to learn the sheer number of school and college administrators and instructors that have partaken in this little subterfuge to jack up the pay grade.

You'd think that the school districts and colleges would be a bit leery of these drive through degree mills wouldn't you? Well you're wrong, in fact they encourage it. Just the other day I was copied on an email that was sent out by Judy Stubblefield at NHMCCD advertising this very FOR PROFIT university using the college district email system. This is a violation of State law. The college district resources may not be legally used to advertise for a private for profit entity. Here is the text of the email:
From: Stubblefield, Judy
Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2007 4:06 PM
To: All Employees
Subject: New Doctoral Program for Community College Educators
Importance: Low

Many of you have expressed an interest in earning a doctorate with a
specialization for community college educators. I am pleased to let you
know of an opportunity for you to do just that with an online university
- Walden University. The program is designed for those aspiring to
administrative positions and for those who want to deepen and broaden
their expertise as classroom instructors.

Walden University is accredited by the North Central Association.
Walden is now offering a Ph.D. Program in Community College Leadership
led by Dr. Terry O'Banion, the program's director.

Some highlights of Walden's doctoral program:

* Highly specialized for community college educators

* Outstanding faculty drawn from the field of community college leadership

* Monthly starts

* No standardized tests required for admission

* Allows you to create an individual specialization and focus such as student services, teaching and learning, human resources, business services, technical education, information technology, etc.

* Allows you to work full time while earning your doctorate at a distance

* Competitive overall cost

Walden will be holding an information session to answer your questions
about this program on Friday, October 12 from 2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. at
District Services and Training Center, in the Board room of Training and
Development Center. If you are interested in attending this session or
learning more about this new doctoral program in Community College
Leadership, please reply to

Judy Stubblefield
Chief of Staff/Board Liaison
North Harris Montgomery Community College District
5000 Research Forest Drive
The Woodlands, TX 77381
(832) 813-6514 phone
(832) 813-6570 fax

By the way the North Central Association DOES NOT ACCREDIT COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES. They pass that duty off to The Higher Learning Commission.
And here is Walden's accreditation record online. You'll note that instead of actually being audited by the Commission, they took a class from the commission that allowed them to skate on the audit. So in other words, throw some money their way on a class and they'll give you carte blanche to print what is essentially money in the form of questionable PhD diplomas.


Blogger Jean said...

Can I get in on that action? LOL

October 11, 2007 4:40 PM  
Blogger Rorschach said...

Probably. Your money is just as green as theirs.

October 11, 2007 4:43 PM  
Blogger Jean said...

heh,heh. ;-) I want to be educated too, eh? muahahahaha

October 11, 2007 5:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have always wanted to be a Doctor.... and make more money.

Seems that the tuition for this is a little steep?

October 11, 2007 10:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Impressive program, however I don't see the accreditation of the major associations and entities that give credence to the major Universities and colleges.

Naturally not as they are competition to the established over priced schools, but this ain't cheap either. More is needed to compare and a survey of the graduates 5, 10, 15 and 20 years afterwards.....

October 12, 2007 5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One mission of doctoral programs in traditional academic degrees is to produce people capable of conducting research to add knowledge to their respective fields. On the other hand, doctoral programs in community college “leadership” are geared toward training people to be community college administrators. Most faculty members who had to work to earn traditional academic degrees do not think very highly of the community college leadership programs. A distance learning program like this one with significant accreditation issues will be considered a sham. While a sham degree like this one appears to be does not prevent a person from being a competent administrator, it does create a credibility issue that is difficult to overcome. Another problem with these specialized degrees is that they tend to produce people who think they have special knowledge for being a community college administrator which may explain the reasons community colleges, like NHMCCD, are being governed more like high schools as opposed to institutions of higher education where shared governance is valued and practiced.

October 13, 2007 6:27 PM  
Blogger Jean said...

anon @ 6:26 pm: "...which may explain the reasons community colleges, like NHMCCD, are being governed more like high schools..."

A tenured prof at NHMCCD said much the same thing to me, that he thought the college was more reflective of a high school environment than an institute of higher education. Isn't that sad???? But True!!

October 16, 2007 10:39 AM  

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