Thursday, November 11, 2004

Money and study are substitutes 

Someone on campus noted that 60 Minutes did a piece on diploma mills for Ph.D.s last night. The catch on this one? They built a "church" on the grounds.

There was the better part of an issue of the Chronicle of Higher Ed on this topic a few months ago. This article (free) points out the reach of these diploma mills into higher education:
A member of a college accreditation board holds a Ph.D. from a "university" that sells doctorates to anyone with $1,500. This year The Chronicle reported that Michael Davis, a member of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, received his doctorate from Saint Regis University, which claims recognition from the government of war-torn Liberia and requires little, if any, academic work. He has since been booted from the board.
I would think so. A nice illustration of how degree mills work can be found here (requires Flash player and a subscription to the Chron.) Says the investigative reporters who covered this (in another pay article):
This is not about low-rent hucksters churning out fake diplomas at Kinko's. In fact, a three-month Chronicle investigation demonstrates that the diploma-mill industry is far larger, more sophisticated, and more intertwined with legitimate higher education than most people might imagine. In this upside-down version of academe, words like "university" and "doctorate" don't mean what they do to the rest of us. Yet its graduates claim the same credentials on their r�sum�s and often put familiar initials, like "Ph.D.," after their names.
My colleague is correct to wonder whether any such people are working here at SCSU.