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Information resources concerning unaccredited degree-granting institutions



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  • UNESCO Portal on Higher Education Institutions.

    "This portal offers access to on-line information on higher education institutions recognized or otherwise sanctioned by competent authorities in participating countries."



    Scholarly works, etc. on accreditation and higher education oversight




    In the news

    • Kan. IT chief resigns over questions about degree, Tim Carpenter, The Capital-Journal, November 8, 2011.


      Gov. Sam Brownback accepted the resignation Tuesday of the executive branch's new chief information technology officer following disclosure the $150,000-a-year appointee's college degree was acquired from a diploma mill.

      Jim Mann, 58, submitted a brief letter of resignation to Brownback — hours after the governor defended him in the wake of inquiries regarding Mann's possession of a business administration degree from the University of Devonshire.

      The University of Devonshire isn’t accredited by leading higher education agencies in the United States and United Kingdom. The school is affiliated with an umbrella company regarded as one of the leading marketers in off-the-shelf college diplomas.

      "The questions surrounding my qualifications to perform and deliver in this position have compromised confidence in me and in my integrity," Mann's letter said. "As such, I am no longer an asset to your team and your IT mission."

      Brownback led a news conference Monday announcing the hiring of Mann to lead an aggressive centralization of technology systems in the state government's executive branch. The Republican governor expressed confidence Mann had the background and skills to reduce costs and improve performance of the network relied upon by state agencies.

      The Topeka Capital-Journal reported Monday afternoon the University of Devonshire was part of a consortium of schools in the University Degree Program, a company viewed as one of the most prolific diploma-production enterprises.

      The University of Devonshire isn’t accredited by the Council of Higher Education Accreditation in the United States or the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education in the United Kingdom.

      On Tuesday morning after a Statehouse news conference, Brownback reinforced his confidence in Mann's capacity to reform the state's information technology network. He said he selected Mann based on a thorough review of his record with former employers.

      The hiring had nothing to do with Mann's acquisition in 1995 of a business degree through a distance-learning program, Brownback said. The governor wasn't aware until after announcing his hiring the unaccredited institution was a featured actor in the diploma-mill industry.

      Brownback said the governor's staff didn't spend much time examining Mann's scholarly record. His resume listed studies at the University of Maryland and the University of Devonshire.

      "The education was not a factor in his hiring," Brownback said.

      Under questioning, the governor said Mann should be judged by his performance as a state government leader in Topeka.

      Brownback joked that he wished Mann possessed a degree from Kansas State University, where the governor graduated before completing law school at The University of Kansas.

      Mann submitted his resignation Tuesday afternoon, and Brownback accepted it. The search for a new state chief information technology officer was immediately reopened, a spokeswoman for the governor said.

      "Please accept my sincerest apology," Mann said in the resignation letter. "I wish you and all Kansans nothing but the best as you strive to bring excellence to Kansas' information technology systems."

      Mann, of St. Augustine, Fla., started work Oct. 31 in the $150,000-a-year job overseeing computer projects and systems for the executive branch. All state agencies, except the Kansas Board of Regents, were directed by Brownback to report to Mann.

      Mann most recently worked at Service Brands International in 2010, but he resigned after less than one year in that job amid a philosophical dispute with colleagues at the company.

      Before the resignation was submitted, Brownback said he understood many people in the information technology sector performed at a high level without earning a college degree. The governor, a Kansas agriculture secretary from 1986 to 1993, said his technology specialist at that agency did a fine job without a diploma.

      "My IT guy was a former meat cutter," the governor said.


    • ICE Raids University of Northern Virginia Offices: School prohibited from accepting foreign students, Jackie Bensen, Washington D.C., NBC Washington, July 29, 2011.


      Dozens of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents raided offices at the University of Northern Virginia's Annandale campus Thursday.

      The University of Northern Virginia is an unaccredited, for-profit private university that calls itself the most popular American university for students from India. Thousands of students are registered at three locations in northern Virginia.

      Agents have removed boxes of documents from a building on Little River Turnpike where the university leases two suites.

      The university temporarily can't accept any foreign students, reads a notice posted on the door of the offices. UNVA students must leave the country immediately if they are unable “to continue to attend classes and maintain their active status in a manner required by federal government regulations,” the notice reads.

      “Today, officials from ICE’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) served University of Northern Virginia officials with a Notice of Intent to Withdraw (NOIW) UNVA’s authorization to admit foreign students,” read a statement released by ICE spokeswoman Cori W. Bassett.

      The school was told it can no longer participate in that program, but no specific reason was disclosed.

      No charges have been filed nor people arrested but the school is being investigated to see whether it conforms to federal regulations for the administration of student visas. Those regulations were tightened after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

      The school is not closed, and students can attend class.

      Foreign-born students at the campus Thursday said they have attended classes in the building and earned degrees from the school. One said the school helps students get their student visas.

      If the investigation discovers the school improperly handled student visas, the school could face severe penalties.


    • Trinity University sues online school to protect its trademark, Guillermo Contreras, My SA, July 23, 2011.


      Trinity University is suing an entity that offers online degrees, accusing it of trademark infringement.

      The San Antonio liberal arts and sciences university seeks a federal court order barring Trinity Learning Foundation from using “Trinity University” on its website or using that name to promote its programs.

      The suit was filed Thursday in San Antonio

      Trinity Learning Foundation, headquartered in Delaware, did not respond to requests for comment.

      “Because they are using our name, we feel it's an infringement of our registered trademark and can lead to trademark dilution,” said Mary Denny, associate director of communications for Trinity University. “We're very proud of our reputation.”

      Trinity Learning Foundation's website says it offers graduate information technology degrees, a master's in business administration and bachelor's degrees in nursing and health management, among others.

      But some of those degrees are offered under “Trinity University” on the foundation's website, including degrees the San Antonio institution doesn't offer. It's “a complete infringement and could be damaging to our reputation,” Denny said.

      This isn't the first time Trinity University has battled over its name. In 2007, it settled a trademark lawsuit with Trinity College in Washington over that entity's attempt to change its name to Trinity University.

      Additionally, Trinity University reached a settlement in 2004 with a diploma mill then known as Trinity College & University.

      That deal ended a lawsuit in which the university said Trinity College & University — registered in the British Virgin Islands but with purported offices in Louisiana — infringed on the Trinity University trademark.


    • College records don't match principal's resume, Adam Weintraub, Mercury News, San Jose, California, July 20, 2011.


      SACRAMENTO, Calif.—The private school principal accused of inappropriately touching young girls has decades of education experience, but some colleges and a state commission said Wednesday their records don't match the credentials he has claimed.

      Robert Adams is principal of Creative Frontiers School, which was closed by police and state regulators Monday amid allegations that he inappropriately touched female students over a 15-year period. He has not been arrested or charged and held a news conference Wednesday to declare his innocence.

      On a resume filed as part of a 1999 bankruptcy case, Adams stated he had earned a master's degree and received state education credentials at several California universities. But officials at those schools and the state credentialing body said Wednesday their records do not match the claims.

      Adams' attorney did not immediately return a call seeking comment. A telephone number associated with the address for Adams' home in Folsom, another Sacramento suburb, was disconnected.

      Adams and his wife, Saundra, filed a petition in December 1998 for protection from creditors while they reorganized their finances under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The filing said the school in the Sacramento suburb of Citrus Heights was damaged by "catastrophic floods" in 1995, and the school was sued for wrongful termination the same year.

      Slow repairs and heavy legal expenses hurt the school's finances and enrollment, the couple said in documents filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Sacramento.

      As part of the case, Robert Adams filed a resume as evidence of his experience as an educator. The document said he graduated from California State University, Northridge with two bachelor's degrees and a California teaching credential.

      CSU Northridge spokeswoman Carmen Ramos Chandler confirmed Wednesday that Adams received a bachelor's degree in child development in 1972 and another in psychology in 1975. But she said the school had no record of a teaching credential issued to him.

      Databases at the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing show no record of any educator credential—for teaching or administration—issued to Adams, spokeswoman Erin Sullivan said. Such a credential is not required to teach in a private school in California.

      The resume also stated that Adams attended graduate school and obtained a California administrative credential in early childhood education from the University of California, Los Angeles. It said he completed a master's degree from Pacific Oaks Teachers' College in Pasadena, in "coordination" with UCLA and the now-defunct University of Beverly Hills.

      UCLA spokeswoman Claudia Luther said the school could find no record that he had attended, although she said the records are not perfect. Helen Williams, a spokeswoman at the UCLA Extension program, also said there was no match in its records to any student with Adams' name and age.

      A representative of Pacific Oaks College, Matt Nehmer, said its registrar's records show that a Robert B. Adams attended the school in 1980, but not that he had graduated.

      News reports from the 1990s described the University of Beverly Hills as a nontraditional school that awarded degrees based on life experience, lacked accreditation for at least part of the time it operated and was described as a "diploma mill" by some critics. The school closed in 1986.


    • New cop fired over diploma questions: Authorities say degree he received was from unaccredited college, Paul Nelson, Times Union, July 20, 2011.


      SCHENECTADY -- Less than 24 hours after being sworn in as new police recruit, John Laviano was fired Tuesday because the online college where he apparently received credit for life experiences is not accredited.

      "It caught everyone by surprise," Police Chief Mark Chaires said Tuesday when asked about the embarrassing episode, which apparently came to light after a local media outlet raised questions about Ashwood University, the college where Laviano majored in criminal justice after graduating in 2010 from Guilderland High School.

      "This was just an honest mistake," Chaires said.

      Chaires emphasized that Laviano, 22, who also served in the Army in Afghanistan, was not trying to circumvent the system and never attempted to "mislead" city and police officials.

      He was one of five recruits to take the oath of office during a City Hall swearing-in ceremony that was to start a six-month stint at the police academy Wednesday. Laviano could not immediately reached for comment.

      Chaires said the department relies on the "generally very thorough" county civil service commission to do background checks to make sure the college prospective recruits attended is accredited, a prerequisite for taking the civil service exam.

      In fact, the chief stressed that civil service has in the past prevented potential recruits from taking the test because the school they attended did not meet the prescribed standards.

      "We operated under the assumption that he had been certified by civil service," Chaires said.

      The department's own more rigorous background search also failed to flag the school.

      "We'll learn from this and move on," said Chaires, noting that in the future they will double-check a prospective recruit's schooling.

      In most cases, there is hardly ever a question of whether area two- or four-year schools, such as Siena College or Schenectady County Community College have the proper credentials.

      There is conflicting information online about whether Ashwood is a so-called diploma mill.

      One website seeks to dispel that notion and even offers testimonials to back up that contention.

      Under the heading "An introduction to Ashwood University," the website,, states the school "provides students with authentic and accredited degrees on the basis of life and/or work experience," offers internationally recognized and widely accepted degrees and diplomas, and provides lifetime credential verification service to students.

      Specifically, the web site states it is accredited from World Online Degrees Education Accrediting Commission and the Board of Online Universities Accreditation.

      Still, others warn would-be students to stay away because the school is a "scam."


    • Sch'tady police recruit fired amid questionable college degree, Beth Wurtmann, News Channel 13,, July 21, 2011.


      SCHENECTADY - Police Chief Mark Chaires admitted Wednesday that mistakes were made when hiring recruit John Laviano.

      "This is just something that fell through the cracks," Chaires told NewsChannel 13.

      Laviano, a 22-year-old decorated Army veteran who has seen combat in Afghanistan, was sworn in Monday with four other recruits. But when questions were raised about his online college degree from Ashwoord University, Laviano was fired two days later.

      "I think what happened is just that this university is somebody that carries it to an unethical and dishonest and illegal extremes," said Chaires, suggesting that the university is a diploma mill.

      The website for Ashwood University advertises the chance to get accredited life experience for your online degree, and that for $725, a student can even earn a degree in 15 days.

      "Just because they say they're accredited, doesn't mean they are officially accredited," said William Stewart, a vice president with Excelsior College, a distance learning institution based in the Capital Region. He said students should do their homework before getting an online degree to make sure its programs and the accrediting body are officially recognized.

      "Most employers will say you need a degree from an accredited institution so if it's not, you may run into a situation like this gentleman did," Stewart said.

      "John Laviano is a really good kid he didn't try to misrepresent anything it was a honest mistake, its not police corruption," Chaires said.

      The Police Chief said the former recruit showed a lot of promise, and that if he someday gets a legitimate degree, the department will consider hiring him again.

      NewsChannel 13 was not able to reach Laviano for comment Wednesday.

      A spokesperson for Schenectady County said because of the degree problem, Laviano should also not have been allowed to take the Civil Service exam, and they are looking at the process to see what happened.

      You can check out your university at these links:


      U.S. Department of Education:


    • Look who Obama's hired for cybersecurity team: Ex-Clinton staffer 'lost' thousands of White House e-mails, booted by DHS for faking credentials, World Net Daily, July 18, 2011.


      An elite team of computer technicians assembled by the Obama administration to protect Pentagon networks from cyberattack shockingly includes a former Clinton official who "lost" thousands of archived emails under subpoena and who more recently left the Department of Homeland Security under an ethical cloud related to her qualifications, WND has learned.

      The administration in May quietly hired Laura Callahan for a sensitive post at the U.S. Cyber Command, a newly created agency set up to harden military networks as part of an effort to prevent a "cyberspace version of Pearl Harbor."

      The move raises doubts about the administration's vetting process for sensitive security positions. In 2004, Callahan was forced to resign from Homeland Security after a congressional investigation revealed she committed résumé fraud and lied about her computer credentials.

      Investigators found that Callahan paid a diploma mill thousands of dollars for her bachelors, masters and doctorate degrees in computer science. She back-dated the degrees, all obtained between 2000 and 2001, to appear as if she earned them in 1993, 1995 and 2000, respectively. She landed the job of deputy DHS chief information officer in 2003...

      Previously, as a White House computer supervisor, Callahan threatened computer workers to keep quiet about an embarrassing server glitch that led to the loss of thousands of archived emails covered by federal subpoenas pertaining to multiple Clinton scandals.

      Former co-workers say they're shocked that Callahan passed a security background check and landed another sensitive post inside the federal government.

      "She's a security risk," said a government computer specialist. "I don't know how she got clearance."

      "We're fuming about it," said another federal employee. "Knowing her, I don't see how she could ever be 100-percent honest."

      A CyberCom spokesman said Callahan could not be interviewed and did not want her "name in public." Asked for Callahan's title, he claimed such information was "personal."

      CyberCom, which began operations last year, is part of the U.S. Strategic Command located in Fort Meade, Md.

      The Defense Department last week revealed it recently suffered a massive cyberattack, even as it announced a new strategy to actively combat online threats to national security.

      Laura Crabtree Callahan testifying before the House Government Reform Committee in the Project X White House e-mail scandal investigation.

      In March, hackers working for a foreign government broke into a Pentagon contractor's computer system and stole 24,000 files. Previous cyberattacks have been blamed on China or Russia.

      A new Pentagon study stresses the need to fortify network firewalls against enemy hackers. Callahan will be part of that effort at CyberCom, which will lead day-to-day defense and protection of all Defense Department networks.

      "She's a dubious hire, to put it charitably," said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, a government watchdog in Washington that sued the Clinton White House to retrieve missing emails.

      As WND first reported, several Northrop Grumman contractors working on the White House computer system testified in early 2000 that Callahan (née Laura Crabtree) threatened to jail them if they talked about the "Project X" email scandal even to their spouses.

      One technician, Robert Haas, said she warned him "there will be a jail cell with your name on it" if he breathed a word about the glitch to anybody outside their office.

      Chip Sparks, a White House programmer, recounted a run-in he had with Callahan in 1997. After questioning a technical decision she made, he said she wrote him a threatening note.

      "Please be advised I will not tolerate any further derogatory comments from you about my knowledge, qualifications and/or professional competence," Callahan blasted Sparks in a March 3, 1997, e-mail, a copy of which was obtained by WND.

      Callahan had to do some quick backpedaling after her House testimony. The day after she testified, she sent an affidavit to the House Government Reform Committee, stating: "I wish to clarify that I did discuss e-mail issues with the Department of Justice attorneys in connection with currently pending civil litigation," referring to a lawsuit brought by Judicial Watch. She had denied such contacts at the hearing.

      Callahan left the White House under an ethical cloud, only to land a top position elsewhere in the Clinton administration. Labor Secretary Alexis Herman made her deputy chief information officer at her agency, and director of its information technology center.

      While there, she oversaw the development of the Privacy Assessment Model, which agencies were to use to better protect sensitive personal data managed by the government.

      "It's hard for me, having worked with this individual, to believe that she was able to come in there, do what she did, leave the things in the condition that she left them in and then fly right into an SES (senior executive service) position at the Labor Department," Sparks said.

      "I mean, there's political favors there," he added. "It's writ large."

      House Government Reform Committee investigators at the time said Labor knew Callahan got her degree from a diploma mill, yet still employed her. They found that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management tipped Labor off to her questionable credentials.

      "We have requested the Homeland Security IG to look at why flags that had been raised about her educational qualifications in her personnel file at the Labor Department were not taken further," said House Government Reform Committee spokesman Dave Marin at the time.

      He told WND that the government certainly cannot risk hiring someone with "fraudulent credentials" to head a senior position in an area as "sensitive as homeland security" computer operations and communications.

      Calls to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management seeking comment about Callahan's latest hiring were not returned.


    • Degree of scrutiny for Dave Serrano: New UT jobs posted requiring bachelor's, but baseball didn't, Andrew Gribble, Knoxville News-Sentinel, Knoxville, Tennessee, July 12, 2011.


      Dave Serrano hasn't shied away from addressing the scrutiny of his academic credentials in the past, and he certainly wasn't planning to when he interviewed to become Tennessee's new baseball coach last month.

      He said he had nothing to hide, and the members of UT's search committee felt the same way.

      "I understand when you're working with higher education that it's going to be an issue," said Serrano, speaking with the News Sentinel during last week's baseball media opportunity at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. "I never tried to mask anything or hide anything."

      As an assistant at Cal State Fullerton in 2003, Serrano obtained a bachelor's degree from The Trinity College and University. Classified by many as a "diploma mill," the institution is not accredited and will award the degrees for "life experience." According to its website, the The Trinity College and University is registered in Dover, Del., and based out of Spain.

      Following a 2007 season in which he was named Baseball America's Coach of the Year for taking UC Irvine to the College World Series, Serrano emerged as a front-runner for the coaching vacancy at Oregon. Shortly after Serrano interviewed, a Eugene (Ore.) Register-Guard story raised questions about the validity of his degree.

      After Oregon athletic director Pat Kilkenny told the newspaper he was "reviewing" Serrano's degree, Serrano, who also interviewed at UT during that time, withdrew his name from consideration and ultimately landed at Fullerton.

      Serrano, who spent two years at Cerritos College and one at Fullerton as a player, said he was urged by his "superiors" at Fullerton to finish the work toward his degree. The Trinity College and University was "the way they felt he could do it."

      "Obviously, sometimes you make choices in life and there's scrutiny out there," Serrano said. "I would prefer to be judged by the people and the players over all my years of my coaching career, what I've done for people as a coach and a mentor and how I've led them in life and being successful.

      "People could judge my education, but I know when it comes to coaching and leading young men, I feel like I have a doctorate in that area."

      Shortly after former coach Todd Raleigh was relieved of his duties in May, UT, on its online job board, requested that its new baseball coach possessed a bachelor's degree, but it did not require one. That caveat in the job description was atypical of the school's previous and present requirements for its coaching positions.

      Currently, UT is looking to hire three assistant coaches - two for men's track and field and one for volleyball. All three positions require a bachelor's degree and prefer a Master's, according to the job descriptions on UT's official website.

      UT women's athletic director Joan Cronan, who, as interim vice chancellor of athletics, spearheaded the baseball coaching search after Mike Hamilton's resignation, said she wasn't involved in the hiring process when the job post was drafted.

      "We did our due diligence and looked at (academic progress rates) and grade-point averages," Cronan said. "His history in there was as high as any of the coaches we looked at. The importance of graduating his players was very important.

      "I thought he was the best total package for Tennessee."

      In Serrano's final two years at Cal State Fullerton, his teams notched back-to-back APR scores of 939, 14 above the benchmark set by the NCAA. Only once, his first year at Fullerton, did a Serrano-coached team score below 925.

      "I want the proof to be in the pudding with how many kids are graduated from this university and what we're doing with these kids and what they do when they get out of here," Serrano said. "And I don't just mean Major League Baseball."

      Inheriting a program that was hit with APR-related sanctions during Raleigh's tenure, Serrano doesn't exactly have much room for error when it pertains to academics. With a hire that she considers to be a "home run" at the helm, Cronan said the program is in good hands with Serrano, no matter how he acquired his degree.

      "Anybody who knows Joan Cronan knows that I firmly believe that they're students first and athletes second," Cronan said. "It was important that we hire somebody that academics was important to them. At the end of the day, I felt that academics were very important to Dave Serrano."


    • University of Wales must review link-ups, advises QAA: The higher education watchdog the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) has advised the University of Wales to review all its partnerships with colleges worldwide, BBC, United Kingdom, BC News Wales, June 22, 2011.


      It investigated three of the university's link-ups with foreign colleges which shed light on the shortcomings of a system in which academic staff from Wales travel across the globe to vet, validate and moderate overseas links.

      In response, a University of Wales spokesman said the institution was making "many transitional and transformative measures".

      "In order to continue to safeguard standards and the student experience the University of Wales will, in partnership with its proposed merger institutions, develop a new international strategy which is embedded within Wales," he said.

      QAA has, in line with its policy, published a statement on its findings and recommendations on its website.

      Here are excerpts from the report:

      Accademia Italiana, Bangkok

      Reason for investigation: BBC Wales alleged the college was operating illegally, according to Thai authorities.

      "The concerns team wished to investigate whether any advice had been taken on legal or financial matters, since the University had provided no papers that indicated that such investigations had taken place.

      "However, when the concerns team met with the vetter in a group of Validation Unit staff, he had no memory of having made a visit to Accademia Italiana in Bangkok."

      "There was no investigation of the legal status of Accademia Italiana in Bangkok at any time."

      "From later correspondence with the university, it has been confirmed that the university relied on assurances from Accademia Italiana in Bangkok that they had 'verbal confirmation' of the approval of the Thai authorities, but not 'approval in writing'.

      "The concerns team concluded that the university's vetting of its partner in Thailand was inadequate... The 'validations' carried out were flawed".

      "In the matter of approval by the Thai authorities, it appears that the University satisfied itself with oral assurances by Accademia Italiana that approval to operate from the Thai government had been secured, with no primary written evidence from the Thai authorities themselves."

      Fazley International College, Malaysia

      Reason for investigation: BBC Wales alleged it was being run by a pop star with two bogus degrees.

      "No appraisal of the college's accounts", "no financial advice was sought", "no legal advice was sought on the capacity of the partner to contract".

      "There is no particular reason to believe in this case had such investigations been carried out, they would have discovered anything that would have undermined the university's confidence...However, this must be regarded as merely good luck".

      "The pro-forma tells the university that 'Dr' Yaakob holds a DBA from 'the European Business School, UK'.

      "There is a 'European Business School, UK': it is part of Regents College, and awards degrees from the Open University.

      "It does not award the degree of DBA. It is a perfectly respectable institution, but 'Dr' Yaakob certainly did not do a DBA there.

      "'Dr' Yaakob is not buried in the small print... (the university) had and missed the opportunity to be circumspect about the management and owners of Fazley International College".

      The concerns team found no sign that as managing director 'Dr' Fadzli Yaakob had any direct influence on the standards of programmes of study validated by the university.

      "However... more 'academic' due diligence might have caused the university, if not to reject the connection with Fazley International Colelge, at least to manage it in a way that gave less room for ridicule".

      Turning Point Business School, Singapore

      Reason for investigation: Complaints from students. Unnanounced sale of the school by one set of owners who had problems with debts and subsequent disappearance of the second owners one year later, leaving the students unsupported.

      The QAA say that "to judge the financial or legal standing of a potential partner, a committee of academics needs professional advice from an accountant or a lawyer; probably, in the case of an overseas partner, a lawyer from the country in question".

      In this case University of Wales vice-chancellor, Professor Marc Clement, considered it "sufficient" that one member of the validation board was "qualified as an accountant".

      "The university apparently took no legal advice, either in the UK or Singapore, as to the status of the owners."

      "The university had not briefed staff involved in 'vetting' on the status of the investigations and judgments they made; and members of the committees charged with making recommendations or decisions did not have a common view as to what they were deciding upon."

      The second owners, who later disappeared leaving the students in the lurch, were not checked out either.

      "The background of the owners was not investigated, and no information about financial stability was sought. No professional advice was taken on either matter."

      The university appoints moderators who must visit partner institutions twice a year for the first five years and once a year thereafter.

      Initially, moderators failed to make any visits to this college.

      These were replaced by moderators who did make the requisite visits, one of whom had been assigned to 14 different colleges simultaneously even though a moderator is only supposed to be assigned a maximum of five institutions at any time.

      "In the light of the disappearance of the first owners, and the long list of unfulfilled demands made by moderators and Validation Unit staff in March 2010, the university's decision to accept the assertions of the new owners at face value... seems culpably credulous".


    • 33 diploma mill suspects nabbed in Beijing, Zhang Xuanchen, Shanghai Daily, June 20, 2011.


      BEIJING police have arrested 33 suspects for allegedly selling fake diplomas and degree certificates and swindling 7.97 million yuan (US$ 1.23 million) out of 339 people, including nearly 200 senior company executives.

      Police said victims paid prices ranging from 20,000 yuan to 190,000 yuan for academic credentials from bogus universities with names similar to prestigious colleges overseas, Beijing Times reported today.

      In most cases, no class and test was required before victims were handed over diplomas and degree certificates that appeared authentic with embossed stamps showing recognition from a phony college and China's Ministry of Education.


    • Grand jury critical of policies in El Dorado Sheriff's Office, Carlos Alcalá, Sacramento, california, Sacramento Bee, June 19, 2011.


      The El Dorado County Sheriff's Office needs to fix its treatment of women in the department and prevent deputies from using phony educational degrees to gain pay increases, according to the El Dorado County grand jury's report released Friday.

      The grand jury's 2010-11 report focused three of its 12 sections on the Sheriff's Office.

      A newly elected sheriff, John D'Agostini, took over the department at the beginning of the year.

      The report's section on gender bias in the department outlined a female staffing level far below national averages, and a pattern of gender bias complaints that jumped in 2010.

      Roughly 5 percent of sworn officers are women, according to the report. It contrasted El Dorado's level to a national average of 12.8 percent in communities of similar sizes.

      The department saw 12 gender bias complaints filed in 2010, double the number for 2008 and 2009 combined, the report said.

      Six of the complaints were upheld, yet in half those cases, "individuals did not have records of disciplinary action related to the complaints in their files in the El Dorado County Human Resources Office," the report said.

      It also noted a pair of discrimination lawsuits had been filed against the department by female employees.

      The report called on the department to give women more opportunities to work in job areas considered critical to advancement and to recruit women and minorities for future openings.

      Harassment policies need to be better communicated and enforced as well, the report said.

      With respect to educational attainment, the report noted that five sworn officers, including a lieutenant, had gained pay increases – known as educational incentive pay – based on diplomas from questionable sources.

      "One officer applied for entrance into Richardson University on August 20, 2004, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice only 27 days later, after completing 22 classes," according to the grand jury's investigation.

      The body's report noted that the district attorney has not found enough evidence to prosecute these cases, in part because Sheriff's Office policies were vague and some evidence has been destroyed.

      The grand jury called on the Sheriff's Office to cease accepting "diploma mill" credentials and to bring educational compensation in line with what officers receive in other nearby jurisdictions.

      The third section of the report to focus on the Sheriff's Office acknowledged cost-cutting in the office, but suggested the department could save more.

      It recommended tightening the use of take-home vehicles, reducing duplicate phones – desk and cell – for individual employees and putting civilians in some positions currently filled by sworn officers.

      The civil grand jury is a body of citizens charged with looking into government operations.

      The grand jury will present its full report to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

      Elected officials who are served with reports have 60 days to respond. Non-elected officials have 90 days.


    • Troopers show degrees of dishonesty, Shawn Vestal, Spokane, Spokesman-Review, June 17, 2011.


      When Washington State Patrol Trooper Daniel Mann talks about his days at Berkley – if he ever does – it's probably nothing like you imagine.

      No free-speech protests or sit-ins. No dropping acid and sitting in a tree. No examination of the great pinko texts. Or any texts. Not to mention no lectures, no quizzes, no classes.

      Mann's "Berkley" experience involved a single 11-page paper written in the fall of 1998, titled "Drugs Should Not Be Legalized." This was his "final" paper, as well as his "initial" paper, as well as his "only" paper. He sent a couple grand to the "University of Berkley" in Michigan and waited for his diploma to show up.

      Then he started collecting a bigger paycheck for his educational advancements.

      Nothing wrong with that, right?

      Well, that depends. The information above comes from the scathing conclusions of an investigation into Mann's actions in 2009, in which Assistant Chief James Lever recommends his firing.

      "I believe Mann knowingly submitted a phony academic degree from the University of Berkley to the WSP for increased pay and promotional points," Lever wrote. "This act clearly constitutes a violation of the rules, regulations and policies of the WSP. … It is simply not reasonable to believe that he did not realize that a Berkley degree was not legitimate. He knew what he was doing was wrong and the facts of the case clearly demonstrate continued attempts to both cover up and prevent any scrutiny of his actions."

      But the State Patrol, after moving initially to fire Mann and several others, chickened out and gave them suspensions of several days. This followed the 10-month paid vacation while they were being investigated. Washington State Patrol spokesman Bob Calkins said the discipline was based on the notion that the troopers had used bad judgment, not intentionally defrauded the state. They stopped receiving the extra pay and repaid more than $50,000 – Mann alone repaid nearly $12,000.

      The next move for the Diploma Mill Gang was obvious: Sue the state.

      The suit – call it Chutzpah v. Common Decency – was filed in King County Superior Court in December by Mann and four other troopers. They allege that the State Patrol defamed them in some public statements – as well as in some of the minor misunderstandings the patrol didn't clear up. It takes a lot of huevos to do what Mann did and then sue the state alleging, among other things, "outrage."

      The investigation into the diplomas followed the news in May 2008 that dozens of government employees had purchased counterfeit degrees from a Spokane diploma mill. While the five troopers didn't buy their diplomas from the Spokane operation, they purchased them from unaccredited online "institutions" that award diplomas based on life experience.

      A prosecutor said no crime was committed, but Lever's report identified three "proven" violations of the patrol's codes of conduct and ethics. And what the patrol said about Mann publicly is nice and friendly compared to the report. A few examples:

      • "It is a proven fact that University of Berkley is a diploma mill. Mann had every obligation to recognize what he was representing as a college degree was indeed a fake and invalid by any reasonable measure."

      • "Despite never having taken a class, read a book, or taken a test, Mann argued that he believed his degree was legitimate. It is absurd to believe that an 11-page research paper could be evaluated and graded to determine a person's qualification to receive a four-year degree. It would not even be credible for a single upper division college course (one quarter) to simply require a single 11-page research paper without any additional reading, lectures, tests, or additional assignments."

      • "Mann's deceptive behavior demonstrates the clear intent to mislead and deceive the department."

      • "One primary function of a narcotics detective, that Mann performed for several years, is to constantly test information to determine reliability and credibility of information they receive. For me to believe Mann was completely duped by an Internet website is simply too much to ask."

      • "Mann's dishonest and unethical actions can simply not be tolerated."

      Of course, they have been tolerated. The State Patrol still issues a paycheck to Mann, who catches drunken drivers here in Spokane.

      I feel a personal connection to Mann's educational experiences, because of my own. I dropped out of college my first go-round, then went back to Eastern Washington University as an adult with a full-time job. It took a lot of work and cost a lot of money, and I'm glad I did it. I didn't get a raise or anything, but it was invaluable.

      Maybe that's something you have to experience to appreciate.

      "It appears to the reviewer that Mann questions the real value of a legitimate bachelor's degree and therefore felt he deserved the same reward as those who actually went to school and earned a degree," the report says. "Had Mann actually gone to school, studied, and learned his way toward a four-year degree, I believe he would have a completely different perspective."


    • ‘Psychologist' collected more than $12,000 from five clients, court hears, Carola Vyhnak, Toronto, Canada Toronto Star, June 15, 2011.


      A so-called doctor fraudulently collected a total of more than $12,000 from five clients who mistakenly believed he was a qualified psychologist, court has heard.

      Gregory Carter deceived his victims, most of whom were involved in child custody cases, by misrepresenting his credentials in his Whitby practice, Crown Attorney Michael Gillen told Oshawa court on Wednesday.

      Carter, 64, is a psychological associate, which is a step below a psychologist. He has pleaded not guilty to five counts of fraud under $5,000.

      Last year, the College of Psychologists of Ontario found Carter guilty of professional misconduct for straying beyond his capabilities in diagnosing a father, whom he never met, with "narcissistic personality disorder."

      Carter, who frequently testified in family court, claimed he had a doctorate in psychology but the college didn't recognize his credentials and licensed him only as a psychological associate, Gillen said.

      One of his alleged victims, who paid $1,650 for therapy sessions for his granddaughter's behavioural problems, testified that Carter identified himself as a psychologist who specialized in children.

      David Bulmer, who subsequently lost custody of the child in a court case that used a report by Carter, said the term "psychological associate" never came up. Had he known Carter wasn't a registered psychologist, he never would have used him, Bulmer said.

      Carter has a legitimate master's degree, but his Ph.D. is from Pacific Western University in Hawaii, which the U.S. government has denounced as a "diploma mill."

      The trial continues.


    • Hidden cameras catch sex offender posing as doctor, Jeff Chirico, Atlanta, Georgia: CBS Atlanta, June 8, 2011.


      ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) - A CBS Atlanta hidden camera investigation exposed a registered sex offender posing as a psychologist. It is the second time CBS Atlanta found John Bacon, 41, of DeKalb County working without a required professional license.

      "I've practiced every form of psychology there is," claimed Bacon to an undercover CBS Atlanta producer posing as a patient.

      Bacon and the producer met at a restaurant.

      Bacon told the producer that he has been practicing psychology for twenty years and made his first million when he was 21 years old.

      Bacon's outlandish claims continued. "I am licensed, certified, bonded, insured," said Bacon.

      In an online profile, Bacon is listed as "Dr. J. Olis Bacon." The word "Psychologist" appears under his name.

      "I do psychology because I like to help people," said Bacon to the producer.

      "I've got this gift. After five minutes of talking to you, I can pretty much tell what kind of person you are."

      Bacon is listed on the Georgia Bureau of Investigation website as a registered sex offender. He was pleaded guilty in 1994 to charges of child molestation and aggravated sodomy. He was also convicted of sex crimes against a child while in the Navy in 1990.

      In November, CBS Atlanta found Bacon working as an unlicensed plumber after the state professional licensing board had ordered him to stop.

      Bacon is not allowed to work as a psychologist because he does not have a state-issued license.

      Dr. Kip Matthews, a licensed psychologist and educator with the Georgia Psychological Association, said he is disturbed by the undercover video we showed him. He said it appeared Bacon committed numerous ethical violations. He said he is concerned for Bacon's patient View All Articles

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