Welcome, Guest
You have to register before you can post on our site.



Search Forums

(Advanced Search)

Forum Statistics
» Members: 1,411
» Latest member: vinylbabe83119
» Forum threads: 1,590
» Forum posts: 11,689

Full Statistics

Online Users
There are currently 66 online users.
» 0 Member(s) | 66 Guest(s)

Latest Threads
17 Dead Because 'Broward ...
Forum: General Education Discussions
Last Post: Jamescrabb++
03-13-2018, 09:54 AM
» Replies: 8
» Views: 364
Hello John
Forum: John Bear
Last Post: Jamescrabb++
03-13-2018, 09:43 AM
» Replies: 6
» Views: 335
RA Clinton Scam Walden 'U...
Forum: Unaccredited vs. State-Approved vs. Accredited
Last Post: Ben Johnson
03-03-2018, 02:27 AM
» Replies: 4
» Views: 2,777
If I oppose abortion but ...
Forum: General Education Discussions
Last Post: The Bison
02-10-2018, 02:33 AM
» Replies: 0
» Views: 197
Trick Accounting Drives H...
Forum: General Education Discussions
Last Post: Albert Hidel
01-24-2018, 03:18 AM
» Replies: 0
» Views: 220
Shithole Countries?
Forum: General Education Discussions
Last Post: Herbert Spencer
01-15-2018, 03:35 AM
» Replies: 3
» Views: 403
Gollin Brat to Marry…A Hu...
Forum: George Gollin
Last Post: Albert Hidel
01-14-2018, 10:21 AM
» Replies: 4
» Views: 788
Fitzwilliam Institute
Forum: Unaccredited vs. State-Approved vs. Accredited
Last Post: The Bison
12-29-2017, 03:47 AM
» Replies: 7
» Views: 19,503
Bill Would Break Cartel, ...
Forum: Unaccredited vs. State-Approved vs. Accredited
Last Post: The Bison
12-29-2017, 03:41 AM
» Replies: 1
» Views: 390
Merry Xmas You Assholes!
Forum: General Education Discussions
Last Post: Albert Hidel
12-12-2017, 07:37 AM
» Replies: 21
» Views: 36,259

  Alan Conteras's Personal Rampage, Unprofessional Conduct
Posted by: Trevor Nigel - 05-14-2007, 11:13 AM - Forum: Alan Contreras - Replies (19)

Alan Conteras's Personal Rampage, Unprofessional Conduct


Quote:State questions wellness expert's degree
Nisha Jackson claims harassment, says she may sue

Mail Tribune

A well-known women's health care practitioner and a state agency that validates academic credentials are fighting over her use of a doctoral degree in advertising.

The state Office of Degree Authorization has told Nisha Jackson that all promotional references to her Ph.D. in health-care management from Kennedy Western University must also state that Kennedy Western "does not have accreditation recognized by the United States Department of Education and has not been approved by the Office of Degree Authorization."

"It's inherently deceptive for a health-care professional to call herself a Ph.D. or `doctor' without using the disclaimer," said Alan Contreras, administrator of the Office of Degree Authorization.

Jackson, 42, is the president of Southern Oregon Health & Wellness, and she works at Medford Women's Clinic. She has written a book on balancing women's hormones and presented health tips on KTVL-TV Channel 10. She hosts a weekly radio show Monday mornings on KDOV.

Jackson described Contreras' letter as "harassment," and said she may sue. She said she had met all the requirements of the Oregon law and spent "thousands of dollars" to remove any reference to her Ph.D. from her marketing materials.

She said Contreras is "on some kind of rampage to see me go down."

Accreditation is the process by which institutions of higher learning are reviewed and evaluated. It serves as a way to tell students, employers and consumers that an institution provides quality education.

"The whole idea (of accreditation) is that a college education ought to stand for something," Contreras said.

Accreditors are private, nongovernmental organizations created for the specific purpose of reviewing the quality of higher education institutions and their programs. In the United States, colleges and

universities may be accredited by any one of 19 organizations that have been recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the U.S. Department of Education.

Kennedy Western is not accredited by any of them.

Kennedy Western's Web site says it offers "busy professionals a convenient and flexible method for earning Bachelor's, Master's and Doctorate level degrees." Based in Agoura Hills, Calif., Kennedy Western bases tuition and course requirements on prior work experience. Classwork is done via computer.

Kennedy Western's Web site includes testimonials from people who say their degree has helped them increase their income and prestige.

Oregon is one of eight states where it is against the law to advertise an unaccredited degree for personal gain. The maximum penalty for violating the law is one year in jail and a $1,000 fine for each occurrence.

The Mail Tribune's review of state licensing records shows that Jackson holds valid licenses to practice as a registered nurse and a nurse practitioner in Oregon. She has earned a bachelor's degree from Azusa Pacific University and a master's degree from Oregon Health & Science University, which are both accredited institutions.

Jackson's husband, Rick, who is secretary of Southern Oregon Health and Wellness Corp., said his wife has never used the Ph.D. degree to attract patients to her practice, as Contreras contends.

"She doesn't need to increase her practice," Rick Jackson said. "Her practice was closed (to new patients) before she got her Ph.D."

Contreras said the Oregon Board of Nursing asked him to investigate Jackson's academic credentials after the nursing board received information that suggested Jackson was referring to her doctoral degree without the disclaimer.

"She's obviously using (the Ph.D.) with the intent to add customers and enhance her celebrity," Contreras said. "We don't care if she uses (the degree from Kennedy Western), but she has to use the disclaimer."

Jackson's Web site and book jacket cite her doctorate without mentioning the source of the degree. The dust jacket of her book, "The Hormone Survival Guide," describes her as "Nisha Jackson, Ph.D." Her Web site, "Nisha on Health," notes the degree without mentioning its origin except for a small disclaimer at the very bottom of the Web site.

Nisha Jackson said the disclaimer meets all the requirements of Oregon law. It reads: "Nisha Jackson received her PhD in healthcare management from Kennedy Western University. Kennedy Western has currently lost there (sic) accreditation in the state of Oregon."

Contreras said Jackson's disclaimer fails to comply with Oregon law because it does not use the language required in the statute, and the disclaimer is not linked to her Ph.D. in a way that the average viewer would find.

He said that the disclaimer in Oregon's law was drafted after Kennedy Western attorneys challenged Oregon's law on the grounds that it violated freedom of speech. He said Kennedy Western attorneys agreed to the specific disclaimer language that is now in Oregon's law.

Contreras said that Jackson's disclaimer has a factual error, namely that Kennedy Western never has been accredited in Oregon. Prior to the settlement, he said, "it was absolutely illegal to use that (Kennedy Western) degree (in promotional materials)."

Kennedy Western and other unaccredited institutions (often called "diploma mills") were the subject of congressional hearings in May 2004. A witness who worked at Kennedy Western for three months told the committee "There is no value to a Kennedy Western education."

Nisha Jackson said she took a Ph.D. in health care management at Kennedy Western because it was "the only one I could do while living in Medford." She said the degree from Kennedy Western has no bearing on her practice of medicine as a nurse practitioner and registered nurse.

Contreras said Nisha Jackson was advised by letter and by phone in November to use the disclaimer. Rick Jackson said his wife sent back the required disclaimer form. Contreras said the disclaimer form had not been properly completed and he sent a second letter Jan. 6.

Nisha Jackson's attorney, Sydnee Dreyer, said it's too early to say whether she will sue. Dreyer characterized Contreras' treatment of Jackson's case as "highly unprofessional conduct."

"It would appear to be personal," she said, "and not a standard compliance action."

Print this item

  Judge Declares ODA's Alan Contreras a Civil Rights Violator
Posted by: Karl Watanabe - 05-14-2007, 10:58 AM - Forum: Alan Contreras - Replies (16)

Judge Declares ODA's Alan Contreras a Civil Rights Violator


Quote:Melinda Benton ("plaintiff") is a professor at a community college in Oregon. She holds a degree from Bob Jones University, an unaccredited institution that emphasizes conservative values....

Plaintiff brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983.  Plaintiff brought this 1983 action as a class action seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. Plaintiff alleged seven claims for violation of the federal and state constitutional rights to free speech, free exercise of religion, due process and equal protection. These claims were predicated upon allegations that the Oregon Office of Degree Authorization had decreed that plaintiff should be fired from her position at the college because her degree was "illegal" or face criminal sanctions and then later decreed that plaintiff need not be fired but must give a disclaimer regarding her degrees.

Plaintiff initially named four defendants: the Oregon Department of Education, the Oregon Student Assistance Commission, the Oregon Office of Degree Authorization and Alan Contreras, the administrator of the Oregon Office of Degree Authorization, in his official and individual capacities....

After a bench trial, the district court found that defendant Contreras had violated plaintiff's constitutional rights. Specifically, the district court concluded that defendant "Contreras' application of the regulations to plaintiff's degrees resulted not from an intent to achieve the goals of the regulations, but because of bias toward the institution from which they were received." That finding is not challenged on appeal....

Print this item

  ODA Settles, Contreras Must Take Remedial Training in Defamation Law
Posted by: Karl Watanabe - 05-14-2007, 10:54 AM - Forum: Alan Contreras - Replies (15)

ODA Settles, Contreras Must Take Remedial Training in Defamation Law


Quote:Oregon settles with unaccredited university
Portland Business Journal - December 22, 2004

The state of Oregon has settled a lawsuit with a California-based university that involved how the state treats degrees from unaccredited institutions.

Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers and Kennedy-Western University President Paul Saltman reached an out-of-court settlement of the university's federal district court lawsuit against Myers and Alan Contreras, administrator of the Oregon Student Assistance Commission's Office of Degree Authorization.

KWU, based in Agoura, Calif., filed suit in July 2004 on behalf of three Oregon graduates to challenge a state law that makes it unlawful for a person to represent that he or she has a degree if that degree was granted by an unaccredited university. The lawsuit claimed that the Oregon law violated KWU graduates' constitutional rights by unreasonably restricting their ability to use a lawfully obtained academic credential. Under the settlement agreement, Myers and Contreras agreed that the state would not enforce this statute as long as KWU degree holders disclose their school's nonaccredited status when representing their academic achievement.

The settlement does not require any Oregon employer to accept unaccredited degrees as valid credentials or change the requirements for state employment, professional licensure, college admission or other areas for which a degree from an accredited school is required. Degree holders who fail to disclose that their degrees are from unaccredited schools are still subject to civil and criminal penalties.

In addition, the settlement agreement provides that the Oregon Office of Degree Authorization and Attorney General Myers will make an effort to secure an amendment of the statute during the state's next legislative session that would decriminalize the use of a nonaccredited degree as long as degree holders disclose their schools' nonaccredited status when stating their credentials for business or professional purposes.

According to the terms of the settlement agreement, all issues in the lawsuit will be resolved, and the lawsuit will be dismissed, once the contemplated legislation is passed. If the legislation is not enacted by the end of the 2007 legislative session, the lawsuit will move forward.

Oregon officials are also obligated under the settlement agreement to refrain from characterizing KWU as a "diploma mill." The attorney general's office also agreed to provide ODA personnel with a training session on defamation law.

KWU says it is authorized by the state of Wyoming to offer academic degrees at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral level. The school says it delivers its programs through a combination of online learning and directed study.

Print this item

  ODA's Alan Contreras Exposed as Pervert
Posted by: Tanya Heddankoff - 05-14-2007, 10:43 AM - Forum: Alan Contreras - No Replies

ODA's Alan Contreras Exposed as Pervert


Quote:Is your college degree pervert approved? This is the Oregon deviant who wants to decide whether YOU are a criminal!!!

ODA's Alan Contreras is gay, and used to be in charge of harnessing the gay vote for the former Governor. When he did not win the last election, AC was without a job. Having peddled his questionable abilities to every state agency available and not being thrown any bones, the ODA position came up for grabs, because the predecessor was removed (he had put in for thousands of overtime hours, something not very popular, so was removed).

So Anal Contreras is a politician, as are all political aides and inside supporters. And a self-serving one at that. Now we know why he hates Bob Jones University so much, given their fundie teaching on gay issues.

Now look here - "Gay Birders of North America"
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gaybirding - Contreras posts here as "tringaal" - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gaybirding/message/1709

Posted on April 9th:

"I am getting kicked around in the legislature (what does one say to a roomful of flat-earthers?) and am sampling the job ads elsewhere. Speaking of flat earth, there is a great job open in Pierre, South Dakota, and another one in Kansas City....
Alan Contreras

Ahhh...There, there...

"And I think Narcissus Flycatcher MUST be gay (at least the immature males).

And gay men always like a Redpole - oops, wrong spelling. Maybe a Watercock.

I surmise that our lesbian members would prefer a Booby of one kind or another."

"...if you like bearded men in uniform, thin upon the ground these days, a great place to look...."

And much else similar.

He also posts here: http://lists.oregonstate.edu/mailman/listinfo/obol

More -


Alan Contreras, a Salem gay who is a lobbyist for Oregon's community colleges, recently made the switch from Democrat to Republican, despite the fact that 10 years ago he was an aide to a liberal Democratic state senator.

Citing ideological affinity with the GOP as the reason for the switch, he says that despite the alliance, "there's still a significant number of the party leadership who are not weirdos."

*Contreras in nude calendar sensation*


Now we know his motivation is perhaps more than fundraising. By the way, it's amusing that his best friend and "buffer zone" is called Richard Hoyer (no, not that one...), who is also a "gay birder".

Quote:Author: Alan Contreras
Date: 03-15-05 22:42
OK, folks, here's how we raise money for the reprint of Oregon Birds. We produce a calendar like the "Men of the Long Tom Grange" did to make money for the Junction City Schools.

We get the state's more decorative birders to pose for a not-quite-nude calendar. We'll have strategically placed binoculars, bird books, tripods etc. hanging about our, uh, persons to make it all legal.

Mary Anne Sohlstrom, Diane Pettey and I are up for it. Marianne wants to pose lying on a verdant pasture surrounded by Cattle Egrets. Not enough of them in Oregon in recent years to get the job done. Diane wants to pose with me but I need a buffer zone. Rich Hoyer, call Oregon soon!

Any other takers? Tim Janzen - hey, come back here, are you shy? Vjera Arnold, where are youuuuuu? Marilyn Miller, you can pose with a goose. Well, a few geese. Owen Schmidt can stand behind a stack of his video equipment.

Dave and Georgia Marshall will be on the front cover, holding hands and peering out from behind the Finley monument at Malheur HQ.

Hey Baccus, you want to do the photo shoots? Got to do it before mosquito season. Don? Hello?

Alan Contreras

Print this item

  George Gollin (George D. Gollin, George Dana Gollin) Dirty Laundry Still Available
Posted by: Administrator - 05-14-2007, 10:16 AM - Forum: George Gollin - Replies (25)

Whatever happened to the files, it looks like there was no loss of the Gollum breeding experiment's blog achive, which survived intact:  


















































Be sure to download these documents to your hard drive so you can easily search for the classic Gollum family dirty laundry, such as "papists," "chocolate vaginas," "spring rolls" and "go suck a giant cock."  Remember that Gollum is the guy who can't manage his family but thinks he can manage your education for you.

Print this item

  Good To see DL Truth Back Up
Posted by: Randall Flagg - 05-14-2007, 04:24 AM - Forum: Distance Learning Discussion - Replies (4)

I miss the little guy when he is out of order.  We do have to make sure that the gang has some competition.  Perhaps they were pissed off because we have shown them how it feels to defend the past, especially when their pasts are so very (iffy).  Of course they may have had nothing to do with the problems, but I wouldn't count on that.  Anyway, welcome back DL Truth.

Print this item

  What Are Some of the Problems with Accreditation?
Posted by: Administrator - 05-13-2007, 01:54 PM - Forum: Welcome to DL Truth - Replies (9)

What Are Some of the Problems with Accreditation?

The Need for Accreditation Reform

Robert C. Dickeson

Summary: Accreditation of higher education in the United States is a crazy-quilt of activities, processes and structures that is fragmented, arcane, more historical than logical, and has outlived its usefulness. Most important, it is not meeting the expectations required for the future. This paper distinguishes between the institutional purposes and the public purposes of accreditation, and suggests one significant alternative to the status quo.

What Are Some of the Problems With Accreditation?

1. America's reputation for quality higher education is in jeopardy of slipping.
  • The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development in Paris recently reported that, among its 30 member nations, the United States now ranks 7th in the percentage of the population that enters postsecondary education and then completes a bachelor's degree or postgraduate program. In large part, this statistic is due to higher education's dismal record at student attainment. Accreditation should identify and report on student success. By so doing, students and families can make enrollment decisions based on better information, institutions can be put on notice to improve student success rates, and policy makers can reward institutions that achieve high success goals.

  • The National Assessment of Adult Literacy, released in December, shows that the average literacy of college educated Americans declined significantly from 1992 to 2003, and revealed that just 25 percent of college graduates scored high enough on the tests to be deemed "proficient" from a literacy standpoint. What role should accreditation play in this shameful outcome? From what institutions did these adults graduate? If accreditation is to have any meaning, achieving standards of literacy - prose, document and quantitative - should be at the core of institutional approval by accrediting organizations.

  • Fully one-third of students enter postsecondary education needing academic remediation in reading, writing and/or mathematics. Accreditation should evaluate the efficacy of institutional admissions policies and practices: are institutions admitting students who have some reasonable expectation of success, or are they playing a numbers game for financial purposes? Has the inflow of under-prepared students resulted in a lowering of standards for graduation? Institutional assessment at the course level is undertaken through the assignment of grades, and yet grade inflation is reported as a national problem. What is accreditation doing to assure that quality is not suffering as a result?

  • A recent survey of 4-year college presidents revealed that 74.5 percent of presidents feel that "Colleges and universities should be held more accountable for their students' educational outcomes." Accreditation should transform this impression - shared by many in the public and by public policy makers - into reality.

2. The public's need for critical information is not being met.
  • Students and parents lack reliable information about college-going, including admission requirements, available programs, actual costs, the availability and extent of financial aid, and the range of accessible postsecondary options. Accreditation should insist on greater transparency by colleges and universities in the information they share publicly, and expect that the public has complete access to relevant data about college access, costs, attainment success and the extent to which standards were enforced.

  • Higher education institutions and their associations have ignored repeated requests for transparency by national commissions and higher education organizations (National Commission on the Cost of Higher Education (1997); Business-Higher Education Forum (2004); Association of Governing Boards Ten Public Policy Issues for Higher Education (2005), to cite a few). Accreditation should include transparency as a condition of continued approval.

  • Accrediting organizations do not all agree that the public either needs additional information or that sharing it is wise. Some accreditation leaders fear that more public disclosure will result in: an adversarial, rather than collegial, accreditation process; a smothering of trust critical to self-analysis; unwanted press coverage of school problems; and schools withholding information. Still other accreditation leaders deny the very existence of public demand for more information and point out that typical accreditation reports do not contain the kind of information that the public wants. Finally, some accreditation leaders understand that more information is necessary, and observe that other countries' institutions provide it without negative effect.

  • In the absence of accreditation providing information that the public wants, the void has been filled by U.S. News & World Report, whose annual analysis and rankings of institutions has become the most popular publication of that organization. Institutions that complain about the U.S. News approach to public accountability should insist that accreditation organizations fulfill this responsibility by asking the right questions - and publishing the answers.

3. Traditional approaches to accreditation are not meeting today's needs.
  • Technology has rendered the quaint jurisdictional approach to accreditation obsolete. Some standards actually vary by region. The rise of distance learning and electronic delivery of educational content across borders means that provider and student can be nations apart. Campuses and content today ignore geographic boundaries. More and more students are crossing state lines to complete their education and enrolling in multiple institutions, often simultaneously. Accreditation should refocus efforts on student achievement for the growing number who undertake alternative forms of education, and expand international quality assurance efforts.

  • Accreditation currently settles for meeting minimal standards. Nearly all institutions have it, very few lose it, and thus its meaning and legitimacy suffer. Institutions are not accepting credits from other accredited institutions, presumably because they do not believe that accreditation equals quality. Basing accreditation on truly rigorous standards and differentiating among levels of quality attainment would more accurately reflect the higher education landscape. If there were levels of accreditation, institutions would compete for honored spots (much as they do now for U.S. News rankings) and higher education's stakeholders could differentiate among institutions, depending upon stakeholder interests.

  • Accreditation is conferred typically for a ten-year period. Historically this term made sense when faculty volunteers were required to write self-studies and to perform site visits. The explosion of knowledge, the power of information technology and the pace of institutional change, however, have made a decade too long a period for timeliness. Accreditation should concentrate on key qualitative and quantitative measures that can be collected, retrieved, analyzed and published on a continuous basis.

  • Accreditation structure is archaic and contains too many layers and filters. For example, public concerns are expressed through elected officials, who communicate to CHEA, which communicates with accrediting organizations that communicate finally to institutions. The complaint process of the accrediting organizations is hardly user-friendly, and the stated policies about complaints make it clear that the accrediting organization will not interfere with institutional prerogatives. This process reflects the criticism that accreditation is the captive of the institution.

  • Most of the costs of accreditation in the United States are borne by the institutions themselves. Costs include the dues and fees paid to regional, national and specialized organizations, the released-time granted to faculty and staff who volunteer to serve accrediting organizations, and the labor and technical costs of conducting institutional self-studies. As institutions are under pressure to cut costs, conducting quality accreditation should not be diminished or jeopardized.

  • There is an over-reliance on volunteers in the important accreditation process. As institutions hire fewer and fewer full-time faculty, there are increasing pressures on such remaining faculty to fulfill on-campus duties and also meet external accreditation responsibilities.

Print this item

  OPM on Acceptability of Unaccredited Degrees
Posted by: Administrator - 05-13-2007, 01:37 PM - Forum: Welcome to DL Truth - Replies (17)

OPM Operating Manual on Acceptability of Unaccredited Degrees

Here is a link to the portion of the US Office of Personnel Management's Operating Manual pertaining to the acceptability of unaccredited degrees:


The language is a bit convoluted in places, but overall this document shows that the feds take a very broad approach to determining what is an "accredited" degree, making no distinction between NA and RA.

Also, they make a fairly realistic evaluation of unaccredited programs. Generally if accredited schools are accepting the unaccredited coursework the work will be deemed equivalent of accredited as well by the feds. And even if it's not accepted, it still can be used for ranking purposes as long as it is not from a diploma mill.

Accredited--As a general rule all "accredited" schools are accepted as meeting minimum qualification requirements. The term "accredited" is defined broadly. It includes "the entire institution, applicable school within the institution, or the applicable curriculum if it was appropriately accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education."

Thus not just RA, but also NA and any accredited curriculum, presumably even in the rare event that the institution itself is not also accredited.

"Correspondence or distance learning course work is also acceptable if the applicable school within the institution or applicable curriculum is accredited by an accrediting body that is recognized by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education."

Unaccredited--Non-accredited education may not be used to meet minimum education requirements, but still may be considered during the ranking process when evaluating qualified job applicants who already meet minimum qualification standards.

Most significantly, there also are exceptions which treat unaccredited courses as accredited if they are accepted for credit by accredited institutions. These exceptions include situations where "an accredited U.S. university or college reports the other institution as one whose transcript is given full value."

This in effect makes each accredited school an evaluator of unaccredited programs, at least as far as the feds are concerned.

Non-qualifying--This is unaccredited education that is not within the exceptions. This includes "diploma mills," but is not necessarily the equivalent thereof. "Diploma mills" are expressly forbidden from use in the ranking process, while "unaccredited" education is expressly allowed in the ranking process, so clearly they are not equivalent. They define "diploma mills" as those "granting degrees with few or no academic requirements."

So the bottom line seems to be four groups of institutions, with the distinctions between the groups gradually becoming more blurred as you proceed down the hierarchy.

1. Accredited--includes both RA and NA, as well as DoE approved program accreditation, such as e.g., PMI, even if the institution itself is neither RA or NA.

2. Unaccredited but accepted by accredited--treated as accredited

3. Non-Qualifying--unaccredited and not accepted by accredited
a. More than a few academic requirements--not accepted for minimum requirements but accepted for ranking
b. Diploma mill--few or no academic requirements--not accepted for minimum requirements or ranking

This document does make it fairly clear that (for federal employment purposes at least) any unaccredited degree that is not an outright "diploma mill" degree does indeed have some utility. Acceptance of such a degree by accredited schools increases that utility to the point that it is the functional equivalent of accredited.

Altogether this doesn't seem like such a bad deal. It gives no value to the clear fakes, but does give a value to the bona fide unaccredited schools commensurate with their value as perceived by accredited schools. It effectively lets the education community itself decide what is or is not equivalent of accredited, rather than some deviant bureaucrat. And it doesn't allow an unaccredited school to stand as the equivalent of an accredited one when it is not accepted by the accredited ones as such.

It's interesting to compare this system of evaluation with more oppressive and less thoughtful systems, such as we see in Oregon. The Oregon system is clearly substandard to that of the feds, in that it takes the approach that every unaccredited school is automatically a forbidden degree mill unless they jump through certain government hoops. In Oregon a bona fide unaccredited school that is accepted as such by accredited schools is treated exactly like a diploma mill. Clearly that is wrong, unfair, and serves no good purpose. All it does is limit competition and oppress the poor and working class people who most likely have the unaccredited degrees in the first place.

[Post courtesy of Degreeboard.com]

Print this item

  Regional Accreditation Outmoded as Quality Measure
Posted by: Administrator - 05-13-2007, 01:33 PM - Forum: Welcome to DL Truth - No Replies

DoD: Regional Accreditation outmoded as measure of quality

From the Sept. 2003 edition of The Military Educator

Quote:Voluntary Education and Accreditation

Gary A. Woods, Chief of DoD's Voluntary Education Program

...Everyone knew that the system could not vet each institution to determine its quality every time a military student applied for tuition assistance. The system had to come up with a shortcut that would automatically indicate that the program an institution offered on military installations met a quality test--a test that would go unchallenged and not turn each TA application into an investigative quagmire focused on proof of institutional or program quality....

All concerned searched for a quality indicator that would pass the academic quality test. The litmus test of choice was an obvious no-brainer. A time-tested method already existed for determination of whether an institution passed academic muster or not. The litmus test of the `70s was regional accreditation, then the hallmark of quality in the academic community. Actually, at the time, it was practically the only game in town.

Regional accreditation answered the question concerning which institutions could or could not be invited onto military installations to offer academic programs. It also became the benchmark against which voluntary education staffs measured the ability to approve TA requests for academic programs military students were pursuing at off base locations. If the program wasn't regionally accredited, it didn't qualify for TA.

Regional accreditation, regional accreditation, regional accreditation. We pounded that quality benchmark into the minds and molecular structure of our education counselors and education specialists....It was now one of the academic purists. If a program wasn't regionally accredited, it wasn't real; it didn't count.

Everything was humming along. Ying and yang were in harmony. The planets were revolving around the sun with unquestioned certitude. Quality was good. Regional accreditation was quality. Thus regional accreditation was good. If it weren't regionally accredited, how could it be good? And thus TA became linked at the hip with regional accreditation.

TA and regional accreditation were good. Nothing else was good or could be good. Right? Wrong.

Wrong because of sea changes taking place in the academic world--and because of DoD's efforts to adjust to those sea changes. Other highly respected, non-regional accrediting agencies came on the scene. The National Home Study Council, now the Distance Education and Training Council, a highly respected national accrediting agency, among others, became mainstream. The Veterans Administration, now Department of Veterans Affairs, began to approve many nationally accredited programs for receipt of veterans educational benefits.

The voluntary education program woke up one morning to find that regional accreditation was no longer the only quality game in town. Given that, how could it continue to stick its head in the sand and refuse to provide one form of federal educational assistance for a program that another federal agency was providing federal education money to?

It couldn't. DoD proactively looked at the criteria listed in its Voluntary Education Instruction and changed the checkpoint that had long been the hallmark against which our Gatekeepers measured the quality and acceptability of existing academic programs. DoD decided that it no longer belonged in the business of determining what was and was not acceptable academically. A determination was made that role should be the purview of the department of government that had responsibility for education. To that end, verbiage in the DoD Instruction for Voluntary Education was changed effective 1999.

Tuition assistance would now be issued for coursework offered by institutions accredited by accrediting agencies recognized by the US Department of Education. Regional accreditation was no longer the quality benchmark against which local education staffs could determine tuition assistance eligibility.

...The bottom-line? Cautioned concern intended to save the student from having to repeat a course or a desire to limit to the fullest extent possible the repetitious outlay of TA funds for similar or like courses is okay-and still encouraged. But overt bias for an institution accredited by one accrediting agency over another, based on an outdated perception of what accrediting agency reflects the proper amount of quality, is not. As long as the institution meets the Department of Education test of quality noted earlier, that is sufficient.

...There is no time better than the present to ensure that this becomes as ingrained in our everyday thought processes and habits as did the quality test of the past. We must become the honest brokers and advocates for this new mindset and we must do so now.

Print this item

  Why You Should Fear the Accrediting Cartel
Posted by: Administrator - 05-13-2007, 11:29 AM - Forum: Welcome to DL Truth - Replies (1)


Quote:Coming after U.: Why college should fear the accrediting cartel
Policy Review,  Spring 1995  
by Thomas E Dillon

A tiny "Great Books" college in California, tucked away in a mountain meadow, would seem an unlikely minuteman in a struggle for the academic liberty of America's colleges, universities, and professional schools. But so it is. Thomas Aquinas College, named for the 13th-century Italian saint and patron of Catholic education, was among the first to resist the imposition of non-academic standards by regional accrediting agencies. Now the accreditors, who grant a scholastic seal of approval--and with it, access to federal assistance--are hoping to consolidate and centralize their power over dissident institutions.

Armed with an agenda that includes politically correct notions of "diversity," an alliance of accreditors and Washington-based educrats is trying to establish a national accrediting body that would oversee every institution of higher learning in the country. No school that receives federal money would be immune from attack: By threatening to withhold accreditation, and thereby close off millions of dollars in government loans and other assistance, a centralized body could impose a political agenda at will.

This is precisely the lesson in the recent flap over the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, which insisted that medical schools require training in abortion procedures or else forfeit accreditation.

If the move toward a centralized accrediting body succeeds, the private, collegial character of the review process will be in peril. Advocates of diversity and multicultural standards instead will be pitted against institutions striving to preserve high academic standards along with their own distinctive missions. The autonomy and quality of these institutions will be put in jeopardy.

This is not a hypothetical fear. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, a nationwide agency, recently voted for ideological reasons to deny accreditation to any obstetrics and gynecology program that fails to provide mandatory training in abortion procedures. A similar imposition of ideological mandates could occur if accreditation of colleges were centralized in one monopolistic organization.

Accreditation has long been a valuable process in higher education. Until recently, it has involved private, professional peer review to make sure that colleges and universities actually provide the quality of education they claim to provide. Now proponents of "diversity" are using the process to impose politically correct educational standards on institutions striving to preserve their distinctive missions. In the name of advancing diversity within each institution, they are imposing their own version of conformity and threatening true diversity among institutions. At stake is America's historical commitment to the integrity, quality, and independence of its colleges.


Since its founding in 1971, Thomas Aquinas has offered only one kind of degree: a bachelor of arts in liberal education. Our curriculum is composed of the seminal books of Western civilization, and we are unabashedly Catholic. There are no majors, minors, or electives. There are no textbooks; we rely only on the original works of those who have thought deeply about man, nature, and God. There are no lectures; we hold seminars in which professors guide students toward an understanding of the authors before them. With its clear and distinctive academic vision, the college offers an exemplary version of a classical liberal education.

We pursue no "affirmative action" for persons or texts. We look for the best teachers, the best books, and students willing and able to undertake the life of reason. As Catholics, we hold that one intellectual tradition is superior, and we ask our students to study in that tradition, as well as to read prominent critics of that tradition such as Marx and Nietzsche. We are not about the study of "culture," as the word is used today; we will not base our curriculum on authors consciously selected for their race, gender, or sexual orientation. Whether the author is St. Thomas or Machiavelli, however, we are studying not the man, but what he has to say about the true, the beautiful, and the good.

Until the 1980s, schools such as Thomas Aquinas thrived under the nation's six regional accrediting agencies for senior colleges and universities. These accreditors respected their members' independence and judged them in light of their professed missions. Countries like France, with their centralized ministries of education, would not allow such an enterprise as this. America does, thanks to its tradition of non-governmental accreditation.

The latest mutation in the accreditation process is a story that we at Thomas Aquinas College know only too well. Every college and university in the United States must periodically submit to a review by one of these private accrediting agencies. Without accreditation, schools lose academic credibility among their peers.

The process in the United States has always been largely in the hands of private organizations of accredited schools. After World War II, however, the G.I. Bill and the growth of federal aid programs prompted the agencies to take on the additional role of approving colleges as the recipients of such funds. And as the gatekeepers of federal funds, the agencies in turn had to be approved by the U.S. Department of Education.

As schools became more dependent upon federal funds, the character of the accrediting agencies gradually changed. Control over funds gave them great leverage over colleges and universities. They became less collegial associations of institutions that testify publicly to the worthiness of a college, and more the rulers and regulators of these institutions. Now they are threatening to become the guardians of an ideological agenda and to advocate diversity standards and politically-correct curricula.


By 1988, with the rise of multiculturalism in academia, the threat was emerging in California. Our accreditor, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), began promoting more prescriptive standards. These included the following language: "The institution demonstrates its commitment to the increasingly significant role played by diversity of ethnic, social, and economic backgrounds among its members by making positive efforts to foster such diversity."

Stephen Weiner, the executive director of WASC, wrote in the Chronicle of Higher Education that WASC's expectations for diversity "affect virtually every aspect of campus life, and, therefore, each of our accrediting standards." In one document, the new diversity policy is called "the cornerstone of a major new thrust." In other words, standards of integrity and academic quality no longer would form the sole basis for accreditation.

The new policy was part of a national movement among accreditors to leverage their influence over federal funds on behalf of the cause of diversity. Specifically, the accreditors wanted to mandate race and gender preferences in hiring and admissions, as well as multiculturalism in the curriculum, on the grounds that they are intrinsic to academic quality.

Colleges and universities began to worry about accreditation's new thrust. This concern was not without foundation. One school discovered that WASC evaluators were soliciting racial grievances from the faculty of a neighboring college. Another was told, in writing, that it had "failed to grasp the concept of diversity" and that its curricula would have to be "restructured." A third was ordered to alter the composition of its board of trustees and told that a religious profession required of its faculty was "not in conformity with [WASC's] expectations."

Colleges where multiculturalism, feminist studies, and the like had been matters of internal dispute, to be resolved internally, became vulnerable to meddling by outsiders with a political agenda. Moreover, the traditional purposes of accreditation--frank, collegial criticism and public avowal of academic integrity--were undermined by the mistrust generated by this new agenda.

The threat to our college was plain. If WASC meant what it was saying, it could not, in principle, accredit our college. In the eyes of the accreditors, Thomas Aquinas College is multiculturally incorrect.

In a lengthy struggle, Thomas Aquinas College confronted WASC's usurpations. We rejected the diversity standards when we came up for reaccreditation in 1992. The accrediting team of scholars sent to visit the college came away impressed with our high academic standards; in response, WASC reaffirmed our accreditation for eight years. When WASC circulated to its members a policy statement purporting to clarify its brief and vague standards on diversity, Thomas Aquinas College took the lead in raising objections and mobilizing opposition. Other institutions, including the California Institute of Technology, the University of Southern California, and Stanford, joined us in expressing alarm at the WASC statement. Although WASC formally adopted that controversial statement, it now requires colleges only to "thoughtfully engage" the issue of diversity.


Unfortunately, the story does not end there. Education lobbyists and bureaucrats, led by Robert H. Atwell of the American Council on Education, are launching a counteroffensive. Atwell cochairs an ad hoc group called the National Policy Board on Higher Education Institutional Accreditation (NPB), which advocates a national accreditation organization to police the regional groups and any possible competitors. It is being packaged as a way to resist federal regulatory overreach into academia. Don't believe it.

NPB is proposing an organization with unprecedented accrediting clout. It would set national standards for all institutional accreditors--in effect, all the agencies that the Department of Education uses to determine eligibility for federal money. The organization would be both "more specific" in its standards and "more rigorous" in its processes. It would establish its own budget, levy dues to be collected by the regional accrediting agencies, and wield the authority to impose sanctions against accrediting agencies that fail to enforce its standards. This would be the closest thing the nation has ever had to a national ministry of education.

How would Thomas Aquinas, or any college with a distinct mission, fare under such a scheme? What would happen to the quality of American higher education?

The answers are clear from the proposed organization's core standards, which include diversity. There is good reason to believe that this new board would promote diversity standards nationwide. In fact, the very existence of schools grounded in a clearly defined academic philosophy would be at great risk. Atwell has written that "diversity among institutions does not satisfy the need for diversity within institutions." In other words, colleges and universities whose curricula are specifically dedicated to the "great books," a traditional liberal-arts curriculum, a theological focus, or any other coherent body of belief would be subject to the multicultural whims of a remote bureaucracy.

Such diversity also could be applied to the internal, everyday workings of all institutions that rely upon accreditation: student and faculty composition, trustee membership, allocation of resources, and on and on. Atwell has advocated a "comprehensive approach that encompasses the makeup of the faculty, student body, and staff; the curriculum offered by the institution; and the climate on the campus itself." Such a vision invites not diversity, but rather a leveling of the very differences in academic emphasis and philosophy that have helped create the finest educational non-system in the world.

Opposition to the new accrediting entity is growing. Among others, American University, Boston University, Baylor, Caltech, Holy Cross, John Hopkins, Pepperdine, Rice, Stanford, Smith, the University of Dallas, the University of Southern California, the University of Missouri, and the University of Vermont all oppose the plan. Congressmen William Goodling (R-PA), chairman of the House Economic and Educational Opportunities Committee, and Howard McKeon (R-CA), chairman of its higher education subcommittee, have written to Education Secretary Richard Riley: "We would certainly oppose any attempt to use accreditation...to impose standards unrelated to the fiscal interests of American taxpayers which could force schools to change their nature or their mission."

It is not enough, however, to defeat the nationalization plan or fight WASC to a stalemate. A genuinely open and collegial system of accreditation, one that allows governments to catch fraud and abuse and yet steers clear of political correctness, is clearly needed. Like most college presidents, I would prefer to devote my energies to the growth and prosperity of my college, to its unique curriculum, and to its ardent, inquiring students.

My experience with accreditation leads me to suggest a policy of decentralization and reform to protect the diversity of ideas, programs, and institutions that has served our republic so well over centuries.


First, it is essential to restrain the federal government's impulse to govern higher education. The federal government may want to promote college and university education, for example through subsidies for student loans. But federal aid should permit individual students and their families maximum choice, and leave schools free of burdensome and possibly ideological regulations.

Liberal education, with its historical roots in religion and philosophy, deals in those ultimate questions that the American political tradition leaves to associations other than the government. That is why, when the G.I. Bill provided federal dollars, the gatekeeping function was assigned to nongovernmental accrediting agencies.

Second, non-governmental accreditation in its present form--regional monopolies like WASC--should confine itself to screening out incompetence and fraud. An accrediting agency is not, and cannot be, purely private, since it can shut off federal money. Recognizing this power, it must show proper restraint. In the short run, such a modest role, in which any criticism is non-binding, is less open to abuse than any form of regulation, particularly regulation by state governments, which sometimes serve as strongholds of the diversity forces.

The most lasting way to forestall abuse is to break the monopoly. Federal policy should therefore favor the formation of high-quality, alternative accreditation agencies, perhaps tailored to institutional types: research universities, liberal-arts colleges, or, to address the latest outbreak of academic intimidation, pro-life medical schools. Such agencies, being genuinely voluntary, can better accommodate their members than one-size-fits-all monopolies whose standards must measure institutions as diverse as institutes of psychology, comprehensive universities, liberal-arts colleges, and research universities. Colleges would have an incentive to earn recognition from truly independent, private accreditors, since their approval would mean something. The resulting competition and emulation would promote quality much more effectively than the present system.

Third, a limited intervention against rogue accreditors who misuse their delegated powers can be useful, at least until the monopolies are effectively broken. One instance of prudent intervention occurred when Lamar Alexander, then U.S. Secretary of Education, restrained the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools when it tried to bully Baruch College and Westminster Theological Seminary into accepting diversity standards. But it is better to fashion one's own freedom, as we have tried to do within WASC, or as would result from the emergence of alternative accreditors.

Centralization of regional accreditors is exactly the wrong way to go. It was an enormous labor for us to alert some of the 145 schools in WASC to the threats posed by regional bureaucracy. I seriously doubt that a stronger bureaucratic organization based in Washington, D.C., with a membership in the thousands, could ever be moved with a similar effort.

I understand the desire for accountability when federal funds are involved, and I understand the natural ambition on the part of the new Congress to reform from the top down, but I think it should be resisted. We should remember what happened to the national history standards in Goals 2000. First proposed by Lynne Cheney, the head of the National Endowment of the Humanities under President Bush, they were hijacked by the educators commissioned to execute the project. At the same time, we should move to prevent the centralization of the accrediting process.

The existing national educational bodies that offer to implement reforms tend to support fads like the diversity movement, and will try to regiment independent schools. Such centralization brought us mandatory training in abortion procedures among accredited medical schools.

We must not set up a shadow national ministry of education under the guise of privatization, efficiency, or better standards.

Its bureaucrats will be no better than government bureaucrats, and even less accountable. Above all, colleges and universities will merit the trust of the public and the government if they hold true to the timeless standards enunciated by St. Thomas Aquinas seven centuries ago: "The study of philosophy is not directed to the various opinions of men, but to the truth of things." Truth, not diversity, is the goal of education.

Copyright Heritage Foundation Spring 1995
Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved

Print this item