Adam Smith: stirring the pot

Discussions on the value or merit of unaccredited programs and institutions.

Adam Smith: stirring the pot

Postby g-gollin » Fri Aug 31, 2007 2:44 pm

As a warm up: from Psst. Wanna Buy a Ph.D.?, The Chronicle of Higher Education, June 25, 2004.
...What do Mercy College officials think of Mr. Weisman's Caribbean operation? A college spokesman says the professor, who has tenure, can do whatever he likes as long as it does not interfere with his duties at Mercy. The spokesman notes, however, that the college would not accept transfer credits from International University, because "we do not recognize its accreditation."

Ph.D.'s for Less

Mr. Weisman's former boss at Mercy wouldn't be bothered in the least by his extracurricular activities. That's because Donald Grunewald, a onetime president of Mercy who is now a business professor at Iona College, runs his own unaccredited institution, called Adam Smith University.

Adam Smith's degrees are a bargain compared with International University's. Mr. Grunewald charges $2,500 for a bachelor's and $3,000 for a Ph.D. He declines to say how many students Adam Smith enrolls, only that the number is "very small." The university has no full-time professors, although some faculty members from other institutions sometimes read papers and help students, he says.

Mr. Contreras, the Oregon official, calls Adam Smith "a diploma mill with a long and unattractive history." Over the years it has been based in Hawaii, Louisiana, and South Dakota. Now its home is the ground floor of the girls' hostel at the Methodist Compound in Monrovia, Liberia. The American address is a mailbox in Saipan, a U.S. commonwealth in the Pacific.

All the while, Mr. Grunewald, now 70, has run the university from his home in Connecticut. He calls it a "labor of love" and bristles at the suggestion that it is disreputable. "My idea of a diploma mill is that you send in the money and they send you back a degree," he says. "That's not what we're doing at all. We like to feel that we have integrity. We have been accredited in Liberia."

What that particular accreditation means is unclear. A visit to the Liberian Embassy in Washington sheds little light on the matter. An embassy official, Abdullah Dunbar, doesn't know much about Adam Smith. When asked who can verify the Liberian accreditation, he searches among the papers on his desk and, after a few minutes, produces the name "Isaac B. Roland," who Mr. Dunbar says is in charge of the Ministry of Education, and a telephone number, which turns out to be disconnected. Mr. Dunbar says he has never spoken with Mr. Roland and doesn't know how to contact him.

Founded in 1991, Adam Smith was at one time accredited by the World Association of Universities and Colleges, a private group, unrecognized by the U.S. Department of Education, that has accredited colleges that the State of Oregon lists as diploma mills. Mr. Grunewald later helped found another unrecognized accreditor, the International Association of University and Schools. He says he now considers both of those to have been mistakes that may have sullied Adam Smith's reputation.

In the early 1990s, Adam Smith catered mostly to U.S. military personnel. Today it focuses on students who live in Africa and Asia. Courses generally involve reading a textbook and completing a simple exam, composed mostly of multiple-choice and true-false questions. A Chronicle reporter finished a year's course in English in about an hour. A semester of economics took 15 minutes.

An Iona spokesman says Mr. Grunewald is not violating any college policy by running Adam Smith. But the spokesman emphasizes that Iona does not want to associate itself with Mr. Grunewald's business: "Anything that would link us even in perception would be a problem," the spokesman says. "Clearly there is no tie to Iona, and we wouldn't tolerate it if there were."

Both Mr. Grunewald and Mr. Weisman take pains to separate their day jobs as professors from their moonlighting as operators of offshore universities. Mr. Grunewald does not mention his affiliation with Adam Smith when he writes letters to The Chronicle and other publications. When a caller to International University asks if Mr. Weisman is a professor at any other college, the admissions counselor says he isn't. "Oh, no," she says. "This is his baby."


The VAE jury for École Supérieure Universitaire Adam Smith™ consists of

Professor Donald Grunewald
Professor Barbara S. Frees
Professor George Korey-Krzecowski
Professor Hamish A. Leach
Professor Neville Gary Leach
Professor Edward C. Yang.

This panel of distinguished academics must surely have a worldwide web presence. What do we find?

A search for "Barbara S. Frees" yelds 9 hits. We learn, for example, that she is married to Donald Grunewald.

A George Korey Krzeczowski, founder of the unrecognized "Canadian School of Management," died sometime before February 2007.

Hamish A. Leach is almost unknown to Google, both in "Hamish A. Leach" and "Hamish Leach" searches.

Neville Gary Leach is an MD in Houston. There is a photograph here showing a "Neville Leach" holding a 47 lb. carp. (Do recall that some higher ed people call diploma mills "carp.") But there's not much more than that about Dr. Leach.

Edward C. Yang is a common name (most hits are to a physician and professor of orthopaedic medicine) so it's hard to tell about him.

The Adam Smith site says that former Executive Director of Liberia's National Commission for Higher Education and Friend to St. Regis Isaac Roland thinks well of the school:
Current Status of Adam Smith University in Liberia
The National Commission on Higher Education, Republic of Liberia, has taken note of the current status of Adam Smith University and wishes to advise the following:

The Commission did disclaim other distance learning insitutions for academic malpractices involving awarding of bogus degrees under the pretext that they were accredited by the Commission. However, the Adam Smith University has not been disclaimed because no report of its involvement in such scandalous malpractices. Therefore, the Commission will work with the Adam Smith University to begin the process of accreditation, following the completion or finalization of the National Policy on Distance Education which is now in progress.

Meanwhile, the Commission is hereby advising Adam Smith University to continue its interest and good work in Liberia and all degrees that had been offered will be recognized in keeping with the provisions of the Charter and the National Policy on higher education.

Upon meeting all requirements, the Commission shall now recommend Adam Smith University for the issuance of temporary Permit of Operation for two years.

There is a strong guarantee that the accreditation process will be completed in two months.

Signed by Dr. Isaac Roland, Director-General, Republic of Liberia National Commission of Higher Education


The site also says that a new Liberian campus is cureently under construction:
Construction begins on New Campus in Liberia
Construction was started on April 22, 2007 on the first building on the new campus of Adam Smith University on land that was acquired for the use of the university in Monrovia, Liberia. This first building will include classrooms, a library, administrative offices and an auditorium. This new building on this new campus of the university will permit the university to offer courses in Liberia in a traditional classroom environment as well as to facilitate the offering of distance learning and independent study from this campus. Students will have available use of computers and other instructional aids as well as a library of books and CDs for research.

Dr. Donald Grunewald, President of the university, stated “ all those who have worked so hard for many years on behalf of achieving the goal of building a new campus in Liberia for Adam Smith University are very excited about the prospects of offering classroom instruction in Liberia to the students who are expected to study at this new campus. It is wonderful to see the dream of building a new campus become reality. I am very grateful to the Board of Trustees for their support and I am especially grateful to Dr. Blama for his tireless work and leadership on this project. I thank all who are supporting the building of this new campus for all their help and encouragement. Alumni of the university from all over the world will all be proud of this achievement.” Campus Director and Chief Administrator, Dr. Viama J. Blama stated, “ the educational opportunities to be offered to students at our new campus will benefit many students in Liberia. We hope to build on this achievement in the years to come.”
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Postby Carl_Reginstein » Fri Aug 31, 2007 4:21 pm

What is it with this fascination with Liberia on the part of all these scoundrels?

I remember when Liberia fell apart a couple of years ago into open civil war, when Charles Taylor fled, etc..... Scenes of barefoot starving kids all angry and stomping around with sticks shouting something incomprehensible in the streets of Monrovia. Yes - that's the ideal location for a world class university! Indeed.... A highly conducive atmosphere for higher learning.



:roll:
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Postby BRB » Fri Aug 31, 2007 4:38 pm

BRB
8/31/2007 09:38
BRB
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BRB

Postby g-gollin » Fri Aug 31, 2007 4:56 pm

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Postby uncle janko » Fri Aug 31, 2007 5:00 pm

The colours are cribbed from the team colours of racing teams in ancient Rome.
Geddit?
Doing good, doing well, raising hope and raising hell. Janko Shave.
"Airplane music? Just like music for big bees, only louder."--Arnold Schoenberg
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Postby Gus Sainz » Fri Aug 31, 2007 6:41 pm

BRB wrote:BRB
8/31/2007 09:38

BRB:

Post such as this add nothing to our community and may be construed as stalking. As such, you may consider this to be a polite warning and respectful request to cease and desist.

Now, if you want to post and share relevant information, you are most welcome. In fact, you may be uniquely qualified to inform us as to the inner workings of diploma mills, as well as, the behaviors and motivations of the unscrupulous individuals who run them.
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Postby jon porter » Fri Aug 31, 2007 7:37 pm

Thank you, Gus!!


Gus Sainz wrote:
BRB wrote:BRB
8/31/2007 09:38

BRB:

Post such as this add nothing to our community and may be construed as stalking. As such, you may consider this to be a polite warning and respectful request to cease and desist.

Now, if you want to post and share relevant information, you are most welcome. In fact, you may be uniquely qualified to inform us as to the inner workings of diploma mills, as well as, the behaviors and motivations of the unscrupulous individuals who run them.
Jon Porter (PhD, Nottingham)
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Postby Hungry Ghost » Fri Aug 31, 2007 7:48 pm

Carl_Reginstein wrote:What is it with this fascination with Liberia on the part of all these scoundrels?

It's an attempt by degree-mills to exploit what the DL discussion boards call "GAAP".

The idea is that Americans should treat foreign schools as RA-equivalent if they successfully meet the quality assurance standards of any soverign nation's education ministry.

The problem is that standards out there aren't equally credible. Liberia was a failed state torn by civil war and its ministry "accreditation" was reportedly available for the price of some payoffs to corrupt officials. In fact Americans were actually reselling "Liberian accreditation" themselves, with Mr. Dunbar at the Liberian embassy in Washington prepared to verify it.

Liberia's appeal to degree-mill operators seems to have been that it would "accredit" essentially anything for a price, without regard to how academically worthless the applicant was. And once "accredited" by a soverign country, the mills could turn right around and loudly insist that their degrees must be considered RA-equivalent by American employers and licensing bodies. Anything less would constitute American arrogance, xenophobia and racist disrespect for Africa.
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Postby BRB » Sat Sep 01, 2007 4:12 pm

Gus Sainz wrote:
BRB wrote:BRB
8/31/2007 09:38

BRB:

Post such as this add nothing to our community and may be construed as stalking. As such, you may consider this to be a polite warning and respectful request to cease and desist.

Now, if you want to post and share relevant information, you are most welcome. In fact, you may be uniquely qualified to inform us as to the inner workings of diploma mills, as well as, the behaviors and motivations of the unscrupulous individuals who run them.


Gus,
Thank you for the polite warning. I fully understand your position and also understand how one might misconstrue my intent. I hope everyone would understand that this is not my favorite pastime, it is however the easiest remedy we could come up with to document statements that may well be an important aspect of the clients defense, without having to burden others with the Criminal Justice Process. I think it is important for you to take whatever steps you feel are necessary in the interest of the entire discussion community, and I will abide by any decision you make.

As you are aware, at this point I can not comment concerning matters that you indicate I may be "uniquely qualified", but perhaps some day I will write a book, and believe me the chapters concerning this case should provide some interesting reading.

I do want to point out that the limited interaction I have had with members has been fun, and I respect most of the positions taken by members on DD.com!

As the old saying goes "Do what ya have ta do"

Respectfully,

Brian Breen
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Postby uncle janko » Sat Sep 01, 2007 9:27 pm

I agree with el Jefe.

However, when all legal matters involving your employers are resolved, you may have insights on other unrelated? outfits which will be of value.
Doing good, doing well, raising hope and raising hell. Janko Shave.
"Airplane music? Just like music for big bees, only louder."--Arnold Schoenberg
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the humor in this...

Postby g-gollin » Sat Sep 01, 2007 10:43 pm

...is that

(1) Adam Smith's VAE jury includes a dead guy

(2) Adam Smith's claim of Liberian recognition refers to an ex-official who was being paid regularly through channels arranged by a felon guilty of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

Others facts of interest, from various court documents:

(3) Amy Hensley, one of the staffers in the Post Falls, Idaho SRU office, has pled guilty. She is the fourth of eight defendants to do so. Still unresolved are the cases of Dixie Randock, Steve Randock Sr., Heidi Lorhan (Dixie's daughter by a previous marriage), and Roberta Markishtum (the other Post Falls staffer and the ex-wife of one of Steve Randock Sr.'s sons)

(4) During a 2005 interview at the Post Falls office with Detectives Tafoya and Beck, Roberta Markishtum answered the telephone, "OTAC." Beck expressed an interest in some seals he saw on Markishtum’s work station. Markishtum voluntarily gave Detective Beck two foil seals bearing the name "National Board of Education."

(5) Heidi Lorhan acquired an American Coastline PHD.ED, and an Al Qasim MA ED in spite of not having finished high school.

(6) The search of Richard Novak's residence yielded, among other things,
  • a "Green folder marked UAW Ford University containing business cards bearing the name Richard Novak-Saint Regis University"
  • a "...Diplomatic ID card and DL from U.H.O.-name Richard Novak..."
  • two "U.S. passports in the name of Rick Novak, nos. ...8524 and ...6402."
(7) "On August 10, 2004, a check for $18,000 from 'Canyon College' of Idaho was deposited into the AEIT account. According to the memo line on the face of the check, it was for 'renewal of NBOE accreditation.'"
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Postby uncle janko » Sun Sep 02, 2007 12:01 am

The Northern Marianas "charter" is a joke.

In the past the NMI government and the CNMI have been most frank about it.

Viama Blama is a cipher. Grunewald answered for him as though he didn't exist. (Does he?)

Johan Potgieter has his fame widely spread.

The Connecticut authorities have taken interest in AS"U" doing business from Wilton. Hence not to send any mail labelled ASU to his home address in Wilton.

A tour of the multitudinous offices of ASU reps in many countries would be most interesting.
Doing good, doing well, raising hope and raising hell. Janko Shave.
"Airplane music? Just like music for big bees, only louder."--Arnold Schoenberg
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