Monday, November 28, 2005

Dr Con Power - Pacific Western University [PWU] - PhD [1988] and DBA [1990] – legality of awards + academic content

I got this reply in the post pacific western university alumni Ireland I thought I would post it here because I believe it is an important comment and not many would read it if it was only in my comments.

Dr Con Power - Pacific Western University [PWU] - PhD [1988] and DBA [1990] – legality of awards + academic content

PWU was and is California State-approved

By letter dated 15th March 1989, the California State Department of Education, Private Postsecondary Education Division, confirmed to Con Power that Pacific Western University operated pursuant to California Education Code, Section 94310.3. The letter gave comprehensive information about the laws governing the award of degrees in California, detailed a rigorous institutional authorisation process, and confirmed that degrees granted by an institution in conformance with any of the categories under the California Education Code are all equally legal under the law.

Currently in 2005, Pacific Western University is a State-approved institution the California Postsecondary Education Commission [CPEC] and it is approved for consumer protection purposes by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education of the State of California [BPPVE] part of the California Department of Consumer Affairs][Bureau Registration Number 1927881]. The Bureau lists five regulated programmes evaluated as Degree granting programmes: - BS – Business Administration, BS – Public Administration, MBA – Master of Business Administration, MS – Management, and PhD – Business Administration.

In terms of recognition by the accountancy profession in the USA, currently all of the five California State-approved courses that comprise Pacific Western University’s Bachelor, Master’s and Doctorate Degree Programmes in Management, Business, and Accounting have been individually approved by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) for Continuing Professional Education [CPE] credit for US Certified Public Accountants.

Con Power’s PhD programme

In October 1986, Con Power completed the Evaluation & Admission Application, and he was admitted as a student on the programme for the PhD – Business Administration. The eligibility requirement for entry to the Doctoral programme was a legally conferred Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree (or equivalent). Con Power submitted for transfer credits the certified Examination Transcripts for his degrees & professional qualifications – BComm [Hons – UCD – 1963], MEconSc [Hons – UCD – 1965], FCIS [Associate 1964, and Fellow 1975], and FCMA [Associate 1970 and Fellow 1975]. In the case of the FCMA, Con Power was placed joint second in the list of highest placed candidates for the Advanced Accounting & Financial Management paper, out of 1876 candidates who entered for the Part V examination in June 1970. The six elements of his PhD programme are given below.

1. Professional communications and introduction to research. – studies & submission in effective communication skills, an introduction to research methodology, and familiarisation with information sources. 2. Professional report writing. – studies of the methods of compiling and presenting data in his chosen area resulting in the submission of a dossier of his report writing capacity in many aspects of his career. 3. Functional awareness of career. – studies comprised the integration of four related areas relative to his profession – self, society, formal methods & procedures of the profession, resources available to the profession, and the submission of a formal Degree Programme Warrant. 4. Submission of a Qualifying Exercise of Doctoral material standard. Following studies in organising and presenting data and professional concepts through analysis, criticism, and integration, his Qualifying Exercise was “Ireland’s Strategic National Roads Network – A Key to Economic Development”, and this was subsequently published.

5. Submission of a Research Proposal. - Following studies in research procedures and in developing professional proposals, Con Power based his Research Proposal on two separate periods of research – [1] 1967 to 1972 as full-time Research Economist with An Foras Forbartha where his research and publications dealt with the Irish Construction Industry, management aspects of the industry, and aspects of the legislative, economic, and fiscal environment in which the industry operates, and [2] 1979 to 1988 as Director, Economic Policy, Confederation of Irish Industry where his research and publications related to all business sectors, and to each of the factors that impact on the environment within which Irish business operates. Con Power supported his submission with his then 190 published articles, and 7 published research reports. 6. Submission of a Dissertation or Demonstration of Professional Expertise [DPE], accompanied by a Research Summary. Con Power undertook preparatory studies of professional development in Operations and Strategy, Management Processes, and Data and Information Systems. The title of his DPE was “The Environment for Enterprise”, and this covered in an integrated manner various aspects of the legislative, regulatory, fiscal, and administrative environment within which Irish business operates. The Research Summary included an analytical exposition, critical context, integrative conclusion, and a list of published references. [Assessors: Dr Herbert W Haberland – MA, PhD (University of Chicago); and Dr James A Hayes - BA (DePauw University), MA (University of Chicago), PhD (University of Freiburg, Germany)]

Con Power’s post-doctoral studies for the DBA

After gaining the PhD on 15th October 1988, Con Power continued as a post-doctoral student, and he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Business Administration [DBA] on 27th August 1990. The additional submissions made by Con Power for the DBA are listed below, and for these he was awarded 31 semester credits in aggregate for the various credit sources listed in the Transcript issued to him by the University.

1. Qualifying Exercise. Following studies in the analysis of problems in business administration, the critical context and theory of the commercial and industrial economy, and the integration of personal and professional development, he submitted his Qualifying Exercise entitled “Health Promotion in the Workplace” 2. Research Proposal. In terms of methodology, Con Power proposed to relate his research work in an integrated fashion to many of the key factors relative to people development that impact on the competitiveness of business. 3. Dissertation or Demonstration of Professional Expertise, accompanied by a Research Summary. Con Power undertook preparatory studies relating to employment and manpower surveys, public service employment, and making it happen – reflections on leadership. He selected the following subject areas for treatment: knowledge-based industries, education, training within industry, employee shareholding, employee information & consultation, and health promotion in the workplace. Con Power’s dissertation was entitled “People Development – The Business Dimension”. His research in the selected study areas resulted in an additional 70 published articles. [Assessor: Dr Kelyn Roberts – BA MA PhD (University of Michigan) – then Instructor and Assistant Professor at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA)] End – 27th November 2005


Simon said...

I would also like to point out I never doubted that PWU had California state approval. Only what other parts of American education think of PWU and California.

Anonymous said...

Comment from Dr Con Power

I very much appreciate you carrying my response, and also your extremely balanced and fair comments.



Anonymous said...

Pacific Western University is a notorious diploma mill. Sued by the State of Hawaii, not recognized as legitmate (in any of its various incarnations) by the State of Oregon. Used to puff up resumes, just like Almeda College and University and Regis (not to be confused with the legit Regis).

Anonymous said...

Pacific Western University is a sham.

Under various pretexts it sells degrees.

Employers should beware, its "qualifications" are worthless and any job applicant who puts a PWU certificate on their resume should be given a wide berth.

Lance Haverkamp said...

Get out your map & learn the difference between California & Hawaii. The California school is state approved & in the process of accreditation. The Hawaii school of the same name is closed. They're not the same school.

Anonymous said...

I live in California and am an educator. PWU ( now known since last month as Miramar to try to dodge the poor reputation associated with PWU is NOT accredited in CA. Further, the use of it's degrees for academic purposes or for employment purposes is ILLEGAL in the states of Texas, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, New Jersey and pending in 3 more states; persons using their degrees from PWU in these ways can be charged with a misdemeanor offense. It is widely known as a diploma mill throughout the United States and that is precisely why the institution has moved to San Diego (in California) and changed it's name. It currently has no PhD or doctoral programs at all since it's curriculum for these degrees has been challenged by so many as laughable...
Sorry, but this is the truth.

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Anonymous said...

Pacific Western is a diploma mill. Look at the investigation by the Government Accounting Office (GOA) done in 2004 ( They had someone go undercover and PWU was still directly selling degrees. However, PWU has never been accredited, only "approved" -- and California has low standards for "approved". It was only "approved" in the mid-1990s when it had to show some courses that people could take (and whether they took them or not is another story). Up until that time, PWU was a straight diploma mill where you could buy a Ph.D. even if you didn't have an undergraduate degree. I wouldn't believe anything PWU manufactured about Con Powers program although it might be true that he actually did all of those things. He had already done considerable graduate work at legitimate universities. However there are only two dissertations in dissertation abstracts from Pacific Western -- one in 1996 and one in 1997. Neither one was written by Con Powers. PWU graduated hundreds and hundreds and maybe even thousans of people and only two are in the abstracts. If someone writes a legitimate dissertation it should be in dissertation abstracts.

Anonymous said...

I applied and attended the distance learning courses at PWU in the early 90's before the internet. In my case, I had completed about 18 hours of courses through USC when they were sending instructors to Europe for the miltary.

I also had some post masters applied research courses from LSU that I wanted to use toward a PhD. Since those course completion dates were over 5 year old, they were not acceptable for transfer credit at most universities at the time.

The bottom line was that I had about 30 hours of course work at the master's level completed at two other universities... USC and LSU.

In principle, had I been in the USA and could have transfered all the credit hours, I would have only lacked writing the dissertation to complete the PhD program.

I appplied to PWU and was accepted. I had to take several additional research and writing courses at the time. I was not just given the option to "buy" a diploma. Many of the courses Con Power listed were also requirements I had to fulfill.

Then there was the dissertation... in my case a work entitled "A Clypian Database Management Network - An Alternative to Traditional Networks" based on a US Army information management project I designed, implemented, trained and used in Central Europe. The dissertation was based on a three year information technology project that was nominated by European military commanaders for the INSCOM (United States Army Intelligence & Security Command) Commander's Award in 1992.

I also had an oral exam to defend my dessertation - long distance teleconference with a couple other instructors.

The point is that though PWU may or may not have been a mill... there are still some very talented people that paid a legitimate academic price for their degrees.

It is also worth remembering that distance learning programs such as PWU in the early days were not acceptable by any established academic institution or regulatory body at the time. Nowadays, there are several distance learning programs that are acceptable by many of the leading institutions of higher learning.

If a person "bought a degree", they could have actually done the same thing if they approached the right people at any university.

However, if a person did the coursework required, it was graded, and he fulfilled the basic requirements as demanded by any other program, I'm not so sure we should dismiss the individual because of some shady business practices of PWU (if indeed they did that) or any other distance learning program.

Con Power and other graduates shld be judged on their abilities and not their academic achivements. There are many PhDs that can not pour water out of a boot even if the instructions are written on the heel.

Pirates Cove said...

Pacific Western University is a non-traditional, distance learning institution based in California since 1977.

The university makes no claims of being accredited but is authorized to exist and grant degrees under California Education Code section 94310.

This university specializes in helping working men and women of honesty, character and responsibility earn college degrees while continuing to raise their families and contribute to their communities.

There are many people who erroneously believe that such institutions are nothing but diploma mills.

While such things do exist, this is not the case with Pacific Western University.

Back in 1985 when multitudes of California's public school teachers (you know, the ones with degrees from "accredited" institutions) were failing the CBEST test, Pacific Western University students were able to pass the test with no failures.

The university's reputation for academic excellence is well known and its degrees are accepted by most Human Relations departments in the private sector, and agencies of the federal government as well.

There have been reports of traditional academics going (undercover) into the offices of P.W.U. and their extensive “investigations” revealed that there were “no actual classrooms” to be found anywhere on the property!

My, how shocking it must have been for them – to find no classrooms in the offices of a distance learning center!

There are still a great many private-sector employers who need people with real qualifications – not just policy qualifications – who also realize that the deplorable condition of our public school system is the direct result of the academic, incestuous in-breeding of the “accredited” institutions of “higher” learning.

The real problem with these academic aristocrats is the fact that an ordinary person can get a real and meaningful education (without belonging to a fraternity or burning a flag), work a full-time job and raise a family, qualify for a responsible and productive job, and usually out perform his traditionally educated peers.

Charles L. Troupe
BA, Pacific Western University 1985