Diploma mill suit settled

Interesting article about a police officer who sued the police department because to people were promoted based on bogus degrees. He is getting a retroactive raise, his legal expenses covered, and will be retiring effective March 11th.

Kolakowski applied in 2003 for a promotion to the newly created position of deputy chief. The borough ultimately chose John Bouthillette, who was also a lieutenant, to become deputy chief; and promoted John Casey from sergeant to lieutenant.

Bouthillette and Casey, according to Kolakowski’s lawsuit, used college degrees from a fraudulent Internet diploma mill, where college degrees can be purchased without ever actually taking courses or exams. The borough considered those degrees to be legitimate and awarded the men points for the degrees during the promotional process.

Organizations need to pay special attention to how they word their policies when it comes to educational institutions. Just saying that degrees need to come from an “accredited” institution doesn’t help. In this case the “university” created an accrediting institution and then accredited themselves.


The Dangers of Focusing on Diversity

Do you know how to make African American’s perform poorly on a test? Just make the first question “What is your race?”

Now I realize that the above statement sounds horrible and it is terribly politically incorrect, but it is the actual results of the experiment below. It suggests that we may be hindering people’s performance by focusing on race in areas where it irrelevant.

In “Stereotype threat and the intellectual test performance of African Americans” by Steele, Claude M. and Aronson, Joshua (Journal of Personality & Social Psychology. 1995 Nov Vol 69(5) 797-811) researchers found that blacks from Stanford performed better on a set of SAT questions if they were not asked about their race. The differences were not slight. The group that was not asked to record their race scored 7.7 while the group that was asked to record their race only scored 4.4. This means that on average, participants did 42% worse when race was somehow a factor than when it was not.

If putting an emphasis on race can so drastically alter performance in a test, what impact does it have in the work place? I’ve seen a lot of organizations who put tremendous amounts of effort into “creating diversity”. Generally this means they are trying to hire more black people. I’m sure this is done with good intentions, but is it possible that this focus is actually hurting people in a way similar to experiment above?

In most situations, if an organization is focused on the race of their employees, there is little positive that can result. Granted, there are areas where racism still exists, but in many places an undue focus on avoiding racism is what prevents companies from moving to a state where the color of your skin isn’t something that is even noticed.

Police Chief Got Degree from Diploma Mill

KGWN – Cheyenne Police Chief Got Degree from Diploma Mill
The city of Cheyenne has paid for the city’s police chief to earn a masters degree from a suspected diploma mill.

Police Chief Bob Fecht got the degree from Lacrosse University in Mississippi.

I think the big question would be whether or not he got a raise for getting the degree. Also most employers will only reimburse education expenses for accredited institutions. Lacrosse claims to be accredited by some “international” accrediting institutions. They attempt to make it sound as if an “international” accreditation association is somehow better than the regional system used in the US.

Unlike US regional accreditation (which is divided into 6 territorial regions) ADLP is an international association, providing educational quality accreditation services to private high schools, vocational schools, universities, colleges and institutes worldwide.

Lacrosse is a place where they will give you credit for “life experience” as long as you still pay for the class. Their tution and fees page is interesting. A Bachelor’s degree is $2450 and Master’s is $2525. If you get both together they only charge $3000, but only if you’ve already done 75% of the work.

But if you’ve already done 75% of the work needed for a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree wouldn’t you already have a Bachelor’s degree? Oh I forgot about the Life Experience part. Evidently your life experience can give you at least 75% of what will normally require 6 years of hard study for everyone else.

Harvard Museum Collections Search

You can Search Harvard’s museum collections. They have scanned and photographed over 80,000 works of art that you can view online. Some of the scans are at very high resolution. If you play around with the URL you can get it to give you images up to 3000 pixels accross.

I’d suggest that you check the box that only shows record with images if you want to browse the art work. This will keep you from sorting through the items that haven’t been digitized yet.

Emails ‘pose threat to IQ’

An article
by the guardian talks about how email can become adictive and actually lower your IQ like drugs.

The distractions of constant emails, text and phone messages are a greater threat to IQ and concentration than taking cannabis, according to a survey of befuddled volunteers.

Doziness, lethargy and an increasing inability to focus reached “startling” levels in the trials by 1,100 people, who also demonstrated that emails in particular have an addictive, drug-like grip.

Respondents’ minds were all over the place as they faced new questions and challenges every time an email dropped into their inbox. Productivity at work was damaged and the effect on staff who could not resist trying to juggle new messages with existing work was the equivalent, over a day, to the loss of a night’s sleep.

I think the same thing could be said of any highly distractive activity. People don’t multitask as well as they think they do.

“This is a very real and widespread phenomenon,” said Glenn Wilson, a psychiatrist from King’s College, London University, who carried out 80 clinical trials for TNS research, commissioned by the IT firm Hewlett Packard. The average IQ loss was measured at 10 points, more than double the four point mean fall found in studies of cannabis users.

So I wonder what having 4 small children does to the IQ of an unorganized mother? It seems like it would have a similiar effect. I would like to see a study sh Continue reading “Emails ‘pose threat to IQ’”