Friday, September 26, 2008

Another U of L Instant Degree For Sale?

Recently Marina Karem complained in the C-J that the "quickie degree" granted Prince Georges County Superintendent John Deasy by former education Dean Robert Felner devalued her own hard work and accomplishments.

I'm sure she's not alone. It must be galling to those honest hard-working Cardinals to see their beloved university drug through the mud.

U of L spokesman John Drees assured the C-J today, "...we have one goal: to prevent instances like these reported at the College of Education from happening again."

But it now appears easy degrees from U of L may be more plentiful than originally thought.

Page One is reporting another sweetheart deal may have been under way with major Ville donor Lewis "Sonny" Bass. It was Bass who defended Felner in the C-J on August 28th suggesting that C-J's investigation and publication of the facts related to Felner's alleged wrongdoings were "perverted, cruel, twisted, malicious and probably anti-Semitic." He said C-J was crucifying the trustworthy Felner.

But according to [high-level] sources at UofL ... Mr. Bass was offered an honorary degree over the summer. But he wasn’t satisfied. He wanted an actual, earned degree. So individuals within the College of Education enrolled him in a fast track program that would give him credit for life experience, which has to be documented in the form of a portfolio.

A student was assigned (and paid) to assemble a portfolio for Bass but eventually grew to be uncomfortable with the arrangement. At one point, after complaining, she was reportedly offered more money to appease her worries but eventually backed out of the process. A new student was then assigned.

According to professors we spoke with at UofL, Bass never showed up to classes he was supposed to attend this summer. He never did any of the work required of him. And professors were uncomfortable giving grades to him– that he didn’t earn– since he was never in their classes.

Go read the emails. In one July message to Bass, Program Coordinator Carolyn Rude-Parkins outlines how she and a graduate research assistant would work on his "interview and written materials...[and] develop a Portfolio that will document [his] expertise..."

Sounds like they do all the work. He gets interviewed, and the degree of course, and apparently - stop me if you've heard this one before - without attending class.

Meanwhile, as President James Ramsey and Provost Shirley Willihnganz continue to be under fire for their misjudgment and support of Felner's activities - U of L spokesman Drees told C-J,

Louisville's accreditation and alumni donations have not been affected by federal and internal investigations of its former education dean, a school spokesman said yesterday.

"Based on the facts we have at this point, our accreditation is not threatened," John Drees said during a press briefing.
But six financial, management and governance reviews are still under way, and that does not include the SACS and NCATE reviews to follow or the federal investigation of Felner set to conclude in October.

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