Wednesday, April 22, 2009

UofL upholds challenged doctoral degree

John Deasy, a former Malibu California school superintendent who had given a research center run by former UofL Education Dean Robert Felner a $375,000 contract in 2002, subsequently got a doctoral degree after studying there only one semester. Sweet.

This from Nancy Rodriguez at C-J:

...The agency that accredits schools in Kentucky and 10 other Southern states requires candidates for graduate degrees to earn the majority of their credits at the university awarding the degree.

And a university rule requires doctoral candidates to spend at least two years studying at U of L, including at least one in full-time residency.

Campus residency requirements are considered important because a university is vouching for a student when it issues a degree. For that reason, universities have typically insisted that a substantial part of the work must be performed on campus.

Deasy's degree was called into question last fall after The Courier-Journal and WHAS-TV reported that Deasy got the degree after studying at U of L for a single semester...

This from the Chronicle of Higher Ed:
...Before his short stint at Louisville, Mr. Deasy had earned at least 50 credits toward a doctorate at three other institutions, including the University of Rhode Island, where Mr. Felner taught until 2003.

In September the University of Louisville appointed a committee to investigate whether the degree had been awarded improperly. In a statement quoted by The Courier-Journal today, the university said that the panel had concluded that Mr. Deasy successfully defended his dissertation before a faculty committee. “The degree stands; no further action will be taken,” the statement said.

The university said the review had confirmed the “integrity of our degree-granting process. We do not give away degrees.” It also noted several changes it was making to put more checks on the process for granting exemptions from graduate-degree requirements.

A federal indictment issued in October accuses Mr. Felner and an associate of diverting more than $2-million into their personal bank accounts from a federal research grant and from contracts with municipal school districts, including the district in Santa Monica, Calif., where Mr. Deasy served as superintendent from 2001 until 2006.

Mr. Deasy is now deputy director for education at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The federal indictment of Mr. Felner does not suggest that Mr. Deasy knew about or benefited from the embezzlement that Mr. Felner is accused of. Mr. Felner has pleaded not guilty to the federal charges.

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