John Bear and degree mills: a prestigious career streamlined
Kudos to dr. John Bear the degree mill fighter. None knows better than John Bear when it comes to degree mills, milled degrees etc.

Quote:"A degree is often more useful than a good education or valuable skills in your field." (the authors, pg. 3)
"One man's degree mill is another man's alternative university." (the authors. Bears' Guide, 13th Edition. pg 306)
'People rarely check up on other people's degrees." (John Bear, Bear's Guide, 10th Ed., pg 24)
I think these quotes encapsulate John Bear's strategy and view of higher education. "alternative" is altedspeak code for "unaccredited." John Bear is correct on the second point - outright degree mills on the one end of the continuum shade into sincere but unrecognized alternative/unaccredited universities at the other. I myself would say they're all bogus - whether degree mills or "alternative/unaccredited" universities. John Bear by his own admission involved himself in his past with a string of unaccredited "universities/colleges" in states with lax or non-existent laws governing degree-granting colleges/universities.
Such unaccredited schools - according to some sources - were: MILLARD FILMORE (owner); INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR ADVANCED STUDIES ( President, 3 years); COLUMBIA PACIFIC ( part owner); LONDON INSTITUTE OF APPLIED RESEARCH (owner); FAIRFAX UNIVERSITY ( part owner/founder); GREENWICH UNIVERSITY ( President, 1,5 years ).

It is instructive to consider the case of Fairfax University: John Bear and his wife were two of four founders, but left after the first few students enrolled in 1986. As of 1991, John Bear was calling this an "academically-sound program" in the previous version of this book. Here's what Fairfax University's current website advertising says: "Degree programs offered at Bachelor, Master, and Doctoral levels. Personal supervision by mail, telephone, etc by...highly qualified..faculty. No residency or written examination requirements. Work at own pace from home. Credits awarded for prior learning, training. Average duration of programs is 6-18 months." Sounds a lot like ads for a school for cartoonists. Fairfax is not accredited. The degree-granting authority comes from Louisiana, which has notoriously lax regulations, but the school itself is apparently in England with only a secretarial drop-office in Louisiana (all information from Bears' books). Posting on a message board on 1-28-2003, mr.Bear wrote "Don't even think of applying to Fairfax, unless you are comfortable with a degree whose use would be a criminal offense in New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, etc".

Other alternative education enthusiasts favor loosening the traditional link between the bachelor's degree and the three or four years of on-campus study necessary to attain the degree. They want evaluations of "course equivalents" and credits for "life" experience - John Bear himself suggests that riding a horse, eating at an exotic restaurant, "applying statistics to gambling" (I like that one - a subscription to Racing Form ?...Bear is nothing if not droll) and reading his [Bear's] books "could" be worth credit for life experience learning (Bear's Guide 10th Edition). In my view, this "life assessment model" will have the same effect on university degrees as the dumbing-down of high school education did for the high school graduation diploma - render it untrustworthy. I note the US Armed Forces do not believe the GED is worth even as much as an high school diploma. I believe the same will happen with the bachelor's degree if large numbers of students start earning their degrees by "challenge" or "life assessment" or other bogus non-residential forms advocated by Dr. Bear. Incidentally, the bogus- sorry, "alternative"-degree community has a home on the internet. John Bear is guru-in-residence, but it appears his followers are predominantly trailer park residents and third-rate academics, judging by their incoherent postings.
This brings us to the book - "College Degrees by Mail & Modem." Bear's predecessor to this book - "100 College Degrees By Mail - Good Schools that offer Bachelor's Master's Doctorates, and Law Degrees by Home Study" - was a disgrace, in my opinion. Of the recommended "good" schools, about 97 were accredited, and 22 were non-accredited. Among John Bear's recommended "good" schools was "Eurotechnical Research University" of Hilo, Hawaii. (Hawaii at that time and still now does not have effective legislation to prohibit bogus schools). This school was run out of two rooms in the founder's home. John Bear admits to being a friend of the founder (since deceased) and an advisor to the "university." Yet John Bear didn't notice, until a Hawaiian reporter pointed it out, that an outright diploma mill (Leiland College) operated from a Hawaii post office box opened by the founder. Eurotechnical Research University at last report is now affiliated with a karate school, and the street address is a mailbox rental service. Several other unaccredited schools in Bears list of "good" schools have turned out to be "less-than-wonderful" or gone out of business. Bear himself notes that several legitimate schools have pleaded not to be mentioned in his books.Incidentally, John Bear himself was president of an unaccredited school - "Greenwich University" for eighteen months in Hilo, in the period 1990-1991. This and his other school of that time - a institution-in-planning temporarily called "School Without a Name" were also in Bear's recommended list of good schools.

hey...why is this thing called "googlebot" and "MSN" and "Yahoo slurp" reading THIS?!
A.A Mole University
B.A London Institute of Applied Research
B.Sc Millard Fillmore
M.A International Institute for Advanced Studies
Ph.D London Institute of Applied Research
Ph.D Millard Fillmore
I'm sure that's why the FBI wanted Bear's input.  You don't ask a Saint about how to crack open safes. You go to an expert safe cracker and find out all the little tricks used by him and his fellow "After hours" safe openers.

Does the name Frank Abagnale ring a bell? it should.  Just insert Bear for Frank and you get the idea of Bear's situation with the FBI. He told them what he knew from first hand experience. How did he know where to look?  By having traveled the road before.
Millard Fillmore

Here is where Bear learned about mills and unaccredited schools. First hand experience.
A.S., B.S., M.B.A.

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