Letter to the editor: An alma mater

I take issue with your article ["Degrees of deception: Many government, contractor IT workers are padding resumes," July 7] that mentions California Coast University. It is not a diploma mill.

I received my bachelor's of science in accounting from Bentley College, and a certificate of advanced study in social sciences and a master's in psychology from Harvard University. I was referred to CCU to get a doctorate because the deans at CCU for business and psychology were both Harvard graduates at the time.

I was accepted in both programs and went for a doctorate in business, which took four years to complete. This was a professional research doctorate. It took the same amount of time it would take at most universities. There was no credit for lifelong learning.

My final comprehensive exam was six questions, which were researched and 70 pages long. The program was as vigorous as my two degrees from Harvard were.

I am published: a dual-discipline book on management and psychology, a white paper on team re-engineering and some poetry.

With regard to [the Council for Higher Education Accreditation's] questions on how to tell if an organization is a diploma mill, here are answers for CCU.

The degrees cannot be purchased.

Accreditation is through experimental and nontraditional programs. Politics play a lot here. To be accredited, schools need a library of 100,000 books.

Experimental and nontraditional programs are worldwide and have been around for more than 30 years.

CCU is licensed in California, unless it is lying.

Attendance in a research program is not relevant; telephone discussions are just as useful.

All my research courses had written assignments and papers, as well as written exams. These were no giveaways.

Do you call four years a short period of time when working 20-plus hours a week on the program?

I do not know about the lower-level degrees, but resume review and lifelong learning only allowed acceptance in the program. I still had to prove myself.

Graduation requirement: Do you call a 70-page research exam, which took more than a month to complete, easy?

The costs were about the same as most universities I attended.

Fees were not low but were not high, either.

There is a business location in Santa Ana and can be visited anytime.

Faculty is listed in each program brochure.

CCU does not have a name that sounds like any other.

As far as I know, no claim has been made that cannot be substantiated.

If CCU still sounds like a diploma mill to you, why don't you see if you can easily pass their vigorous programs? You cannot be accepted into these programs without knowledge and experience in the field. Mine was a minimum of seven years of management experience.

This may seem like a gripe, but I did the work, and it was not easy.

Wilfred Caouette,

Subcontract program manager

Cepoint Networks LLC, Nashua, N.H.

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