Thursday February 10, 2005
Men are from Mars, and Women are from Venus. Not only did this thesis shift 30m books for Dr John Gray, PhD, it has also provided the branding for his new, exciting diet plan based on Mars and Venus Supershakes. Gray’s PhD, meanwhile, is from California. Columbia Pacific University, to be precise: an unaccredited correspondence school, with a proud history, which was tragically closed in 1997 by a despotic state education board.
This was your kind of university. There were no classes to wake up for, and the PhDs and Masters degrees were doled out on a points system: one Masters student was given credit for “a learning contract describing how he would continue taking dance lessons, and watch dance demonstrations, in order to improve his skills as a country and western dancer”. One received three credits for having “letters from two work colleagues attesting to his use of statistics in his job performance as a high-school coach”. The credit was for a course called ED 568 Statistics in Education, for which there was no course outline, and no course description. Result.
In fact, students were routinely receiving credits for courses which didn’t seem to exist. But that’s OK, because university is all about time to reflect. Two students each received three credits for a project to “become more aware of and change their eating habits, resulting in chewing food more slowly and thoroughly”. “While perhaps worthwhile endeavours,” reflected the inspectors’ report, which in retrospect seems wilfully crafted for cruel sarcasm, “this is hardly worth three credits at either the Bachelors or Masters degree.”
Of course, Dr John Gray, PhD was as distressed by all this nonsense as you are. He threatens to sue internet bloggers for libel if they call his PhD phony and confuse “approval” with “accreditation” (pay attention, kids, this is complicated postgraduate stuff), and his website states: “At the time John Gray graduated and received his degree, CPU was a highly respected school in its field.” Columbia Pacific, sadly, has never been accredited, and you will not be able to find Gray’s PhD in the (definitive) “Dissertation Abstracts”. Which all seems terribly unfair. As Dr John Gray, PhD says in Columbia Pacific’s promotional materials: “it is my pleasure to endorse the University … you deserve to receive recognition and credit for your accomplishments.”