Quote of the Day

Friday, May 29, 2009

St. George Spectrum On Board

The St. George Spectrum published a puff piece for the school today. My favorite part:

"It's a private university offering a first-class, liberal arts education that can be earned on campus, off-site and online. The higher education institution boasts students from across the United States and the world and is actively pursuing accreditation."


I didn't realize the Spectrum ran straight PR for shady organizations!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Welcome


Welcome Glenn Beck listeners! See our previous posts (here and here) on Beck.

For those looking for information on Thomas Jefferson Education (the one with no textbooks), see the blog Why I Don't Do TJED by a homeschooling father.


Please browse the posts of this blog and the linked articles along the left side. I don't have a problem with someone deciding to study with GWU after they've seen the whole picture; this blog serves to help people go in with their eyes open.

Please respect the blog rules (upper left) -- no libelous accusations, no profanity, and cite your sources.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Glenn Beck Commentary

Apparently Glenn Beck plugged A Thomas Jefferson Education and George Wythe University during his radio program this morning at 11:00 AM Eastern (thanks RC).

Beck said that he likes the no textbook rule ("Classics, Not Textbooks"), and he said that George Wythe University is today what Harvard and Yale were in the 17th Century.



Disappointing comments coming from Beck -- he clearly has not done his homework here. For example, while GWU may claim to be a liberal arts school as Harvard was in the 1600s (and still is), Harvard was not granting degrees ranging from musicology to international business with no faculty knowledgeable in those fields. And Yale? It didn't even exist in the 1600s. It wasn't founded until 1701. Even if it had, I have a hard time coming up with even one substantive similarity between GWU and these two Ivy League schools.

A cursory examination by me of GWU's record after my relative blew through her college savings there (see my profile) revealed slipshod scholarship done by academically inbred professors. To date, of the four presidents in the school's history (see current president Andrew Groft in a light saber duel to the right), not one has an accredited doctorate. Not one has made a dissertation available for review. Instead, every doctorate comes from either GWU itself, or its mother institution, the now-defunct Coral Ridge Baptist University (no affiliation with the famous Coral Ridge Ministries).

Moreover, I am sure 17th Century Harvard did not hand out doctorates for life experience, like GWU did to a student in the 1990s, who took her Ph.D. in Psychology and used it to serve as an expert witness around the country, including for the defense in a child rape trial in Arkansas (David Eric WOOD v. STATE of Arkansas, see here and here). Luckily in that case her testimony was later thrown out by the state board of appeals.

I hope Beck continues to plug the school ahead of his Saturday appearance at a fundraising event. The school desperately needs the scrutiny that will follow.

American Founders University

The Salt Lake Tribune reports this morning that American Founders University has gone under.

What does this have to do with George Wythe University? AFU and GWU share founders: Donald Sills and Glenn Kimber, co-founders with Oliver DeMille of George Wythe College, went on to found this online, for-profit, liberal arts school with an individual named Rick Koerber.

Yesterday, the U.S. Attorney for Utah announced a 3-count indictment against Koerber for allegedly defrauding investors of more than $100 million.

The following comes directly from the AFU website:

Who is Rick Koerber?
Rick Koerber is the Founder and CEO of American Founders University and FranklinSquires Companies, LLC. He is a highly sought after motivational speaker and business consultant. He has worked with, represented, and held key positions in companies such as FranklinCovey, Toshiba America Business Solutions, Carleton Sheets Personal Coaching and IKON Office Solutions. His broad background also includes seminary teacher for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, high school instructor, parliamentary/policy debate coach at Casper College in Wyoming and founder of six businesses. Although only in his thirties, Rick has in his own words “had a lifetime of experience in both headaches and wonderful triumphs.” Rick’s establishment of the Equity Milling™ process—a successful, creative real estate technique—has resulted in his acquisition of over $100 million in real estate. To find out more information about Rick, visit www.rickkoerber.com.

Who is Glenn Kimber?
Dr. Glenn Jay Kimber is the President of American Founders Academy. He is also a former member of the United States Air Force and a graduate of Brigham Young University. A native of Grouse Creek and Brigham City, Utah, Glenn is the founder of five businesses: KimCo, Inc., Textbook Publishers, Beit-Lehi Tours, Thomas Jefferson Center for Constitutional Studies, and Kimber Academy. His vocations have included serving as a general contractor, a private school owner, school principal and instructor, tour guide to Israel, Executive Vice President of The National Center for Constitutional Studies, author, and lecturer. Dr. Kimber has traveled for over 30 years throughout the U.S. presenting over 1,000 patriotic seminars and conferences on the subjects of American history and the United States Constitution to audiences exceeding one million. He married Julianne Skousen in 1965, and together they have authored over 28 textbooks. Glenn and Julianne live in Alpine, Utah.

Who is Don Sills?
The son of an Oklahoma farmer, Dr. Donald N. Sills has served as a Baptist Minister for over 50 years and has spoken from the pulpit in over 25 countries. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs, including several appearances on Phil Donohue Show, Larry King Live, Pat Robertson’s 700 Club, and James Robinson. He has served as President of the Coalition for Religious Freedom in Washington, D.C. (1984-1995), Executive Director for the World Council for Religious Liberty in Geneva Switzerland, and President of Family Entertainment Network based in Texas—a business that has generated $25 million dollars in sales in the field of animated Bible stories. As a teacher and advocate of the American Constitution and the Word of God, Dr. Sills currently serves as the Director of Eagle’s Nest Academy, Manager of World Resource Partners: Hong Kong, Chairman of the Board to George Wythe College, and Director of the Institute for International Educational Development. Dr. Sills is the Vice-President of American Founders Academy. He and his wife, Katherine, reside in Mapleton, Utah.


Kimber received his doctorate from Coral Ridge Baptist University. According to the GW history, he did the initial curriculum design for George Wythe College.

Although the AFU website still lists Kimber as president, according to an individual with the Kimber Academy, "When [Glenn Kimber] found out some of the things going on with Rick, he left American Founders." This individual clarified that Koerber is not involved with Kimber Academy.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

No Debt Policy?

According to the school's official history, it operates under a strict no-debt policy: "Here is an institution of higher learning that was begun with no funding of any kind, and a no-debt policy from its inception. ...the College would use absolutely no debt for any reason."

However, it appears that in order to purchase its current campus, the school signed a $489,719 trust deed (securing a loan, aka debt) with the State Bank of Southern Utah. The document, dated November 2004, is available at the Iron County, Utah recorder's website. In addition, the note was co-signed by a local tree farm, which appears to have quit-claimed its interest in April 2007.

In May 2007, the school appears to have taken out a new loan against the facility in the amount of $125,000, again with the State Bank of Southern Utah.

First Class in Monticello


The school has officially held its first class in Monticello, and appears to have met the technical requirements of the Monticello land donation (requiring classes be held by 2010).

Classes were held in an outdoor pavilion, apparently the only structure placed on the land to-date.

Areas of Focus

Several people have asked what my problem is with George Wythe University. While I try to include all viewpoints in this blog (see link listing to the left), I do have a few problems with this school based on my interactions and those of my relatives (see my profile at the bottom of the blog).

These problems boil down to three general categories:

1. The way the school presents itself
2. Philosophy / Methodology
3. Quality of execution on the methodology

The way the school presents itself
The problems with the school's history have been documented in previous posts. Obviously, the school has a troubled past, although it seems to be turning over a new leaf of late.

While I have no problem with fresh starts, the school needs to come to terms with its own history before it can fully move forward. If that means disowning the 1990s and all its attendant baggage (degrees based on life experience, conspiracy publications, etc.), then so be it.

During that time the school gave our boatloads of degrees for majors ranging from Musicology to Psychology to International Business, to the point where these degrees are simply not credible.

Unfortunately, such a purge would include throwing out the degree of current president Andrew Groft, who got his Ph.D. in Education during this time (this is another of the degrees no longer offered).

A friend of mine commented that when she was considering the school back in 2002, she was impressed by the photos in the registration materials of students lounging in large quads, reading books near majestic columns on an expansive campus. But when she visited the campus, it was in the basement of a dentist's office in a strip mall. She felt like her expectations had been violated, and although this didn't make or break the deal for her, it did leave her with a bad taste in her mouth.

From another angle, here is a shot taken from the school's homepage on March 11, 2000, ostensibly an image of the school's campus:



And here is a shot of the strip mall the school actually occupied at the time, and through 2005 (they were in the basement of one of the units):



What's wrong with presenting things "as they really are"? Unfortunately, the school continues to present itself as more than it is. Another example: It bills itself as "the leading college in the United States dedicated specifically to building Statesmen." It's not difficult to lead in a field of one! They could just as justifiably call themselves "the worst college in the United States dedicated specifically to building Statesmen."

The school has since moved into the following quarters on Sage Drive in Cedar City, Utah:



More transparency in the way the school presents itself would go a LONG way in establishing its credibility.

I will address items 2 and 3 in follow-up posts.

Comments welcome!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

This is Not a Joke

The following is an excerpt from actual "scenario" put forth by GW for an actual, serious "simulation" exercise. This is the mindset of the school:

"The year is 2013. Just months ago, President Obama won the election and began his second term as President of the United States. On February 23, while Air Force 1 was taking off from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, a hidden guerilla fighter was able to deploy an RPG. The rocket propelled grenade hit engine #3, ignited the fuel cells, and brought the President and everyone aboard down in a mass of flames. The devastation was recorded by numerous media agencies and all 112 people aboard died. Vice-President Hillary Clinton took office within hours of the confirmation that the President had, indeed, perished.

"On March 15, 2013 the most sophisticated and wide-reaching web of intrigue in the history of the world was played out within a ninety-minute window. A precise combination of nuclear attacks launched between the United States, Russia, Europe, India, Pakistan, North Korea, China, Taiwan, and even Cuba, devastated most of the major world capitals."


The synopsis goes on to describe how a window of opportunity has opened up to create a new, revolutionary constitution, and how different factions are competing for influence over just how to fashion it.

As "out there" as this scenario may seem, the school saw fit to arrange a four-day "Statesmanship Invitational" to act out the situation (see here). This is the kind of useful, statesman-like education you can receive nowhere but at George Wythe University. For $190, you too can participate!

(Well, you might get it by reading Gerald Lund's The Alliance, which bears eerie similarities to this scenario, but I digress...)

CLARIFICATION: I have no problem with Lund, and to his credit he clearly labels his book as fantasy/science fiction. I don't think he's living in a dreamworld where he expects this type of scenario to actually play out. I mention the book, which I read as a teenager, to make the point that (1) GW leadership does appear to be living in such a dreamworld, and (2) whoever wrote this "simulation" might possibly have been influenced by Lund's book.

Check out the "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought" section in the book's Amazon.com listing. The 5000 Year Leap, The Hiding Place, and The Real George Washington, along with other GW favorites, appear there as well.

But Lund's book is fantasy, people -- GW's "simulation" was a four-day, serious exercise.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Punting Accreditation

Once again, GW has punted on accreditation. The school had previously said it would know if its attempt at accreditation with the AALE was successful by Spring 2009. Andrew Groft has now indefinitely suspended that promise, while affirming that the school still wants to be accredited.

It was a full nine months ago (August 28, 2008) that The St. George Spectrum quoted Shanon Brooks as saying the school "is in the last stage of the accreditation process."

Then in January, we posted an update detailing how the ball was in GW's court and the school was basically doing nothing. Groft confirms this when he says "our faculty and staff have had to divert time and attention away from accreditation during these past six months."

So much for those students who took the school at its word. Accreditation is obviously not a priority for the school. If administrators had been more transparent about its interminable on-and-off flirtation with accreditation, these students may have been able to learn from history: DeMille and the school have been saying accreditation was around the corner ever since 1999, but have yet to come through on the promises.

Review of the GW Board

Below is a summary of GW's Board of Trustees. Note that of the 14 board members, only six claim doctoral degrees, four of which are from either GW or its sister school, CRBU.
NameBachelor'sMaster'sDoctorate
Vicki Jo Anderson BYU GWU -
Rusty T. Bastian USU UofU-
J. Monte Bledsoe ---
Shanon BrooksGWUGWUGWU
Allan Burton --QU (Law)
Oliver DeMille BYUCRBUCRBU
Julie Earley -GWUGWU
Doug Free BYU--
Andrew Groft --GWU
Diann Jeppson (Chair) GWU--
Ken KrogueUofU--
Lyle Mast ---
Shane Schulthies BYU-BYU
Tryge Simpson ---

Note also that while the board chair, Diann Jeppson, has only a bachelor's degree from GW, she "is currently pursuing a Masters in Education at George Wythe University."

Following is a summary of the degrees, listed by school. Note that this is probably an incomplete listing, as many of the biographies list no degree at all (I assume all the members of the board have at least one degree from somewhere).

Name Bachelor's Master's DoctorateTotal
None 7 9 824
GWU 2 3 38
BYU 4 0 15
UofU 1 1 02
CRBU 0 1 12
USU 1 0 01
QU 0 0 11

DeMille Transcript

Earlier this year, DeMille posted a copy of his BYU transcript on his website, www.tjedonline.com. While that has since been removed (I suggested to him at the time, privately, that he remove it as it contained his SSN), I am posting the class list from that document, which I believe is the thrust of what he was trying to achieve by posting it in the first place [UPDATE: I have removed this class list as it cluttered the blog] Note that I can vouch that he did indeed graduate magna cum laude from BYU, although he did retake most of the classes from his first semester due to poor grades.

Here is a quick review of how many credits were carried and when, juxtaposed with a hasty timeline of concurrent events. This table could certainly be revised -- please let me know if I am missing anything!

Time Period

BYU Credits

BYU Status

Concurrent Events

Sep - Dec 1986

12.5

Full time

Doughty purchases Meadeau View Lodge, moves ICE from Cedar City to Duck Creek

Jan - Apr 1987

11.5

Full time

Doughty begins touring country with Cleon Skousen, raising funds for Meadeau View

May - Jun 1987

6.0

Full time

Doughty and Skousen raise funds

Jul 1987 - Oct 1989

0.0

On break

DeMille on two-year mission in Spain; Doughty buys 400-acre parcel in Mammoth Valley

Nov - Dec 1989

5.0

Full time

Doughty and Skousen raise funds

Jan - Apr 1990

14.5

Full time

Doughty and Skousen raise funds

May - Aug 1990

0.0

On break

DeMille works for ICE assisting with seminars; seller of Mammoth Land files notice of default on the note for failure to make first payment

Sep - Dec 1990

17.5

Full time

Doughty makes first payment on land

Jan - Apr 1991

16.5

Full time

Dixie State Bank files notice of default for failure to make final payment on land

May - Jun 1991

10.0

Full time

Doughty begins borrowing thousands from followers, some in double-principal notes, promising to complete Skousen Center at Duck Creek; also solicits and accepts $2,000 to $14,000 "donations" from at least 72 families and individuals promising them land at Mammoth

Jul - Aug 1991

0.0

On break

DeMille works for ICE teaching seminars; Doughty makes final payment on land

Sep - Dec 1991

17.5

Full time

 

Jan - Apr 1992

20.5

Full time

DeMille submits independent study work, awarded B.A. from CRBU

May - Jun 1992

1.0

Part time

 

Jul - Aug 1992

0.0

On break

DeMille works for ICE teaching seminars

Sep - Dec 1992

2.0

Part time

GWC founded at Meadeau View Lodge; DeMille full-time faculty and awarded M.A. from CRBU

Jan - Aug 1993

0.0

On break

Lodge damaged in explosion, DeMille spends summer piecing school together

Sep - Dec 1993

3.0

Part time

DeMille sole faculty member at GWC

Jan - Apr 1994

6.0

Part time

DeMille awarded Ph.D. from CRBU; Utah Division of Real Estate sends cease-and-desist order to Doughty, ordering him to stop marketing the Mammoth land

May - Aug 1994

0.0

 

DeMille awarded B.A. from BYU; Deseret News publishes series of articles on Meadeau View