Quote of the Day

Thursday, October 21, 2010

GW Trustees: Repudiate Life Experience Degrees

Okay, I'm going to come out and ask for it. I call on the trustees of the George Wythe Foundation to publicly repudiate the "degrees" awarded in the past for "life experience."

As has been noted in the comment sections, these "degrees" are having real consequences for real people in the real world.

I'm talking about degrees like the "doctorate"* awarded to Ann Blake Tracy** (see here) for self-publishing a book on anti-depressants that the Deseret News pointed out "contains spelling and punctuation errors and incomplete sentences." Tracy took this degree and attempted to serve as an expert witness for the defense in a child rape trial in Arkansas. Luckily, her testimony was thrown out. (David Eric WOOD v. STATE of Arkansas, Opinion delivered September 5, 2001)

How many similar cases are there that we just haven't heard about, concerning this individual or some other recipient of a George Wythe "life experience" degree?

Therefore, as the board seeks to legitimize this school, a crucial step in that process will be to stand up and divorce itself from the seamy practices of the past.

Publish an honest history. And repudiate these "degrees."

*According to this website, a "Doctorate in Health Sciences with the emphasis on Psychology"

**According to Tracy, "the Ph.D. was awarded for 'lifetime experience,' specifically for the writing of Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? which she says she has been told is the equivalent of, or 'far beyond,' a dissertation." (Source:
Deseret News, "Depressed over Prozac", Sunday, Aug. 22, 2004)

UPDATE: According to Tracy's website, "Since 1992 she has testified as an expert witness in Prozac and other SSRI related court cases around the world." So it wasn't just that one case after all. Real consequences people.

UPDATE: Following is a list (with links) to degrees no longer granted by George Wythe. These may or may not have been awarded for life experience. But given the broad range of "majors," they certainly beg the question.

(On some of these you'll have to search for the term "wythe" to find the referenced statement.)

* B.A. in Finance

* B.A. in Biblical Studies

* M.A. in Youth and Family Counseling

* Ph.D. in Family Counseling

* Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies

* Ph.D. in International Business

* Ph.D. in Education

* Ph.D. in Health Sciences with emphasis on Psychology

* Ph.D. in Biblical Studies (previously at http://greatvoicesofdestiny.net/; now taken down)

* Ph.D. in Musicology (previously at http://greatvoicesofdestiny.net/; now taken down)

Here is a video of "Dr." Tracy:


Anonymous said...

And while we are at it, let us request that Jamestown College repudiate the PhD awarded to Louis L’Amour. He never proved to be an expert of anything and, as intellectuals everywhere agree, his substandard use of the English language left much to be desired. We mustn’t allow the irrelevance of popularity to substitute genuine classroom scholastics. Everyone knows that true expertise can only be acquired in a traditional lecture setting, something Mr. L’Amour in his arrogance spoke vehemently against. In my opinion, life skills and experience are pointless where academics are concerned. With all the authority I hold and the better judgment that is in me, I demand his PhD be repudiated immediately.

I’ve never actually read a Louis L’Amour book, but I still believe my judgment is sound. You can’t discredit me my right to an opinion, even if it differs from your own. Thank you for allowing my voice to be heard.

Bob said...

I agree with you Anonymous.

I can’t believe Ben Franklin had the audacity to refer to himself as “Doctor.” He didn’t go to school a day in his life. In those days they’d give an honorary degree for nothing more than a silly kite experiment. Back then the College of William and Mary had like what? 40 students per semester. What a joke.

I believe if you are going to get a degree in Statesmanship, you should get it from a modern reputable institution as did Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and both Clintons. You should avoid the half-baked home study styled programs like the ones popular in the late 1700’s. No good ever came from such things.

R.C. said...

Bob, are you comparing Ann Blake Tracy to Benjamin Franklin? Besides, a kite experiment is still an experiment and Ann Blake Tracy does not have any experimental work in the field in which she claims to be an expert. That is a problem.

The Clintons' Yale law education does mean something, even though you don't like them. Same with Reid's law degree, and Pelosi's bachelor's degree. It means that they can function in reality without kidding themselves that an unaccredited education means something. Sorry, it does.

According to wikipedia, Louis L'Amour's PhD is honorary. Honorary degrees are not earned degrees and those who hold them should not call themselves doctors.

Bipolar Attorney said...

Saint Andrews and Oxford awarded Franklin honorary degrees after he was elected to the Royal Society.

Anonymous said...


I don’t think TRGW is questioning the validity of honorary degrees or life experience credit, he is simply questioning the specific degree awarded to Ann Tracy based on his apparent knowledge of her lack of related expertise. No one here is questioning the scholastic merits of, for instance, Dr. Julie Early. Granted I think we all agree that just because you are published doesn’t mean you are PhD worthy. I think what TRGW is saying is that there are many GWU graduates who by virtue of their years of dedicated studies very much deserve the degrees they were awarded… Ann Tracy is just not one of them.

Kevin said...

Apparently R.C. has some kind of evidence to prove his claim that Ann Blake Tracy hasn’t done “any experimental work in the field.” Perhaps he has read her book and has come to the conclusion that everything in there is simply based on her opinion with no science to back it up? Personally I haven’t read her book so I’m in no position to judge. Frankly I doubt anyone commenting on this post has read her book either (and that includes TRGW).

I’m not sure what would drive a person to criticize a book without having read it. Especially when the majority of those who have read it claim it is brilliant and any critics who have read it can only seem to point out fault with her sentence structure. A university professor once taught me that he could point out hundreds of grammatical errors in Plato’s original writings but I wouldn’t begin to question the value of Plato’s academic achievement.

Here’s a challenge… The next person that wants to criticize Ann Blake Tracy had better be able to honestly say they’ve read her work and can scientifically disprove her claims. Otherwise, we run the risk of making ourselves look like idiots.

The Real George Wythe said...

Anon (10/21 2:25 pm) and Bob,

I am not talking about honorary degrees here. I'm talking about degrees awarded for life experience, post facto.

Note that Tracy wrote her book in 1991. GWC was started in 1992.

Kevin and RC, I'm not criticizing Tracy here. I'm criticizing her "Ph.D." as an example of life experience degrees awarded by George Wythe College and their disturbing consequences.

A crucial step in becoming legitimate is renouncing these degrees.

Anonymous said...

TRGW, 6 quick questions for you;

#1. Aren’t honorary degrees by definition degrees awarded for life experience post facto? #2. What then, by your standard, constitutes the difference? #3. Which are you ultimately opposed to? #4. And why should we trust your personal judgment of the academic qualification of these degrees over the scrutiny of their graduation committee members?

It appears from the examples on your updated list that these individuals have all gone on to do honorable and productive things. #5. So what, pray tell, do you keep referring to as “disturbing consequences?” #6. Is there, in your opinion, such a thing as life experience worthy of an academic degree?

The Real George Wythe said...

Anon -

1 - Yes, but we're talking about earned degrees here, not honorary degrees.

2 - The difference, while it has some nuances, is common knowledge. Try Google.

3 - Really?

4 - We're not talking about my personal judgment. We're talking about life experience degrees.

5 - Examples of disturbing consequences? How about providing "expert" testimony in defense of a child rapist? Or providing family counseling services with a framed life experience degree on the wall?

6 - Probably not.

R.C. said...

Apparently you don't understand the difference between experimental work and literature review. Now, I can't say I have read Tracy's book, but I know it is not an experimental study. She may have read some scientific literature, but I can guarantee you that she has not published anything experimental that was subject to the type of peer review that is required by the scientific community, and the public at large - especially when the stakes are high. I could easily find some articles that demonstrate the effectiveness of prozac in rigorous experimental designs. While I am not a huge fan of medication, I know that it can be effective. I prefer an evidence-based cognitive-behavioral therapy approach for mental disorders in which Tracy claims expertise instead of medication or along with medication, but with a constant focus on psychological and behavioral processes, not chemical and biological.

So, I won't waste my time reading her book. I prefer real science that has been subjected to peer review and has been cited by real MDs and PhDs.

Of course I agree with TRGW. GWU needs to publicly distance themselves from these dubious degrees, that allow individuals like Tracy to represent themselves as experts.

Felidae said...

Dear Anon: First, I am a George Wythe student. That said, what part of "Honorary degrees are not earned degrees and those who hold them should not call themselves doctors" do you not understand? RC and TRGW are precisely spot on. Refraining from using such degrees as **earned titles** is rather common practice here on planet earth. Even the distinction at Wikipedia is that one is "substantive" while the other is noted as "honorary."

Still, Tracy's degree was not honorary, and hence is a travesty. I actually inquired about this several months ago. My understanding is that Tracy was told years ago by school officials that she is misrepresenting her degree, and that there was significant concern over it. For you, Bob and Kevin to defend her or the school on this blunder is laughable. You may want to call the school yourself. I highly doubt you'll hear anyone in authority defend her degree.

The Real George Wythe said...


See here.

Tracy "testified that she did not conduct the clinical studies herself, and that she had done no laboratory research." "The court ruled that her intended testimony was not reliable and that the methodology she used was suspect."

Even the defense appears to have been wary of her "degree", as it "never replied to the State's several requests for Dr. Tracy's resumé until [the day before the trial]."

Anonymous said...

Wow… I never before suspected that TRGW, RC and Felidae were all the same person. However, according to Feedjit, this blog’s traffic tracker, all three comments were just posted by the same person in Utah moments ago. It all makes sense now. Sadly no one will ever know cause TRGW will never allow this comment to stay. If it does, I’m sure all 3 of them will have some elaborate explanation about how they are in fact 3 separate people. No wonder Felidae’s comments are so inconsistent. The entertainment value of this blog just increased exponentially. I love it.

The Real George Wythe said...

"I never before suspected that TRGW, RC and Felidae were all the same person."

I thought they stopped teaching conspiracy theories at George Wythe.

Bipolar Attorney said...

Loyalty to the school is admirable but I do believe I cited scientific sources which have not been refuted. As for Ms. Tracy's book, it is available on Amazon. It consists of her commentary on selected portion of medical articles and her collected stories. As the reviewer in the Deseret News pointed out, you could get the same results with Bayer. The reviewer found that she took great liberty with the scientific method.

You don't have to buy her book to get her views. Go to Goggle or Youtube.

Have you read the Arkansas Child Rape case? The judge found no evidence of a scientific method.

Her chief ally is the Church of Scientology who quotes her regularly. I don't know of any medical doctors who agree with her other than Dr. Peter Breggin who has largely been discredited in Court. If her "research" is so compelling, why does she find no support in the scientific community?

Instead of emotional responses defending the school which smack of anti-intellectualism, please discuss the science.

Anonymous said...

Bipolar Attorney too? And we're questioning Dr. Tracy's credibility? Talk about Obfuscation!

The Real George Wythe said...

Anon, if you'd like feedjit to ignore your ip, go to the widget, click on menu, and then "ignore"

Winston said...

Back to topic: GWU has already discontinued awarding credit for life-experience. As for renouncing previously awarded life-experience credit and degrees . . . patience, my young Grasshopper, patience. All in due time.

Anonymous said...

Who else are you? Lucy? James F? JLL? Do you just sit and have long conversations with yourself? Oh and “Bipolar” (if that is your real fake name), since when is this blog about discussing the science of prozac? I’m pretty sure this blog is really about the credibility of anonymity. You probably shouldn’t trust anything I say… I could be RC for all you know.

Anonymous said...

Now I’m starting to wonder, is Jekyll even aware of Hyde? There must be a medication for MPD. Probably Dr. Tracy could tell us all about it. Winston, any suggestions?

R.C. said...

TRGW - You left out a PhD in "Youth and Family Christian Counseling" awarded to Ray Gwilliam:


Bipolar Attorney said...

I think I'm me. At least the last time I checked I was.

RC makes a good point about psychotherapy. Dr. Jamison's view is that medication is important to get the mentally ill person in a position to accept psychotherapy. Her view is wonderfully expressed in "An Unquiet Mind."

Of course, Ann Tracy is not qualified to do psychotherapy either.

Bipolar Attorney said...

I would take the claim of multiple legal testimony with a grain of salt. The standard legal computer research tool, WESTLAW, does not disclose any cases other that the Arkansas Child rape case.

I would be interested in learning if she has eve been allowed on the stand. She makes the claim so often that she must confuse talking about a matter with Court testimony. I highly doubt that she has testified in Court because with her lack of qualifications, any competent trial lawyer would challenge her presentation.

Maybe she has testified in Court. I just can't find the evidence. I think the danger is not so much the risk of letting a child rapist off but rather convincing vulnerable people to fore go treatment.

The continued claim of court testimony is a puzzle.

R.C. said...

Felidae -

Where did Andrew Groft and Oliver DeMille go? Their exits were very quiet. Are they coming back when/if GW becomes accredited?

Felidae said...

Well, RC, given the tone of Schulthies' accreditation campaign letter (see the GWU news feed) I don't think any of the three mouseketeers will be returning. I don't sense anyone glancing backward. From what I understand about AALE's requirements, none of them would qualify anyway, even if they were wanted.

R.C. said...


I think it is a smart move to go beyond Demille et al., however, it still makes me wonder if they are laying low until the school is accredited.

Anonymous said...

Felidae, It never ceases to amaze me that you can stand on the shoulders of great men and then proclaim that your view is so much better than theirs. While Schulthies skillfully rearranges tapestries and furniture (based on blueprints that predate him), you would give him credit for building the castle you so proudly inhabit.

I know Shane personally and I am aware that he doesn’t share your scorn for his predecessors. While he privately recognizes their weaknesses, he publicly honors their indispensable contributions and accomplishments.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't Ann Tracy have hundreds of satisfied clients? Aren't there a few people out there that claim Dr. Tracy saved their lives if not their marriages or other relationships?

I for one, have some friends that have been misdiagnosed by accredited medical professionals and have been over-medicated with stuff that caused more harm than good. I know people who take 3 prescriptions just to counteract the side effects of the one prescription they supposedly need. I’ve got a neighbor that swears from the pulpit that an inoculation caused his son’s autism. I’m by no means an expert mind you, but it seems to me that holistic healers create a necessary balance and provide options where otherwise none would be available.

Imagine what a mess we’d be in if no one was willing to challenge the medical elite.

Bipolar Attorney said...

Some people swear by horoscopes and alchemy. Doesn't make it science. Does GWU teach the dark arts?

The autism claim has been completely litigated and found to be groundless.

Does Ann Tracy have a medical degree? Is she practicing medicine unlawfully?

I understand the attraction of classics based liberal education. It is just that the classics might shed light on politics, government, leadership but they have nothing to do with medicine or science. It is arrogant to think that all knowledge in all subjects comes from being mentored by Skousen and Sills. As far as I know, Cleon Skousen never claimed medical knowledge. I respect your rights to talk about the Constitution but don't tell me that Mr. DeMille is a world class scientist.

Yes, indeed, Ann Tracy has caused the mentally ill to suffer. In earlier posts I have cited true experts such as Kay Redfield Jamison. I suggest education before loyalty.

Defending Scientology seems to be a form of Affinity Fraud.

R.C. said...

For every person you know that medications have failed, there are probably 10 more for whom they work.

Go to youtube and watch Richard Dawkins show called "the enemies of reason" on natural healing. There is not research support for Ms. Tracy's alternatives to medical science. And just like the Bipolar Attorney says, her assistance to scientology is a travesty.

Felidae said...

For whatever holistic mumbo jumbo you may prefer, Anon, I don't believe you'll find support for it at GWU, or for Tracy. Schulthies, having even chaired the Human Subjects Committee over all of BYU's campuses for a number of years, has a genuine science background. While I don't see this altering the school's focus on the liberal arts core, I do see it keeping the nonsense you would like out.

Incidentally, during the years I've taken classes at GWU, there haven't been any health sciences taught of any kind, and that's a good thing. Tracy is essentially an artifact left over from DeMille's slipshod management back in the Coral Ridge days. Not only is that period long gone, contrary to the earlier anon post farther up, I've heard no "public honoring" of it in recent years either. Instead, both among leadership and elsewhere in GW circles I most often hear it spoken of with contempt.

nuttbutts said...

I have stumbled onto your blog and am just curious as to why you do this. It seems to me you have a bone to pick with George Wythe College and TJEd. I wonder what the motivation is behind all your negativity. Is it really worth the time and effort to do a continual report of everything you find "untrue" or bothersom? I admit there are some things on here which may have sound reason, but again, why the dislike? Perhaps if I scroll to the beginning you will have posted something of your motivation. I just want to assure you I will not be following this blog as I feel it targets a spacific group, and is more of a hate blog than something worth while.

The Real George Wythe said...

Sarah, read my profile. A relative of mine blew through thousands of dollars at George Wythe before realizing it was a waste of time and money. She is now trying to recover from the time and money lost and move on with her life. The aim is to help people make an informed decision. I do include some positive here, but you can find that elsewhere. This blog serves as a resource to people to form a holistic opinion on the movement. Thanks for commenting!


Alison Moore Smith said...

For the record, I don't think anonymity helps most causes. If there is something significant to stand for -- and I think standing against perpetuated fraud is certainly one -- then I believe we should generally be willing to stand openly, by name. (Which is why I always post using my real name.)

That said, I could not disagree more with nuttbutts. And, frankly, I think the mindset portrayed in her post dangerous and harmful.

It would be lovely to stroll about, smelling flowers and drinking cocoa. But it's also morally appalling when dishonestly and misinformation are harming people. Being silent in the face of perpetuated hard, THAT is real negativity.

As for honorary degrees, funny. The first time I ever spoke out against DeMille, years ago, was because back then he always referred to himself as "Dr," even though his degree was honorary. That's simply completely inappropriate and misleading.

It's also funny, considering the fact that he was always railing on "conveyor belt education" while using a pretend conveyor belt degree to try to boost his credibility. Absurd.

Anyway, I didn't realize DeMille was long gone from GWC. (I don't keep up with it at all.) I guess I'll be scanning your blog to get the details.