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"To draw an analogy from the field of medicine, our task is to train office doctors, not research doctors. We want to train first-rate practitioners of

the art, not

research special ists. Perhaps ours is a more modest

affair between Nova and SACS [the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which accredited Nova University in 1971]." This love affair, according to Morland, "resulted in its accreditation-in-advance," since at the time of its accreditation Nova had not yet embarked on its external degree program. What this accreditation demonstrates, says Morland, "is that the wheels of bureaucracy can be greased [sic] to get things done if there is the will and power to sustain it."

We shall not dwell on some of the uglier implications of this statement - our attorneys tell us that this statement constitutes libel against Nova University as well as SACS and its officials - but we do believe it important to set the record straight. Nova University achieved Correspondent status with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 1965. Nova was accepted as a Recognized Candidate goal, but it is for Accreditation in 1968. Far from having a love no less difficult affair with SACS, Nova had to wait until 1971 until it finally achieved accreditation. As is the case with and surely as all institutions, accreditation was given to the worthwhile." institution, not to a particular program. There is thus no accreditation of any program. However, consistent with what we deemed to be our obliga tion of complete candor with our accrediting agency with whom we filed regular reports during the period of our candidacy - we advised SACS of our intention to initiate the external degree program and provided a description of its nature. According ly, at the time of our accreditation it was known that we intended to add this program to our other existing programs. Quite properly, this program continues to be the subject of scrutiny by SACS since our accreditation.

There are other errors in Morland's presentation (such as his grossly exaggerated figures as to the number of doctorates we will produce and his statement that we avoid local accountability in states where our clusters operate), but we would like to save some space for a positive statement of what our program is and what we are trying to do. The initial impetus came from a desire to improve educational administration. Over 135,000 educational administrators are now responsible for the nation's schools. Many of them were born and raised where they work. They have never had an exposure to a truly national program. And they earnestly desire to improve their level of competence. It was this group toward which our initial program was directed. That is why our program for educational leaders is confined to those who already hold positions of responsibility and leadership. These educational leaders are already performing a vital role in our society. We conceive our role to be to materially improve their competence.

Hence it is not our aim to produce research scholars. That should be the goal, in our view, of the Ph.D. program in education. To draw an analogy from the field of medicine, our task is to train office doctors, not research doctors. We want to train first-rate practitioners of the art, not research specialists. Perhaps ours is a more modest goal, but it is no less difficult and surely as worthwhile.

Accordingly, our program is designed to achieve this specific goal. Structurally, the program consists

of work in four areas: the cluster, the study areas, the practicums, and the summer institutes.

The cluster consists of approximately 25 participants who meet regularly over a three-year period. The cluster is the setting for exploring the substantive study areas, for undertaking practicums, and for participants themselves developing special educational activities within the cluster. Each cluster is responsible for allocating an annual budget of $2,500 to provide additional study resources and to involve local educational leaders in the cluster's instructional program.

Each participant is also required during this time to achieve competence in eight specific substantive areas: 1) curriculum, 2) education policy systems, 3) evaluation, 4) finance, 5) school management, 6) resources for improving education, 7) supervision, and 8) technology and systems management. The study of each substantive area is under the direction of nationally known lecturers of the highest reputation who fly in to meet with the cluster students at all-day sessions. It is these national lecturers who must be satisfied that each student has successfully attained the level of competence required to complete the requirements of the particular substantive area for which the lecturer is responsible. The student is also supplied with an elaborate study guide for each substantive area. For example, the study guide in educational financing includes, in addition to 124 pages of printed materials written especially for the program, 10 cassette tapes by national authorities on educational finance: George McMullen speaks on school district budgeting, Michael Kirst speaks on the federal role in education; Charles Benson10 speaks on state aid to education; John Coons11 speaks on family power equalizing. Separate bibliographies in each of the substantive study.

areas encourage additional outside

The third element in the program is the practicum. A practicum is a design for a project which, in specific, practical ways, can improve the educational system. The practicum may also involve the carrying out of the project. It is designed to teach by doing, to bring to bear all the student's skills which must converge in the actual conception and carrying out of a project for educational improvement. For example, one recent practicum focused on the need of high school students to express their views directly to the school board. The practicum identified and conceptualized the need, designed a program for carrying it out, and in fact implemented the program so that in the end a student advisory board was organized by the students, was recognized by the school board, and both met to discuss matters ranging from safety in school parking areas to student participation in teachers' inservice training programs. Each member of the cluster had an opportunity to comment on and follow the progress of this particular practicum of one member of the cluster, just as each cluster member would in turn profit from his fellow students' input concerning his or her own practicum. In another instance, a participant identified the problem of medically atypical female students in physical education programs. The problem was conceptualized and a

design for an adapted physical education program for such students was created. This project design was subsequently implemented and has now provided a model for other schools.

Each student must complete a series of practicums, including two so-called maxi practicums, to qualify for the degree. (Incidentally, neither of the two practicums I have described was a maxi.) Two detailed manuals for performing practicums and writing practicum reports are provided to the student. Performance of practicums is supervised by members of the Nova staff who work individually with the student first to accomplish a satisfactory proposal and then to carry the proposal out and to write a report on it.

The final element in the program consists of two summer institutes which last for eight days each (not four and a half days, as stated by Morland). At these institutes students attend as many as 16 smalland large-group meetings a day. They meet in national clusters with their fellow students from all over the country, who are, after all, educational leaders in their own right. They hear and interact with people like Harvard Professor Thomas Pettigrew, Congressman Albert Quie, ACE Vice President Stephen Bailey, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, and a host of others on topics as timely and varied as the problems confronting the educational administrator. Many resource people are brought to the institutes, not to talk but simply to be available to students individually for discussion of particular problems. (Indeed, although Morland did not say so in his article, he did tell us afterward that "I know that Nova's national institute, in just looking over the program and who they have coming down there, must be a tremendous experience.")


hat Morland could write an article on our program that is so replete with errors and unfair implications is, however, not nearly so disturbing to us as the fact that the Kappan would not simply publish the article but would take the unusual step of editorially placing its imprimatur on it. In the November editorial which accompanies Morland's article, the Kappan adopts the same disparaging tone as the article and concludes with a statement that "we have documentation for every significant fact Morland offers." Together, the article and the editorial can be described as a deliberately fashioned poison arrow. Instead of fostering a rational discussion of real issues, the overall treatment smacks more of invective than reason.

In a telephone conversation shortly after the Kappan/Morland attack, Stanley Elam, editor of the Kappan and author of the Kappan editorial, stated that Nova was an "obviously reputable institution with a well-developed program." Yet one would hardly get that impression from the mise-en-scène of the Kappan's treatment of us and our program.

The November editorial introducing the Morland article begins with a discussion of "charlatanism” in education and refers to Timothy Leary, Parsons College, and "Flunk-Out U." "The tide of charlatanism is rising," it says. Then comes a discussion of diploma mills. Obviously aware of the implications

which come from juxtaposing this discussion with mention of Morland's article, the Kappan editor hastily introduces his discussion of the Morland article with the statement, "Morland is not talking about diploma mills." But clearly the implication is still there. And, as if to emphasize that the implication is there, and is intended to be there, the Kappan editor quickly adds, "At least he [Morland] doesn't apply the term [diploma mill] to any of the three institutions [including Nova] whose programs of study for the external doctorate he describes.' What the editor is obviously implying is that these institutions are diploma mills, but Morland doesn't actually apply that term to them. "No," the editorial continues, Nova never "sells advanced degrees in the sense that Colorado State Christian College at Evergreen or the London Institute for Applied Research do." It doesn't take a very intelligent reader to grasp the editor's intent: He is plainly suggesting that Nova does everything but sell advanced degrees like the named institutions.


The Kappan then asks the rhetorical question as to whether the external degree is "being contaminated by questionable practices under cover of the 'innovation' banner" [emphasis added]. These are charged words, words which, in earlier pioneer days, used to be called "fighting words": "Contaminate," "questionable practices," the use of a "cover," which presumably needs to be stripped away. These are not the words of a scholarly debate about a legitimate and honest effort to innovate. This is street language; and the editor obviously wants his rhetorical question answered with a resounding yes.

Morland's article is written in the same vein as the editorial which introduces it. It too uses words like "contaminate," "questionable practices," and "schools-without-scholarship." It discusses the Nova program together with the program of two other schools which are unaccredited. Thus, although Nova is accredited, it nevertheless is inevitably tarred with the same brush as unaccredited institutions. And the disclaimers in which Morland admits that Nova is accredited and is therefore really not in the same category as the other institutions only demonstrate that Morland was as aware as the Kappan editor of the unfair implications which arise from this kind of juxtaposition. One of the three institutions Morland discusses is, according to the author:

... in limbo pending settlement of problems with the Florida Board of Independent Colleges and Universities over its license. This has not deterred the administration from carrying forward plans for expansion. President Palermo has moved to California to start a branch near Santa Barbara, and a new president has been brought in to direct the operation in Sarasota.

This is the setting for Morland's discussion of Nova. Obviously, Morland considers the Nova program and the program of this institution in limbo to be sufficiently similar to be discussed together.

The tone of Morland's article is exemplified by statements like the following:

"These are not the words of a

scholarly debate about a legi

timate and honest effort to innovate.

This is street

language; and the editor obviously

wants his rhetori

cal question

['Is the external
degree being
by questionable
answered with a
resounding yes."

"Finally, we can

also that. say almost without

exception, everyone who has been

in a position to make an informed judgment about

our program has not only approved but has been enthusiastic.

This includes students, professional edu

cators, our eminent instruc

tional personnel, [and others]."

Even though there are no proficiency tests to measure your aptitude or skills in composition, you better know how to sign your name to a check. Nova charges $1,500 (in advance. please) for each of the three years the student is matriculated.

After noting that in 1971 Nova gave two honorary degrees, author Morland in the next sentence observes that:

According to Lee Porter, the last time the Ph.D. was given away for a song was in 1937 when Bing Crosby received an honorary Ph.D. from his alma mater.

This kind of flip, smart-alecky criticism runs through the entire article.

That Morland is more interested in calling names than in a scholarly discussion of problems and issues is indicated by the fact that he lists 13 questions concerning the external doctorate in education which are of concern, but then tells us that "because of space limitations" he can discuss only two of them. Thus he has no space left to discuss such questions as:

"Are libraries, facilities, and a resident faculty essential to the preparation of those seeking the highest degree in the profession?"

"How can experimentation and alternative programs be encouraged without destroying standards?"

Admittedly, these and some of the other questions Morland lists are slanted slanted against the external doctorate in education and are based on assumed conclusions that programs like Nova's are of "questionable quality," to use his words. But aside from the unfair way in which some of these questions are posed, they do raise legitimate issues for useful discussion. Yet here Morland begs off. He does not, he says, have enough space. And therefore he fails to discuss them.

basic failure of Morland's treatment of Nova's program, insofar as he touches on the broader problems, is that he fails to understand-that Nova's program is designed for people who have already attained an advanced degree and a position of educational leadership and who want still more. Nova encourages individual and group responsibility while at the same time ensuring overall standards. It aims to allow its students to achieve new levels of competence in the important and responsible positions they already hold. And it seeks to broaden the geographical and intellectual horizons of these students by exposing them to truly national viewpoints, for the Nova program brings national resources to the local community in a way that no essentially local program can.


Whether Nova is doing this successfully is as we recognize not for us to say. It is not for us to say because the evaluation of any educational program like ours inevitably involves a subjective element and a question of judgment which cannot be demonstrated like a mathematical conclusion. It

is not for us to say because we may be biased in ou perception of how well we are performing.

But there are some things we can say.

We can say that a person who has failed to tal the trouble to see our program in operation is in n position to evaluate it. Just as we do not preter that the description of our program in this artic proves it is working well, so no description of ou program by Morland or anyone else who has no seen it in operation can damn it. Yet Morland wrot without visiting our campus, without talking wit our personnel, without seeing our clusters at work and without examining the work-product of ou participants.

There are other things we can say:

We can say that a large number of competent an well-qualified people are honestly trying to desig and carry out a program which will have a signif: cant impact on educational administration ar educational leadership. We resent any implication that call into question our motives and good faith We resent the slurs on our eminent instructiona


personnel (who, according to Morland, "lend [ing] their names and the prestige of thei institutions to programs of questionable quality") slurs on our students (who, according to Morland have no concern but a "degree as quickly a possible"), slurs on our accrediting agency (who according to Morland, accredited us as a result o the application of some "grease"), slurs on ou purpose (which, according to Morland, is nothing more than to collect "$1,500 [in advance, please]") and slurs on our program (which, according to Morland, is "contaminat [ing the idea of externa degrees] by fostering questionable practices") There is no room in any intelligent discussion of ou: program for this kind of name-calling and question ing of the good faith of everyone and everything connected with the program.

We can also say that our program is becoming better every day, so that anyone who wishes to evaluate it must look at the process of what we are becoming today and tomorrow, as well as what we were yesterday. We readily admit that we are a new and an experimental program. We have not yet awarded our first Ed.D. We know that we have much to learn. That is why we would hope that the more traditional academic world would, as for the most part it has, help us and encourage us, not attack us with sly innuendos and uninformed judgments.

Finally, we can also say that, almost without exception, everyone who has been in a position to make an informed judgment about our program has not only approved but has been enthusiastic. This includes students, professional educators, Our eminent instructional personnel, and even visiting committees from various states where we have clusters and from our accrediting agency.

In closing, we hope that any Kappan reader who has a further interest in our program, either as a potential student or simply as a concerned educator, will get in touch with us at Nova. We have much more information about our program than could be included in this article and we would be happy to make it available. We believe we will be able to

, satisfy you that we are doing something of great importance in a creditable way.

1. In addition to Nova's external doctorate program for educational administrators, Nova offers a separate external degree program for community college faculty. Basically. the two programs are structured in the same way, but they do involve differences in content and also minor differences in program design. For the sake of simplicity and brevity, our feferences in this article to Nova's external doctorate program will be to the program for educational leaders, that is, for educational administrators in elementary and secondary schools. However, whatever we say about this program can be said with only minor and insubstantial modification about the similar program for community college faculty. 2. Chairman of the Teacher Education Division, School of Education, University of Pittsburgh; author of Clinical Supervision.

3. Associate professor, School of Education, University of California at Berkeley, former deputy director of the New York State Education Commission; co-author of Schools and Inequality; co-editor of New Models for American Education.

4. Former deputy superintendent of the Los Angeles Public Schools; former deputy U.S. commissioner of education.

5. Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of California at Berkeley; former Alfred North Whitehead

Fellow for Advanced Study in Education, Harvard University.

6. Professor of education, University of Illinois; former director of the Center for Coordinated Education, University of California at Santa Barbara; author of Fucts and Feeling in the Classroom.

7. Plano Valdes, dean of community services at Hillsboro Community College.

8. Budget director of the Los Angeles City Schools. 9. Assistant professor of education and assistant professor of business, Stanford University.

10. Professor, School of Education, University of California at Berkeley; staff director, New York State Commission on the Quality, Cost, and Financing of Elementary and Secondary Education; author of many books on education, including The Cheerful Prospect.

11. Professor of law, University of California at Berkeley; co-author, Private Wealth and Public Education.

12. In fact, the Kappan took the final libelous step in its September issue by a direct reference to Nova as a diploma mill. As its regular readers know, in the September issue of the Kappan, the editor advised his readers that "in November the issue which contained the Morland article describing Nova's and two other doctoral programs there will be a report on diploma mills at the doctoral level." The referent is clear; there can be no doubt that the Kappan is here calling Nova, in so many words, a diploma mill at the doctoral level.

Morland Responds

Although the external doctorate in education is less than three years old, more than 500 Ed.D. and Ph.D. degrees have been conferred by two institutions. Another has approximately 1,500 students enrolled in doctoral programs in 58 centers scattered across the country and plans to establish more. Yet professionals in education know little about these wide-scale operations. My purposes in writing the article were to inform and to raise basic questions, among them: Will the persons who complete programs similar to those described possess the scholarship, knowledge, and skills expected of those holding the highest degree in the profession?

Unfortunately, Mr. Mitchell misses the point of this question as well as the others. I discussed three different institutions and raised 13 questions. Mitchell takes statements far removed from the discussion of Nova and applies them to his own institution. In his defensiveness, he distorts contexts, infers things I do not mean, and attributes to me what is not even mentioned. I never said anything about the motives of Nova and its students. I made no statements as to how much or how little the students learn. I said nothing about the quality of the instruction.

Mr. Mitchell defends, but he does not deny those parts of my article that deal expressly with Nova - - original enrollment, endowment, costs, admission standards, degree require. ments, extent of work done through correspondence, or the role of the coordinators.

Nor does he deny that Nova had no programs in teacher education at the time it was accredited to launch its massive Ed.D. programs.

Mr. Mitchell inveighs, but he does not refute with facts. If I have grossly exaggerated enrollments, what are the correct figures? If a "significant number" drop out because the work is too rigorous, what is the percentage? If Nova believes in local accountability, which state departments of education have inspected and approved its programs? This has not happened in Florida, Nova's home state.

Mr. Mitchell excoriates me for not visiting the clusters, as though my presence would in some way alter basic policies. At the rate Nova is expanding (31 clusters were started in 1973), it would take a team of investigators months to visit a sufficient sample to infer to the entire population, especially since the national lecturers are present only once a month. I gave Nova the full benefit of any doubt that it is doing precisely what it says it is doing. Every statement about Nova's curriculum is based on this assumption. Is this unfair?

The implications of large numbers of doctorates conferred through existing and yet-toemerge nontraditional programs extend far beyond what I might think or what Mr. Mitchell might think of me. I have tried to raise searching questions. The answers will have to come from the profession itself. The dialogue has started; let it continue.

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John Mahoney


The Walden University dean emphasizes that the external doctorate provides a needed alternative.

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appropriate. None of these, or any other honest academic experiments, seriously see themselves in opposition to conventional programs, but only as options available to students for whom conventional programs won't do.

Because, it seems, a college education to the bachelor's level is common enough now, not much of a voice is heard complaining that men and women can now get degrees without the travail which the middle-aged remember. In keeping with an American tradition, indeed, the fact that college may be personally less traumatic for one's children seems like progress.

That obviously is not the case for similar experiments on the level of graduate study. I suppose that the opening paragraph of Mr. Morland's article on the external doctorate can be understood as a roman à clef; the rhetoric may be projective, but the details are familiar enough for anyone whose doctoral degree is over 10 years old. In Mr. Morland's case the voice is apparently heard, worrying that a degree program is not to be trusted if it lacks "requirements that are obscure or unintentionally punitive."

To the best of my knowledge, alternative graduate programs, where they exist, take no "strong stand" against conventional programs any more than alternative undergraduate programs do. Goddard's known and respected alternative master's program is simply designed for those who find it intellectually and personally preferable to traditional ones. So far as it can be told, whether Nova University has a cluster near a conventional degree program has little to do with why certain candidates choose to matriculate at Nova. To assume that it did would be to argue that new programs or institutions, conventional or not, should respect the territorial domains of already established institutions. That, in turn, could lead to a kind of reverse geographical planning for higher education. Location has less and less to do with people's choice of institutions these days, and hopefully will have less and less to do with it in the future. The point of alternative

education is choice and the availability of program designs that match the people interested.

I cannot speak of Laurence (which apparently no longer has a program in Florida) or for Nova University. The one sentence necessary about Walden is that it is based on interdisciplinizing research effects in an idealized teaching environment, and on the quality of the research produced by its candidates under some remarkable adjunct faculty. If Mr. Morland had visited Walden, or talked to someone there, that might have been clear.

Alternative undergraduate education takes its goal from the well-published advice that people are going to be attending college at different times in their lives, at different rates, and for different purposes than they used to. This isn't to say that traditional programs will go unattended, or that anyone hopes for anything but the survival of traditional colleges. Alternative graduate education takes its goal from the need for "field commissions" for those whose lives and competencies have been dedicated to the profession. While these candidates choose not to reenter the déjà vu world of Mr. Morland's young teaching assistant (grading papers for $1.75 an hour and emptying the diaper pail) neither they nor the alternative institutions hope for anything but that the traditional academies prosper.

For all such alternative schools, from street-front academies in Manhattan to the graduate programs, evaluation will determine their right to life. This evaluation, while it should be made routine and essential by the institutions themselves, will be conducted, too, by the agencies, state, regional, even national. Hopefully, this commitment to evaluation on everybody's part will keep the alternatives open and alive to change in themselves. Such institutions, grade school or graduate school, share, as port of their alternative nature, an expansive openness to evaluative visitation and discourse. If Mr. Morland wishes to set about this evaluation, he may be busier than he has been.

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