This story featured in the Irish Times last week, and as it fell during a hiatus, I did not write about it. I did however intend to come back to it.
As some readers may know one of the major incidents to happen with this blog in its 3 years plus existence was the entire John Gray controversy. Long story short, he threatened legal action because I questioned his qualifications. I refused to retract or apologise, and haven’t heard anything since.
In the current story, it appears that the government’s Chief Science Advisor, Barry McSweeney, received his PhD from ‘Pacific Western University‘. Readers may find this Wiki entry on it most enlightening (bad spelling in it though). A highly controvserial place without any doubt.
TD Michael Martin’s qualification…
…stressed Dr McSweeneyâs view âwas that the body he dealt with at that time is vastly different from the one in place now.â?
This argument is rather hollow. Pacific Western did operate in California before the introduction of the Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education Reform Act – but California was well known for diploma mills due to its lack of stringent rules relating to approval.
As with my case, the argument hinges on the accredited versus approved scenario, and on whether a PhD gained through ‘life experience’ is a valuable one. Some remarked curiously:
Sources close to TÃ¡naiste Mary Harney last night defended the appointment, saying he had vast experience and was recommended in a telephone call from former British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock. One said there was âno PhD requirementâ? for the job.
That’s beside the point. What’s at issue is whether the value of a PhD is diminished, and whether that PhD is properly accredited by a reputable institution.
In my own humble opinion, Barry McSweeney should resign now.