Online “Universities” Begin Scamming Professors
We have all heard of how many online universities are essentially scams, but I have discovered a new low. My mother, ever looking out for my best interests, forwarded me an ad in the New York Times that read:
PROFESSOR Required for teaching, guiding, and developing students in degree program for a leading Online University. firstname.lastname@example.org
I was suspicious that so little information was given, but as an underemployed adjunct professor, I thought I had little to lose by forwarding my CV. Boy, was I wrong.
I was contacted by “Kennedy University,” (a .com, not .edu) which informed me that I was “one of the 5% candidates selected for the position of Honorary Faculty.” I was assured that this “will add value to your current profile” and I “will be offered a commission of up to 20% on the number of students that enroll for your chosen subject. The amount of commission varies with the number of students you will refer for enrollment.”
Yesterday, I was contacted by phone by another representative who continued the “tough sell” pitch. Sounding like he was calling from a call center and speaking from a script, he repeated that I would not be paid for my efforts, and was not able to tell me what courses I would be teaching or what department I would be attached to, but that I would be paid a percentage for any family or friends I signed up. He also repeated the value this would add to my “profile.” When I said that this did not sound like the model of any reputable university I had ever heard of, he became very defensive.
Kennedy’s Web site claims the school is accredited by the “United States Distance Learning Association,” which, as far as I can tell, is an industry trade group not recognized by the US Department of Eduction as an accrediting association. (You can check this yourself on the D of E’s Web site.)
In short, this is not only an out-and-out scam, but dead shameful. The New York Times should not accept any more advertising from these people, and nobody should be fooled by their little scam.
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