Friday, February 04, 2005

Get a Ph D and a High-Paying Government Job for Just $3,600!



Most of us probably get a lot of spam offers to purchase academic degress. Reading Reason's utterly hilarious account of the fraud conducted by the deputy chief information officer of the Department of Homeland Security, I feel kind of stupid for not having taken that chance years ago. I mean, if you can get a cushy government job with bogus credentials, what's the point of studying for several years?

(That's just a rhetorical question. I know the answer: So you can put off deciding what you want to be when you grow up.)

It starts with one Department employee beginning to ask questions about Callahan's qualifications (presumably because he correctly perceived her as being a dumbass). It turns out that "Dr" Laura Callahan didn't just fake her Ph.D. but her entire academic background. Her bachelor's and master's degrees in computer science were issued from the prestigious "Hamilton University", described as

"a Nature-based institution of higher learning, which grants university level degrees that are based in whole or in part of [sic] education obtained through Nature." Since there's little, if any, coursework required, call it education by osmosis.

Of course, Callhan is far from alone in having taken advantage of diploma mills instead of going to a real school:

the resulting investigation ultimately revealed a troubling pattern of résumé fraud at federal agencies, including several charged with protecting Americans from terrorism. The scandal raises serious doubts about the government's ability to vet the qualifications of public employees on whom the nation's security depends.
[...]
Looking at the personnel of eight federal agencies chosen at random, the GAO [Government Accountability Office] found that 463 employees showed up on the enrollment records of just three unaccredited schools. [...] This was merely a sampling of the dozens of mills operating nationwide, not an exhaustive audit; given the limited nature of the GAO's investigation, the true number of federal employees who are academically unqualified to fill the positions they hold could be in the thousands.
[...]
Agencies tasked with defending America from terrorism were among the top employers of workers with phony diplomas identified by the GAO. The Department of Defense employs 257 of them. Transportation has 17. Justice has 13; Homeland Security, 12; Treasury, eight.

You almost expect the people in charge to defend themselves by loudly proclaiming "If we start questioning job applicants' credentials, THE TERRORISTS WILL HAVE WON!"


Superblog!! Says: Let He Who Has An Academic Degree He's Proud Of Cast The First Stone

1 comment:

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