COLUMBUS (TDB) -- Ohio House Minority Leader Joyce Beatty has a string of academic credentials listed on her official state biography, including a doctorate degree conferred jointly by a state university in Cincinnati and a private school with roots in California that specializes in ''distance learning."
There is no question that three of the schools shown on the Columbus Democrat's resume are respected institutions of higher learning. Central State University gave her a B.A. in speech; Wright State University an M.S. in counseling psychology, and the University of Cincinnati, with Pacific Western University, a Ph.D. Here's more on Rep. Beatty's background from a bio on the Ohio House Democrats' Web site that describes the U.C./Pacific Western doctorate as being in the field of counseling psychology.
Pacific Western does not seem to be accredited and recently moved its offices to San Diego.
The school has stirred controversy in higher ed circles. Some are implying that Beatty's outside Ohio alma mater might be the kind of place that hands out degrees of a dubious nature. Here's a recent news article about the school. Up to now, nobody in Ohio has paid much attention to the educational background reported on the resume of the leader of Ohio's House Democrats, but it could become embarrassing as lawmakers focus on improving state schools and stiffening academic requirements. If Beatty's doctorate is a watered-down Ph.D, she might catch flak for credential buffing -- something that's not unheard of.
[Update, 2:00 p.m: There is another 2006 biography on the City Club of Cleveland Web site. It does not mention that Beatty holds a Ph.D, but it notes she has an "honorary doctorate" from Ohio Dominican, a Roman Catholic college in Central Ohio.]
[Update, 8:05 p.m.: Ohio Dominican put out a press release about the 2003 commencement exercose when Beatty was awarded the honorary degree and delivered the address sending graduates off into the world. In advance of the event, according to the press release, the school's public relations department referred to her as holding a Ph.D, and described her as Dr. Beatty.]
This is what Pacific Western has to say about itself. A search around the Web site does not make clear whether it offers doctorates these days. It may have at one time.
Some of the controversy surrounding Beatty's alma mater has been noted far and wide on the Internet.
There is this earlier version of Wikipedia's entry.
Apparently, some entity called Pacific Western got into serious trouble in Hawaii last year. Beatty's official biography does not make it clear whether her doctorate came from that campus, or the one in California.