Whistleblowers: Lecturer stands down over internet degrees

January 3, 2003

Doncaster College lecturer Philip Dunn has resigned during a disciplinary investigation into his role in an internet business that sells unrecognised degrees and makes false claims to academic and professional accreditation.

The THES reported late last year that Mr Dunn, until his resignation an accounting lecturer at Doncaster College, was while at Doncaster billed as a faculty member of "The Irish University Business School", a London-based business that is not recognised by either the Irish Department of Education or the National Higher Education Training Awards Council. The Irish business school's website was wrongly claiming "accreditation" by the International Council for Open and Distance Learning, and wrongly said its degrees were "recognised" by a number of professional bodies.

Mr Dunn, formerly head of Doncaster's professional administration unit, was also described as a professor at "St Clements University", a private "non-campus" institute registered in the West Indies that offers largely unrecognised degrees.

In a statement, Doncaster's deputy principal Stephen Clough said:

"Following the drawing to Doncaster College's attention of part-time lecturer Philip Dunn's apparent involvement with the London-based Irish University Business School and an internationally based virtual university, the college undertook an internal investigation. During this investigation Mr Dunn took extended leave due to sickness. As a consequence, the conclusion of the investigation is still pending. However, Mr Dunn has subsequently resigned his part-time appointmentI We reiterate that Mr Dunn's extracurricular activities have not been connected in any way with Doncaster College."

Mr Dunn has not responded to recent requests for comment from The THES . But he told The THES earlier that he had not carried out any work for the Irish University Business School and had not received any remuneration. However, its founder, Jeff Wooler, has confirmed that Mr Dunn collaborated with him in setting up the business. He said Mr Dunn had not done any work because there was insufficient business to require his help. Mr Wooler confirmed that Mr Dunn was "very active" with St Clements University.

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