Adam Smith University

Adam Smith University

Adam Smith University is a controversial unaccredited private distance learning university founded in 1991 by Donald Grunewald, who is still its president. [ History] from Adam Smith University webpage] Grunewald, a onetime president of Mercy College who was reported in 2004 to be a business professor at Iona College. [ Psst. Wanna Buy a Ph.D.?] "Chronicle for Higher Education" by Thomas Bartlett and Scott Smallwood, June 25, 2004] According to the university, the institution was founded on the principle of independence from state control, where it believes that control prevents it from furthering its mission.


Currently, the institution claims to maintain a campus and offices at the ground floor of a Girls' Hostel in Monrovia, Liberia, under the direction of a former high school principal and with a Liberian board including two former Presidents of the University of Liberia. It rents these premises which, according to the university, have been converted into a suite of offices and classrooms where face-to-face instruction takes place.

According to the university, it has been accredited by the Liberian Ministry of Education since 1995, well before the most recent conflicts, and was accredited as a result of an act of the Liberian legislature. Another controversial degree-granting institutions claiming Liberian approval is Saint Regis University.

However, in the United States this form of accreditation is not acceptable and the institution is not recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Also the institution is not on UNESCO's list of accredited schools throughout the world. [ Council for Higher Education Accreditation] At one time, Adam Smith used accreditation by the unrecognized agency World Association of Universities and Colleges, and later Grunewald participated in founding another unrecognized accreditor, the International Association of University and Schools, but both of these affiliations were terminated before 2004.

The university does not maintain a physical campus in the United States. However, in 2004 the Chronicle of Higher Education reported that Grunewald had always run the university from his home in Connecticut, and throughout its history it has used office address in a number of different United States states. The addresses moved as the states have successively tightened standards for degree-granting institutions that do not seek recognized accreditation. These states have included Hawaii, Louisiana, Montana and South Dakota. Adam Smith's current American mailing address is a private mail box in Garapan on Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. commonwealth. The website of Training and Advanced Studies in Management and Communications, Ltd., an education business in India that claims affiliation with Adam Smith University, states that Adam Smith is now based in Saipan. [ Training and Advanced Studies in Management and Communications, Ltd. website] (accessed August 23, 2007)] Adam Smith University has announced the establishment of a French unit called École Supérieure Universitaire Adam Smith, which offers academic degrees for work experience. [ [ École Supérieure Universitaire Adam Smith] (page on the Adam Smith University website; accessed August 23, 2007)]

Controversy and criticism

Adam Smith University was listed in the 1995 publication "College Degrees by Mail: 100 Good Schools" by distance education consumer writer Dr. John Bear. Since that time, however, Bear has turned sharply critical of the school. In a 2002 post to the distance learning discussion board, he made light of their one-time claim "that their 29,000 book library was at their South Dakota campus (which was a mail forwarding service)." []

Steve Levicoff referred to Adam Smith University as a degree mill, and he noted that it operated in Louisiana due to the lack of laws of degree granting. [Steve Levicoff. "Name It and Frame It?". (3rd edition) Institute on Religion and Law. 1993 (page 111) ASIN B0006F1PCQ] Adam Smith University and Columbia State University have the same address, which is "likely a mail forwarding address". [Steve Levicoff. "Name It and Frame It?". (3rd edition) Institute on Religion and Law. 1993 (page 111 and 119) ASIN B0006F1PCQ]

Other critics have described Adam Smith University as a "diploma mill". Alan Contreras from the Oregon State Office of Degree Authorization (ODA), an agency of that state's government, called Adam Smith "a diploma mill with a long and unattractive history" in an article [ [ International Higher Education # 32:4 ] ] written in a personal capacity. However, in 2005, he updated Adam Smith's listing on the ODA website to remove the term "diploma mill." This change followed the settlement of a lawsuit filed against ODA by the unaccredited Kennedy-Western University. Oregon has made it illegal to use in any professional context a degree from an institution not having what it judges to be the equivalent of regional accreditation in the USA. Adam Smith has refused to seek such accreditation, and consequently its degrees may not be used in that state.


See also

* List of unaccredited institutions of higher learning
* List of unrecognized accreditation associations of higher learning

External links

* [ Adam Smith University] official site

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