Seagull Musings for
An article in the Jan. 15 edition of the Springfield News Leader reported that "The education credentials of Larry Cockrum, the school's dean of administration and director of its Keeter Center for Character Education, were called into question last fall by C of O, (College of the Ozarks), biology professor Jonathan Davis." What really caught the Ole Seagull's attention however was what immediately followed, "
"Surely that must be a misprint," he thought but alas, and to his disappointment, it wasn't. The article went on to report that "Virginia Fry, the school's attorney, said earlier that if Davis had done things properly and reported what he learned to his division chair, he'd likely still be working at the school." Well
From the Ole Seagull's point of view, here's where it gets interesting, in a sad sort of way. It appears that C of O knew about the Cockrum's "sham" Ph.D. when they hired him. William Todd, former C of O administrator and board member was reported to have said, "everyone on the board was aware of Cockrum's degree when they hired him in 1992, but 'It didn't matter at the time. ... We didn't consider it that important.'
Why didn't it matter at the time? Why didn't they consider it that important? In an email received from C of O's attorney, Virginia Fry, she said, "During this process, the credentials of the candidate are reviewed and, if necessary, questions are asked. Since you may be wondering about Dean Cockrum, the position that he applied for initially at the college was Dean of Students. The position required only a master's degree. The Ph.D. has not been required for any position that he has held at the college."
The fact of the matter is that it appears, whether required or not, Cockrum submitted an employment application holding himself out as having a Ph.D. that, given the circumstances under which it was received, no reasonable person, let alone a college trained professional with a masters degree, could reasonably consider legitimate. It also appears, in spite of what he knew or should have known that for over a period of 13 plus years Cockrum has compounded the situation by holding himself out as a Ph.D.
Unfortunately, the situation only gets worse. It appears that "everyone on the board was aware of Cockrum's degree when they hired him in 1992, but "It didn't matter at the time" because they didn't consider it that important. Yet, knowing what they knew about the way Cockrum obtained his Ph.D. the college administration not only hired him and holds him out to the public, students, accrediting associations, and potential donors as a Ph.D. but, in an oxymoron turn of events, made him the director of the colleges Keeter Center for Character Education.
How does the process that the college has followed relating to the hiring of Cockrum, holding him out as a Ph.D., and its "firing" of