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Archive for Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Kansas University Medical Center lab director’s PhD under scrutiny

December 7, 2011

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— A laboratory director at Kansas University Medical Center received a doctoral degree from a school operated from a post office box in Hawaii.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Kathleen Gustafson was awarded her Ph.D. from Eurotechnical Research University, which is no longer in operation and had no campus or curriculum. She was enrolled from 1990 to 1994, and wasn't required to attend classes by the university.

Gustafson conducts research on pregnant women at the medical center. Officials there say investigated Gustafson's degree in 2007 in response to a complaint and found it to be "adequate."

Gustafson says the medical center hired her because she was qualified, not because of her doctoral degree.

Comments

KU_cynic 2 years, 7 months ago

"Officials there say investigated Gustafson's degree in 2007 in response to a complaint and found it to be 'adequate.'

Boy, I'd like to get those officials on the record.

Ms. Gustafson has only a 2-year technical degree but paid $5000 for a Ph.D. degree from a Hawaii "institution" yet attended no classes while continuing to work full-time in Kansas City Did she submit work comparable to a dissertation? Has she ever published?

This is very serious and embarrassing to KU.

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love2bike 2 years, 7 months ago

Potential liability issue maybe depending on her involvement? Who checks these folks out before they hire them?

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Hudson Luce 2 years, 7 months ago

What it amounted to is that I would have to quit my job and quit the research I was doing," Gustafson said. "I would have left all that and come back in 10 years. By that time, I would have been about 48 years old and would have to start over." ... Eurotechnical Research University had no academic prerequisite and met Gustafson's need for a school with an "open university model.” ... Gustafson said she paid $5,000 in fees over a four-year period to Eurotechnical Research University's sole employee, James Holbrook. She said the money was for tuition, but she attended no courses tied to the degree."

It's an obvious diploma mill, she bought her fake degree in order to be recognized as a PhD and secure the advantages conferred by that degree in the awarding of grant money. Incidentally, there is a professor named David Gustafson at K-State in Manhattan, whose specialties include computer vision, who has apparently been there since 1995: http://people.cis.ksu.edu/~dag/home.html and in that time has published 8 papers in his field: http://www.dblp.org/search/index.php?query=author:david_gustafson%20author:david_gustafson:

None of the papers published by Gustafson appear to have been published in peer-reviewed journals, they're all published in conference proceedings, and his website lacks a curriculum vitae showing his education and research achievements (awards, papers, etc).

As for Kathleen Gustafson, she claims on her KU web page (http://www.kumc.edu/school-of-medicine/neurology/faculty/kathleen-gustafson-phd.html) that she has two patents related to human retinal dystrophin; no such patents were found in the US Patent and Trademark Office database (http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.htm&r=0&f=S&l=50&d=PTXT&Query=ABST%2Fdystrophin+AND+IN%2FGustafson). She also claims to have 27 papers published in peer-reviewed journals but does not list a reference to those papers on her web page. She claims to have contributed to the discovery of human retinal dystrophin but is not listed as one of the discoverers of that gene at http://www.dmd.nl/seqs/Dp260.html ...

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question4u 2 years, 7 months ago

"Gustafson says the medical center hired her because she was qualified, not because of her doctoral degree."

That can only be true if the doctoral degree was not a required qualification for the position. If it was, then she was not qualified. That should be easy to verify, since the Affirmative Action Office should still have a copy of the position announcement. That will list both required and preferred qualifications. If the doctorate is required or if other candidates with doctorates were passed over for the position, then the hire can hardly appear to any reasonable person to be legitimate. If that turns out to be the case, then Gustafson appears to have been deceptive and the committee that hired her appears to have been lax in its duties.

There is no question that this is a huge embarrassment for the KU Medical Center. It sounds every bit as bad as the state IT hire. In that case, Brownback compounded the problem by defending the hire. Let's hope that the KU Medical Center officials have more sense. The suggestion that an investigation found the degree "adequate" does not bode well for the Medical Center's reputation, but any bad publicity that it may receive certainly seems to be warranted.

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love2bike 2 years, 7 months ago

Thanks guess_again...

Isn't this fraud?????

From the Hogland center's director, William Brooks (as quoted in the Topeka CJOnline:

""....... The doctorate is useful because it carries weight in academic circles and makes it easier to secure research grants, he said."

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blindrabbit 2 years, 7 months ago

Did she compete with real PhD holders when she got the position; if so more than fraud. When was she hired. What's the deal with mail-order degrees form warm weather locations, Hawaii and Brownbacks lackies from Florida. As Dubya would say "You're doin a fine job Brownie".

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blindrabbit 2 years, 7 months ago

Did she compete with real PhD holders when she got the position; if so more than fraud. When was she hired. What's the deal with mail-order degrees form warm weather locations, Hawaii and Brownbacks lackies from Florida. As Dubya would say "You're doin a fine job Brownie".

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yourworstnightmare 2 years, 7 months ago

This is a huge embarrassment for KUMC. Either this was a back-door hire in which other more qualified candidates were not seriously considered, or a KUMC search committee hired Gustafson knowing that her "Ph.D." was from Eurotechnical Research University.

Embarrassing in either case.

The reputation and integrity of a university rests in the quality and accompishments of it's faculty.

Ms. Gustafson says a traditional Ph.D. "would have taken too long". Well, no lie.

Just think of those other poor saps who took the traditional route of hard work, patience, and accomplishment, only to find themselves 10 years behind Ms. Gustafson in their careers.

What losers. They could have taken the easy way out and just purchased their Ph.D., which is apparently good enough for KUMC.

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love2bike 2 years, 7 months ago

This was posted on the KU site...

"Prior to joining the Hoglund Brain Imaging Center, she was the Director of the Vision Science Laboratory at The Children's Mercy Hospital and Assistant Professor of Rehabilitative Medicine, University of Missouri School of Medicine for 19 years." Is this true? Seems suspicious....

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Hudson Luce 2 years, 7 months ago

-What's puzzling about this is why, if she's got 27 publications in peer-reviewed journals, 3 of which appear in PubMed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?db=pubmed&cmd=DetailsSearch&term=%22Fitzgerald-Gustafson+KM%22[Author]&save_search=true), she couldn't have been awarded a PhD by KU on the strength of that work, and thus all of this could have been avoided...

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Hudson Luce 2 years, 7 months ago

I know of at least one person who was awarded a PhD by KU on the basis of his work in protein X-ray diffraction crystallography - and he solved the structure of a very large molecular weight protein in three years, which at the time he did it was a record time - who had neither a Master's, nor a bachelor's degree, or even a high school diploma. He finished out his work at KU and went to work at Battelle National Laboratories and had a highly successful career in crystallography. It seems that it is the quality of her work - not her non-existent academic qualifications - is what makes Prof Gustafson attractive to KUMC.

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irtnog2001 2 years, 7 months ago

Let her keep her job if she is qualified but take away the phony PhD title. If I applied for a admission to KUs PhD program without all the prerequisite degrees they would laugh me out of the room.

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Hudson Luce 2 years, 7 months ago

And she does have 30 articles published in peer-reviewed journals, so at least her work probably isn't bogus: http://experts.kumc.edu/works?page=1&person_id=610-Kathleen_Gustafson&view=all

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ljwhirled 2 years, 7 months ago

Rock Chalk Jayhawk - Go KU!

We don't need no stinking degrees from recognized universities. As long as the kids can keep throwing the ball through the hoop it will all work out in the end!

Yeah Jayhawks. Go KU!

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tessk 2 years, 7 months ago

Interesting, she has a Facebook page that shows she apparently has many talents, (seriously) not said in jest. However, I still find it very sad that KUMC would "gloss over" the fact that a woman applied for, and took a position, under the guise of having a Ph.D. The committee who investigated a complaint about her should be fired for sweeping this under the rug. Applying for NIH grant funding and working with a clinical trial in which you are giving substances to pregnant women, no matter how noble the cause, with a big fat lie on your c.v./resume shows you have no integrity. Granted she may be a genius...but, pretending that she held credentials she didn't have shows sheer stupidity or lack of social skills.

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Mark Currie 2 years, 7 months ago

Maybe they could hire her to replace Gill.

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irtnog2001 2 years, 7 months ago

Interesting this has not been picked up by the KC Star yet.

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