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Town confirming degrees obtained by all its officers.

Byline: J.P. Ellery

WEST BROOKFIELD - The term "online college degree" has taken on added significance here since the recent controversy leading to the resignation of police Sgt. Brice I. Leslie.

It turns out that Police Chief C. Thomas O'Donnell Jr. and Sgt. William F. Lynch also have online college degrees. Chief O'Donnell has a master's degree master's degree
An academic degree conferred by a college or university upon those who complete at least one year of prescribed study beyond the bachelor's degree.

Noun 1.
 in criminal justice via Boston University's online program. Sgt. Lynch has an associate's degree as·so·ci·ate's degree
An academic degree conferred by a two-year college after the prescribed course of study has been successfully completed.
 in criminal justice from Western International University of Phoenix in Arizona, which is affiliated with Phoenix University's online program.

Mr. Leslie said he had a master's degree in criminal justice from Shelburne University in Dublin, Ireland, a degree that subsequently was called bogus because Shelburne University is said to be a diploma mill diploma mill
n. Informal
An unaccredited institution of higher education that grants degrees without ensuring that students are properly qualified.
 selling degrees for a price. His bachelor's degree from Worcester State College
For other "Worcester Colleges," see Worcester College (disambiguation).
Worcester State College is a public, 4-year college founded in 1874 as Worcester Normal School in the city of Worcester, Massachusetts.
 also was questioned because college officials reported that Mr. Leslie never graduated from there.

After questions surfaced over Mr. Leslie's educational background, the Board of Selectmen SELECTMEN. The name of certain officers in several of the United States, who are invested by the statutes of the several states with various powers.  directed Chief O'Donnell to certify the degrees obtained by himself, Sgt. Leslie, Sgt. Lynch and Officer Charles H. Laperle.

Mr. Leslie's degrees remain unsubstantiated and documentation will no longer be pursued because he resigned, Chief O'Donnell said yesterday.

The chief's degree has been certified by Boston University Boston University, at Boston, Mass.; coeducational; founded 1839, chartered 1869, first baccalaureate granted 1871. It is composed of 16 schools and colleges.  and Officer Laperle's associate's degree in liberal arts liberal arts, term originally used to designate the arts or studies suited to freemen. It was applied in the Middle Ages to seven branches of learning, the trivium of grammar, logic, and rhetoric, and the quadrivium of arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music.  has been certified by Assumption College in Worcester. Officer Laperle attended the college for that degree.

Sgt. Lynch recently wrote to Western International University and expects certification of his degree to be supplied soon.

On their Web sites, Phoenix University and Western International University state that they are accredited accredited

recognition by an appropriate authority that the performance of a particular institution has satisfied a prestated set of criteria.

accredited herds
cattle herds which have achieved a low level of reactors to, e.g.
 by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) is one of six regional accreditation organizations recognized by the United States Department of Education and Council for Higher Education Accreditation. .

The Telegram & Gazette contacted the commission office in Chicago yesterday

and verified the accreditation.

Sarah Mealey, associate director of communications Director of Communications is a position in the private and public sectors. The Director of Communications is responsible for managing and directing an organization's internal and external communications.  for the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, confirmed that the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools is approved by the federal government.

Going the online-degree route was the best and easiest option, Sgt. Lynch said.

"It kept me available for here (the West Brookfield Police Department) because I didn't have a scheduled class," the sergeant said. "What they do is you have scheduled assignments. You have reading material you have to cover and you have papers that you have to do."

He said that once that material is submitted to the university, online students are graded, the same as any other student.

"It is not cheap," Sgt. Lynch said. "Each three-credit course that I took was almost $800. By the time I finished up my associate's degree, I was in the hole with student loans to the tune of about $13,000." He said he got his associate's degree in June.

Chief O'Donnell, who obtained his master's degree in 2005, had to pay $20,000 for approximately two years of online education.

The online program at Boston University, he said, proved to be a convenience.

"It's hard, especially when you're in my position," the chief said. "I've had three young kids. At the time I did it, I had two in elementary school and one in junior high."

Selectmen are considering a policy that would require all town employees to certify their educational background or degrees at the time they are hired.

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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Jan 4, 2008
Next Article:Driver dies after court appearance.

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