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John Bear's review about Bircham University reputation


John Bear is an expert is distance learning that has written about hundreds of online institutions including some reviews about Bircham International University reputation.



John Bear's background

John Bear's expertise in the Diploma Mills and unaccredited universities started because he was the founder and president of Greenwich University for many years, and he was also involved with Columbia Pacific University and Fairfax University. All these Universities were closed by court order and are classified as unaccredited institutions or diploma mills.

It seems that he started to write a guide of distance learning institutions that for some people and during some years used it as a disguised marketing tool to get rid of other distance learning competitors. Later John Bear started to make more money with the publication of his guide than with his involvement with Greenwich University and decided to concentrate in his publication as a way of living. For many people the 13 editions of the Bears Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning has been a reference in the field.


John Bear's Guide & Bircham University reputation

The last edition of John Bear's Guide in 2003 mentions Bircham International University providing a quick review about it. This review of Bircham International University reputation was not much correct. 


In 2007, BIU contacted Mr. John Bear in order to learn what arguments he used to provide those incorrect statements about Bircham International University and to provide evidence that could lead him to review his opinion about our instituion. Quoting his own words: "Perhaps at one time I may have been 'the reference' . . . but I am long retired, and not active in the field any more."


The director of the US-Spain Chamber of Commerce wrote to John Bear to defend the position of Bircham International University. Here is John Bear's response: "I am long retired from the world of higher education. I have written nothing in this field for more than four years, and never will. I am not in good health. I have no connection with any publisher or web site or education organization such as AACRAO."


Since 2009, John Bear guides copyrights and contents belong to Crown Publishing, a division of Random House. BIU lawyers contacted the publisher to expose BIU insatisfaction the above situation. The publisher deleted any reference to BIU from the original John Bear's Guide website.



Finally, in 2013, John Bear agreed to review Bircham University reputation and reconsider his opinion about it. He also wanted to make his conclusions public, so they were published at the two most visited online forums about USA distance education. Review the Bircham University entry at:

  1. www.degreeinfo.com
  2. www.degreediscussion.com



Bircham International University revisited

by John Bear » Wed May 22, 2013 3:40 am

More than ten years ago, my daughter and I included a listing for Bircham International University in the thirteenth edition of our book, Bears Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning. The book, in effect, separates schools into three categories: those with recognized accreditation, those that operate legally but without recognized accreditation (or the equivalent in other countries), and those that we identify as degree mills. Bircham is included in the middle category.


The CEO of Bircham, William Martin, has asked us to revisit that listing, and we are pleased to do so.


For purposes of reference, here is the original listing:


Bircham International University

Madrid, Spain

Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorates

Degrees by correspondence at all levels in business, arts, health, psychology, engineering, computers and science. Website lists “delegation” addresses in Spain, England, United States (a Mail Boxes Etc. in Miami, Florida), Bahamas, Taiwan, China, Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Columbia, and New Zealand. We were told that the offices in Spain and Taiwan were the main offices, and that the offices in England and the Bahamas are strictly administrative and do not serve students, The Internet site is registered to an address in Madrid, Spain. Until 2000, the school was called Oxford International University; the name change was motivated, at least partly, by entanglements with its more venerable namesake. Will consider an “honorary doctorate” on submission of your curriculum vitae, two reference letters, and a minimum donation of $1,200 (U.S.).


The main thing we would add, if we were doing a new edition of our book (which, alas, we are not at this time), is to address the concept of non-formal learning, a concept which has become increasingly popular in most European countries in recent years. It is, in effect, a middle ground between formal education and informal everyday learning. Non-formal learning typically occurs in a formal learning environment, but often one that is not formally recognized. It can involve seminars, workshops, colloquia, distance or online courses, independent study, etc. An Internet search will find many articles on the topic. For instance, Malcolm Tight (Key Concepts in Adult Education and Training, London: Routledge) writes that non-formal education is about “acknowledging the importance of education, learning and training which takes place outside recognized educational institutions.”


Bircham International University describes itself as a practitioner of non-formal education. As such, while it operates legally under Spanish law, it is not formally recognized by the Ministry of Education of Spain (where it is located), although the Ministry has acknowledged the relevance of the concept, and, along with other countries in the European Union, is working toward establishing policies to identify, evaluate, and recognize those entities offering non-formal education. Bircham does not have (nor does it need to have) recognized accreditation.


In the matter of the use of the Oxford name, Mr. Martin writes that “In 2000 BIU bought a UK ‘shelf company’ called Oxford International College that was immediately changed to Bircham International College with the purpose of opening a branch office in the UK. We did not get the authorization to issue degrees in the UK, so neither the UK company, nor the office, was ever opened. There was never any interaction with the University of Oxford…” 


For many years, we have written that in the process of choosing any school, the prospective student should determine, as best he or she can, that their credential will meet both their current and predictable future needs. Based on the testimonials offered by Bircham, it seems clear that there are many satisfied people with the their credential.


Mr. Martin has asked us to post this message on the DegreeDiscussion.com and DegreeInfo.com forums, and to send a copy to the Oregon Office of Degree Authorization, and the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, which we have done. He has also asked us to respond to any responses that may be posted on this forum. But there is really little more we can say, other than that we stand by what we have written.


--John and Mariah Bear, May, 2013