How Much Freedom At Liberty

I would not accuse Liberty University of being a scam. In fact, I will be among the first to say that Liberty University — an institution with hundreds of thousands of alumni — is one of the major forces in the arena of modern higher education in America. Further, Liberty has a clear sense of its principles and values, and the university inculcates those principles and values not only into the campus and online learning environments, but also insofar as possible into each and every student. And I would go one step further: Liberty faculty typically live up to those standards, and in their roles of influence on students — traditional and non-traditional alike — they impact student lives.

Liberty Is Not About Freedom

The purpose of this article is NOT to focus on Liberty University. What I intend on this page is to take the concept of expanding online learning as it happens in higher education and demonstrate that the industry as a whole misrepresents what people have come to expect that a college or university degree means, or what it can mean, in the marketplace today.

A degree is so often equated with greater freedom in one’s life: you have the ability to earn more income; you have the edge with prospective employers; you have the opportunity to go even farther in your education; you have a degree which you can take with you for a lifetime — a credential; you have an “accredited degree” (which is actually a misnomer — if you graduate from an accredited college or university, you have a ‘degree from an accredited college or university’) but your degree is not actually accredited.

Here is the fundamental question: Do any of the above claims, or any of the hundreds of other claims which are made about higher education, really square with reality. If you earn a college degree — regardless of how hard you worked or how much money you spent — is your earning ability greater, are you more attractive to employers, are you ready for graduate school, do you actually have a credential, and if so, does it contribute to the lifestyle that you want to have as a free citizen ready to make a difference in the world.

Liberty Can Be Misleading

At least some questions are beginning to surface; and these are critical questions.

On this journey toward selecting the best place for your education, you have many stops you can make. It is the purpose of this article to help you begin to discern the best places to think about stopping. We can discuss where you will ACTUALLY stop in a future article. But for now, There are some critical points to consider.

Let’s begin with what you want? What do you want for your future? What do you dream that it will be like? Do you have plans to be involved in research and development of new products (or opportunities)? Do you want to do something which is geared toward helping others? Are you a person who wants an ACTIVE career, or do you see yourself behind a desk? Do you want to be in the mix of the workforce, or are you more interested in being a leader? Have you made up your mind that “College” is your next stop, or is this just something that you have either assumed you would do or are doing because it is expected of you? You’re certainly not going to college because you think you have no other options, I hope.

What can appear to be a new kind of freedom from the outside, can often be a trap once you go through the door.

Liberty Does Not Mean Competency

You have an education, to a certain degree, already. If you didn’t you would not be looking at a website like this one. You would not be searching the Internet for college options. You would not be wondering if you should stay at home or just get an apartment and go to school online. Of, if you are at that point of considering a second career, you would not be looking for a way to go to school which you continue to work — another trap.

Therefore, if you choose an online degree, you might find one which is from a respected, accredited institution, and you may find instructors who are compassionate and competent, and you may find a community of like-minded people — even though they may be from all around the globe (which is actually a very exciting aspect of online education).

But the BIG QUESTION is this: when you earn your degree, after spending all of that money and all of that time, after sacrificing the things you could be doing while you are in front of your computer, after checking off all the boxes and trying to decide whether to attend the commencement ceremony, are you actually more COMPETENT than you were when you got started? The question is NOT “Did you learn something?” I would hope that whatever you do will lead to learning. But what are you competent to do now?


Before you spend all that time on the application and references and entrance exams (and probably seeking credit for life experience and securing your transcripts from past education efforts) just stop and consider this: if you take the “Liberty Route” (and I am sure you understand that I am using this as an example based on the largest of all online colleges,, not referring to a specific university) are you going to have more freedom? Are you going to have more opportunity? Are you going to be more competent?

Robert L. Harris, Ph.D.

It is an honor to have your join me on my website.  I trust that you find this a helpful resource. 

“This Little Pig Went to Market”

Education has been a priority for me since I sold my first pigs.  I got them as piglets, raised them, and got them ready for market.  When the buyer left with them, all grown up, in his truck, I did not know their destiny. But I knew that my dad did two things, as he explained to me.  First, he subtracted the “overhead” expenses from raising the pigs from the sale; and second, he handed me my profit.  Next he said, “Ok, let’s go to the bank and start your savings accoung for college.” 

I always knew that I would go to college.  He had been the first generation in his family to go to college — on the GI Bill after WWII.  I was next, and there were no other options discussed.  Of course, when Viet Nam came along, we all wondered if we would have the privilege of going to college before we served our country or after.

Higher education has always been a privilege for me. And I was among the fortunate to be able to go for as long as I chose to go, and to earn the highest degree I could earn in my field.  (It was not “animal science”).  And since I worked my way through, and had my parents’ help and support, I graduated with no debt.

Education is In My Heart

Early in my education I discovered the joy of learning.  And I discovered my own vocation to help others.  This is what led me to a career in education.  My career also incorporated my religious faith, and I was therefore able to enter my profession as an educational administrator in a context of faith-related higher and adult education.  

I have been called “Dr. Bob” throughout my career (since 1983, anyway) and I have devoted years of my expertise in adult and life-long learning to training people at all levels of need and desire — from custodians who needed to learn how to read, to lower-income families who needed to understand basice of family finance and parenting, to paraprofessionals in the classroom, hospitals, or social work, to professionals in educational leadership, ministry, and fundraising.  

It has been my “calling” to serve others in order that they would have the competency to do the best they were able to create a meaningful life for themselves, for their loved ones, and in their communities. 

What I Hope to Achieve

On this website, I have hopes that I will be able to help others make wise choices about education, training, careers, and lifestyles.  It is important to me to provide accurate information about what is available in the arena of higher education or adult learning, and to offer my experience and my opinions about what is worthwhile as well as what could very well be a waste of time and money.  

Unfortunately in the area of education there are unscrupulous providers of courses, certificates and degrees — and promises — which can cause disappointment, frustration, and even severe financial losses.  My goal is not to protect anyone, but to offer the skills people need to make the best choices for their future, and to empower people to decide what is the optimum way to move forward into a future — a future of hope, of satisfaction, and of competency. 

If you ever need a hand or have ay questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

All the best,

Robert L. Harris, Ph.D. 


My name is Bob Harris. I am the owner of DecisionCrossing, and there are many important things that I want to say in my blog.  But I simply MUST get this out of the way:  I abhor this color green.  Maybe I am overly-sensitive, since my favorite color is green.

I am a “Spartan”, meaning I graduated from Michigan State University.  Our school colors are green and white.  When we are in public, just like when we are at an athletic event, we shout “Go Green.”  And in reply, another Spartan will shout “Go White.”

Therefore, I may simply have to change this color.  But I have to be careful.  Some colors don’t work well for websites…like “lime green” for instance.

We shall see.  I am open to suggestions.