|"Professor of mutual funds" is no professor|
Tony Van Alphen, Business Reporter
Wednesday, January 29, 2003
Concordia objects to ad for seminar Financial speaker part-time lecturer
Jerry White, a big speaker on the financial seminar circuit, loves to boast about his academic credentials.But Concordia University says he has flunked a test of credibility over credentials.White taught a course on mutual funds at Concordia in Montreal from September to December. Concordia designated him as a part-time lecturer.However, that's not quite how recent newspaper advertisements for Financial Forum seminars in Toronto and Vancouver described him.They trumpeted White as "professor of mutual funds" at the university.Alan Hochstein, director of the Goodman Institute of Investment Management at Concordia's John Molson School of Business, said yesterday White doesn't teach at the university, isn't a professor there and has no affiliation."His description is inappropriate," Hochstein said. "It's a misrepresentation."Like most universities in Canada, Concordia employs three types of professors: assistant, associate and full professors. To qualify for the first type, a person must have taught at the school for at least five years. The person must then meet other rigorous standards to obtain the higher titles. Lecturers are considered to be in an entirely separate category.Hochstein added that the university had considered hiring White for another course this year because of his excellent job in lecturing MBA students earlier. But the business school has decided not to employ him for any future courses in view of his use of the Concordia professor title to promote seminars.Furthermore, Hochstein said the university will immediately write a letter to White telling him to stop using the title of Concordia professor. It's not the first time White has run into controversy over the use of academic titles. White taught at the University of Toronto from 1988-90 but continued to use the title of professor after leaving the school in the promotion of other businesses. The university sent a letter to White indicating that use of the title implied an ongoing relationship and therefore was inappropriate.White dismissed the objections to his use of the Concordia professor title."It's quibbling over nonsense," he said in a brief interview.White said when seminar promoters called his company, J. White & Associates, in preparation of the ads in November, he was still lecturing at the university. The advertisements, showing the pictures and thumbnail sketches of four special guest speakers including White, appeared this month in The Globe and Mail, the seminar's main sponsor, after the end of the course. Financial Forum held seminars here last week and more are set for Vancouver next month.White, who has written books on personal finance and calls himself "the most listened to personal finance commentator in Canada," also noted that Concordia had discussions with him regarding further lecturing but his busy schedule prevented it. Tim Blair, vice-president of finance for Diversified Businesses Communications Canada, which organizes the seminars, said White's firm supplied the information and he had no reason to doubt its accuracy.Blair said he would check with White's firm to confirm whether he is a Concordia professor."I would expect the information put before me to be accurate," he added.Blair would not comment further on what action his firm would take over future ads.Meanwhile, White continues to show a close affection for the title of professor. In promoting an investment strategy on the Internet, a firm called Ultimate Wealth says Jerry White is "Professor" of the "Ultimate Wealth Masters Course."