Chester County Treasurer Patricia Maisano’s LinkedIn profile twice references her education at Sheffield State University, which is not a university but a diploma mill without any physical location.
Maisano’s profile references Sheffield State once in the illustrated header portion of her profile, and then a second time under the “educational experience” category, where she says she received a master’s degree in “Assessments and Evaluations.” The posting does not give any dates of attendance.
Her degree from Sheffield State has also been noted in local media.
Maisano has not responded to numerous attempts by Broad + Liberty to gain clarification about the item, including attempts to obtain comment via the county’s spokeswoman.
Maisano’s education experience also lists Sheffield University, where she claims she earned a doctorate degree in health sciences. That posting, too, did not list any dates of attendance.
Sheffield University is in Sheffield, England, and has numerous accreditations from several agencies.
Sheffield State University, however, is not recognized by any accrediting agency, according to the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs maintained by the U.S. Department of Education. Nor can Sheffield State be found on an accreditation database maintained by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
The Better Business Bureau flagged the supposed university, saying it had “been unable to determine Sheffield State University’s actual location.”
A call to the number listed on Sheffield State’s website was answered by an unidentified man who immediately hung up. A follow-up call placed immediately after the first was not picked up.
A 2015 report in the Hartford Courant alleged that the university was one of many “diploma mills” that had begun to proliferate just years before.
“Next I tried the State University of Sheffield, which also charges $449 for a doctorate degree — although the summa cum laude designation is an extra $100,” the Courant reporter detailed. “Like other schools, Sheffield features alumni profiles, including MBA recipient Crawford Wood. But the man in that photo isn’t Crawford Wood at all. It’s Sean Gamble, who is featured — with the photo that Sheffield claims to be Crawford Wood — on the website of Bucknell University, where he actually went to college.”
Attempts to verify if Maisano ever attended or was awarded a degree by Sheffield University in England are ongoing, and will be updated when that information is received.
Maisano was first elected treasurer in 2017 and is on the ballot for re-election.
Todd Shepherd is Broad + Liberty’s chief investigative reporter. Send him tips at tshepherd at broadandliberty.com, or use his encrypted email at shepherdreports at protonmail.com.