The Dean Will See You Now

Standard

Well, that didn’t take long.

Whatever happened to dunce caps in class anyway? Wish I could give a few students a virtual dunce cap, but I can tell you that can't happen. Image source: The Media Speaks.

Whatever happened to dunce caps in class anyway? Wish I could give a few students a virtual dunce cap, but I can tell you that can’t happen. Image source: The Media Speaks.

My class is only 10 days old, and already, I have a plagiarism sanction, and not for a paper, either.

It is for someone’s post in a discussion forum, folks. The Adult Student couldn’t be troubled to THINK for more than five minutes about a discussion question, and give his OWN thoughts back in the two brief paragraphs I required.

The Adult Student couldn’t give a few original thoughts to the question, and had to go to some random website (actually, one called directutor.com) for ‘a thought’?

Really, Adult Student? REALLY?

Sheesh.

In case anyone else has the same smartass idea, I’ve scotched it for the remaining six weeks of class.

Because the student plagiarized in public class forum, I had to manage it in the same public class forum. I got to tell the student about it, tactfully and professionally, mind you, IN THE FORUM. Great teachable moment for everyone in one fell swoop, really.

So, now, everyone can see my displeasure (and the warning), and oh yeah, faculty are now required to turn plagiarism cases over to the Dean for processing. I don’t have to manage them anymore. That’s a good thing. I can focus on teaching instead of being a classroom cop.

The Dean will see you now.


 

Plagiarism is nothing new under the sun. In Emmett’s day, I’m sure there were cases here and there. Out of curiosity, I looked through Emmett’s college catalog at Stetson University for their statement on academic dishonesty.

Guess what? There isn’t one.

Here’s what they did have, though:

Emmett had to write a thesis prior to graduation from law school. This only gives minor specifications; nothing about it having to be 'original work.' Perhaps that was more understood back in the day. Source: www.stetson.edu

Emmett had to write a thesis prior to graduation from law school. This only gives minor specifications; nothing about it having to be ‘original work.’ Perhaps that was more understood back in the day. Source: http://www.stetson.edu

See paragraph four, referencing an honor code. That was enough to safeguard against academic dishonesty for the most part? Souce: www.stetson.edu

See paragraph four, referencing an honor code. That was enough to safeguard against academic dishonesty for the most part? Souce: http://www.stetson.edu

See item number 12. Plagiarism may have been considered a misdemeanor; still, such a misdemeanor could have serious ramifications: Expulsion, for instance. Source: www.stetson.edu

See item number 12. Plagiarism may have been considered a misdemeanor; still, such a misdemeanor could have serious ramifications: Expulsion, for instance. Source: http://www.stetson.edu

At the University of Maryland, plagiarism is viewed seriously. Cases are treated on an individual basis; most of the time, the problem is not significant (i.e., it is not a case of taking the majority of a document verbatim and claiming authorship). So, for most cases, the student receives a warning and a written sanction in their file.

A second instance, though, can result in automatic failure of the class. Or, expulsion from the university, depending on how significant it is. The thing is: All students entering the University of Maryland are given extensive information about plagiarism, and most taking classes in the writing program are required to take a short workshop (which generates a certificate of completion). The point is (to adult learners): They have been told what plagiarism is, and that it is unacceptable, and it will handled a certain way. To claim ignorance isn’t going to work.

In Emmett’s time, I’m sure there were cases of academic dishonesty, but the lack of the formal statement of it in the 1905 Stetson University catalog makes me wonder: Have we really come down in terms of respect for using another researcher’s information in academic work?

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