Thursday, February 7, 2013

Same time, next year (plagiarism)

From Businessweek:

Sixty-three MBA applicants at Penn State and UCLA have been rejected after admissions officials discovered they had plagiarized parts of their admissions essays, a number that the schools say is likely to increase in subsequent application rounds.
In February 2011, twenty-nine applicants to Penn State’s MBA program were found to have plagiarized in their application essays. In February 2012, a dozen applicants to UCLA’s Anderson School of Management were found to have done the same.

MBA programs could do our culture and economy a favor by sharing miscreants’ names across institutions. Students who cheat when the stakes are so high have, I would say, no business getting MBAs (or any other professional degrees). Think of the disregard for integrity such students would carry into their careers.

[Re: some of the cases: I’m not persuaded that plagiarism can be excused by an appeal to differing cultural attitudes about the use of source material. There is much to suggest that assertions of such differences are part of the folklore of teaching.]

comments: 3

Elaine said...

I can't think of any culture that condones (or redefines) cheating in a way that would excuse plagiarism.

(Oh, wait...the Crow tribe did honor their best thieves....but then, they didn't read and write.)

Doesn't it seem that quite a few candidates slipped through the net and made it into business...or public office...?

Michael Leddy said...

The article cites a university administrator’s assertion that in East Asian cultures, students are taught that reproducing source material without attribution is acceptable. This assertion, pretty common in academia, is tied to larger claims about different world-views, and it seems to me pretty dubious. There is, at least, significant evidence to contradict it. Certainly students who are struggling in a second language and buying term papers aren’t motivated by respect for the wisdom of their elders.

I should add: I’ve taught students whose English as a second language outshines the work of native speakers and writers. But certainly some students in a second language struggle.

zzi said...

Didn't Fareed Zakaria get busted last year? He was suspended for how long?