Thursday, March 15, 2007

Diploma mill prof does plagiarism; deja vu all over again?

The Newark Star-Ledger ran a story entitled "Kean [University] prof quits amid plagiarism allegations," which discussed matters involving Jacqueline R. Griffith, who received her doctorate from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale in 2001.

One commenter wrote:

Almost everyone I know who knows of someone who graduated from that school says it's a fraud. The US Department of Education, as well as the Attorneys General office should seriously investigate and shut that "diploma mill" down. For crying out loud....we have people in leadership positions making serious money and decisions, who have come from the likes of such a place. Doctoral degrees should be prohibited from being taken/ administered online-SHAMEFUL!

One recalls previous posts on IPBiz about Prof. R. Fred Ruhlman, a teacher of Civil War history at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, who got into a plagiarism problem about a book on Andersonville.


Discounting the academic diploma mill issue, states attorneys general really ought to shut down "handwriting expert" diploma mills.

See IPBiz post Wecht reveals ABFE as a diploma mill at

As a minor footnote, note that Steven E. Alford, who teaches philosophy and film at Nova Southeastern University in Davie, reviewed Richard Posner's book on plagiarism for the Sun-Sentinel. The review included:

The Internet, while making it easier for students to plagiarize (they avoid that pesky and time-consuming trip to an actual library), also increases the ease with which teachers can detect plagiarism. Posner discusses, a national, commercial online software program for plagiarism detection. Although he overstates its power (it doesn't contain "a complete and continuously updated copy of the World Wide Web"), it is a powerful tool, and the mere awareness of it has no doubt reduced the number of instances of plagiarism on college campuses.

Posner believes that tools such as turnitin may make plagiarism a thing of the past at schools and universities. Maybe so, but so long as some of our fellow creatures are lazy, avaricious and ambitious, society will continue to endure what Posner brands as "intellectual fraud." Posner's will not be the last book to detail this unfortunate form of concealment, but his brief and careful parsing of the term's meaning adds a good deal to our understanding of it.

**as a separate footnote

nationalreviewonline has the following:

The spread of plagiarism by professors is increasingly well documented. The latest allegation concerns Jacqueline R. Griffith, a professor at Kean, and it is linked by the New York Times to a similar case involving her father in the early 80s. (Karen W. Arenson, “In a Charge of Plagiarism, an Echo of a Father’s Case,” 3/14) Commenting on the incident, Timothy M. Dodd of Duke’s Center for Academic Integrity addresses the responsibility of universities to police plagiarism: “Reported cases reveal ad hoc responses at best, and indifference or denial at worst.”

Of interest here is that such a center exists on a prominent campus and has the temerity to fault university negligence in the matter. I will follow the center’s work with interest.


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