Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Doug Lynch phantom Ph.D. affair at the University of Pennsylvania

Vice Dean of the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education [GSE] Doug Lynch resigned recently. It seems he had not received a Ph.D. at Columbia, contrary to representations that he had said degree.

The sequence of events is interesting, and does not reflect well on University of Pennsylvania administrators. The Daily Pennsylvanian wrote:

In an email sent to GSE faculty and staff Thursday, GSE Dean Andrew Porter said he has known about Lynch’s situation since March 2. Initially, rather than remove him from his current role, Porter and other University administrators decided to impose a set of unspecified sanctions on Lynch.

When the Inquirer first reached out to GSE spokesperson Kat Stein on Wednesday, Stein told the newspaper that these sanctions had “resolved [the situation] to our satisfaction.”

Hours later, though, MacCarthy said in a one-line statement that the University had decided to place Lynch on administrative leave pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation.

In an article in the Philly Inquirer on Thursday, April 26, 2012, Susan Snyder wrote:

Earlier Wednesday, Penn officials said they became aware of the misrepresentation a couple of months ago, taking unspecified "appropriate sanctions" but deciding to leave Lynch in his leadership role.

That changed after The Inquirer placed a call to Penn president Amy Gutmann for comment. The university then issued a one-sentence statement from Stephen J. MacCarthy, vice president for university communications.

"Doug Lynch has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation," MacCarthy's statement said.

Lynch, 47, a specialist in nontraditional education, declined to comment Wednesday. Kat Stein, spokeswoman for the graduate school, said Lynch maintained he was unaware he did not have the degree. "He mistakenly believed that it was complete," she said.

Readers of IPBiz may recall the heading "Plagiarize with Pride" that appears at page 68 in the April 2004 issue of Harvard Business Review.
Harvard Business Review article: Plagiarize with Pride

The Snyder article notes the following:

When a former student asked him if she could copy and use parts of her Penn executive doctorate program in her for-profit education program at Fremont College, Lynch gave her the following advice, according to the article: "Steal shamelessly."

And the UPenn alum magazine plumped Lynch:

A February 2011 feature on him in Penn's alumni magazine said: "What happens when you unleash an entrepreneurship evangelist on an education school? Meet Doug Lynch, the vice dean bent on making Penn GSE a hub for social entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and next-generation educational reform."


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