Every Friday, The New Poland Express (NPE) delivers to my inbox an English summary of what’s been happening in Poland during the last week. I’m always eager to open it. I read the highlights to Ed. Sometime the stories offer us information and explanation of important events; sometimes they find human interest stories that are amusing or down right bizarre. Some too racy for this blog, I’d have to have a couple of vodkas before I could share them, but they are the really funny ones.
An article in this week’s edition caught my attention because it happened here in Poznan, and it tied in so closely with something our family is experiencing. Our daughter, who has a master’s degree in anthropology, published her thesis as part of her degree requirements, “A Biocultural Analysis of Nubian Fetal Pot Burials from Askut, Sudan,” in the fall of 2009. I’ll jokingly refer to it as light reading when in fact it is 112 pages of blood, sweat, and tears.
Imagine our surprise last week when she saw that a professor in Sudan has sited her work (mistakenly as unpublished) and proceeded to copy line after line, word for word her entire abstract and conclusion without indicating that he is quoting. She pointed out to us that academic circles don’t hold the The Journal of University of Khartoum in high regard. You can imagine why.
Now, on to the Poznan connection. According to NPE, Dr. Marek Andrzejewski from our own Adam Mickiewicz University, has posted a strongly worded, open letter to students outside his office door. The letter which has divided the university community reads:
From today, I shall post on notice boards in all campus buildings the full names of all those who decide to behave like thieves, cheats, smelly layabouts and plonkers, handing in work to me in their own name that has been copied from elsewhere. Teacher and thief are mutually incompatible terms. Plagiarism is theft.
Some support his stand. Some feel his words were too strong or that he failed to communicate properly with students. Really? If you’re not copying someone else’s work, he’s not addressing you. If you are, it’s about time you saw the error of your ways.
I say, “Bravo, Dr. Andrzejewski!” As I recall from my days as a college student and when I was an instructor at a community college, plagiarism or cheating on exams was grounds for failing a course and possibly for being expelled from school. What’s a little (well deserved) creative name calling and public humiliation?
An accountant by trade and a food blogger since 2009, Lois Britton fell in love with Polish cuisine during the years she lived in Poznań, Poland. As the creator of PolishHousewife.com, she loves connecting readers with traditional Polish recipes. Lois has a graduate certificate in Food Writing and Photography from the University of South Florida. She is the author of The Polish Housewife Cookbook, available on Amazon and on her website.
It wasn't too strong. I remember when I was in college, 2 students (boyfriend and girlfriend) who worked in one professor's office, stole old papers from his filing cabinet and used them to compile their own papers. They were caught and expelled but not after having to apologise to the whole student body. They were teacher candidates in a state school and were banned from our state school
I also agree with the Prof's comments…but concur with Chris that in some ways the internet makes this issue muddier. It would be good if colleges taught "research," to include (quoting Chris…whose last name and other identifying features I do not know) "what exactly constitutes plagiarism."
Chris and Melinda – I know both of your last names, but I won't site them here, you funny girls. 😉
Things have changed a lot since I took Freshman Composition where they spent two semesters teaching us how to research and write papers, but surely, there is some equivalent today.
I remember when our older daughters were freshmen at Arizona State, many of their
Interesting, how did your daughter find out about the plagiarism? When I was writing my final business plan we had to pre-approve all work through Turnitin.com, it wouldn’t even accept our paper if we our paper contained above a certain threshhold, 10% uncited or 40% cited.
Plagiarism is one issue in Poland, but another big one is cheating on exams. I never cheated in college because I always felt they let us know what was on the line, our ability to finish studies ANYWHERE if we got caught.
I’ve met plenty of students who say professors just turn a blind eye to it as most of the population cheats on exams, I’m not sure if you’ve experienced the same thing?
My daughter googled herself (she was job hunting at the time) and found that two people had cited her thesis. One another student from her university. The second was the professor in Sudan, who as I mentioned, took a lot of liberties.
The thing that has surprised me most about college exams in Poland is that it seems to be standard procedure to allow students to take them more than once! So many times I’ve heard student talk about flunking an exam or final and complain that they’ll have to take it again in two weeks. An American student would have been repeating the class the next semester. Maybe it has something to do with who’s paying here.
Good point, I have a lot of friends that fail their end of year exam and then have to take the year over.
It’s a double-edged sword though, because here you can only fail an exam a few times, and if you don’t pass you’re out. I had an in-law that failed his bachelor final three times in a row = 5 years of studies, and now has no record of studies anymore.
In the US they will just keep taking your money, which I guess has its ups and downs.