Sunday, May 1, 2011

"Sunlight is the Best Disinfectant" -Louis Brandeis

It seems that folks are beginning to notice that an Indiana State Board of Education member's dissertation appears to be plagiarized.  Dr. Doug Martin has authored this letter to Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.  Doug's letter helped to draw more attention to this matter.  Also, the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette has published this article on the Purdue investigation of the person in question.  I am now even more confident that Purdue will handle this situation appropriately, given the "sunlight" that has been afforded this apparent case of academic dishonesty.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Disclosure . . .

In my email correspondence with several parties, I detected that my motives were being questioned.  Anonymity does breed a certain degree of suspicion.  However, I prefer to remain anonymous precisely because I do not have a particular connection to this individual.  Know that I do not know, have never met, and have no grudge against this individual.  I came across the redundancies when conducting my own research and thought the public should be informed.  After all, educators, above all others, should be held to strict standards of academic integrity, right?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Contact . . .

I have been contacted by a Purdue University official.  They informed me that they are "pursuing (my) information."  I am confident that a thorough investigation is being conducted.  Moreover, I am hopeful that the entire dissertation is examined for redundancies with the Virginia Tech dissertation and any other sources from which the author seems to have taken. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Still Waiting . . .

I have contacted the Graduate School regarding the apparent redundancies between the two dissertations.  Unfortunately, I have yet to hear from any Purdue official.  The present plan is to contact other Purdue officials. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Did Indiana State Board of Education Member and Charter School Principal Plagiarize Dissertation at Purdue? . . .

I suppose there are a couple of different reasons why this subject's 2004 dissertation, which led to the conferral of a doctoral degree from Purdue University, would share striking similarities with that of a 1999 dissertation from Virginia Tech.  In fact, I thought of a couple of specific scenarios. 
  • A doctoral student from Virginia Tech met up with Doc Brown, hopped into the Delorean, and traveled forward in time to 2005, stole the subject's dissertation, and presented as her own in 1999.
  • The subject inadvertently left her backpack or flash drive somewhere, it was picked up by a Virginia Tech doctoral student and presented as her own, and the subject did not find her spare copy of the manuscript until several years later.
At first, these may seem like perfectly reasonable explanations.  However, there may even be a couple of even more reasonable scenarios that may explain these redundancies.
  • The subject had someone write her dissertation (or part of her dissertation) for her, the writer copied from another dissertation, and the subject passed it off as her own.  
  • The subject copied from another dissertation, presented it to her doctoral committee at Purdue University, and graduated with a doctoral degree. 
Now, I am certainly not omniscient and I do not have a crystal ball.  However, I like to think that I have a bit of common sense.  Therefore, I have my own suspicions regarding this matter and it does not involve the first scenarios.

The subject seems to be a significant figure in Indiana education.  She is the principal at a charter school in Gary.  American Quality Schools, an educational management company that operates the school, emphasizes character education.   She is also on the Board of Directors at the Indiana Public Charter Schools Association

Moreover, she is on the Board of Governors of the Ball State University Teachers College Alumni Association.  However, perhaps most interesting is that she is a member of the Indiana State Board of Education (to find her name, look directly below Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett's).

I would certainly think (and/or hope) that the charter school's education management company, the Indiana State Department of Education, Purdue University, and a former doctoral student at Virginia Tech would be interested in this information.

**NOTE** If you would like to view either of these dissertations online for your own comparison, the 1999 dissertation is available by clicking on the first link here.  The 2004 dissertation is available through a simple Proquest Dissertation and Theses search (this generally requires an institutional subscription provided by a university).  The last three pages of the preview will be the first three pages of the literature review.  Of course, you could always travel to the Purdue University Library for a first-hand view.