All Posts Tagged With: "academic fraud"
Canada’s funding agencies define cheating, promise stats
Canada’s three federal research funding agencies have come up with a new plan to stamp out academic fraud. But does it go far enough?
The policy comes just months after the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) was heavily criticized for releasing redacted documents on academic fraudster Fawzi Alrazem, who was caught faking experiments and quit the University of Manitoba for a Palestinian university after his fake results were uncovered. In the documents released to Postmedia News, his name and university’s name had been blacked-out.
The Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research was released Monday, outlining new rules for researchers who get $2.4-billion annually from NSERC, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).
University takes steps to guard against fraud
It appears Harvard University bears some of the blame for admitting former student Adam Wheeler, who had falsified several documents when applying to the prestigious school. Wheeler pleaded guilty earlier this month to charges of fraud and larceny and was sentenced to 10 years probation and ordered to pay $45,800 in restitution.
While he has been portrayed as a master con-artist, Wheeler’s application to Harvard, obtained by the Boston Globe “reveals neither a meticulous feat of deceit nor a particularly elaborate charade. At times, he was just plain careless.”
Among the discrepancies in his Harvard application was Wheeler’s claim that he had scored a five on 16 advanced placement (AP) exams, despite the fact students typically only take one or two AP courses during their high school tenure. He claimed to have taken two of the exams in 2002, despite not even being in high school at the time. He also provided freshmen grades from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, despite the fact MIT does not issue letter grades for first year students. “Not to take responsibility from what he did, but Harvard has to own up to what it did by letting him in,’’ Wheeler’s lawyer told the Globe.
A Harvard spokesman says it is “taking measures to bolster” the school’s ability to “protect against fraud.”
University to review hiring policy for adjuncts
Allegations that a former adjunct professor faked his credentials is leading the University of Victoria to review its hiring practices. It was reported yesterday that Jason Walker, who also had an administrative role with a Victoria area health clinic, was charged with “fraud, forgery and swearing a false affidavit for allegedly faking his credentials.” Walker has claimed he holds two doctoral degrees.
In 2006, Walker taught three undergraduate courses, and one graduate course at the University of Victoria. Although a PhD is a prerequisite for teaching graduate level classes, the university says there is no clear policy for hiring adjuncts. As the Times Colonist reports:
University policy requires professors to have a doctorate if they’re teaching a graduate course, [university spokeswoman] Patti Pitts said. But the requirements for part-time adjunct professors vary widely from one faculty to the next.
“Quite often, the appointment is based on the reputation of the individual, recommendations from other researchers, and the person’s ongoing affiliations with other institutions or organizations,” Pitts said.
A similarly laissez-faire attitude was taking by the health clinic Walker worked for, which says it saw no reason to verify his credentials because he was working in an administrative role:
Before hiring Walker, VIHA checked his employment references, but not his academic credentials, Marshall said.
“Credentials of potential employees in non-clinical and some mid-manager positions are not routinely verified,” she said. “Mr. Walker’s credentials were not verified as his responsibilities were of an administrative nature, and there was no indication that they needed to be verified.”
By contrast, physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other clinicians must provide proof that they’re licensed and registered with one of the professional colleges.
If adjunct hiring is as spotty as suggested by this story, that is a pretty obvious policy change. Why wouldn’t universities have a formalized procedure for hiring casual faculty? They are taken to be experts in their fields, just like regular faculty, and they are responsible for using that expertise to transfer knowledge to students.
It is unnecessary to subject adjuncts to the sort of grueling hiring process tenure-track candidates go through, but a simple phone call to the institution where a prof. says he earned his doctorate would suffice. Relying on faculty recommendations alone is just lazy.
Up to 80 per cent of high school, 75 per cent of university students admit to cheating
According to the Canwest News Service, one educational policy professor says cheating among students is reaching “epidemic” proportions.
Speaking at the annual American Psychological Association conference last Saturday in Toronto, Eric Anderman, professor of educational policy and leadership at Ohio State University said the problem is widespread and growing. He said some studies show that up to 80 per cent of high-achieving high school students and 75 per cent of college students admit to cheating.
Previous studies by the American Psychological Association show cheating is relatively infrequent in elementary school, but increases as students become teens and progress through high school.