Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Just Spinning My Wheelocks

"Wheelock VP used the words of others in welcome note; No attribution in letter of welcome" by Laura Krantz Globe Staff  September 10, 2015

In her welcome-back letter to faculty last month, the second-in-command administrator at Wheelock College spoke loftily of the Fenway school and its potential.

But those words — while inspiring — were not her own. As it turns out, Harvard University president Drew Faust wrote them several years ago, to welcome her own faculty back to school.


The incident has roiled faculty, many of whom have in recent years been at odds with the university’s president, Jackie Jenkins Scott, on a variety of issues — most recently, on the appointment of Shirley Malone-Fenner, vice president for academic affairs, to her current post.

When questioned by the Globe via a school spokeswoman, Malone-Fenner acknowledged using words from the other letters, stopping short of an apology.

The copied passages are largely rhetorical, motivational language aimed at inspiring professors to work together.

After the Globe called Wheelock about Malone-Fenner’s letter last week, Jenkins Scott wrote to the college’s board.

Specialists on plagiarism said this incident is different from most cases of academic plagiarism because the letter was not a graded assignment nor academic research nor a scholarly article. Still, they said, it was striking that a high-ranking administrator would copy boilerplate language she could have written herself.

The current flap is one in a series of recent troubles at the college, which specializes in social work and early childhood education....


Also see:

Wheelock official apologizes for using others’ words

Wheelock official resigns after she used others’ words

The irony is she was in charge of monitoring plagiarism by students. 

Of course, we all know by now -- or should -- that authority is above the law in AmeriKa. Or thinks it is.

UPDATE: Wheelock College gains reaccreditation

Wheelock, a small Fenway school that specializes in teaching and social work, has struggled in recent years with a variety of problems, including a large exodus of top employees and some faculty members who distrust the administration.

Gee, I can't imagine why.