Friday, January 15, 2010

Letter to Provost

Today, I sent a letter to Dr. Pam Benoit, Ohio University's Executive Vice President and Provost, asking her to reconsider the decision (by her predecessor, Dr. Kathy Krendl) to appoint Dr. Ingram as chairman of the Academic Honesty Hearing Committee. I think Dr. Ingram should be removed from the hearing committee because, as the record shows, he really does not care about academic quality or honesty. I proved this by including four enclosures showing student cheating that took place under Dr. Ingram's watch.

Enclosure #1 shows plagiarism by Dr. Ingram's doctoral student. I highlighted the plagiarism so that it is easy to see the degree to which this student cheated. The extensive copying makes it clear to me that the approving committee did not care that the student submitted the work of others. There are a few giveaways that any competent professor should have noted. For example, on page 21, the student uses British spelling of the words "vaporisation" and "fibres." But on page 26 he uses the word "fiber." The student is from Pakistan, but evidently not one professor on the committee asked why he uses both British and American spellings of the same word. I also think the many misspellings should have raised flags about this student. For example, see the bottom of page 71 where Dr. Kayani wrote the words "illuminate" and "repeal" instead of "eliminate" and "repel." Dr. Kayani did not even bother to copy correctly. Clearly, quality and originality is not a concern of Dr. Ingram's.

Enclosure #2 shows plagiarism by one of Dr. Alam's students who was co-advised by Dr. Ingram. Again, Dr. Ingram should have easily recognized that the student submitted text that is way beyond the capability of an Ohio University graduate student. There is no way that Dr. Ingram could have thought the student wrote what he submitted.

Enclosure #3 shows plagiarism in a rewritten thesis approved by the Dr. Ingram and the Academic Honesty Hearing Committee. Republication of this thesis clearly shows disregard for the rewrite policy touted by Ohio University. Aside from republishing plagiarism, the fact that the student did not even spell his own name correctly raises serious concerns. I question whether or not the student was even involved in the rewrite.

Enclosure #4 shows another shoddy rewrite approved by Dr. Ingram and the Academic Honesty Hearing Committee. Note that the student deleted two entire chapters from his thesis without even bothering to re-paginate.

When Ohio University's Board of Trustees created the Academic Honesty Hearing Committee, I seriously doubt that they thought the provost would appoint a chairman who has direct involvement in the origin of the very cases he is hearing. Dr. Ingram's appointment makes a mockery of everything the university does to deal with their plagiarism problem. We can only hope that the new provost will act appropriately.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mechanical Engineering Unsure of Degree Requirements

Every once in a while I read the Mechanical Engineering faculty meeting notes available on the chairman's webpage, and I was absolutely appalled at what I read in last week's minutes. One of the "Open Items" discussed during the January 6, 2010 meeting is:

"Develop department-level understanding of an appropriate scope and level of difficulty for a graduate project (vs. a thesis)."

So Ohio University Mechanical Engineering has been awarding graduate degrees for well over 20 years and they are just now trying to reach an understanding of the requirements. This is unbelievable. How can anyone trust the qualifications of Mechanical Engineering graduates when the faculty have not yet reached an "understanding of an appropriate scope and level of difficulty?"

Considering the number of bogus theses and dissertations that have been approved by these professors, I can only imagine what we would find if we could read some the project reports they have approved.

I would think that an accredited university would work out the basic details like what the academic requirements are before they start conferring degrees. I think President McDavis needs to suspend Mechanical Engineering's power to award degrees until they decide on what the requirements should be.