Mr Glenn Poshard: A Serial Plagiarist Should Resign from S.I.U. Presidency

Glenn Poshard, the president of Southern Illinois University system, despite more charges of academic cheating and misconduct, continues to keep his $300,000 a year position. Not only did he plagiarise his doctoral dissertation and then try unsuccessfully to engage a department chair from his doctoral granting department to determine whether academic misconduct had occurred, but also it has been revealed his masters’ thesis is also allegedly a piece of fraudulent scholarship that is a disgrace to academia and to the state’s second largest system of higher education.

Here are some examples of how this charlatan has borrowed without attribution other’s research and passed it off as his own:

These were the first two sentences in his dissertation according to a hard copy Jodie S. Cohen article in the Chicago Tribune from September 11, 2007 Section 2-1,5:

These are the first two sentences of Mr Poshard’s M.A. thesis:

“Drug abuse is not a new phenomenon in America. Various forms of drug abuse have existed for years in the United States and other countries.”

This is what the original source, a 1969 government drug report, contained that the president cut and pasted as his own:

“Drug abuse is not a new phenomenon. Varying forms of drug abuse have been present for years in the United States and other countries.”

The Chronicle of Higher Education has examined this person’s doctoral dissertation and reported in an article by Thomas Bartlett, “Newspaper Uncovers SIU President’s Plagiarism,” from the issue dated September 14, 2007 (subscription required for online access to CHE):

“A copy of Mr. Poshard’s dissertation, “The Provisions for Gifted Children Education From 1977 Through 1983 in 22 Southern Illinois Counties,” along with copies of sources he quoted, was provided to The Chronicle by a source on the condition of anonymity.

“The dissertation contains several examples of what might be called classic plagiarism: Passages are lifted verbatim, or near-verbatim, with no citation given. In one instance, a 68-word passage from another source is used without quotation marks or citation. The two passages are identical except for a single word change: Mr. Poshard substituted “a” for “another.”

“In another example, an 80-word section, also missing quotation marks and citation, is taken from a source with only a few minor changes, such as switching a verb from “has been” to “was.”

Mr Poshard claims he was too distracted with political ambitions when writing his doctoral dissertation and that his dissertation committee informed him that quotation of sources is not required. Let me explain what a doctoral candidate and an undergraduate must know about plagiarism:

You can’t steal others’ hard work and labours and claim YOU did the research.
You can’t alter a word here or there and pass it off as your own.
You must put in quotation marks directly borrowed phraseology.
You must footnote not only directly quoted material but also your own original writing if the content is derived another source.

Mr Poshard:

If a source contains this sentence: “There were four apples that appeared in the middle of a Kansas cyclone that became oranges due to climatic changes.”

And you write: “There were four apples that appeared in the middle of a Kansas cyclone that became oranges due to climatic changes.” [You must footnote and reference a citation]:

President Poshard if your write: “There was a unique Kansas cyclone in which amazingly apples were transmogrified into oranges.” [You must footnote because that information came from another sources even if you wrote it in your own words. Glenn if you are confused, this is my e-mail and my voice mail 773.298.3283. Call me. I will help you understand this.]

It is beyond belief that an individual in graduate school who submits both a master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation could not know what a first-year undergraduate student is told. It strains credulity that you were too poorly educated or busy to understand even elementary knowledge of what plagiarism is.

Mr Poshard, your alleged conduct is a disgrace to academia. My high-school had a strict policy on plagiarism and most folks have a pretty good idea of what it means prior to entering college. For one to claim it was unintentional is not exculpatory. You are undermining the academic reputation of both the Edwardsville and Carbondale campuses and for you to pursue merely your economic fortune in your position without regard to the reputation of these institutions is selfish, arrogant and cruel.

It is horrifying that one of your cronies, Chairperson Roger Tedrick, continues to demand that you remain as S.I.U. president. Why? This board chairperson has said: “He [Mr Poshard] has met and exceeded our every expectation and has this Board’s full confidence.” Does Chairperson Tedrick believe that job performance as president is unrelated to personal character and honour? Does Chairperson Tedrick believe that plagiarism on BOTH a master’s thesis and a doctoral dissertation that was not accidental, infrequent or marginal is utterly irrelevant in assessing performance? Even if Chris Dissold, a professor fired for plagiarising another scholar’s teaching philosophy in a tenure dossier, is involved in these revelations, does that mean they are not valid? [Professor Dissold claims he is not the source for these revelations of scholarly misconduct.] Does the S.I.U. board chair believe that a university system is not devastated by academic corruption in both the president’s cheating and previous plagiarism from BOTH campuses’ chancellors?

Apparently the sham attempt to have chiarperson Brad Colwell of the Department of Higher Education and Administration at S.I.U. examine President Poshard’s dissertation has been thwarted. The faculty senate and the chancellor are apparently going to appoint a faculty committee. The committee MUST not have members who are subordinates of Mr Poshard unless he is suspended or takes a leave of absence. It is unconscionable to expect faculty to sit in judgment of a president and his crony board. It is too much pressure and a conflict of interest. Such a review should be undertaken by specialists in education from other campuses. Also perhaps some professors emeritus might be asked to serve from S.I.U. I know that a committee with this president and this board will be under great pressure to exonerate him from these egregious failures in academic protocol. It must not happen that Mr Poshard will eventually walk away WITH A SETTLEMENT PACKAGE OR MILLION DOLLAR PARACHUTE. We should not reward presidents with monetary rewards who are frauds that did not earn their degrees but falsifed their authenticity in order to obtain a position of senior responsibility and trust.

NOTE: There needs to be an issue of proportionality. While any plagiarism is wrong, common sense does not require dismissal or separation from a position with its every occurrence. Yet if it is serial and massive in which pages of submitted work were plagiarised, then it rises to the level of purposeful cheating. If the incidence were a sentence here or there, or an occasional phrase, this would be wrong but proportionality and reasonableness would recognise that such failings are not revelatory of deep seated motives at avoiding the toil of research. The charges, however, are that Mr Poshard lifted massive amounts of primary and secondary sources and just passed them off as his own. These were not occasional but allegedly encompassed many pages of text.

Archive, Kirstein Articles on this scandal:
A Hoax if there ever were one.

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