Bok’s observations. Particularly worrisome is an offhand remark about the inherent value of literature, a claim which nearly four decades of literary criticism has worked to denaturalize. The risk, of course, is that the Great Books curriculum (which Bok effectively addresses) might become an uncritically revered foundation once again. His chapter on diversity helpfully suggests that simply putting students from different communities together hardly guarantees cooperative movement toward a stronger community. However, the choice to address only “blacks and whites” and “men and women” because both “types of interaction […] seem especially   instructive”  risks  simplifying

the operations of difference. The chapter’s concluding insistence on programs to develop and improve interpersonal relations makes a great deal of sense 2.

The best value of this ambitious diagnosis and prescription for U.S. higher education comes from Bok’s dismissal of the popular condemnations that only offer superficial indictment and his engagement with the data on student learning, the purpose of university teaching and learning, and the importance of improving teaching. Of course, implementing many of Bok’s proposals would require major transformation;   this   overview    is    a

valuable contribution to the discussion of higher learning.


1) On this campus, Citizenship and Ethical Development Programming in the Office of Student Conduct addresses the aims Bok proposes for teaching “moral reasoning.”

2) The Words of Engagement program, part of the Office of Human Relations Programs, works to achieve these ends on this campus. See this page.

Journal on Plagiarism Debuts

Talk of plagiarism and academic integrity often turns to strategies for prevention and instruments of enforcement and away from the nature of the practice. Scholarly analysis of plagiarism is not always part of the picture. Of course, in what we like to call the “most egregious cases” (loose compilations of cut-and-paste excerpts from papers found via Google, or unabashed use of a crib sheet, for instance) little about these violations seems as intellectually interesting as what happens when recording artists complicate standards of fair use or when the line between protected parody and copyright violation is troubled. But common student explanations — “I didn’t have time to do the research.” “My other teacher said paraphrasing doesn’t require citation.” “I didn’t understand what you meant by citation.” — may be addressed in sophisticated ways, too.

A new electronic journal, Plagiary (“Cross-Disciplinary Studies in Plagiarism, Fabrication, and Falsification”), has initiated a scholarly discussion of plagiarism. At the moment, the journal is free and its contents are publicly available. Much of Plagiary’s current and forthcoming content addresses “plagiarism and related fabrications/falsifications within the professional literature (i.e. scholarly journals and books) and popular discourse domains (i.e. journalism, politics, audio-visual texts).” For teachers who occasionally encounter academic dishonesty in undergraduate work, though, this looks to be a promising source that “will hopefully bring together existing strands of scholarship and create a point of focus for lively discussion, ongoing debate, and presentation of research results.” Submissions on “pedagogical approaches and student perspectives at the university level (cheating & academic integrity)” are being solicited.

For more on plagiarism, see Diane Harvey’s February 2005 article in Teaching & Learning News, contact the Office of Student Conduct, or review CTE’s adaptation of Ryan Claycomb’s and Nora Bellows’s suggestions for preventing plagiarism in our Graduate Teaching Assistant Resource Guide (scroll to page 36 of http://cte.umd.edu/programs/graduate/GTAResourceGuide.pdf).

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