Sunday, October 3, 2010

In-A-Hurry Plagarism

UD links to a story about Rodney Glassman, a Democrat running for the Senate in Arizona, plagiarizing in his PhD disseration.

According to Wikipedia, Glassman has a PhD in Arid Land Resource Sciences. At first glance, this sounds like an impressive program. FLG could imagine a science rich education focusing on the issues at stake in Arid climes. But Glassman's plagiarism apparently had to do with cribbing quotations on agarian education.

What gives?

Well, then you start reading the description:
The Arid Lands Resource Sciences Graduate Interdisciplinary Program at The University of Arizona leads to the Doctor of Philosophy degree with a major in Arid Lands Resource Sciences (ALRS). The program prepares students for careers in both academic and non-academic settings. Located in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, The University of Arizona provides a unique interdisciplinary environment as well as a natural living laboratory for the study of arid and semi-arid lands. These dynamic lands encompass nearly one-third of the Earth’s total land surface and embody one-fifth of its total population. Increasing pressures on these considerable and important regions demand increased attention be given to the ecological, economic, and socio-cultural factors that affect them.

FLG's emphasis. Interdisciplinary, while not always synonymous with mushy bullshit, often is a cover for it. Ecological, economic, and socio-cultural factors are just code words to tell you that the people in the program love the desert's spirituality, its natural beauty, and, FLG assumes, its indigenous peoples. Now, this isn't to say that FLG is against any of these. It's just that when you get a bunch of petrified-tree-hugging hippies in charge of an academic program that sounds science-y, but really isn't, you get a program with tight ideological, but loose academic standards.

There's a bunch of programs in the State of Arizona that seem to be like this. FLG thinks this program is probably chuck full of plagiarizers and other academic malfeasants. And he's horrified to think what this place is producing.

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