Father Thomas Rosica: The Priest Who Plagiarized

February 26, 2019

There have been reports in the media recently about Father Thomas Rosica, the priest and Vatican spokesperson who has been plagiarizing material for years (Breen 2019a, 2019b). Just a few days after the story broke, Father Rosica resigned from his position on the governing body of the Collegium of the University of St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto.

Why is plagiarism by a priest so offensive? Well, for starters, the word “plagiarism” means “literary theft”. One of Ten Commandments that underpins Christian faith is “Thou Shalt Not Steal”.  Scholars of plagiarism have noted the act of plagiarism as being a transgression against Judeo-Christian values (Colon, 2001; Park, 2003).

According to the news reports (Brean, 2019a, 2019b), Father Rosica claimed that his plagiarism was unintentional, a result of having to meet demanding media deadlines. Being unable to cope with time pressure and deadlines is often one reason cited in the literature as to why students commit plagiarism.

But there’s a key difference. Father Rosica is not a student. He is a high-ranking Church official who presumably has the agency as an adult to manage his time.

And presumably, a highly educated priest should have known better. It is hard to believe this was a sin of ignorance.

According to news reports (Brean 2019a, 2019b), the optics worsened when Father Rosica allegedly cast blame towards junior staff who helped him prepare the content of his communications.

Let’s get one thing straight. It is wrong to plagiarize. It’s even worse to blame others when you are the one responsible for the communication. It seems that Father Rosica has confessed his sins and seeks forgiveness, which I have every confidence he will be granted. But forgiveness does not equate to the restoration of the public’s confidence. Nor can forgiveness fix an individual’s reputation.

Father Rosica is in a position of great moral authority and power. Plagiarism is a moral transgression, even when it isn’t a legal one. In certain professions (including priesthood), reputation is everything. I suspect that although Father Rosica may be granted the forgiveness he seeks, the damage to his reputation may be irreparable.

References:

Brean, J. (2019a, February 22). ‘It’s wrong’: Vatican media adviser admits to ‘cut and paste’ plagiarism for over a decade. National Post. Retrieved from https://nationalpost.com/news/its-wrong-vatican-media-advisor-admits-to-cut-and-paste-plagiarism-in-his-columns-and-essays

Brean, J. (2019b, February 25). After plagiarism apology, influential priest resigns from Toronto college board. National Post. Retrieved from https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/after-plagiarism-apology-influential-priest-resigns-from-toronto-college-board

Colon, A. (2001). Avoid the pitfalls of plagiarism. The Writer, 114(1), 8.

Park, C. (2003). In other (people’s) words: Plagiarism by university students – literature and lessons. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 28(5), 471-488. http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/staff/gyaccp/caeh_28_5_02lores.pdf doi:10.1080/0260293032000120352

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Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the Werklund School of Education or the University of Calgary.


The ethics of outsourcing: Contract cheating in the health professions

February 15, 2019

This morning I had the pleasure of providing a continuing education session to the Orthopaedic Surgeons at their City Wide (Grand) Rounds. The session was offered live at the Foothills campus and participants from various hospitals around the city joined by video conference.

2019 02 15 Ortho CWR Poster[1]Learning Objectives:

  • Define and explain what contract cheating is
  • Explain how the global contract cheating industry works
  • Understand the impact of contract cheating among medical and health program students

Here’s a copy of the title slide:

Title slide - Orthopaedic surgery rounds

References:

Bagshaw, E. (2016, May 26). University of Sydney’s medical school in second cheating controversy. Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from https://www.smh.com.au/education/university-of-sydneys-medical-school-in-second-cheating-controversy-20160525-gp3g3h.html

Bretag, T. (2017). Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency, Good Practice Note: Addressing contract cheating to safeguard academic integrity  Retrieved from https://www.teqsa.gov.au/latest-news/publications/good-practice-note-addressing-contract-cheating-safeguard-academic

Clarke, R., & Lancaster, T. (2006). Eliminating the successor to plagiarism: Identifying the usage of contract cheating sites. Paper presented at the Second International Plagiarism Conference, Gateshead, UK.

Curtis, G. J., & Clare, J. (2017). How Prevalent is contract cheating and to what extent are students repeat offenders? Journal of Academic Ethics, 15(2), 115-124. doi:10.1007/s10805-017-9278-x

Eaton, S. E. (2018). Contract cheating: A Canadian perspective.  Retrieved from http://blogs.biomedcentral.com/bmcblog/2018/07/24/contract-cheating-a-canadian-perspective/

Eaton, S. E., & Edino, R. I. (2018). Strengthening the research agenda of educational integrity in Canada: A review of the research literature and call to action. Journal of Educational Integrity, 14(1). Retrieved from https://edintegrity.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1007/s40979-018-0028-7 doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s40979-018-0028-7

Hosney, M. I., & Fatima, S. (2014). Attitude of students towards cheating and plagiarism: University case study. Journal of Applied Sciences, 14(8), 748-757. doi:10.3923/jas.2014.748.757

International Center for Academic Integrity. (2016). Institutional toolkit to combat contract cheating  Retrieved from http://integrity.fiu.edu/pdfs/Contract%20Cheating.pdf

Lancaster, T. (2018). US in first place for essays orders (not surprising), with the UK and Canada in equal second place [Tweet].   Retrieved from https://twitter.com/DrLancaster/status/1029014675198013440

Lancaster, T., & Clarke, R. (2008). The phenomena of contract cheating. In T. S. Roberts (Ed.), Student plagiarism in an online world: Problems and solutions (pp. 144-158). Hershey, PA: Idea Group Inc.

Lancaster, T., & Clarke, R. (2015). Examining contract cheating, essay mill use and academic misconduct by students on health courses.  Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/323425525_Examining_Contract_Cheating_Essay_Mill_Use_and_Academic_Misconduct_by_Students_on_Health_Courses

Newton, P. M., & Lang, C. (2016). Custom essay writers, freelancers, and other paid third parties. In T. Bretag (Ed.), Handbook of Academic Integrity (pp. 249-271). Singapore: Springer Singapore.

O’BRien, N., & Smith, A. (2015, June 6). Cheating scandal: Sydney university to review medical study unit. Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from https://www.smh.com.au/education/cheating-scandal-sydney-university-to-review-medical-study-unit-20150606-ghi5d2.html

Plagiarism.org. (2017). How big of a problem in contract cheating?   Retrieved from http://www.plagiarism.org/blog/2017/12/12/how-big-of-a-problem-is-contract-cheating

Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (UK) (QAA). (2017). Contracting to cheat in higher education: How to address contract cheating, the use of third-party services and essay mills  Retrieved from http://www.qaa.ac.uk/en/Publications/Documents/Contracting-to-cheat-in-higher-education.pdf

Rogerson, A. M. (2017). Detecting contract cheating in essay and report submissions: process, patterns, clues and conversations. International Journal for Educational Integrity, 13(1), 10. doi:10.1007/s40979-017-0021-6

Tonkin, A. L. (2015). “Lifting the carpet” on cheating in medical school exams. BMJ: British Medical Journal, 351(August), 22-29.

Turnitin. (2013). Paying for plagiarism (webinar). Retrieved from http://go.turnitin.com/webcast/paying-for-plagiarism

University of Alberta. (n.d.). Student Conduct and Accountability: Proving Misconduct.   Retrieved from https://www.ualberta.ca/provost/dean-of-students/student-conduct-and-accountability/proving-misconduct

Walker, M., & Townley, C. (2012). Contract cheating: A new challenge for academic honesty? Journal of Academic Ethics, 10(1), 27–44. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10805-012-9150-y

If you would like  a copy of this talk, please e-mail me at seaton (at) ucalgary (dot) ca

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This blog has had over 2 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the Werklund School of Education or the University of Calgary.

 


Exploring the Intersection Between Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and Academic Integrity Among EAL Students in Canadian Higher Education

February 12, 2019

JET 50(1)My colleague, Amy Burns, and I recently published this article in the Journal of Educational Thought.

Abstract

ABSTRACT: In this article, we examine selected literature on the implementation of culturally responsive pedagogy in higher education with regard to academic integrity among international students who speak English as an Additional Language (EAL). The question that guided this work was: How can Canadian post-secondary educators demonstrate culturally sensitive responses to plagiarism for international EAL students? Within this examination we used Sleeter’s (2011) critique of culturally responsive pedagogy as a framework to deepen our reflection of how to address plagiarism issues among the EAL population. We related each of Sleeter’s four observances of oversimplification to the notion of plagiarism and its prevention, to contextualize and connect the notion of culturally responsive pedagogy to academic integrity. Using the research literature to ground our recommendations, we conclude with strategies for instructors to support culturally responsive ways of addressing plagiarism with international EAL higher education students.

Keywords: culturally responsive pedagogy, higher education, English as an Additional Language, academic integrity, Canada, plagiarism

Please cite this article as: Eaton, S. E., & Burns, A. (2018). Exploring the intersection between culturally responsive pedagogy and academic integrity among EAL students in Canadian higher education. Journal of Educational Thought, 51(3), 339-359.

If you are interested in receiving a full copy of this article send me an email at:

seaton (at) ucalgary (dot) ca

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This blog has had over 2 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the Werklund School of Education or the University of Calgary.

 


Multilingual Essay Mills: Understanding Contract Cheating among Second Language Learners – Workshop

February 1, 2019

U of C logo - 2015As many of you know, I’ve been developing a research program on academic integrity over the past few years. Last year I began collaborating with my friend and colleague, Dr. Roswita Dressler, on a project that brings together our combined expertise in academic integrity and language learning.

It started when I noticed that almost all of the research that I’d seen about contract cheating was focused almost exclusively on services provided in English. That led us to ask ourselves what the market was students of second languages. We undertook a rapid review to help us get a general sense of the landscape. We wrote up the results and they have been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. I’ll post about it when the publication comes out later this year.

We are also doing a workshop at the University of Calgary’s Language Research Centre  to help teachers of second languages build their understanding of what the contract cheating industry is and why they need to pay attention.

Workshop description

Contract Cheating_Poster - LRC WorkshopContract cheating happens when students have a third party complete academic work on their behalf. The term was coined by UK researchers Clarke and Lancaster (2006). It includes, but it not limited to essay mills and homework completion services. Suppliers of this form of “black market” academic work exist mainly online. Students can simply upload a digital copy of their assignment instructions to a website, insert a delivery date and pay for the work by credit card. Contract cheating is big business. Owings and Nelson (2014) found the essay mill industry in the United States alone to be valued at a minimum $100 million USD. Estimates show that over 71,000 post-secondary students in Canada buy academic work online (Eaton, 2018). There is growing evidence to suggest that contract cheating is not limited to academic work completed in English, but also in a variety of world languages.

In this workshop, you will learn more about what contract cheating is, how it happens, and how second language learners can order homework tasks, essays and even theses from online providers, customized to the exact instructions of an assignment. We will discuss strategies for prevention and detection, along with an examination of what to do if you suspect a case of contract cheating among your students.

Date and time: Friday, February 15, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Location: Craigie Hall, 4th floor, Room D-420

This workshop is open to the public and is free to attend.

References:

Clarke, R., & Lancaster, T. (2006). Eliminating the successor to plagiarism: Identifying the usage of contract cheating sites. Paper presented at the Second International Plagiarism Conference, Gateshead, United Kingdom.

Eaton, S. E. (2018). Contract cheating: A Canadian perspective.  Retrieved from http://blogs.biomedcentral.com/bmcblog/2018/07/24/contract-cheating-a-canadian-perspective/

Owings, S., & Nelson, J. (2014). The essay industry. Mountain Plains Journal of Business and Economics, 15, 1-21. http://www.mountainplains.org/articles/2014/General%20Research/Mountain_Plains_Journal_of_Business_and_Economics_Volume_15_2014_1-21_General_Research_Owings.pdf

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This blog has had over 2 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the Werklund School of Education or the University of Calgary.

 


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