Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Chicago State University Would Prefer You Not Know This

Attempts by Chicago State University to silence its critics within its faculty have done little more than cause the school more trouble in the form of increased press coverage and mockery, along with some unwanted attention to hiring practices. There is a reason the university on Chicago's south side is nicknamed "Crony State".

Angela "It's Not What You Know But Who You Know" Henderson
The school's provost, hired only this past summer, is a fine example of cronyism in hiring. Angela Henderson holds a doctorate in nursing, but other than that, her strongest qualification for the job is the fact that her husband is the personal attorney of CSU's President, Wayne Watson.

It's not what you know, but who you know, that will get you a high-level post at CSU, but those who are handing out the favors don't like it when faculty points out the inconvenient truth. They surely won't be pleased with the ongoing investigation into Ms. Henderson's doctoral dissertation. It seems there might be examples of plagiarism contained therein.

Detecting plagiarism is made easier thanks to the wonders of modern software. A computer program can sift through pages of words and then find those same words arranged in the same sequence from the place the writer lifted them.

Unlike a work of historical fiction that is built on a frame of research, a dissertation requires the author to cite sources. There are specific rules and regulations for how those citations are to be punctuated, but then again, Ms. Henderson majored in nursing, not English. As the provost of CSU, unfortunately, she's responsible for ensuring that all the students adhere to the very guidelines that she doesn't know about, but her job isn't predicated on her academic heft anyway.

Ms. Henderson's dissertation committee at the University of Illinois Chicago (formerly known as Circle Campus) didn't check for plagiarism, or go over the thesis in search of missing quotations marks. Perhaps they are unfamiliar with the software that the CSU faculty used to find examples of improperly cited text. Or maybe one of the committee members, Wayne Watson, was not concerned enough to raise the issue.

Yes indeed. Mr. Watson who gave her the job was sitting in judgment, deciding if she was Ph.D. worthy.

UIC is examining the dissertation closely, to see if the plagiarism charges can stick. If they do, then Ms. Henderson's degree becomes null and void. As for her job, well, just let the faculty try to complain over at their blog that's been hit yet again with legal threats. That should keep them so busy that they don't have time to raise a big stink about the Provost of their school being unqualified for the job she got because she was somebody's somebody.

1 comment:

Phillip Beverly said...

As a CSU faculty member I have swung between anger and sadness over these revelations. This administration continues to undermine the work of a faculty that gets no recognition for what it does in its classrooms and laboratories. And the citizens of New Jersey thought they had it bad. The citizens of Illinois are so much worse off by allowing this misconduct to continue unabated.