Friday, May 16, 2014

Is the Plagiarizing Crony a Finalist for the Provost's Position?: Will Chicago State Finally Reach its Academic Nadir?

According to more than one administrator, the finalists for the provost's position are going to be on campus between May 19 and May 27. Although their identities seem to be a closely-guarded secret, it seems likely that one of them will be that notable academic fraud: Angela Henderson. It has come to my attention that Watson's defense of Henderson's cheating on her dissertation now includes the assertion that she "didn't do anything wrong." I think this raises questions that should be asked: 1) why did Watson serve on Henderson's dissertation committee? what could he possibly contribute to a Ph.D. dissertation in nursing? 2) since the UIC Academic Integrity policy clearly defines "intellectual theft" as "us[ing] someone else's words or work product without giving them credit for the work through adequate attribution", and 3) since Henderson did this repeatedly (as well as lifting passages with no attribution)in her dissertation, how did Watson come to the conclusion that "she did nothing wrong"? 4) Since Watson recently pontificated at the board meeting about how he had "raised standards" for tenure, how can he ignore the obvious cheating by the administrator ostensibly responsible for the university's academic viability and integrity? 5) Are there no academic standards for Chicago State administrators? As neither Henderson nor Watson would qualify for tenure at this university, I think we know the answer to that question.

Since I have concerns about the potential for this search to become nothing more than another Watson-inspired crony-riven travesty, this morning I sent the following e-mail to the unit A faculty at Chicago State:

Dear Colleagues:

Apparently, the Hollins Group has come up with four finalists for the job of Chicago State Provost, none of whom is yet known to the campus generally. I am concerned that the administration, specifically Wayne Watson, will attempt to foist Angela Henderson on the university as the permanent provost. In order that you be fully informed of why she is wholly unqualified for this position, I am circulating this e-mail. Here are the reasons she should be rejected as a possible candidate: given her non-existent scholarly production and limited teaching experience, she is not even qualified for tenure at this university. She might be qualified to apply for an Assistant Professor's position, but nothing else comes to mind; most important, she has demonstrated academic dishonesty by committing extensive plagiarism in her doctoral dissertation. I reported this to UIC five months ago. Although they have apparently not yet made a disciplinary determination, the dissertation is obviously plagiarized. In order for you to make an informed decision on this matter, I am attaching several items for your review. Of course, you can choose to look at as few or as many as you wish. Should you choose to examine all these documents, I believe you will come to the same conclusion I did. Here is what I am attaching: 1) a copy of Angela Henderson's dissertation with plagiarized passages, "padded" bibliographical entries and in-text citations that do not appear in her bibliography highlighted in yellow; 2) the academic integrity policy from the UIC College of Nursing and the plagiarism standards from APA style; 3) the report I submitted to UIC in December 2013. Please note in the report the number of instances where Henderson lifts passages from other literature reviews and presents this material as her own review, often without any attribution. Of course, if you have questions please do not hesitate to contact me.


I have no idea if Angela Henderson will be among the finalists for the position. However, even considering her for this position (or, given her demonstrated academic dishonesty, any university position) is a slap in the face to the entire university community. I cannot imagine a more inappropriate person to serve as the chief academic officer of any institution. Although I doubt it matters to that out-of-control dictator in the Cook building, I hope my fellow faculty members agree that students, staff, alumni and faculty deserve far better than this.

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