Dean’s Corner: A Resolution for a New Academic Year – Don’t Plagiarize!

MedeirosAs Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, I want to welcome the new students and the returning graduate students to the 2015-16 academic year.  We have almost 4,000 graduate students at UMKC earning degrees from a wide variety of disciplines.  We offer more than 50 graduate degrees including masters, education specialist and doctoral degrees.  The School of Graduate Studies staff coordinates the policies and regulations of all of the graduate programs and acts as advocates of graduate education and the graduate student.

Before we start the new year, I want to review some expectations of graduate students.  Graduate education is not a simple extension of your undergraduate education.  You may find the work more demanding, and more activities may need to be satisfied outside the normal classroom hours.  With graduate education comes higher expectations by both your professors and the University of Missouri.  Most of you will be engaged in research, whether it is writing research papers for a class or completing a thesis or dissertation.  You had some experience in writing at the undergraduate level, but at the graduate level you will likely find writing to be more intense and field specific in terms of style. An item that I want to impress upon you is that your work needs to be ethical.

What do I mean by ethical writing?  It needs to be your OWN work and not the work of others.  As Dean of the Graduate School I am increasingly made aware of cases involving plagiarism by graduate students.  While this occurs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, it is wrong and unethical behavior.  However, it is much more serious when plagiarism has occurred by a graduate student as the expectations are greater.  Plagiarism is considered under a much more broad heading termed “academic misconduct”, which includes issues such as cheating on an exam (including providing aid to another student), and sabotage of another student’s work.

The University of Missouri has defined plagiarism as follows in its Collected Rules and Regulations Number 200.010 Standard of Conduct as follows:

“The term plagiarism includes, but is not limited to: (i) use by paraphrase or direct quotation of the published or unpublished work of another person without fully and properly crediting the author with footnotes, citations or bibliographical reference; (ii) unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials; or (iii) unacknowledged use of original work/material that has been produced through collaboration with others without release in writing from collaborators.”

All too often I have received reports of graduate students copying material from other authors or sources verbatim as opposed to using their own words as well as not providing a citation to the material.  Moreover, the reports given to me are increasing at the graduate level.  Plagiarism will result in sanctions against the student ranging from a warning to expulsion from the university.  At a graduate level, it is more common to have students suspended for a fixed period of time or expelled from the university as again there are higher expectations.  Not knowing that what you did is considered plagiarism is no excuse for the act.

The School of Graduate Studies has a couple of YouTube videos on examples of plagiarism (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtCTEfOFX5sRWd6JyBHDQdQ).  Furthermore, there are a number of excellent web sites dealing with plagiarism and how to avoid it.  One of my favorites is from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/plagiarism).  There are other sources available from other Universities such as Indiana University (http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/pamphlets/plagiarism.shtml) and Purdue University ( https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/589/01/) to which you should feel free to refer.

In my previous messages to graduate students, I notified you that there will be a Graduate Student Writing Initiative launched this year.  Having a relationship with the UMKC Writing Studio will allow graduate students to receive education on how to avoid plagiarism, and provides opportunities for individual appointments with writing consultants who can provide support for proper citation format in the discipline. However, it does not guarantee that plagiarism will not occur, as in the final analysis of ethical behavior is the responsibility of the individual.  When I talk to my own students about this subject, I always give them two pieces of advice: explain the ideas or works of others in your own words (not paraphrased) and include the citation(s) even if you doubt it is needed.  You will find that you will learn more and be much more successful in your career.

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Important Dates to Remember

 

Sun., August 30     Doctoral Student Council Picnic, Loose Park, 51st & Wornall, 12:30 – 2:30pm

Mon., September 7     Labor Day – University Holiday/University closed

Mon., September 21   Last day to file for December Graduation

Tues., September 22  Thesis/Dissertation formatting workshop, Administrative Center – Plaza Room, 3:30 – 5:00pm

Wed., September 23  Thesis/Dissertation formatting workshop, Administrative Center – Plaza Room, 5:30 – 7:00pm

The workshop is also offered online via the UMKC SGS Youtube channel:                                                                                Part One      Part Two

Thurs., October 15     “Are You Smarter Than a UMKC Graduate Student?” Snow & Co., 1815 Wyandotte, 7 – 9pm

Fri., November 3     Deadline to submit theses/dissertations for format review by the School of Graduate Studies, 5pm

Fri., November 20  Deadline to apply for SGS fellowships and grants, 5pm

Mon – Fri, November 23 – 27  Thanksgiving Holiday/No classes

Thurs., November 26 – 27  Thanksgiving Holiday – University Holiday/University Closed

Fri., December 18     Last day to defend theses and dissertations

Sat., December 19     Graduation Ceremonies – Arts & Sciences at 1pm, Multi at 5pm

Fri., December 25     University Holiday/University Closed

Fri., January 8     Deadline for submitting theses/dissertations to ProQuest

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Announcements

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Interdisciplinary Ph.D. student earns multiple awards Vivek Agrahari, PhD student in Pharmaceutical Sciences and Chemistry, has recently earned two awards. The first was the 2015 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) Graduate Student Research Award within the Analysis and Pharmaceutical … Continue reading

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SGS Staff Spotlight: Quincy Bennett Johnson, Student Services Coordinator II

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Quincy Bennett Johnson, Student Services Coordinator II for the School of Graduate Studies, has earned her Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees at UMKC. She joined UMKC in 1998 as an Administrative Assistant. As her duties evolved, she was promoted within the … Continue reading

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Faculty Spotlight: Oral and Craniofacial Sciences Professor Dr. Sarah Dallas

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Dr. Sarah Dallas has worked at UMKC for 14 years, since she was recruited as an Associate Professor for a Bone Biology Program in the School of Dentistry, directed by Dr. Lynda Bonewald. “I had worked with her previously and … Continue reading

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Student Spotlight: Interdisciplinary Ph.D. student Philip Edelman

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Philip Edelman earned a Bachelor of Music in Music Education at the University of New Hampshire and a Master of Music at Kansas State University. Now an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. student in Music Education and Curriculum & Instruction, he started this … Continue reading

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Dean’s Corner: Honing Your Communication Skills

MedeirosIn the past, I discussed the concept of transferable or “soft” skills that graduate students
should develop to enhance their employment prospects.  Such skills can be found on our web page under “Career Services.”  One key skill that many graduate students should achieve is communication.  Communication may be written or oral, as well as technical or non-technical.  Here at UMKC in the coming year, we will launch the new Graduate Student Writing Center; the main activity will be in the Atterbury Student Success Center.  The School of Graduate Studies will be supplying computers and software to help students write theses, dissertations, manuscripts and other writing.  Lockers will also be available for their use.  We anticipate that next spring a graduate assistant will also be hired to help tutor students.  Added to this initiative is that the faculty of the newly created Emeritus College will also be acting as reviewers or consultants to students who have a need in writing.  Students need to take advantage of this resource as Emeriti Faculty bring years of writing experience and mentoring of graduate students.

Another dimension of communication is oral.  In this context, we again have technical communication and non-technical communication.  Many graduate students learn to talk about their research and communicate their work to peer audiences.  Lacking is the ability to communicate to audiences outside one’s field.  The Council of Graduate Schools is embarking on a program that has already begun to spread on campuses throughout the world, called the “3-minute thesis.”  This concept was developed by the University of Queensland in Australia and is basically training students to present their work in three minutes or less.  Only one slide is allowed and it must be fixed in place.  Communication of your work is important for future support of graduate education.   Think about how you would explain your work to a legislator or a member of your family – in a way that is understandable.  While you may think this is easy, it is not.  Often researchers, particularly graduate students, believe that every detail of their work is important.  The big picture is needed and the ability to do storytelling is a skill to hone for explaining your research to others.  At UMKC we plan to launch a contest where students will be invited to explain their work in three minutes or less.  You can Google “3 minute thesis” online and download videos of actual presentations in this area.  I encourage them to look for these examples and ask themself, “Can I summarize my research in a non-technical manner in three minutes or less?”

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Important Dates to Remember for Summer 2015

Friday, June 19          Last day to file for graduation

Thursday, July 2       Deadline to submit thesis/dissertation to SGS for format review

Friday, July 3             UMKC closed for Independence Day holiday

Friday, July 31           Deadline to defend for summer graduation

Friday, August 14     Deadline to upload thesis/dissertation to ProQuest for summer graduation

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Announcements

Popular theses and dissertations from UMKC alumni Each month, ProQuest creates a list of the top 25 most-accessed dissertations and theses, based upon PDF downloads. Recent UMKC alumni on the lists: #15 in March 2015: Sz-De Yu, 2005, M.S. “The … Continue reading

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SGS Employee Spotlight: Dr. Lora Lacey-Haun

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Dr. Lora Lacey-Haun has been with UMKC for approximately 33 years. She has done classroom teaching, clinical teaching, administrative work, and was Dean in the School of Nursing and Health Studies until her retirement in 2012. She worked as Associate … Continue reading

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