Department declines to review Poshard’s dissertation

By Gus Bode

The SIUC department that University President Glenn Poshard asked to review his doctoral dissertation has declined the offer.

The Department of Educational Administration and Higher Education chose not to investigate the accusations of plagiarism in Poshard’s dissertation, according to a statement sent Wednesday evening by University Communications Director Mike Ruiz.

“The department has concluded that a committee with broader academic representation would be more appropriate for this review,” said Dave Gross, executive assistant for government and media relations, in the statement.

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The department’s chair, Brad Colwell, declined to comment on the issue Wednesday afternoon.

At a news conference Friday, Poshard announced he would submit his dissertation to the department, which awarded him his doctorate in 1984. Poshard said he would take the department’s recommendations and make any corrections needed to make the dissertation “consistent with the highest academic standards.”

Poshard said he was not worried about being stripped of his doctorate, the degree he said made it possible for him to hold the position of SIU President.

John Koropchak, dean of the graduate school, said he did not know specifically why a department would choose not to review a dissertation.

“This is an unusual circumstance and it presents many challenges to any department that would be faced with this,” he said.

Koropchak said he had met with officials about the dissertation, but the university had not officially initiated an investigation into charges of academic dishonesty against Poshard.

Koropchak said the first step in dealing with accusations of academic dishonesty – as outlined in the Student Conduct Code – is to have the department deal with them informally. Often the department chooses to have the work corrected, as Poshard proposed to do, Koropchak said.

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He said the graduate school recently encountered a different case in which a former student was accused of academic dishonesty and the matter was resolved at the departmental level.

The department can also recommend a formal hearing be held concerning the allegations, he said.

The Graduate Catalog outlines procedures for formally dealing with academic dishonesty allegations that include forming a five-member committee to hear the allegations. No member of the department from which the charge arose is to be represented on the committee.

SIUC Chancellor Fernando Trevi´┐Żo said past students have been allowed to correct their dissertations after the fact, particularly if the accusations focus on the literature review, as they do in Poshard’s work.

“There are mechanisms that allow them to amend their dissertation, if it is deemed to be not of major significance,” he said.

Joe Crawford can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 254 or [email protected]

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