Hi Russ

No I did not write this document and the originial writer's name was 
supposed to remain with it. In fact, I argued that it would be a case of 
plagiarism if my name appeared with the document. I will see to it that my 
name is removed.
We have just had  a big re-organization here and somebody probably just got 

As for the orginal document--it represents a deeply-felt, and deeply-shared 
set of attitudes about plagiarism. I disagree with much of the document but 
cannot deny its existence.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Russ Hunt" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, May 14, 2007 9:30 AM
Subject: Re: Arguing that Plagiarism is an Ineffective tool

> Miriam says it just about right, I think: "I'm not convinced
> those job applicants that Rob referred to thought of it as
> plagiarizing.  I'm inclined they were trying to fit in in the
> same way that we ask our students to.  Hence, the same results."
> There's a good deal to be reflected on here; it's a way to
> illuminate, I think, just what our _students_ are trying to do.
> Interestingly, in trying to find the case I remembered from a
> couple of years ago, I stumbled on a nice review of a book
> which, among other things, clearly makes the case for the
> parallel between composing a teaching statement (for a portfolio
> or dossier) and producing that term paper.  The review is Jane
> Mathison Fife, "Changing the Contexts for Documenting our
> Teaching," _Pedagogy_ 5:1 (Winter 2005), 157-161, and the book
> is _Composition, Pedagogy, and the Scholarship of Teaching_, ed.
> Deborah Minter and Amy M. Goodburn (Boynton/Cook, 2002).
> I've now read the "information about Plagiarism" that the
> Waterloo letter said you should read "before starting your
> teaching dossier." (
> ). It's a
> fascinating document. It's directed to participants in the
> Waterloo Certificate in University Teaching, and it's a fairly
> sophisticated version of the sort of advice about ethics and
> plagiarism that universities regularly offer undergraduates. Its
> central focus is integrity and values, and it makes the usual
> move: yes, we all believe in integrity . . . but just in case,
> here are the draconian punishments for violating our rules.
> It also offers references for "how to avoid plagiarism," as
> pretty much all the anti-plagiarism documents I've read do. I
> was reminded that there's something extremely odd going on here.
> A document explaining "how to avoid" something would normally
> outline strategies for avoiding something that might _happen to
> you_. How to avoid being electrocuted, how to avoid being
> mugged, how to avoid eating contaminated food. No one writes
> documents giving strategies for avoiding stealing, or
> infanticide, or lying. If it's a matter of integrity it's not
> something that happens to you, is it?
> Seems to me there are mixed messages here -- just the kind we
> often hear in parent-to-kid discourse. Being bad is something
> you somehow "fall into." You're not "bad," you get corrupted.
> But you'll be punished for falling, anyway.
> I've said this before, so sorry if I'm boring people . . . but
> if I really cared about communicating with you, plagiarism would
> never occur to me. However, if I were in a situation where I had
> to produce discourse you'd approve of, and I had no investment
> in the relationship being mediated by the discourse, I'd do what
> was easiest. And if you said to me, as that letter does, "For
> almost all written submissions to the CUT Program (the exception
> being your research paper), no references are necessary, or even
> desirable.  We are primarily interested in your personal
> reflections on the subject matter of the workshop, panel,
> observation report, etc.," I would know that you are not, in
> fact, actually interested in my personal reflections at all:
> you're interested in whether my personal reflections are the
> kind you approve of.
> I would certainly, on the basis of that rubric, never think of
> explicitly bringing anybody else's ideas in (after all, you're
> interested only in what you can imagine comes out of my soul:
> "no references are . . . even desirable"). So I'd find something
> that I think you'd be impressed with, and I'd try to make sure -
> - if I thought you were checking -- that you couldn't find the
> source. Nothing about this would be about communication: it
> would be about producing an impressive text. To fit in.
> In that case, plagiarism would be a pretty effective tool. Just
> make sure no one saw you using it.
> Seems to me the problem, in both cases, is, as Miriam points
> out, the strange rhetorical situation the writer's in. Fife's
> review (and, it appears, even more the book, which I'm about to
> go find) talk about some ways to make the teacher's rhetorical
> situation more reasonable. They apply to what we ask students to
> write, as well.
> (Interesting as well that the Waterloo document is signed by
> Cathy Schryer -- though it says composed by a previous director
> of the service.  I wonder if Cathy can help us understand the
> genre we're working in here?)
> -- Russ
> St. Thomas University
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For the list archives and information about the organization,
    its newsletter, and the annual conference, go to