About that Doctorate: Dexter Suggs, Plagiarist

William Ralph Inge once wrote, “Originality is undetected plagiarism.” Whether that is true or not, it is useful in a meta sense, as quoting Inge directly means that the use of his words is not plagiarism in this particular instance.

Now, as a general rule, there are few things that educators dislike more than plagiarism. Ask any high school English teacher what the biggest problems are with her students’ assignments and plagiarism will always rank higher than comma-splice errors or split infinitives. In the Little Rock School District, for example, plagiarism is punished by, among other things, a student’s receiving no credit for the assignment.

Which, I suppose, means it’s a good thing for LRSD Superintendent Dexter Suggs that his dissertation for his doctorate in education was not an assignment for an LRSD class.

This is Dr. Suggs’s 2009 dissertation, entitled “The Impact of Middle School Principal Leadership on the Integration of Technology in Selected Middle Schools within the Indianapolis Public School District.”

[gview file=”http://www.bluehogreport.com/wp-content/uploads/Suggs-Dissertation.pdf”]

If you scroll to page 120 in the PDF (118 in the numbered pages within the PDF), you will not see “Scott, Georganne (2005). Educator Perceptions of Principal Technology Leadership Competencies.” This omission is particularly glaring, mainly because “Dr.” Suggs lifted entire pages of his dissertation from this 2005 dissertation.

Consider the following (and note that Suggs’ dissertation is on the left in all of these comparisons):

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Screenshot 2015-04-15 14.27.43

 

Screenshot 2015-04-15 14.27.13

 

Screenshot 2015-04-15 14.26.43

 

Screenshot 2015-04-15 14.26.04

 

Screenshot 2015-04-15 14.25.30

 

Screenshot 2015-04-15 14.24.50

 

Now, I’m not an English teacher, but, in my opinion, that’s a whole lot of nearly verbatim copying of someone else’s dissertation without attribution.  Not that you could really cite a source that you basically ripped off word for word.  I leave it to the English teachers who happen across this post to determine if you would merely fail this student or if you would turn him in for this blatant theft of someone else’s work.

But, hey, at least that’s the only instance of plagiarism in his dissertation, right?

(Spoiler: No. No, it’s not. More to come on this when I am no longer sitting in the Dallas-Fort Worth airport.)

 

39 COMMENTS

  1. I would suggest that plagiarism is an empirical state, so if he plagiarized “chunks,” his dissertation is plagiarized. Period. A few years ago my husband learned that a Romanian professor had copied his dissertation on Chaucer’s lyric poetry almost in its entirety. Her institution fired her. If one of my students plagiarized as Suggs seems to have done, I would fail him for the course and report him to the university for academic dishonesty.

  2. Agreed completely. And this isn’t even the only instance of it in his dissertation. I know of at least two more.

  3. When a coach recruits improperly, the school must vacate any victories associated with that transgression.
    Dr. Suggs’ degree should be similarly vacated.

  4. it would be interesting to hear his explanation of this as well as the School Board’s comment on why this is or is not important to his being hired as Superintendent

  5. Thanks. I’m on my laptop now, but it is STILL downloading… Doesn’t make that school look too good!

  6. I KNOW! It took almost five minutes for me to download it as well. Thought it was just my connection. Thanks, AT&T!

  7. Doctorates in Education – especially those in  “Educational Leadership” – are dubious at best.  As a practical matter there is probably little difference between the academic credentials of Plagiarist Suggs (should it still be “Dr”. Suggs?) and most of the other “Dr.s” at the top of the LRSD food chain. I would be pleased to see them all disappear, including the probable “Dr. ” who “outed” Suggs. 

    28 years teaching in LRSD, and I’m not surprised by anything any more. It makes me sadder than usual about the District’s plight. 🙁

  8. Indiana Wesleyan University is a diploma mill for local schools systems.  When someone inside a district wants to promote someone who lacks the degree required to obtain the job they send them to IWU grad programs, Suggs went to a year long, two Saturdays a month, six box tops from cheerios and you are a PhD program, in fact he was the poster child for this program.  Google “Spring 2008 – Alumni – Indiana Wesleyan University” and you can read an article about him.  If you are not championed by someone who wants to promote you, a degree from IWU grad program is virtually useless….

    When he worked in IPS he so badly bungles his term at Arlington High School they removed him after 18 weeks.  He spent the remainder of his time as head of media and technology.  He replaced a top notch person and lucky for IPS did basically nothing.  

    He was the former superintendents prodigy and this is how he won the Milken Family Foundation award.  His mentor drove IPS into the dust.  I recall someone from IEA saying Eugene White (former superintendent) will leave when all the money is gone…a prophetic statement.

  9. Let’s remember we could have retained, the then acting superintendent, Dr. Maurice Holmes.  We chose poorly.

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