Monday, November 26, 2012

You can end your career by just one paragraph

I am loyal to my alma mater. She is good to me. She gave me free education and also provides me with paid work from time to time.

A refreshing aspect is the culture of my faculty where the only description I have is that of egalitarianism. It does not matter what your title happens to be, you stand on the merits of your ideas and that is where you are judged.  Even those more senior than you treat you as an equal.  They do not treat you like a kid.  I remember one particular seminar when our dean spoke. As typical there is Q & A at the end of a public lecture. I was impressed of how the dean was allowed to suffer due to the cogency of the questions thrown at him, even by junior lecturers.  No one is sacred. No one is treated like a god or a guru.

In university world rankings, my university used to be among the top 50 but lately she has dropped to the 60s group. Of all the universities here, she has the most controversial history.

This year we are commemorating the 10th year anniversary of the shootings that happened in 2002. That year a disturbed Chinese student open fired in his economics class. From memory, he killed two of his classmates. A couple of professors went in to subdue him. That is probably the most significant incident but there is another one.

Around that year too, the Vice-Chancellor of my university was forced to resign. The VC is like your CEO, while the Chancellor is like your President. The first is like the Prime Minister while the second is like your Head of State having more a ceremonial role. Why did he have to resign?

The story went that our ex-VC was guilty of plagiarizing several times.  The first couple of times were when he was not even our VC yet and they happened 20 years before coming to our university! One might say that happened in the past it should not count. Not so. The third incident was discovered by one of our professors while reading the VC’s book on the connection of drinking with alcoholism.  This book was also published many years before he stepped into our university. The ex-VC authored his book but he copied some sections word for word even punctuation from another book. It was so appalling that the professor who discovered this labeled the act as an act of serial plagiarism. In the end none of the Council members (Board of Trustees) needless to say, he was asked to resign.

 In academia, you can really end your career by one act of sloppy or lazy referencing. It does not seem to be the case in the world of Internet theology blogging.  It seems church people and theologians have a very poor standard compared to academia.

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