Maybe If We Get Them Coming in the Door: Turnitin Software To Be Used in Admissions Process at Graduate Schools of Business

In what may be a new head-turner in recognizing how our ethical norms have shifted, several business schools have announced that they will be using Turnitin software to detect plagiarism in applicants’ admissions statements. Turnitin has long been used in colleges, universities, and high schools as an effective means for detecting whether students have used, without acknowledgement, previous years’ student papers or materials from the Iinternet. However, ’tis a sad day when an applicant has to lift his or her personal life story from someone else. Hast thou no life of thine own about which to brag?

Business schools are simply doing what businesses try to do – catch them before they get in the door. Now, if we can just get business schools to follow up with disciplinary processes should they get in the door and then cheat. Academic integrity data indicate that students have about a 50/50 shot of experiencing discipline if they are caught cheating. Whether because of the time involved in carrying through with sanctions or because of a desire to avoid harming the student’s academic or future career, faculty are hesitant to follow through with discipline. But, enforcement continues the process screening begins.

Take a look at Friedman v. Connecticut Bar Examining Committee, 824 A.2d 866 (Conn. App. 2003) to see the delayed action by a law school when one student reported that Mr. Friedman had cheated on his constitutional law exam in spring of 1995. The disciplinary hearing was not held until 1997, and the conclusion of the hearing panel was that Mr. Friedman had cheated. However, the dean did not adopt the hearing panel’s recommendation because there had been too long of a delay between the 1995 exam events and the hearing. The result of this delay was that the law school, however unwittingly, kicked the disciplinary can down the road to the state bar character and fitness committee and, eventually, the courts. The committee, with the court agreeing, denied Mr. Friedman admission to the Connecticut bar. Ironically, the denial came not because of the cheating but because of the applicant’s failure to disclose that he was not disciplined because the facts exonerated him. In reality, he was not disciplined because the faculty and dean had putzed around so long that punishment seemed unfair to them.

So many morals to the story, so little space. One important one, and one that the admissions officers are recognizing, is that we have to have layers of review of conduct to be sure there is a refiner’s fire. The fabricators of personal lives may slip by one layer, but there is this magnificent force of right making might. We can filter them out with tools and a willingness to take action, a willingness that serves everyone best in the long run.

About mmjdiary

Professor Marianne Jennings is an emeritus professor of legal and ethical studies from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, retiring in 2011 after 35 years of teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics and the legal environment of business. During her tenure at ASU, she served as director of the Joan and David Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics from 1995-1999. In 2006, she was appointed faculty director for the W.P. Carey Executive MBA Program. She has done consulting work for businesses and professional groups including AICPA, Boeing, Dial Corporation, Edward Jones, Mattel, Motorola, CFA Institute, Southern California Edison, the Institute of Internal Auditors, AIMR, DuPont, AES, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Motorola, Hy-Vee Foods, IBM, Bell Helicopter, Amgen, Raytheon, and VIAD. The sixth edition of her textbook, Case Studies in Business Ethics, was published in February 2011. The ninth edition of her textbook, Business: lts Legal, Ethical and Global Environment was published in January 2011. The 23rd edition of her book, Business Law: Principles and Cases, will be published in January 2013. The tenth edition of her book, Real Estate Law, will also be published in January 2013. Her book, A Business Tale: A Story of Ethics, Choices, Success, and a Very Large Rabbit, a fable about business ethics, was chosen by Library Journal in 2004 as its business book of the year. A Business Tale was also a finalist for two other literary awards for 2004. In 2000 her book on corporate governance was published by the New York Times MBA Pocket Series. Her book on long-term success, Building a Business Through Good Times and Bad: Lessons from Fifteen Companies, Each With a Century of Dividends, was published in October 2002 and has been used by Booz, Allen, Hamilton for its work on business longevity. Her latest book, The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse was published by St. Martin’s Press in July 2006 and has been a finalist for two book awards. Her weekly columns are syndicated around the country, and her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Reader's Digest. A collection of her essays, Nobody Fixes Real Carrot Sticks Anymore, first published in 1994 is still being published. She has been a commentator on business issues on All Things Considered for National Public Radio. She has served on four boards of directors, including Arizona Public Service (1987-2000), Zealous Capital Corporation, and the Center for Children with Chronic Illness and Disability at the University of Minnesota. She was appointed to the board of advisors for the Institute of Nuclear Power Operators in 2004 and served on the board of trustees for Think Arizona, a public policy think tank. She has appeared on CNBC, CBS This Morning, the Today Show, and CBS Evening News. In 2010 she was named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Business Ethics by Trust Across America. Her books have been translated into four different languages. She received the British Emerald award for authoring one of their top 50 articles in management publications, chosen from over 15,000 articles. Personal: Married since 1976 to Terry H. Jennings, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Deputy County Attorney; five children: Sarah, Sam, and John, and the late Claire and Hannah Jennings.
This entry was posted in News and Events. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.