Saturday, October 8, 2011

Plagiarist Reeve still teaching at Saddleback College

As of a few minutes ago, the above "faculty profile" of Derek Reeve was
 still available at the Saddleback College website.
     Yesterday, we learned that San Juan Capistrano City Councilman and Poli Sci instructor Derek Reeve no longer works for Concordia University in Irvine. ("Derek Reeve is not currently employed by Concordia," said a spokeswoman. She offered nothing further.)
     Judging by data available on Concordia's website, Reeve had been the university's only Poli Sci instructor for recent semesters.
     Some have speculated that (1) Concordia let Reeve go and that (2) they did so because of a recent report that he plagiarized several political articles on the San Juan Capistrano Patch. Neither idea has yet been confirmed.
     Meanwhile, as far as we know, despite his habit of presenting others' works as his own, Reeve continues to be employed as an instructor at Saddleback College. He was observed teaching his two Poli Sci courses there last week. Further, I just looked at Saddleback College's schedule of courses for the Spring of 2012, and, there, I found that Reeve is scheduled to teach two Poli Sci courses:

     In her article for the SJC Patch on Tuesday (Councilman Shrugs Off Plagiarism Charge, But Authors He Copied Fume), reporter Jenna Chandler stated that
     The two colleges where Reeve teaches political science, Concordia University and Saddleback, declined to comment on [Reeve’s apparent plagiarism]. A Saddleback spokeswoman suggested it would be inappropriate for the school to say anything because Reeve produced his blogs outside the academic forum. [My emphasis.]
     Does the latter suggestion imply that Saddleback College is OK with Reeve's repeated plagiarism? I guess so. Wow.
     And where's Saddleback's Academic Senate in all this?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Flight from the Concordia (Derek Reeve canned?)

     JENNA CHANDLER of the San Juan Capistrano Patch reports that Derek Reeve, a controversial SJC City Councilman and part-time Poli Sci instructor, no longer works at Concordia U, a Lutheran college in Irvine:

Councilman Reeve Gone at Concordia
     Amid plagiarism allegations and well into the fall semester, San Juan Capistrano City Councilman Derek Reeve is inexplicably no longer teaching at Concordia University.
     "Derek Reeve is not currently employed by Concordia," a university spokeswoman said Friday, declining to provide an explanation.
     The move comes two weeks after Patch reported that Reeve lifted numerous passages from copyrighted articles in blog essays he wrote for Patch, as well as in two of his City Council staff reports. The authors whose words he copied labeled Reeve's actions plagiarism.
     When the story broke, Reeve was employed part-time by Concordia, a private Christian university in Irvine. According to the school's fall schedule, Reeve was teaching two political science classes this semester: American Government and Comparative Political Systems.
     Attempts to reach Reeve for comment were unsuccessful. But earlier this week, in a guest column published by the Orange County Register, he contended that blogs are informal literature in which attribution is not required.
. . .
     Experts and authors disagreed, saying no matter what the format or venue is, the same rules apply: verbatim copying of another person's work needs to be in quotes, and attributed.
. . .
     Reeve, an attorney, is also a part-time instructor at Saddleback Community College in Mission Viejo. A Saddleback spokeswoman declined to comment for this story. [My emphases.]

From Concordia U's Fall 2011 "master course schedule." I added the highlighting in red.
It does appear that Reeve had been assigned two courses—the only two Poli Sci
courses offered this semester. (Click on graphic to enlarge.)
     Do any of you Saddlebackians know whether Reeve still teaches at your college? Is he scheduled to teach in the Spring? [UPDATE: a reliable friend of this blog observed that Reeve taught his Saddleback courses last week.]
     Below is an excerpt from Concordia U's Policy on honesty and plagiarism (see), which is addressed to students but which obviously expresses the institution's values. Perhaps it had something to do with Reeve's departure.
     Paragraph 3 of the policy quotes from a handbook: “The basic rules of scholastic honesty still apply in electronic environments.” Yep, it's wrong to present others' work as your own even on a blog.
     Why on Earth would anyone suppose otherwise? If posing as the author of others' writings is wrong in scholastic settings, surely it is wrong in other settings as well. (Cf. cheating.)
     In a guest column for the Capistrano Valley News three days ago, Reeve argued that “Most people recognize that blogging is an informal style of communication, like musings, in which the standards of communication are relaxed.”
     I'm musing right now, I guess.
     We at DtB, however, have argued that, re academia, no such relaxation does or should occur.
     Unsurprisingly, judging by its policies, Concordia U does not relax standards of honesty for blogging.



Film about braceros grew from UCI expert’s work (OC Reg)
     A UCI professor’s documentary film about the bracero program, much of it made in Orange County, will be screened and discussed at two upcoming events.
     Producer and co-director of the film was Gilbert G. Gonzalez, a professor emeritus of Chicano studies who has written extensively about Mexican labor in the United States and about the bracero program.
     The award-winning film, called “Harvest of Loneliness: The Bracero Program,” took more than four years to make and cost about $85,000. It grew from his study of Mexican American labor history….
     To view the trailer, click here.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

"Ignorant, morally ugly and stupid is no way to go through life, son."

     Periodically, with regard to comments to the blog, we experience a problem something like the one currently afflicting the OC Register: drive-by trollery, choking out and discouraging the participation of reasonable and decent people.
     For instance, having yesterday assessed and rejected Mr. Derek Reeve’s “argument” that he did not plagiarize, I was the recipient (at 11:07 this morning) of this comment:
How about creating a new state agency dedicated to going after plagiarists and punishing them criminally? … Their scope … would include anything written…. Seems to me Bvt & the [Dissent] National Socialists [i.e., Nazis] would support such a proposal.
     Mr. Troll is saying that, since I judge Reeve to have plagiarized, it follows that I seek or desire to employee sanctions to enforce non-plagiarism. He's also saying that my supposed desire to enforce non-plagiarism is tantamount to Nazism.
     I have a message for Mr. Troll. To paraphrase Animal House’s Dean Wormer, "ignorant, morally ugly and stupid is no way to go through life, son."
     We garnered several further comments of a roughly similar level of ugliness and stupidity. It's a drag, man.
     Hence, for the time being, I am forced to "moderate" comments. Please continue to comment. But expect some lag time.
     As always, the problem isn't that these trolls disagree with us or take different views; rather, the problem comprises deficiencies: (i) a lack of any understanding of argumentation; (ii) a stunning ignorance of history; (iii) a lack of civility.
     We'll turn off the moderation eventually. As I'm sure you can understand, this will be an ongoing battle.

More from the Briar Patch

     The OC Reg just posted yet another article about Saddleback College Poli Sci instructor Derek Reeve:

'Smear campaign' vs. Muhammad dog councilman denied.

     Not much new here. There’s this:
     Janine Iamunno, vice president of communications forPatch, responded that "the editor of San Juan Capistrano Patch did meticulous research and all due diligence before publishingthe story about Councilman Reeve's actions. We stand behind our reporting and will let the public decide for themselves."

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Of blogs and dogs—and OC IncompeVillainy

     CREEPS. As you know, unless you're incompetent, incompetence is a major issue of our day, especially if you live in Orange County, though, for us, it ain't just incompetence, but also venality and other forms of severe assholery.
     It's always been that way in the OC (have you been reading Gustavo Arellano's series about OC's rich KKK past?), but, nowadays, it's especially bad, and sometimes it seems like our district (the SOCCCD) is the very hellmouth of OC incompevillainy. —You know: Mathur, Williams, Fuentes, Wagner, et al. And those guys brought their hideous friends: Mike Carona, Chriss Street, and so on. Aincha proud?
     Speaking of incompetence, as you know, recently, we've heard that the two colleges have messed up bigtime and, as a result, summer sessions will likely have to be cancelled (this info seems to be emanating from Faculty Association folks). We're trying to get more information about that. Let us know what you know.
     An hour ago, I turned to the OC Register, only to find more tales of incompetence.
OC Register watchdog, Teri Sforza, reports today that
Two-thirds of Americans said they have a great deal or fair amount of confidence in their local governments to handle local problems….
     This curious factoid (based on a new Gallup poll), says Sforza, proves that “Orange County Register readers … are not on the Gallup Poll call list.”
     Guess so. Do any Orange Countians trust government in the OC? If so, who are they and how can their IQs be that low? They can't be Tea Partiers, cuz, though Tea People are plenty stupid, their chief impulse seems to be hostility to government, not confidence in it.

* * *
From OC Reg
     PHIL GREER. You’ll recall that Phil Greer, an ethically-challenged attorney who seems to be the go-to guy for corrupt pols in the OC Fuentesphere, was paid $25,000—by taxpayers!—to assist then-Chancellor Raghu Mathur in negotiating his exit from the SOCCCD—you know, when Don Wagner finally felt that last Mathurian straw land on his back. (I tried to get people pissed off about the $25K, but I got nowhere.)
     Not long after, Greer represented the odious John Williams, onetime SOCCCD trustee, during the county’s efforts to derail that rascal’s Public Administrator/Guardian gravy train. Who knows how much Greer got for that job, which is ongoing, I think.
     As if that weren’t enough, just before all that went down, Greer represented OC Treasurer Chriss Street in his big fraud trial. Greer lost that one bigtime, and Street wisely decided not to run for reelection, which gave trustee Dave Lang his chance to throw away $100k of his own money to run for Treasurer, with Fuentes' apparently worthless help.
     Almost from the start, Street has carped that his attorney, Greer, was a fool, and that's why he lost the case. As it turns out, he's still saying that.
     Today, OC Weekly’s R. Scott Moxley reports that
     Street is blaming his sensational $7 million bankruptcy court loss in 2010 on his own lawyer, Phillip B. Greer, and he's demanding that Greer pay him for alleged lousy, incompetent trial work.
     According to a lawsuit filed this week in Orange County Superior Court, Street believes Greer owes him "in excess of $8,800,000" in damages for professional negligence, fraud and violations of California's business and professional codes.
Moxley reminds us of Street’s misconduct:
     Street hired Greer in 2007 to defend his service [from 1998-2005] as a bankruptcy trustee of a struggling Los Angeles company [namely, Fruehauf Trailer Corp]. While in that job, Street abused his position by using the company's funds to pay himself a $250,000 salary plus $175,000 in bonuses and $477,000 in personal expenses that included a European vacation, cosmetic surgery and gym memberships. A federal judge ruled that Street had breached his duty as trustee.
     Of course, plausible accusations that Street had indeed abused his position as Fruehauf trustee were already in print before Street was elected. But this is Orange County, and that means that most voters are incredibly ignorant and often stupid. Plus they only respond to corruption when people tell 'em to. And so they happily elected the guy (in 2006, a year after Street’s Fruehauf trustee gig came to an end).
     But now
Street claims that Greer didn't know what he was doing in the [Fruehauf trial], botched a session with an expert witness, skipped a critical pre-trial meeting, hid multiple prior ethical problems and signed (without his permission) a stipulation of facts that was "false and misleading." ¶ "Defendant Greer failed to exercise the skill and care of a reasonably careful bankruptcy litigation attorney would have used in similar circumstances," Street wrote in his 11-page, Oct. 3 complaint.
It's hard to know who to root for in Creep v. Creep. May the biggest creep lose.

     REEVE REEMERGES. Today, Tea Partying San Juan Capistrano City Councilman and Saddleback College adjunct instructor Derek Reeve scored a guest column in the Capistrano Valley News: Of blogs and dogs: Councilman's message to San Juan. In the piece, he defends himself against the charge that he plagiarized on several submissions to the SJC Patch:
     Now [Mayor Sam Allevato and Councilman Larry Kramer] are at it again, piling on in the most recent attack stemming from the charge of plagiarism…. I was invited to blog on the Patch and carelessly submitted previously published material [by others!]. This involved one informal published blog that Patch made into three without my consent. This was a blog worthy of Facebook, not a formal article, yet now the editor has the chutzpa to compare this to a student's thesis, which is like comparing apples to gorillas.
     In the legal and education professions in which I work, I take pains to add footnotes to identify the origin of ideas. But in everyday communication, and most especially blogging, the atmosphere is much more relaxed and informal, as was indicated to me when Patch invited me to blog. Most people recognize that blogging is an informal style of communication, like musings, in which the standards of communication are relaxed. Despite this, a false set of assumptions have been erroneously placed upon me in order to make pseudo-accusations of "plagiarism."
     Wow. Reeve offers absolutely nothing to rebut the well-supported assertion that he plagiarized—that he presented others’ writings and ideas as though they were his own.
     Well, he does seem to offer this incompetent "argument": plagiarism is not plagiarism when it occurs in “informal” publications and “relaxed” communications. So if I walk up to Clueless You at a party and gin up my verbiage with sassy one-liners from Community, that's OK. It's theft, but it's only party theft; hence it's not theft. (Tea Partiers: I'm not talking about you. Further, I'm making a moral point, not a legal one.)
     That’s a little like saying burglary isn’t burglary when it occurs in your garage or on your patio. Or cannibalism isn't cannibalism if it's in a rowboat and not at the dinner table. Etc. Is Reeve really that stupid? Perhaps another vice is at work here. Yep.
     Reeve suggests that his blog posts are mere “musings.” To muse is to be absorbed in thought. Now, I muse all the time—I'm a philosopher—but I never “muse” just with other people’s writings, word for word, apostrophe for apostrophe! That ain't musing, man!
v. mused, mus·ing, mus·es v.intr. To have others' exact thoughts—and even their punctuation—in one’s head. v.intr. To steal others’ ideas during meditation: Om. I invented the word “Om.” Om. n. A state of meditation during the act of theft.
     CHANDLER'S UPDATE. Meanwhile, Jenna Chandler of the SJC Patch today updates us on the Reeve saga: Councilman Shrugs Off Plagiarism Charge, But Authors He Copied Fume. I haven’t read it yet, but Rebel Girl says it ends with mention of little old me!
     Roy Bauer, a philosophy instructor at Irvine Valley College who has taken jabs at Reeve's politics as a city councilman, is now blasting Reeve for the blog posts.
     Bauer's blog, Dissent the Blog ... Life Among Neanderthals, questioned Reeve's integrity and fitness for teaching. If Reeve "repeatedly represents others' writings as his own ... [he] cannot be trusted to argue honestly; he certainly cannot be trusted to instill academic honesty in his students."
Yes. Exactly.
* * *
     I’ve just read Chandler’s Patch piece and it’s excellent. Chandler notes Reeve’s assertion that blog postings are mere “musings,” that, in musings, the usual standards don't apply. But, she reports, “According to those whose words he lifted, Reeve's actions were plagiarism and theft, plain and simple.” (See the article for details.)
     According to Chandler, neither Concordia U nor Saddleback were willing to comment on Reeve's plagiarism, when asked.
     And what about the notion that these institutions shouldn’t care what Reeve does outside the classroom or college? One “Saddleback spokeswoman” evidently takes that incompetent view. (Really? Suppose Reeve continues to publicly put his name to political articles written by others. This would be hunky dory with Saddleback College? Good Lord, I hope not.)
     Says Chandler,
     It's not unprecedented for colleges to discipline instructors for off-campus plagiarism. In 2004, a committee at the University of New Hampshire penalized a professor for "scholarly misconduct" over a column published in Manchester's The Union Leader.
     Gregory F. Scholtz, a director at the American Association of University Professors, said disciplinary decisions are often made by a faculty committee that weighs whether a teacher's work outside the classroom has any bearing on his professional competence.
     Saddleback's code of conduct requires faculty to "exhibit intellectual honesty and integrity in all scholarly endeavors."
     Although Reeve's work on Patch arguably occurred outside that realm, Scholtz said it still raises questions about his intellectual honesty. Scholtz referred to the association's statement on professional ethics, which says professors, "guided by a deep conviction of the worth and dignity of the advancement of knowledge ... practice intellectual honesty. Although the professors may follow subsidiary interests, these interests must never seriously hamper or compromise their freedom of inquiry."
     It looks like Reeve has abandoned all hope of appealing to a wider audience, if he ever had such dreams. He has no excuse, no argument, to defend his intellectual theft, among other sins. Of course, in the case of his "base," a Tea-soaked mob ranging from the stunningly clueless to the loutish, none of this will make any difference. He named his dog "Muhammad." He prays and waves the flag. He yammers endlessly about "liberals." He doesn't bother with logic. He's their kind of guy.

• What Did the Other Four Officers Do in the Thomas Beating? (OC Voice)

Invisible students, invisible professors

Bill Keller in the New York Times, "The University of Wherever" ---
Meanwhile, one of Stanford’s most inventive professors, Sebastian Thrun, is making an alternative claim on the future. Thrun, a German-born and largely self-taught expert in robotics, is famous for leading the team that built Google’s self-driving car. He is offering his “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence” course online and free of charge. His remote students will get the same lectures as students paying $50,000 a year, the same assignments, the same exams and, if they pass, a “statement of accomplishment” (though not Stanford credit). When The Times wrote about this last month, 58,000 students had signed up for the course. After the article, enrollment leapt to 130,000, from across the globe.

Thrun’s ultimate mission is a virtual university in which the best professors broadcast their lectures to tens of thousands of students. Testing, peer interaction and grading would happen online; a cadre of teaching assistants would provide some human supervision; and the price would be within reach of almost anyone. “Literally, we can probably get the same quality of education I teach in class for about 1 to 2 percent of the cost,” Thrun told me.

The traditional university, in his view, serves a fortunate few, inefficiently, with a business model built on exclusivity. “I’m not at all against the on-campus experience,” he said. “I love it. It’s great. It has a lot of things which cannot be replaced by anything online. But it’s also insanely uneconomical.”

Thrun acknowledges that there are still serious quality-control problems to be licked. How do you keep an invisible student from cheating? How do you even know who is sitting at that remote keyboard? Will the education really be as compelling — and will it last? Thrun believes there are technological answers to all of these questions, some of them being worked out already by other online frontiersmen.

“If we can solve this,” he said, “I think it will disrupt all of higher education.”
To read the rest, click here.

Over at University Diaries, Margaret Soltan posts a robust response which includes this:
UD has noted the personal identity/cheating problem mucho times on this blog. She would add to Thrun’s comment a related problem: How do you keep an invisible professor from cheating? The same business of handing the course over to someone else pertains for the instructor. Who is actually running discussions, grading assignments, presenting material?

If the course is merely the professor being filmed teaching, with all interactivity handed to teaching assistants, why shouldn’t the professor merely re-run her performance, with occasional updates and tweaks?
To read the rest of her post (and you should), click here.


8-14: do you regret all the lying?

✅ Trump Encourages Racist Conspiracy Theory on Kamala Harris’s Eligibility to Be Vice President NYT ✅ Orange County Sees Overall Coronavirus...

Goals and Values and Twaddle

blather: long-winded talk with no real substance*
The whole concept of MSLOs [measurable student learning outcomes] as the latest fad in education is somewhat akin to the now discredited fad of the '90's, Total Quality Management, or TQM. Essentially, the ACCJC adopted MSLOs as the overarching basis for accrediting community colleges based on their faith in the theoretical treatises of a movement.... After repeated requests for research showing that such use of MSLOs is effective, none has been forthcoming from the ACCJC [accreditors]. Prior to large scale imposition of such a requirement at all institutions, research should be provided to establish that continuous monitoring of MSLOs has resulted in measurable improvements in student success at a given institution. No such research is forthcoming because there is none….
The Accountability Game…., Leon F. Marzillier (Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, October, 2002)
In the summer of ’13, I offered a critique of the awkward verbiage by which the district and colleges explain their values, goals, and objectives —aka SOCCCD'S G&V (goals and values) blather.
I wrote a post each for the district, Saddleback College, and Irvine Valley College efforts. (See the links below.)
This verbiage—stated in terms of “values,” “missions,” “goals,” “visions,” and whatnot—is often badly written. It is sometimes embarrassingly trite.
It occasionally communicates something worthwhile.
No doubt you are familiar with the usual objections to jargon. Higher education, too, has its jargon—an irony, given typical college-level instruction in writing, which urges jargon eschewery.
Sure enough, SOCCCD G&V blather is riddled with jargon and with terms misused and abused. For instance, in the case of the district’s dubious blather, the so-called “vision” is actually a purpose. Why didn't they just call it that?
As one slogs through this prattle, one finds that "visions" tend to be awfully similar to “missions,” with which they are distinguished. The latter in turn are awfully similar to “goals,” which must be distinguished from “objectives.” But aren't goals and objectives pretty much the same thing?
These perverse word games will surely perplex or annoy anyone armed with a command of the English language. In fact, readers will be perplexed to the degree that they are thus armed. Illiterates, of course, will be untroubled.
Here's a simple point: the district and colleges’ G&V blather tends to eschew good, plain English in favor of technical terms and trendy words and phrases (i.e., it tends to be bullshitty and vague). Thus, one encounters such trendy terminological turds as “dynamic,” “diversity,” “student success,” and “student-centered.” Even meretricious neologisms such as ISLOs and “persistence rates” pop up, unexplained, undefended.
Does anyone see a transparency problem with all of this? Shouldn't the public, or at least the well educated public, be able to comprehend statements of the colleges' goals and values?
In the case of the district, to its credit, all it really seems to want to say is that it wants to teach well and it wants students to succeed. Admirable!
So why all the ugly, common-sense defying, buzzword-encrusted claptrap?

Districtular poppycock: our “vision” and our “mission” and our tolerance of twaddle - July 31, 2013

THEY BUZZ: Saddleback College's "Mission, Vision, and Values" - August 4, 2013

IVC’s vision, mission, and goals: nonsense on stilts - August 5, 2013

THE IRVINE VALLEY CHRONICLES: no ideas, just clichés & buzzwords - Sep 30, 2013

*From my Apple laptop's dictionary