Dean accused of plagiarizing convocation speech -

Dean accused of plagiarizing convocation speech

Students searching on smart-phones found near-identical speech


Dean Philip Baker of the University of Alberta has apologized to medical students after he lifted the “theme and content” of his address to the graduating class on Friday evening from another doctor’s speech. Those students are now accusing him of plagiarism, which is — ironically — the type of academic crime that would have prevented them from graduating.

Philip’s speech included many of the same type of anecdotes that Dr. Atul Gawande’s speech to Stanford University students in 2010 included, which graduates like Sarah Fung recognized during the speech. Their suspicions were confirmed when they checked The New Yorker magazine’s website using their smart-phones, reports the Edmonton Journal. Philip defended himself to students in a letter obtained by the newspaper, in which he said that Gawande’s words “inspired me and resonated with my experiences,” and that “the personal medical traumas which I detailed were wholly genuine.”

“We were embarrassed and disappointed to find that Dean Baker had given a wonderful speech at our graduation banquet without attributing it to the original author,” Brittany Barber, president of the graduating class told the Journal. “People should know that we do not stand for academic dishonesty and our deepest wish is that this incident does not reflect poorly on the integrity of our class, the medical school, and ultimately the university.”

Baker, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology, has published more than 200 scientific articles and 14 books. A spokesperson for the university, Deb Hammacher, said there will be an investigation. Baker has apologized to Gawande.

To read Cape Breton University professor and On Campus blogger Todd Pettigrew’s commentary on the situation, please click here.


Dean accused of plagiarizing convocation speech

  1. If a student plagerized they would be expelled….Time for the Dean to take another page from a book..Book of laws and rules for students and ALL who represent the university..
    Expel the Dean….

  2. ‘defended’ himself?

    There’s no problem being inspired and quoting, as long as there is attribution. He is doing exactly what the spirit of plagiarism signifies: impressing people with one’s words, when the words are another’s.

  3. At this point, they should investigate his 200 articles and 14 books. One does not plagiarize so seamlessly all of a sudden. I’ll bet this guy has been doing it for a long time.

    • I don’t think they’ll find anything there.

      He probably thinks a bunch of students aren’t significant enough to bother making much of an effort over. Write the speech, throw in a bunch of someone else’s, speak it and move on.

    • agreed! – this shows something. The one’s who implement rules, should learn to follow them as well….

  4. An insult , as he had to know that all papers & similar outputs , are subject to ”THE SEARCH” worse a blasted DEAN

  5. Hope he’s a better obs-gyn doctor than he is a writer of graduation homiletics. How embarrassing, for everybody.

  6. Shame on him!

  7. The Dean’s plagiarism strikes at the very heart of the educative enterprise.

    Student plagiarism in most universities is severely punished according to the seriousness of the offense: from a failing grade in the course to expulsion from the university.

    The University of Alberta obviously must punish the Dean with the same rigor, and since the plagiarism appears to be about as serious as it could be, he must be expelled from the university.

    To do any less would bring the whole institution into disrepute.

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  9. No excuses! NO SEVERANCE BENEFITS! The U of A cannot tolerate this type of behavior from anyone, let alone the Dean of Medicine (who was hired in a very closed process – perhaps due to skeletons in the closet)

    Bring in Trump to tell him “YOUR FIRED!!!!”

  10. I am embarrassed as a U of A student. Academic honesty standards have been drilled into me in every class I’ve taken and to have someone in such a high position show a complete lack of integrity is just insulting. Convocation is supposed to be a celebration of students’ achievements and Baker showed nothing but disrespect for those students and their years of hard work. He either needs to step down from his position or be removed. Absolutely disgusting.

  11. Dr Baker is known to be very critical of others and is not shy with his opinions of those who he feels are lesser than him.

    As they would say in the UK, the pompous, elitist twit needs to resign. Perhaps he can join another ex-Albertan (Steven Duckett) on the speaking circuit. There are probably lots of great speeches he could find on the internet to use…

    • Sorry to tell you, but Duckett isn’t on the speaking circuit. He is teaching as a full professor in the faculty of public health at the University of Alberta. I was pretty shocked when I saw him in the elevator of my building. It was all I could to keep from offering him a cookie, as I know he has a predilection for them.

  12. If indeed the speech contained plagiarism he should be discredited and fired. That man is not fitting of the professor title.

  13. It is a worst crime when it is done by someone who has a role of an EDUCATOR

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