Monday, June 13, 2011

Shit, He's Apologized!

U of Alberta dean stole speech

Posted: Jun 12, 2011 10:02 PM ET 

Last Updated: Jun 13, 2011 2:19 AM ET 

Students say a speech given by dean of medicine Philip Baker during a convocation banquet Friday night, which told personal stories about how medical science has helped his wife and children, was lifted from a talk given by surgeon Atul Gawande at Stanford University's 2010 medical school convocation.Medical students at the University of Alberta are disappointed after they say their dean copied a graduation speech.
"It was a phenomenal speech.… I was very impressed with the speech. It was very eloquently given and reflected very well on the evening," said medical student Jonathan Zaozirny, who was there for Baker's remarks.
But when students looked up parts of the speech online later in the evening, Zaozirny said, they learned the speech was not written by Baker.


U of Alberta dean accused of plagiarism apologizes

Dr. Philip Baker, the dean of medicine at the University of Alberta, has apologized for not attributing some of his convocation speech.Dr. Philip Baker, the dean of medicine at the University of Alberta, has apologized for not attributing some of his convocation speech.(The Gateway)
The dean of medicine at the University of Alberta is apologizing to his colleagues and students after being accused of plagiarizing his convocation speech.
"The talk was intended for a private audience," Dr. Philip Baker wrote in a letter to the graduating class. "Nevertheless, my failure to attribute the source of my inspiration is a matter of the utmost regret.
"And, while there is no excuse for the lapse in judgment which occurred on Friday evening, I can only offer my sincere and heartfelt apology."


  1. I thought recycling was good.

  2. I googled "I thought recycling was good."
    126 results.
    It's good that you practice what you preach, BB, but that's one hell of a plagiarism ring you're participating in.
    I am forwarding this information to the Dean of Students. He will want to know why you must copy others instead of thinking for yourself.

  3. Foolish, really, what with all the kids around who can dial up the Google and source the words.

    Now he's gonna have to spend more time rationalizing and ultimately apologizing than he would if he'd just wrote the speech himself, or at least attributed properly. Even if he'd churned out a shitty, uninspired speech, it'd be a lot less embarrassing than this situation that's bound to leave an awfully ugly footnote on an academic career.

  4. It takes a particular kind of (pathological) personality to carry this sort of thing off. He really ought to lose his job over it, but I doubt he will.

  5. He's calling it his "failure to attribute the source of his inspiration."

  6. And if a student tried the excuse of "failure to attribute the source," guess what grade that would earn!

  7. Not at all Universities/colleges, Cynic. Lots of deans & chairs hear the lame excuses our students give us and then just wipe the F away with the wave of their hands and a directive to the instructor to bow to his or her will.

    Therein lies the problem.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. I suspect that this is a joke. But it was beautiful! What a way to make a political/academic statement. He took something that "they" the students valued and play it like it wasn't worth his time to actually do it. He gave them the exact same message that they give us. Only now they seem to think the message is wrong. He beat them at their own game!!!!!!

    I love it. I wish I had the guts to do it, too.

    Bravo! (That is if it isn't a prank).

  10. Today we (yes, this is my institution) got a message from our president, reading:

    Over the weekend, the University of Alberta became aware of allegations of plagiarism on the part of one of our academic deans, related to a speech he had delivered to students at a post-graduation celebration. By Sunday, the University had begun the process of examining allegations of plagiarism against Philip Baker, dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry.
    An allegation of plagiarism is not one that is made lightly – nor is it one the University of Alberta takes lightly. Our process will be thorough, fair, and proceed quickly with due diligence, under our established procedures. Academic integrity is at the heart of our institution and we will ensure that our values are upheld.

  11. This saddens me since it's my institution as well. Speaking of graduation speeches though, this one by Conan O’Brien is brilliant:

    When I got the call 2 months ago to be your speaker, I decided to prepare with the same intensity many of you have devoted to an important term paper. So late last night, I began. I drank two cans of Red Bull, snorted some Adderall, played a few hours of Call of Duty, and then opened my browser. I think Wikipedia put it best when they said "Dartmouth college is a private Ivy League University in Hanover, New Hampshire, United States."

  12. He had so much potential. Maybe they'll hire him at Athabasca University.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.