Vices we love: October 2006

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Can we all just say 'duh' and get it over with?

Wonders never cease...

M.B.A.s: The Biggest Cheaters
By Thomas Kostigen

Graduate business students take their cue from corporate scandals
(you think?)

The corporate scandals that have plagued Wall Street in recent history are setting a fine example for young students looking to make their mark in the business world: They are learning to cheat with the best of them.
(Totally what they need.)

Students seeking their masters of business administration degree admit cheating more than any other type of student, from law to liberal arts.
(You can say that again- and you did!)

"We have found that graduate students in general are cheating at an alarming rate and business-school students are cheating even more than others," concludes a study by the Academy of Management Learning and Education of 5,300 students in the U.S. and Canada.
(People do studies about this?)

Many of these students reportedly believe cheating is an accepted practice in business. More than half (56%) of M.B.A. candidates say they cheated in the past year. For the study, cheating was defined as plagiarizing, copying other students' work and bringing prohibited materials into exams.

"To us that means that business-school faculty and administrators must do something, because doing nothing simply reinforces the belief that high levels of cheating are commonplace and acceptable," say the authors of the academy report, Donald McCabe of Rutgers University, Kenneth Butterfield of Washington State University and Linda Klebe Trevino at Penn State University.
(They ARE doing something- they're letting everyone know that cheating works.)

However, what's holding many professors back from taking action on cheaters is the fear of litigation. To that end, the academic world is becoming much more like the business world where those who walk with a heavy legal stick can swat others out of the way; it may be time to impose a whistleblower statute for students and teachers.
(Alex P. Keating where are you?)

Yes, it seems to have come to that. With 54% of graduate engineering students, 50% of students in the physical sciences, 49% of medical and other health-care students, 45% of law students, 43% of graduate students in the arts and 39% of graduate students in the social sciences and humanities readily admitting to cheating, something must be done to correct course.
(Notice how the science and business guys- the ones who are the best paid and the most in demand- cheat the most? This sure sends me a message- I gotta write it down on my crib sheet so I don't forget.)

McCabe notes that many more students probably cheat than admit in the study. He and the others recommend a series of efforts based upon notions of ethical community-building be put into practice at the graduate-school level. The essence of an ethical community is that by doing wrong -- cheating in this case -- all of the stakeholders in the community are harmed, not just the wrongdoer.
(Lemme channel Middle America: "Socialist Scum!")

Curriculum and education go along with the community-building, so there is greater awareness of actions and ramifications as well.

In the real business world efforts are being made to create greater transparency and show shareholders, for instance, that they are a community of stakeholders with a common vested interest. This should be obvious, but to many investors it isn't. Profit is achieved in a vacuum and the awareness of fellow shareholders (and their actions) is relatively nil.
(Ignorance, bliss, yadda yadda.)

Shareholder resolutions are items around which bands of investors can unite. But even while resolutions are on the rise only a minority of shareholders bother to vote on them.
(Excuse me. I seem to have forgotten giving a damn.)

In other words, shareholders, much like professors these days, largely choose to look the other way when it comes time to curb abuse. That is until after the fact when all those M.B.A.s get caught cheating in the real world.
(And even after that.)

Honor code

More has to be done to enforce ethical codes well before the bad act occurs. By then it is too late. Teaching graduate students that ethics matters in business should be a matter of course, not a direction to avoid.
(Business student: "If I give you $6,000 will I pass the ethics course?")

Faculty, the authors say, should "engage students in an ongoing dialogue about academic integrity that begins with recruiting, continues in orientation sessions and initiation ceremonies, and continues throughout the program." It may also include initiating an honor code, preferably one that emphasizes the promotion of integrity among students rather than the detection and punishment of dishonesty.
(Integrity? Honor? Yawn...)

Promote the good not the bad. Yet at the top of those companies most ensnared in ethical scandal sat a chief executive with an M.B.A.
(Show me the money!)

Graduate students in journalism weren't singled out in the study. Interestingly, however, last week Newsweek announced that it is teaming with Kaplan Inc., the education service provider, to offer an online business degree called Kaplan University/Newsweek MBA.
(Awesome. Plagarism should fit in nicely.)

Ethics in journalism meet ethics in business, and Styx be crossed.
(Dude, what are you smoking? 'Cuz I want some.)

Mr. Kostigen got paid to write this fresh new story. I can't believe it. In other news Greenland might get a bit chilly in January and you're advised not to go skinny-dipping in the Ganges.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Insight into the British mind

So is this like sarcasm?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Asiatown for secretary of state

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Nationalism sucks rocks

It's essay time again. But whereas my Polish students regaled me with tales of booze and extraterrestrial sex, my Slovakian pupils prefer to instruct me on what the Slovakian national meal is and why school is just too darn hard. I haven't the heart to post excerpts...perhaps this line will sum it up:

"School is hard for us, don't you think?"

Being a private Uni that the kids parents pay for (and pay LOTS), they have a certain vague notion that showing up is mighty gracious of them. But that's not the main problem- the main problem is that many essays read like "The Great Slovak Manifesto".

Slovakia only came into it's own about 15 years ago when they voted to secede from the Czech Republic (something the Czechs enthusiastically assented to, viewing their Slovak brethen pretty much the way San Diego views Tijuana) and like all new countries, especially ones who emerged from what they viewed as oppressors, Slovakia and many Slovakians are constantly telling me about how terrific Slovakia is. Now, the truth is, I like it here thus far, but this constant cheerleading reminds me of my former abode, the great state of Oklahoma, where license plates defiantly and minimalistly proclaimed that "Oklahoma is OK!" As slogans go this is somewhat akin to "Asiatown teacher only gets high on the weekends and hasn't impregnated a student at all today!" (Wordy?) Nice sentiments to be sure, but nothing to brag about. (Alabama's take on this sloganeering, "heart of Dixie" is even less ambitious- it's like proclaiming "Charles Manson puked here.")

I'm going to have to get used to all the mindless my-country-can-totally-kick-your-country-in-the-hiney nonsense though. As globalization (read- everyone must buy Coca-Cola or face being skinned alive in the Coca-Cola Stadium of Sham Democracy) goes further, people will try more and more to assert how frigging unique they are in the face of The McDonalds of Sameness. Since setting yourself apart through hard work and original ideas is just asking for too damn much, this uniqueness will be asserted through various my-country/God/race/hormonal imbalance-is-better-than-your-country/God/race/hormonal imbalance pissing matches. With tanks.

It's gonna be fun and profitable. But your Haliburton stocks now.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Where Asiatown discovers that he is totally in the wrong business

I should be in politics. This realization came to me while I was reading this list of nicknames bestowed by G.W.

Consider Turd Blossom.
Reflect upon High Prophet, which is so laden with meaning I won't even get into it.

But the most fascinating fun fact is that 60,239,000 people voted for this man. This mean that 60.239 million people looked at him and said "That man is presidential timber." All this got me thinking. If I could just learn to cut some trees, say some New Testament prayers and bankrupt a few of my father's companies, I too could make it. But G.W. is more than that. He is a symbol, a human Rosarch test. To some people he is dumb and evil. To other's he is like old J.C. but way cooler. Consider the rumors that a significant portion of those 60.239 million voted for him because of his smile. Ponder that as we cross over to Slovakia....

....where we find, in a town located a mere sixty kilometers east of here, the distinguished mayor and possible presidential timber, Jan Slota. Known for, among other things, threatening to invade Budapest with tanks and drunkenly vomiting on patrons at a Bratislava restaurant, he is the pride, the gem of the region.

As for me, my writing is going well, and I must thank the gentleman who inspired me with the following reflection about his collegue:

"(He was) a ghost with a constant erection haunting a midlife crisis."

Saturday, October 07, 2006

A few reasonably subtle words about my current situation

Ever have those moments when you have a ton of things to say and can't get around to saying them? That's how I feel and my two books (which I am writing simultenously) are being held up because of this. Books tend to have these things called words. I gotta work on that.

In other news, I left behind my wee Hounslow flat for a two room apartment a few miles east- in north-central Slovakia. I was hired by an American University which shall remain nameless at this juncture as they seem upfront and competent and I have no reason to lambast them as yet. It's called an IEP or Intensive English Program and the idea is to prepare students (mostly Slovaks of course) to function in an English-speaking academic environment. In order to a) expand my horizons, b) keep one foot in the business world, c) rake up overtime and d) be super-helpful and indispensible, I have volunteered to teach some business courses as well and am waiting to see if they will take me up on it. (GAAP, here I come?!)

The contract is for a trimester, but I wouldn't mind sticking around until I complete the M.Ed. in July 2007. Of course if they do something like forget to pay me, all bets are off. After that (the M.Ed.), having decided that it will delay the real world and keep me from being forced to leave my home (wherever that home may be), I'm looking into a Ph.D., possibily in neuro-linguistics.

I am reminded of a lad named Terrance. Terrance and I went to the University of Memphis together- me for three years, him for twenty-three years. In that time, he racked up NUMEROUS undergraduate credits (not degrees) and had a nice life which I will never know how he managed to sustain. Still, I can't fault him for his choice of locations- Memphis is a cool town. Will I become another Terrance, stylish hat and funky overcoat billowing about my frame as I pursue life as an academic and a whoremonger? One can only hope. Said overcoat billowing will have to wait tho- it's unseasonably warm outside.

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