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<nettime> Guardian: plagiarized.[ac|co].uk: public curriculum 'privatize
nettime's_roving_reporter on Tue, 7 Jun 2011 05:12:18 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Guardian: plagiarized.[ac|co].uk: public curriculum 'privatized'


AC Grayling's private university accused of copying syllabuses

   New College of the Humanities, whose students will pay UKP18,000 a year,
   offering courses available at University of London at half the price

   A new private university college founded by the philosopher AC Grayling
   and staffed by celebrity professors will teach exactly the same
   syllabuses as the University of London, which charges half the
   price, it has emerged.

   Students of the New College of the Humanities will pay UKP18,000 a
   year to take courses in history, English literature and philosophy that
   are already on offer at Birkbeck, Goldsmiths and Royal Holloway for
   UKP9,000 or less.

   Academics complained that syllabuses listed on the New College website
   appeared to have been copied from the University of London's own web
   pages in a move some said amounted to plagiarism.

   Grayling launched his venture with the claim that it would help save
   humanities education from government cuts by bringing together teachers
   including Richard Dawkins, Niall Ferguson and Stephen Pinker.

   "Every university is worried about students plagiarising essays," said
   Justin Champion, a senior historian at Royal Holloway college, who
   spotted that the titles of modules he wrote were reproduced on the New
   College website.

   "Here we have a whole degree programme being plagiarised. I personally
   feel quite insulted because I wrote quite a lot of the syllabus. If the
   University of London didn't exist and public money hadn't been used to
   draw up these syllabuses, they wouldn't have been able to do this, or
   they would have had to invest a lot of money."

   The New College philosophy syllabus includes: "Logic, epistemology,
   Greek philosophy: Plato and the pre-Socratics, ethics: Historical
   perspectives, modern philosophy: Descartes, Locke, Berkeley and Hume".
   The University of London course details use exactly the same wording.
   The syllabus for the literature and history degrees is also identical.

   Grayling has said that New College students would receive University of
   London degrees, but the university has since made clear there is "no
   formal agreement between the University of London and the NCH
   concerning academic matters". However, it said it was "legitimate for
   NCH, as an entirely independent institution, to provide tuition to
   students of University of London international programmes, as other
   institutions in London and around the world do".

   On Monday, David Latchman, master of Birkbeck, announced that Grayling
   had resigned from its teaching staff, adding in an email to staff:
   "Birkbeck has no links with New College and no agreement to provide New
   College with access to any of its facilities."

   Amanda Vickery, a TV historian and history professor at Royal Holloway,
   was one of the first to spot similarities between the syllabuses.
   She posted on Twitter: "New College of Humanities seems to have
   ripped off London Univ's international programme in history," adding:
   "Perplexed to see my own course 'Experience, Culture & Identity:
   Women's lives in England 1688-1850' at NCH."

   Colin Jones, president of the Royal Historic Society and a professor at
   Queen Mary college, said: "Despite a light scattering of international
   stardust, this seems to be a somewhat cynical repackaging operation."

   Grayling strongly denied the charge, and said teaching at the college
   would be more extensive, with "value added" by courses in logic,
   scientific literacy and applied ethics, as well as professional skills.

   "It is a complete misunderstanding," he said. "We offer University of
   London international programme degrees, so that is the syllabus we are
   preparing the students for. It is reductive to describe it as
   repackaging ... There is a quarter more content, contact with some
   rather distinguished people, and preparation for professional life."

   Amid a growing backlash from students and lecturers, Dawkins sought to
   clarify his role, saying on his website: "This is the brainchild of AC
   Grayling, not me ... Professor Grayling invited me to join the
   professoriate and give some lectures." He said "the financial
   inducement was attractive" and indicated he would use the fees to fund
   his charitable foundation.

   London's mayor, Boris Johnson, backed Grayling's idea, saying "it fully
   deserves to succeed and to be imitated".

   It prompted him, Johnson added, to recall his own idea of founding
   "Reject's College, Oxbridge", which would be "aimed squarely at the
   wrathful parents - many of them Oxbridge graduates - who simply could
   not understand how their own offspring could rack up three A-stars and
   grade 8 bassoon, and yet find themselves turned down".

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