January 4, 2010
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Every semester, UAB faculty members express concern about plagiarism, a problem which may be growing due to an abundance of material on the web and students’ lack of training and practice in responding critically and ethically to source work, says Dr. Jeffrey A. Engler, associate dean of the UAB Graduate School. “Many people think that plagiarism is just an undergraduate problem, but unfortunately, it also surfaces in graduate school and at professional levels,” explains Engler. “At UAB, with our emphasis on research and publishing, a case of plagiarism, especially in a published paper, can have ramifications that extend beyond a failing grade for a single student.”
In response to these concerns, the UAB Graduate School has strengthened all of the research writing courses offered through its Professional Development Program to ensure that students receive instruction and guided practice in critical response to source work, ethical paraphrase, best citation practices, and respect for copyright law.
One important group that may have had little exposure to U.S. standards and conventions in research writing and publishing is international students, says Dr. Julia S. Austin, director of educational services at the Graduate School. “A number of international students have told us that they received no serious instruction in writing for publication, or mentored practice in essential skills like ethical paraphrasing and citing sources for field-specific publications. As a result, they feel like they are disadvantaged when it comes to the high-stakes writing here.”
To help students fill this knowledge gap, the Graduate School has developed a unique academic writing course, GRD 726: Research Writing for Internationals, with small class sizes, guided practice in ethical writing and plagiarism prevention, and instructor feedback. For more information on GRD 726, click on
For information about the Graduate School’s other research writing courses this spring, click on http://www.uab.edu/graduate/profdev/publishflyer.pdf
All Professional Development Program courses are pass-no-pass courses that run 10 weeks (Jan. 25 to April 6), allowing students to boost their skills without conflicting with the start-up and final week of their core courses. (Scholarships may be available for international students taking two Professional Development Program courses in a series.) If you have questions or need additional information, contact the program’s Academic Writing Instructor, Jennifer L. Greer, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Dr. Austin, email@example.com.