History grad students as cheaters

When I saw the news that "MBA students are the biggest cheats of all graduate students, with 56 per cent admitting to misdemeanours such as using crib notes in exams, plagiarism and downloading essays from the web," it roused my curiosity about history graduate students.

The people who did the study, Academy of Management Learning & Education, appear to have collected data across many disciplines, but what is percolating through the mass media just now is a little too general to be interesting: "And even among the most honest group, the social scientists and those studying humanities, 39 per cent admitted cheating." I'm not sure "most honest" can be applied to a group with a 39% cheating rate. Perhaps when the compete study is released, we'll see a history student breakout.

Interesting that the second biggest cheaters were engineering students (54%), followed by grad students in the sciences. As these cheaters are entirely self-identified, I consider the numbers low. We could more accurately say "shameless cheaters" number 54% among engineering grad students, although the total proportion of cheaters is not known.

This bit appeared in the University of Virginia's paper in the best tradition of faculty slapstick (emphasis added):

Donald L. McCabe, professor of management and global business at Rutgers Business School and one of the report's authors, said the increased cheating was due to students coming from business backgrounds where a different mentality is present.

Oh, the pain, the defilement of the academy! But wait: don't the faculties of MBA programs themselves come from business backgrounds? And yet they are themselves purified somehow while their students remain contaminated. Magic.

I suppose the cheat-crazy engineering and science grad students are also bringing "a different mentality" but whence?

One sees a report in which the academy is overwhelmed with cheating at the higher levels of admission and instruction; it floats on a stream of professorial ethics scandals; and the MBA crowd is at fault with their "different mentality."

I'm not an MBA - don't know that crowd as a student body - and therefore don't know how realistic this statement is, however it seems possible to me that MBAs among all the students surveyed were the most forthcoming about their ethical lapses.

Dr. McCabe should check in with Rutgers' ag students to help him sort out forest from trees. Meanwhile, we'll await further news on history cheating.