English Professor Situation

Joined
Nov 25, 2018
Messages
36
I have run into a major roadblock with my application. Recently my English professor has accused me of plagiarism on an essay and has since stated that she will not help someone she sees as a plagiarizer get into the Naval Academy. I do not believe I have plagiarized and neither do my parents (one of them used to grade papers as part of their PhD), so we've started the process of appealing the claim. Because of this, I emailed my professor from last year to see if he would be willing to fill out the recommendation again, and he has not been responding to me. I am a college freshmen who is reapplying again this year so I know I can't use my Junior year English teacher. What can I do about this?
 

Old Navy BGO

5-Year Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2012
Messages
2,697
You have several months to get your Application complete. Use that time to resolve the issue with your High School. Use the time and Appeal process wisely, and keep in mind that teachers talk among themselves. It is likely that your Junior Year teacher knows what is going on with your Senior Year teacher, and may not respond if they think you are trying to get around the issue.

You need to do more than "win" the appeal -- you need to earn back the trust and respect of your teachers. The teacher evaluations carry weight, and hiring a lawyer and getting a "legal win" on the appeal isn't going to get you a good evaluation. You need to face the issue head on, sit down with the teacher who accused you, and convince him/her that you didn't do anything wrong; or if you did -- 'fess up, and convince the teacher that you learned a valuable lesson.


For all Candidates -- the Teacher Evaluation is more than just a hoop to jump through. Your teachers evaluate your character, your leadership and academic aptitude. Everyone has a reputation in a school, and the teachers talk among themselves. You start developing your reputation early, and it carries through the 4 years of High School. I like to go to High School awards programs to present Appointments, and am always pleased to see "my Candidate" get called to the stage repeatedly for a variety of awards in the school ...academics, leadership, athletics, etc. That is when I know we got the right Candidate.
 
Joined
Nov 25, 2018
Messages
36
You have several months to get your Application complete. Use that time to resolve the issue with your High School. Use the time and Appeal process wisely, and keep in mind that teachers talk among themselves. It is likely that your Junior Year teacher knows what is going on with your Senior Year teacher, and may not respond if they think you are trying to get around the issue.

You need to do more than "win" the appeal -- you need to earn back the trust and respect of your teachers. The teacher evaluations carry weight, and hiring a lawyer and getting a "legal win" on the appeal isn't going to get you a good evaluation. You need to face the issue head on, sit down with the teacher who accused you, and convince him/her that you didn't do anything wrong; or if you did -- 'fess up, and convince the teacher that you learned a valuable lesson.


For all Candidates -- the Teacher Evaluation is more than just a hoop to jump through. Your teachers evaluate your character, your leadership and academic aptitude. Everyone has a reputation in a school, and the teachers talk among themselves. You start developing your reputation early, and it carries through the 4 years of High School. I like to go to High School awards programs to present Appointments, and am always pleased to see "my Candidate" get called to the stage repeatedly for a variety of awards in the school ...academics, leadership, athletics, etc. That is when I know we got the right Candidate.

I am a freshman in college. I had a regular teacher at my high school my junior year for English, and my senior year teacher was a professor at the university I dual enrolled at. This year I am at a different university for my freshman year, so there's no connection between any of the three teachers.
 

Devil Doc

Teufel Doc
Joined
Apr 25, 2018
Messages
2,354
I am a freshman in college. I had a regular teacher at my high school my junior year for English, and my senior year teacher was a professor at the university I dual enrolled at. This year I am at a different university for my freshman year, so there's no connection between any of the three teachers.
I think you missed the point.
 

shep753

New Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2020
Messages
8
G0navybeat@rmy, I have no idea what the specific plagiarism accusation was, but one thought would be to use a plagiarism checker like turnitin that is used by many colleges. This could help provide evidence that your writing was original and independent. You could then use that information to help you in the conversation that you need to have with your professor to do exactly what Old Navy BGO said: earn back the trust and respect of your professor.
 

Dr. Strange Love

Time Traveller — Blues Man — DD USNA 2024
Joined
Feb 7, 2019
Messages
701
... I do not believe I have plagiarized and neither do my parents ...
.
So ... you don’t believe you plagiarized but your most recent English teacher said you plagiarized.

@Old Navy BGO is right. You need to face this head on, and you have time to do this. Independently, deconstruct what you wrote. Use the tool that @shep753 talks about too. I am sure that that tool will have several different types of plagiarism scoring models. It’s a Modeling patterns problem.

Know what you have and what you did before you Face the teacher that is accusing you of this. If that College teacher will not meet with you to discuss this, then meet with her Department head boss at the College or University. I would think you can use Skype or some tool like that to meet with them safely.

Work the problem. You have time. Keep cool about it all the time.

**************************

One very important consideration .... If you were not 100% satisfied with the writing that you submitted, then right there is a problem.

Writing is organic. Sometimes, even the shortest expressions take the longest time to be satisfied with .... You write, you reflect, you get tired, you put it away till the next day, revisit it, and continue the process.

Constant construction and Deconstruction until you are satisfied. You do the same thing in your projects, science and engineering. There are parts of this house that I want tear down and rebuild. I do that with every project .... and I love writing and tearing it apart until I’m satisfied.

Writing is one thing that DD is really good at too .... where did that come from .... naturally able to express.
.
 
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dddad

Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2019
Messages
147
A plagiarism accusation is a serious issue. You will need to resolve it (favorably) and then convince a professor to write favorably about you. There is time this cycle but if you cannot resolve it, I’d say this cycle is not likely to work. I do not think you can withhold the information from USNA or it’s resolution.

The I don’t “believe” I plagiarized is what some might call a half hearted denial. You either did or you didn’t. You might want to think about this long and hard.
 

justdoit19

Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2017
Messages
3,217
Right or wrong. That grey area will cause problems. This is a messy issue. I think having a face to face meeting with your professor is the way to go, clearing up the understanding on each persons side. No grey. And if turns out to be plagiarism? What did you learn?

BTW, your parents may not be looking at this the way uninterested people would. And at a SA, your parents would even be looking at it at all. This is your battle. Between you and the professor. This is going to be an “adulting” type experience for you! But you will have to figure this out to proceed with the application, as the English evaluation is required. Not optional.
 

MidCakePa

Member
Joined
May 22, 2018
Messages
2,444
The I don’t “believe” I plagiarized is what some might call a half hearted denial.

This issue goes well beyond getting a teacher’s endorsement. You’re applying to an institution that puts honor, and its Honor Code, at the center of everything it does. So one way or another, you’ll have to resolve the matter of whether you cheated. There’s no way around that because, if the teacher won’t submit anything on your behalf, USNA will want to know why. And for that, you cannot equivocate.

We don’t know what you did, nor do we need to know. But I agree with @dddad ‘s point. Your initial take seems half-hearted and half-convincing. You need to address this head-on and quickly, as an adult, with an honest, forthcoming, straightforward approach.

You either did or you didn’t. If you did, but didn’t know that’s what you were doing, that’s still ultimately on you. As someone who teaches at the college level, I know the anti-plagiarism software is very sophisticated but not foolproof. But professors do not make plagiarism charges lightly, because we all know it’s a damning accusation. So act now to see the evidence, work within your school’s dispute procedures, make sure everything is documented. And above all, own it! Right or wrong, this is your chance to show USNA that you’re worthy of their standards for honor.

We all make mistakes. It’s usually what we do afterward, to make things right, that determines the kind of person we are.
 

A6E Dad

BGO
Joined
Jun 30, 2016
Messages
523
Because of this, I emailed my professor from last year to see if he would be willing to fill out the recommendation again, and he has not been responding to me

First off, if you are college freshman, and when you applied last year you used your senior year HS English teacher for a recommendation, then you cannot get this year's recommendation from that same person. Your only choice is to use this year's English prof at college.

The much larger issue is the accusation of academic dishonesty, as others have posted above. If you are found responsible, then you would have to disclose that info, and provide all the details. That would likely trigger the Character Review Board process, where your record would be looked at separately from the Admissions board (same process that would review an arrest, expulsion, or other similar issue). It would be a very significant negative mark on your record.

However, assuming you are successful in defending against the accusation, and the issue is resolved, you may still have a hard time getting the professor to write the eval. If that happens, you may need to explain to USNA why you can't get the English prof to write the eval, and will still need to tell them the whole story. They might let you get an eval from someone else, or they may tell you it's up to you to get the prof to cooperate. If it comes to that, and you really are innocent of what you are accused of, then you could probably appeal to the department head. If the prof is seen as unjustly accusing you, and then deliberately withholding support as punishment, then something might be done.

If you really did do what you are accused of, even if it was done unwittingly, then you need to take responsibility and go from there
 
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