Policy on Plagiarism and Intellectual and Rhetorical "Recycling"

[Policy of Professor Bob Broad, Department of English, Illinois State University]

Please read or review the section on "Plagiarism" in the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (by the Modern Language Association, New York: MLA, 2009). Here I quote:

To use another person's ideas or expressions in your writing without acknowledging the source is to plagiarize. Plagiarism, then, constitutes intellectual theft and often carries severe penalties, ranging from failure in a course to expulsion from school . . . [Y]ou must indicate the source of any appropriated material that readers might otherwise mistake for your own. (26, 29)

Few things grieve me like dishonesty. Though I am typically patient, liberal, and forgiving, in cases of plagiarism and other forms of dishonesty I pursue the most severe penalty appropriate. This is especially true when others are struggling because they are acting honestly. So please, please, do not resort to any form of plagiarism, cheating, or dishonesty in your work in this course (or in any other course).

A special form of potential "plagiarism" deserves further discussion. This has been referred to as intellectual or rhetorical "recycling." You may wish to build on work you have done in another course in the past or that you are doing for another course concurrent with this one. If you openly acknowledge and document the previous or concurrent work and get approval from me (and, in cases of concurrent recycling, from the instructor in the other course), then you are acting ethically and I strongly encourage you to build on your past or current work in this way. If, however, you submit work done in the past or concurrently for another course without acknowledging it, documenting it, and getting approval to do it, then you are committing academic dishonesty. So please recycle appropriately and responsibly. See me with any questions about any aspect of plagiarism; through open dialogue that takes place in advance of submitting work for final evaluation, any such question can be answered and any problem solved.