Bringing the Text to Life
A brilliant grad student had been studying her mentor professor’s topic of expertise — the literature of Charles Dickens. Midway through her studies, she wanted to branch out and write her dissertation on the work of Jane Austen.
The student’s adviser tried to dissuade her. After input from another professor — an Austen scholar — the student had decided to change her emphasis away from Dickens. Her mentor was disgruntled but still humored her with guidance on how to approach her interest in Austen.
By year’s end, the student finished a strong dissertation and presented it to her committee for approval. But now the shocker: Out of the blue, her mentor cum adviser suggested that some of the student’s foundational observations came from personal conversations with him. He claimed that she had taken his ideas and published them without acknowledging the source.
The story was like reality television meets Ivy League. Professor or student — one of them was going to get voted off the island...