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Standards Win at Teachers College

June 25, 2008

WASHINGTON, DC—The decision by Columbia Teachers College to fire professor Madonna G. Constantine is a victory for professional standards, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni said today.

“Dismissing a teacher found guilty of serious academic misconduct ought to be a no-brainer,” said ACTA president Anne D. Neal. “Regrettably, in today’s academy, it’s often controversial. Kudos to the Teachers College administration for taking a strong stand on the side of professionalism.”

In 2005, a fellow Teachers College professor reported that she had found portions of her work excerpted verbatim or almost verbatim without attribution in several papers by Constantine.

Following up on that and other complaints, Columbia brought in the law firm Hughes Hubbard and Reed to conduct an investigation in 2006. The investigation, which concluded in February of 2008, found Constantine to be guilty of plagiarism in at least two dozen instances, having borrowed from both colleagues and students without attribution.

At the time, administrators reduced her salary and asked for her resignation, which she did not give. Earlier this week, Columbia announced her termination effective December 31, 2008.

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, national organization dedicated to academic freedom, academic quality, and accountability. Its network includes alumni and trustees from more than 600 colleges and universities across the country. Since its founding in 1995, ACTA has counseled boards and educated the public about such issues as historical literacy, core curricula, the free exchange of ideas, accreditation, and good governance in higher education.


Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

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