Phi Beta Cons

The Writer of Fraudulent Papers Confesses

Today’s Wall Street Journal has a review of the new book The Shadow Scholar: How I Made a Living Helping College Kids Cheat by Dave Tomar. Tomar has admitted to engaging in this business in a Chronicle of Higher Ed piece in 2010 and has now expanded that into a book. This is much akin to “Professor X” and his book In the Basement of the Ivory Tower, which began as an article in The Atlantic. According to the reviewer, Tomar’s book suffers from the same problem as X’s — trying to turn a sharp and concentrated essay into a book often requires the adding of a lot of puffery.

What we don’t find out, at least in the review, is how Tomar’s work fared once it was submitted. How did his “entire Ph.D. program in cognitive and behavioral psychology” do under the scrutiny of the professors advising the student who commissioned Tomar to do the work for him? Is Tomar such the polymath that he could really write stuff that would pass muster? Somewhat hard to believe so. Or were those profs insufficiently engaged to detect the fraud?

George Leef — George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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