GARY, Ind. (AP) — Purdue University is reviewing allegations that a member
of the Indiana State Board of Education who also is the chief administrative
officer of a Gary charter school plagiarized portions of her doctoral
The Journal Gazette reported that portions of the doctoral dissertation
turned in by Gwendolyn Griffith Adell are nearly identical to information in
a 1999 dissertation submitted by a doctoral candidate at Virginia Tech in
Adell denies plagiarizing portions of her dissertation.
"I have no idea how this came about,” she told The Times of Munster. “I’ve
hired an attorney. I haven’t done anything wrong. I earned my doctorate from
Purdue in 2004. I started on my dissertation in 1998.”
Purdue University spokeswoman Jeanne Norberg told the Post-Tribune of
Merrillville the review is in its early stages.
“There is no cookie-cutter approach here,” Norberg said. “We’ll review it
and we’ll have to decide which part of the university has jurisdiction over
it and what the process should be.”
Adell is the former principal of the Thea Bowman Leadership Academy in Gary.
She was promoted earlier this school year to chief administrative officer,
the equivalent of a superintendent for the elementary and secondary charter
schools. In 2006, she was appointed to the state board of education,
representing the 1st Congressional District.
Doug Martin, an independent researcher, sent a letter April 12 to Gov. Mitch
Daniels, Purdue University and others alleging the plagiarism. Martin told
the Post-Tribune he doesn’t think Adell should lose her degree, but he wants
Daniels to force her to step down from the state’s Education Board.
“Most universities would take her degree if they find her guilty, or some
would ask her to revise the dissertation,” he said.
Officials at the Indiana Department of Education told The Times they are
waiting to see the results of Purdue’s review.
Michael Bakalis, head of Chicago-based American Quality Schools, which
operates the Bowman Academy, told The Times he’s also waiting for the
results of Purdue’s review. He said Adell remains in her position.
“If there is evidence of plagiarism? Is it a graph, a chapter or half the
dissertation?” he questioned. “We will see once Purdue makes a
determination, then I will review it."