German lust for academic accolades.

German fascination with degrees claims latest victim: education minister - Comment on 2013 February 10

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What the cases reveal about the German character. Germans place a greater premium on doctorates than Americans do as marks of distinction and erudition. Many Germans believe the scandals are rooted in their abiding respect, and even lust, for academic accolades. This obsession "title arousal." In other countries people aren’t as vain about their titles. The homeland of schadenfreude. In Germany, academic titles provide an ego boost that lures even business people to pursue them. Read more:

Here extracts from an article I read today:

 

German fascination with degrees claims latest victim: education minister

German education chief quits in scandal reflecting fascination with titles

Annette Schavan resigned on Saturday, the second time a minister has quit the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel for plagiarism in less than two years.

"It is a proof that you can handle academic stuff and that you can keep on task for quite a while."

Dr. Schavan, 57, whose parliamentary district is in the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg, was granted her doctorate in 1980; her dissertation was titled "Person and Conscience." Despite that title, she was not shy about chastising Mr. Guttenberg, once an up-and-coming star from neighboring Bavaria, when his plagiarism scandal struck in 2011. One of her fellow cabinet member’s most prominent and outspoken critics, she told Süddeutsche Zeitung that she was "ashamed, and not just secretly," about the charges against him.

The accusations against Dr. Schavan surfaced the following year on a bare-bones, anonymous Web site. The accusations were particularly significant for Dr. Schavan because she led the federal Ministry of Education and Research.

The university revoked the doctorate of the minister, Prof. Dr. Annette Schavan, on Tuesday (she retains the title pending appeal), and on Saturday she was forced to resign her cabinet post. It was the second time a minister had resigned from the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel over plagiarism in less than two years.

In an emotional news conference, Dr. Schavan said that she would sue to win back the doctorate, but in the meantime she would resign for the greater good. "First the country, then the party and then yourself," she said.

But the two ministers are far from the only German officials to have recently had their postgraduate degrees revoked amid accusations of academic dishonesty, prompting national soul-searching about what the cases reveal about the German character.

Germans place a greater premium on doctorates than Americans do as marks of distinction and erudition. According to the Web site Research in Germany, about 25,000 Germans earn doctorates each year, the most in Europe and about twice the per capita rate of the United States.

Many Germans believe the scandals are rooted in their abiding respect, and even lust, for academic accolades, including the use of Prof. before Dr. and occasionally Dr. Dr. for those with two doctoral degrees.

… calls this obsession "title arousal."

"In other countries people aren’t as vain about their titles. With this obsession for titles, of course, comes title envy."

Dr. Merkel appointed Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka, the state minister of science and culture in Lower Saxony, to take over Dr. Schavan’s position. Prof. Dr. Wanka got her doctorate in 1980, the same year as Dr. Schavan.

Here in the homeland of schadenfreude, the zeal for unmasking academic frauds also reflects certain Teutonic traits, including a rigid adherence to principle and a know-it-all streak. "I just think that many Germans have a police gene in their genetic makeup."

In many countries, busy professionals with little interest in tenure-track positions at universities do not tend to bother writing dissertations. In Germany, academic titles provide an ego boost that lures even business people to pursue them.

 

See Titel

 

See
2012 May 27 – The Sun’s energy-producing fusion reactions
2012 May 30 – Germany: Schavan to have plagiarized herself
2012 Jun 16 – Germany: Particle accelerator in Darmstadt to solve the last secrets of the universe
2012 Jul 05 – Higgs? An explanation where mass comes from
2012 Jul 28 (2) – FAIR: New accelerator
2012 Oct 14 – Germany: Plagiarism affair about education minister
2012 Dec 18 (3) – Germany: University pushes plagiarism proceedings against Schavan
2012 Dec 22 – Germany: Schavan to consider resignation
2012 Dec 23 – Germany: Schavan rejects plagiarism accusations, research minister wants to stay in office
2013 Jan 23 – Schavan: Proceedings instituted to the withdrawal of doctorate
2013 Feb 06 – Germany: A new beginning in the sciences
2013 Feb 10 – German fascination with degrees claims latest victim: education minister

 

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