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关于学生出国的推荐信 精选

已有 6358 次阅读 2008-5-20 16:37 |个人分类:其他|系统分类:观点评述


今天看到何毓琦教授写的对申请美国大学的一些忠告:
http://www.sciencenet.cn/blog/user_content.aspx?id=26032
文中最后提到有关推荐信的问题。

其实美国也有类似问题,贴一篇也是前一阵子自己写的博文。

关于学生出国的推荐信

一封好的推荐信对一个学生申请研究生院可以说是老师给予的最重要的支持。然而,是否可以由学生自己先起草推荐信却是一个矛盾的有关人品的问题。对此,美国物理协会的报纸专栏作者给出了一个答案:

http://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/200712/asktheethicist.cfm

大致说来,就是学生写第一稿没有问题,如果这个老师不愿意花时间改写这样的影子写手的推荐信,那么这个老师应该负担责任。

我个人觉得,这种做法只会给那些严格按高标准要求自己的老师和学生带来不利的影响(学生自己写的可能水份较多)。如果能够在推荐信上标名这封推荐信是否是由学生先写的草稿的话,就公平多了。

最近,在北大,有一些有关耶鲁来的访问教授指责学生抄袭的讨论,

http://fangzhouzi-xys.blogspot.com/2007/12/yale-professor-criticizes-wide-spread.html

在此期间,饶毅教授,院长,也表达了他对于写推荐信的看法:

http://fangzhouzi-xys.blogspot.com/2007/12/rao-yi-professors-should-write.html 

我原则上很同意他的看法:老师不能够要他们的学生写推荐信的草稿,他们应该自己写或者让秘书和助手帮忙。

虽然我很赞同饶毅教授的态度,但是我对于他的话能够起到什么作用不抱太大期望。因为其实没有什么硬性的条条框框能够约束教授们一定要自己写推荐信(只有道德约束)。也许,最好的情况就是如同那份美国物理协会报纸所描述的,由学生写草稿老师来改。

不光是申请研究生,其实各种各样的申请,甚至是总统的演讲,都是由影子写手来完成的。有关的争议可以看:

http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/pubsres/academe/2006/MJ/feat/scha.htm

http://philosophersplayground.blogspot.com/2007/12/ethics-of-letters-of-recommendation.html

另1: physics today 上好像也有读者回信表达对APS报纸一文的不同看法。
另2: 一个非常流行的女教授的博客也有有关讨论:
http://science-professor.blogspot.com/2008/01/going-postal-reference-letters.html

About recommendation letter

 

A good recommendation letter is one of the most important supports a student can get when they apply for graduate school. However, it is unclear whether the student is ethical or not to write the initial draft of the letter by himself/herself. Now here is the answer from the one expert in American Physics Society:

http://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/200712/asktheethicist.cfm

 

Basically, it says it is ok the student write the first draft, and it is the teacher’s problem “ if your reference was unwilling to scrap a ghostwritten letter when necessary”.

 

In my opinion, this will cause unease to the students and teachers who insist to hold higher standards since the disadvantage of not doing so is obvious. Maybe, it will be fairer if there is a special remark in the beginning of the recommendation letter that states it is based on the draft written by the student himself/herself.

 

Recently, in Beijing University, one of the most prestigious Universities in China, there were some discussions about student cheating on term papers initiated by the criticism of a visiting professor from Yale:

http://fangzhouzi-xys.blogspot.com/2007/12/yale-professor-criticizes-wide-spread.html

During this time, professor Yi Rao, dean and vice president, also expressed his opinion about writing recommendation letter:

http://fangzhouzi-xys.blogspot.com/2007/12/rao-yi-professors-should-write.html 

I am happy to know that he “agrees that there should be no reason for professors asking their students to write their own recommendation letters. They should write themselves, or at least ask their secretaries or assistants for help.”

 

However, although I am impressed by professor Yi Rao’s attitude, I am not sure how much influence his words will have. I don’t see there is any way to “force” professors to write the letter by themselves. Maybe, at best, it will end up with the same situation as that exemplified in APS news. 

 

In fact, rl for all kinds of application, or even president’s speech, are probably ghostwritten.

More interesting links about rl:

http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/pubsres/academe/2006/MJ/feat/scha.htm

http://philosophersplayground.blogspot.com/2007/12/ethics-of-letters-of-recommendation.html

 




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