June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.204.1 - 12.204.11
An Educational Framework for Nurturing a Culture of Academic Honesty
Academic dishonesty has become a topic of concern at many universities. Many studies have documented the prevalence of academic dishonesty by various student populations, cited reasons that students engage in academic dishonesty, identified policies universities can implement to combat the problem, or suggested strategies that faculty can use to minimize the risk of students cheating in their classrooms. Few papers, however, have addressed the problem of academic dishonesty from a holistic perspective. This paper seeks to fill this void by presenting a framework developed in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology at Ohio University where issues related to academic dishonesty have recently arisen. The framework developed and presented here seeks to decrease instances of academic dishonesty by nurturing a culture of integrity, teaching, and learning.
Programs developed for students, faculty, and within the university are described. To engage students in efforts to promote academic integrity, a writing course was required for incoming graduate students, and a Student Academic Honor Council was formed to reach out to peers and lead efforts in developing a college honor code. A series of faculty workshops on academic honesty was developed to promote faculty understanding through dialogue, and a Faculty Academic Honor Council was developed to promote teaching practices that could help reduce academic dishonesty. College-wide academic integrity initiatives were coordinated with university-wide initiatives so that the efforts of each could complement one another.
Severity of Academic Dishonesty
Academic dishonesty is a complex, multidimensional problem that many universities are working to combat in the United States and internationally. It is a problem that merits attention, as students who engage in academic dishonesty are more likely to become professionals who engage in unethical behavior1, 2. While cheating in college may not appear to inherently pose any great dangers to the general public, engineers who engage in unethical behavior can place the public at risk1 if products/structures are incorrectly designed because of a lack of knowledge. Habits formed and knowledge obtained (or in the cases of cheating, not obtained) in college are later carried into the profession, impact the quality of work done, and can have severe consequences. Thus, institutions have an obligation to the public to maintain high standards for academic integrity. Moreover, high levels of academic dishonesty can damage a university’s reputation and lead to an overall decline in public support of higher education2. It is undoubtedly in the institution’s best interest to promote academic honesty.
Research suggests that 70% of undergraduate students on most campuses admit to some form of academic dishonesty3. Similarly, 75.2% of graduate students admit to some form of academic dishonesty when asked about specific dishonesty behaviors, even though only 28.7% admit to “cheating” when asked broadly4. This past year, research at Ohio University revealed that it had higher levels of academic dishonesty than most college campuses5 at the same time that the Russ College of Engineering and Technology was investigating allegations that many of the master’s
Bikowski, D., & Broeckelman, M. (2007, June), An Educational Framework For Nurturing A Culture Of Academic Honesty Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2643
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