It is the last week of the semester – crunch time – when you have to complete a large project or paper for every class and are stressed about whether they will even get done.

Are students more likely to do whatever it takes to get the best grade possible, regardless of ethical standards? What are the reasons for any lack of academic integrity and what can we do to improve it?

Several scenarios that students have experienced were brought up at the Thursday, March 13 presentation, “A Frank Discussion on Academic Integrity.” About 80 students gathered in the Barone Campus Center Mezzanine to discuss students’ and professors’ views on academic integrity and how it can be improved, as well as the reasons why it occurs.

Dr. David Schmidt, an associate professor of business ethics, led the discussion along with four panelists, two students and two faculty and staff members. Schmidt took the crowd through several scenarios in which academic integrity was broken, yet sometimes overlooked by students and faculty alike.

These scenarios included self-plagiarism, original research and information ethics. Self-plagiarism in particular stirred some discussion amongst the crowd.

One student stated, “If I am using one of my old papers that is on the same topic, I do not feel that there is any need to cite myself. It is my own work.”

Another scenario that Schmidt admitted he had committed himself was information ethics, such as using photos from the web on a slideshow without citation.

When he asked the crowd if anyone else had done this, there was an overwhelming amount of hands raised.

There are many cases like this that occur all of the time, whether it be purposeful or accidental. How can we improve this problem that has become so common?

One suggestion suggested by Schmidt was an “honor code” system in which students hold each other accountable and report cheating when they see it. This type of code has been instilled at other colleges like Middlebury College in Vermont.

Assistant Dean of the Dolan School of Business Dr. Heather Petraglia said that although it is a great concept and would take a great deal of pressure off of the professors, it is being proven not to work at other schools because students are having trouble turning others in.

Panel member Justin Furtado ’14 said, “The honor code is an awkward situation. Bringing a cheater forward can cause social ostracizing.”

Similar discussions on academic integrity are scheduled for meetings of faculty members, staff and administrators.

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