DSCE holding forums to raise awareness of academic dishonesty

The Department of Student Community Ethics (DSCE) is holding a student-only academic integrity forum on April 2 at 9 p.m. in Scott East. The Writing Center, Western PEAKS, graduate students, and Holly Taylor will be presenting a discussion on being ethical and general academic integrity issues.

Taylor, who has been working with the DSCE since 2006, said that the biggest reason for breaking the academic integrity code is because students become overwhelmed by their amount of school work and try to take short cuts.

“I think students get stressed out and flustered…” she said. “A lot of student get crunched for time and think it’s easier.”

Her other idea was that students were never taught to cite resources properly and make mistakes.

According to findings from the DSCE, there has not been a recent uprising in academic integrity offenders but instead professors are “understanding the policy and submitting people’s names,” said Taylor. Plagiarism has occurred mostly on long-term papers and end-of-semester papers while academic integrity overall has seen a major hit on technological submissions, such as online tests and Blackboard assignments.

In recent research, Taylor reported that female rather than male students are reported more for plagiarism. On Wednesday, March 23, there was a Gender Conference where the new findings were discussed. Currently, there is no theory as to why more women violate the policy.

When a student breaks the academic integrity policy, each situation is handled separately from any other. In the spring semester of 2010, the policy was changed. Before, the offender sat down with the head of the department. The DSCE felt this was unfair and wanted to give the student a chance to listen to and discuss the situation with the person who was accusing them. Now, a student will sit down with the accusing faculty member in order to reach a verdict. The faculty member gets to decide the punishment. Consequences may include community services, an extra assignment, or an F on the assignment or as a final grade. Rarely are students suspended or kicked out of the University.

“Students and faculty both have rights in the process,” said Taylor. “The DSCE is there to help.”

Already there have been two forums, one about prevention and the ethics of cheating and the other about resources involving Order of Omega. Another forum will cover academic integrity in mid- to late-April involving both faculty and students.