Here are some modest suggestions for how to promote academic integrity:
- On your syllabus and periodically in class, state your expectations regarding and definitions of academic honesty and dishonesty for your course. Keep in mind that other faculty in other disciplines and courses may define academic dishonesty differently.
- You should teach first-year students what plagiarism is and you should remind more advanced students of what plagiarism is.
- You should give a clear explanation of what kinds of collaboration are acceptable and what are not. You should remind students occasionally of what the policy is.
- Discuss academic integrity: Explain to students what it is and why it matters; help them become invested in the academic enterprise. Think of ways in which academic integrity isn’t just the absence of academic dishonesty, but is rather a positive practice.
- You should not incentivize cheating. (E.g. perhaps a timed, closed-book, take-home exam isn’t a good idea.)
- You should design assignments and exams to discourage cheating. (E.g. Be creative in your assignments so that students can’t just copy something off the internet or buy a pre-fab paper.)
- Proctor your exams. You should pay attention to what students are doing during their exams. In particular, watch for surreptitious mobile phone use. Our surveys indicate that students want you to proctor – it gives them confidence that their classmates aren’t cheating.
- Make significant revisions to your assignments. There are rumors of shared files in “the cloud” (eg. Google Drive) containing all the assignments from courses dating to years past. Changing your assignments from year to year not only keeps the course fresh, it also gives students confidence that their classmates aren’t cheating.
- Keep records. (E.g. If you give specific verbal instructions regarding the rules for a project or exam, follow-up with an email. If you suspect two students of improper collaboration, make photocopies/scans of their work. If you plan to assign the same paper or project in multiple semesters, keep copies of student work from previous semesters.)
- Report academic dishonesty and negligence. Reporting enables repeat offenders to be held accountable and sends the message that academic dishonesty is an offense against the community and academic enterprise as a whole. Not reporting sends the message that academic dishonesty is acceptable and may open you to charges of unfairness. Assigning a sanction in violation of Colby policy may also make you personally liable. Our new system is designed to protect both faculty and students from unjust accusations and sanctions and is part of a larger effort to promote a culture of academic integrity at Colby. Academic dishonesty can be reported by sending an email to the Academic Integrity Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org) or via your course roster.
- Consider putting structures in place to promote academic integrity. For example, your department could craft a departmental code of ethics based on a code of ethics from a relevant professional association. Make it a habit to discuss academic integrity with your advisees. When relevant to your course, highlight the work of whistleblowers or others who are concerned with ethics.