Trustee Task Force On Student Accountability


October 29, 2012 announcement to the Colby Community, from President Adams

I am pleased to announce the formation of the Trustee Task Force on Student Accountability. The Task Force is now fully constituted and will soon begin its work. I want to share with the community the charge and membership of the group.
The issue of student accountability has surfaced on campus in a number of different ways in recent years. The number of reported instances of academic dishonesty has increased in each of the past three years. Likewise vandalism and "dorm damage" has been on the rise despite multiple efforts to raise awareness and adjust the College's disciplinary response to mitigate the problem. And perhaps most disconcerting, students' reluctance to hold one another accountable even in situations where members of the community were subject to serious violations of Colby's standards and policies has been an ongoing concern.

On the academic side, Colby, similar to most other colleges and universities, has experienced an increased incidence of academic dishonesty.  Exact measures are difficult to obtain, in part due to faculty dissatisfaction with the discipline-oriented reporting approach. Plagiarism, improper citation, unsanctioned/unapproved group work, exam cheating are all examples of academic dishonesty. Understanding the role and importance of academic integrity and how community values can be jointly upheld will be an important part of the task force's work.

The Dean of Students and the Dean of Faculty led two discussions of student accountability issues with the Board of Trustees in the 2012 spring term.  The Student Affairs Committee had a lengthy and productive discussion at its February meeting in Boston. Subsequently, Dean Kletzer and Dean Terhune presented to the full board at a Committee of the Whole session during the April meeting. Following that presentation, at the request of President Adams and the administration, the Board of Trustees voted to empanel a task force to conduct a thorough review of student accountability and to make recommendations to the board for action steps.

The charge to the Task Force on Student Accountability is to investigate and analyze the current campus climate on academic and social accountability. In the academic realm, the issues pertain to academic honesty and dishonesty.  In the social realm, the issues pertain to individual and collective responsibility with respect to personal safety, social conduct, and maintaining and protecting the physical campus setting.The task force will carry out its work during the 2012-2013 academic year and will present its findings and recommendations to the full board in the spring of 2013.

The task force will be chaired by trustee Julie Sands Causey '85. The members of the task force are: Trustees William Alfond '72, James Crawford '64, Robert Hoopes '89; Trustee emeritus James Cowie '77; Faculty members Kim Besio, Carleen Mandolfo, Jonathan Michaeles, Judy Stone, Andreas Waldkirch; Students Jonathan Kalin, '14, Morgan Lingar, '13, Keith Love, '13, Alaba Sotayo, ' 14, and Sangay Thinley, '15; Assistant Dean of Students/Coordinator of Multicultural Student Programs and Support and Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology Joseph Atkins; Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty Lori G. Kletzer; Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students James S. Terhune. Assistant Dean of Faculty James Sloat and Associate Dean of Students and Director of Campus Life Jed Wartman will serve as non-voting staff to the committee.

William D. Adams