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Ethics and Academic Integrity Individual Value and the Academic Community Nancy A. Stanlick, Ph.D. Department of Philosophy University of Central Florida.

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Presentation on theme: "Ethics and Academic Integrity Individual Value and the Academic Community Nancy A. Stanlick, Ph.D. Department of Philosophy University of Central Florida."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ethics and Academic Integrity Individual Value and the Academic Community Nancy A. Stanlick, Ph.D. Department of Philosophy University of Central Florida Orlando

2 What is Integrity? Stephen Carter, Integrity (New York: HarperCollins, 1996), p. 7: “The word integrity comes from the same Latin root as integer and historically has been understood to carry much the same sense, the sense of wholeness: a person of integrity, like a whole number, is a whole person, a person somehow undivided… The word conveys … the serenity of a person who is confident in the knowledge that he or she is living rightly… A person of integrity lurks somewhere inside each of us: a person we feel we can trust to do right, to play by the rules, to keep commitments” (bold emphasis added).

3 Cheating and Plagiarism Defined: Cheating: unauthorized assistance in graded, for-credit assignments Plagiarism: appropriating the work of others and claiming implicitly or explicitly that it is one’s own. – Intentional and unintentional

4 Plagiarism Internet Plagiarism Websites ~200 A Resource: Technologically Undetectable Cases – custom papers Patchwork Papers

5 Causes of Academic Dishonesty Lower Level – Lack of Skill, Knowledge or Preparation, Time Constraints – Laziness – Poorly defined/constructed assignments – Lack of instructions Higher Level – Competitive View of Education Bernard Gert’s view – the goal of education is to do the best that you can, but also to do better than others. Individual Ascendancy – present orientation, hedonism, duty to self. (See Kibler, Nuss, Patterson and Pavela, 4)

6 Elements of Gert’s View Summary of Some Main Points (from pp. 191-196 of his Morality: Its Nature and Justification and his presentation, “Cheating,” at the Society for Ethics Across the Curriculum Conference, Gainesville, FL, February 2002). Gert’s position is that academics are primarily (and perhaps exclusively) competitive. He likens the process to a game (so that if one is not playing by the rules, one is not playing the game). To cheat in a game is not to cheat umpires or referees (and so it is not to cheat faculty, or even the cheater), but it is to cheat the other players. Hence, cheating is cheating the other students (because part of the purpose is not simply to do well in the educational endeavor, but to do better than others). Doing well is the primary goal, but that isn’t what makes cheating wrong. What is wrong is that it disadvantages others who are engaging fairly in the same competition. If academics are not competitive, then prohibitions against cheating are nothing more than paternalistic rules. But academics are competitive (and apparently should be so), and prohibitions against cheating derive from moral rules. Furthermore, faculty and administrators must be clear that their function is as “referees” whose function is to protect non-cheaters from cheaters. The cheater is arrogant. “Cheating, no matter what the motive, shows that he (the cheater) regards himself as not being subject to the same constraints of the activity that everyone else participating in that activity is required to obey. It demonstrates an arrogance that is likely to show itself in even more harmful ways than cheating.”

7 Gert’s View Continued: A Rights-Based, Individualistic Approach Education is Competitive Cheating is Not Like Breaking a Promise Cheaters cheat other students and no one else. Faculty referees

8 Preventing Academic Dishonesty Lower-Level Approaches If you don’t understand a writing assignment, ask your professor –Ask for an explanation of the rules of research –If you are unsure about what you are doing, ask. Beware (and be aware) of online resources Use your campus’ writing center or academic support services

9 Preventing Academic Dishonesty: Higher Level Prevention From my “Honor Codes, Individual Worth and the Academic Community: Teaching Ethics to Plagiarists and Cheaters Across the Curriculum” Presented at the Society for Ethics Across the Curriculum Conference, February 2002 Thesis: In a manner similar to that in which a Kantian understanding of punishment is “backward looking” and punitive, one may consider participation in an ethics seminar designed for cheaters and plagiarists to be in some sense retaliatory on the part of the college or university in which a conduct code violation has occurred. On the contrary, however, a Kantian view of punishment is also “forward looking” in that violators are reinstated into the academic community against which they have committed a violation, and their participation in an ethics seminar focused on issues of academic dishonesty is acknowledgement of their value as members of that community. Being recognized as a member of (and being reinstated into) an academic community is consistent with the dignity of the person and conducive to the goals of the academic community. Rather than simply to expel or punish, violators of academic codes of conduct become part of the content of the ethics seminar in which they are enrolled, becoming active participants in a course intended to foster understanding of the value of intellectual integrity. I disagree with Gert’s position that the educational process is necessarily competitive, and I therefore also disagree with him that a cheater always cheats other students. My position is that the cheater cheats himself as well as the community of which he is a member. For a student to understand what “cheating yourself” means makes considerable difference in the motivation to avoid cheating and in our reactions to cheating.

10 Higher Level Prevention Continued A Virtue Ethics Approach Community Ascendancy – future orientation, takes responsibility, duty to others (See Kibler, Nuss, Patterson, and Pavela, 4). Stating the rules is not enough – understanding Punishment is not the solution A Kantian+Communitarian view of punishment

11 Who are the Victims of Academic Dishonesty? What is Lost? – For the individual – For society What is Gained? Who is affected, and how? – How does student cheating reflect on faculty? – Short-term and Long-term consequences Education is not a game – Cheating self, other students, instructor, institution, society – In what sense does the cheater cheat him/herself? – Why do you care (if you care) if others cheat?

12 Academic Integrity Seminars: Proactive and Reactive See these links for the students’ course at UCF: and New Student Orientation Reaction to Confirmed Instances – Educational, not punitive Standard Theories of “Punishment”: Forward Looking – Utilitarian/Community Oriented Rehabilitative/Responsibility Oriented – Backward Looking Retributive A Case of “Giving Up”

13 References Herman, A.L., “College Cheating: A Plea for Leniency,” Journal of Higher Education, 37(5) May 1966: 260-266. Kibler, William L, Elizabeth M. Nuss,et. Al., Academic Integrity and Student Development: Legal Issues and Policy Perspectives (College Administration Publications, 1988). McCabe, Donald L, Linda K. Trevino and Kenneth D. Butterfield, “Cheating in Academic Institutions: A Decade of Research” Ethics and Behavior, 11(3), 2001: 219-232. McCabe, Donald L. and Linda K. Trevino, “Academic Dishonesty: Honor Codes and Other Contextual Influences” Journal of Higher Education, 64(5), Sep-Oct. 1993: 522-538. Noah, Harold J. and Max A. Eckstein, Fraud and Education: The Worm in the Apple (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2001).

14 On-Line Resources The Center for Academic Integrity at Duke University. The Center for Academic Integrity at Duke University UCF Writing Center MLA, Chicago, Other Manuals through UCF Library MLA, Chicago, Other Manuals Plagiarism: How to Recognize it and How to Avoid it. Go to Ethics Updates. Go to

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