Introduction Many studies suggest that at least half of all college students cheat on exams and assignments. Studies of UNCW students suggest that over 50% of UNCW students are guilty of academic dishonesty. Studies suggest that campuses with heightened awareness of what constitutes academic dishonesty, with a campus culture of academic integrity, and with increased certainty and severity of punishment experience decreased academic dishonesty.
Honor Code Task Force Code was last updated in 1986. Student and Faculty Concerns about increased cheating. Fall of 2007, Task Force Commissioned with approval of the Provost, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, the Faculty Senate president, the SGA president and the GSA president. The Task Force was asked to examine the Honor Code and to report recommendations for changes
Members Leah Campbell, undergraduate student (07-09) Megan Jelley, undergraduate student (07-08) Adrienne Strain, undergraduate student (07-08) Alex Morgan, undergraduate student (08-09) Brandon Bell, undergraduate student (08-09) Alex Wadsworth, undergraduate student/staff (07-09) Greg Burzynski, graduate student (07-08) Dr. Jim Herstine, Associate Professor, Health and Applied Human Sciences (07-09) Dr. Judith Jarosinski, Assistant Professor, Nursing (07-09) Dr. Anita McDaniel, Assistant Professor, Communication Studies (07-09) Dr. Richard Veit, Professor, English (co-chair, 07-08) Dr. Rob Burrus, Associate Professor, Business (co-chair, 08-09) Dr. Michael Walker, Assistant Vice Chancellor/Dean of Students (co-chair, 07-09)
Activities of the Task Force Reviewed and discussed the current UNCW Honor Code. Reviewed Codes from other universities. Meredith CollegeMary Washington Duke College of CharlestonNC StateECU UNC CharlotteUNC Chapel HillVirginia Tech DavidsonKansas State JMU Texas A&MStanfordUMd. Conducted focus groups (faculty, staff, and students) to get a sense of faculty and student attitudes toward cheating and toward the current honor code
Discussed the UNCW Honor Code with UNCW Faculty Chairs, SGA, GSA, Academic Standards Committee, Senior Academic Officers, and Faculty Senate Steering Committee. Conducted three student surveys and one faculty survey. Activities (cont.)
Surveys on Cheating at UNCW Surveys attempted to measure attitudes toward cheating and toward the current honor code as well as perceptions about why students cheat and ways to correct the behavior. Faculty survey (233/203 out of 866; 27%) Student survey (322/229 out of 5,000; 6%)
Offenses Observed and Admitted Offenses ObservedFacultyStudents One Offense23%15% Two Offenses21%20% Three Offenses14%10% Four or More Offenses17%38% Total (One or More)75%83% Offenses AdmittedStudents One Offense21% Two or Three24% Four or More Offenses12% Total (One or More)57%
Contributors to Academic Dishonesty Students don’t study enough Pursuit of high grades Don’t see value in coursework Weak penalties Low risk of getting caught Don’t understand honor code.
How to Reduce Cheating TacticFacultyStudents Signed Honor Pledge52%28% Fostering a Community of Academic Integrity77%45% Tracking Multiple Offenders64%51% Multiple Versions of Exams44%74% Harsher Penalties for Repeat Offenders59%57% Ban all Electronic Devices During Exams57%47%
Faculty Reporting of Academic Dishonesty (actual number) SemesterPrivateReferred Fall 08130 Spring 08108 Fall 0750 Spring 07510 Fall 0662 Spring 0600 Fall 0580 Spring 0530
Findings Strengths: Brevity Ease of interpretation Clear adjudication process Weaknesses No formal statement of a “code” of honor. No explanation of why honor is needed at an institution of higher learning. No requirement that students sign a pledge declaring that they will abide by a common code of honor. Current code doesn’t foster a community/culture of honor.
Findings Weaknesses (cont.) Current code allows students to cheat multiple times and face potentially soft penalties each time. Current code doesn’t explicitly disallow replacing a grade that was obtained as punishment for academic dishonesty. Current code doesn’t give students a major role in preserving academic integrity. No incentives for instructors to report the results of private resolution.
General Recommendations A campus-wide commitment to academic integrity among students, faculty and staff, is needed. UNCW can culture a community of academic integrity. Harsher penalties for repeat offenders.
Specific Recommendations Statement of academic integrity (Section 1 of the Honor Code) “The University of North Carolina Wilmington is a community of high academic standards where academic integrity is valued. UNCW students are committed to honesty and truthfulness in academic inquiry and in the mastery of existing knowledge. This commitment begins when new students matriculate at UNCW, continues as they create work of the highest quality while part of the university community, and endures as a core value throughout their lives.”
Specific Rec. (cont.) Signed Honor Pledge. “As a student at The University of North Carolina Wilmington, I am committed to honesty and truthfulness in academic inquiry and in the mastery of existing knowledge. I pledge to uphold and promote the UNCW Student Academic Honor Code.” Education responsibilities. Encouragement to turn in those responsible for academic dishonesty.
Specific Rec. (cont.) Faculty/Student Honor Council. Repeat offenders or students with prior disciplinary sanctions automatically face Honor Council Hearing. Better incentives for faculty to report violations to dean of students (multiple offenders face consequences). Dean of Students office tracks prior offenses and faculty should consult with the dean of students at the time that an allegation is made. Second offenses result in likely suspension (severity of punishment increased) Students may not replace a poor grade that was the result of cheating.
Contributors to academic dishonesty at UNCW ContributorsFacultyStudents Students Don’t See Cheating as Wrong77%57% Students Don’t Understand Citation Rules65%48% Students Don’t Understand Honor Code58%29% Students Believe that Others are Cheating57%38% Weak Penalties53%15% Low Risk of Getting Caught52%47% Students Don’t Study Enough83%82% Pursuit of Highest Grade Possible77%72% Students Don’t See Value in their Coursework51%55% Students Don’t Like Professor9%21%