Millersville University, Faculty Senate

Attachment C

Faculty Senate Minutes

October 3, 2000


Options toward Academic Integrity at Millersville University


The Faculty Senate Ad Hoc Honor Code Committee has been charged with investigating the feasibility and advisability of introducing an honor code at MU, and defining the specific policy elements associated with the committee's recommendations. The ultimate goal of such an honor code system would be the promotion of academic integrity on the MU campus. There are a number of ways in which this goal might be accomplished, however, and the committee believes that each of the various options should be investigated for its potential to best address the specific needs and interests of the MU community. The remainder of this document explores four options toward academic integrity that are under consideration by the Honor Code Committee.

Option A: Full Honor Code System Definition: An honor code policy consists of one or more of the following: a written pledge attached to all student work that states that the work has been done honestly, unproctored/self scheduled exams, some degree of obligation that students report observations of student dishonesty, and a judiciary composed partially or fully of students that hears cases of alleged student dishonesty.' This judiciary would have the power to impose sanctions as severe as expulsion from the university. The intent is to develop a culture of academic and often personal integrity. A full honor code system would have all or nearly all of these elements present.

Advantages

Significantly fewer cases of cheating are believed to occur on campuses with honor codes2,3, probably because of 1) the culture of mutual trust and respect that develops between faculty and students'''', and 2) the clarification of expectations and definitions of cheating behaviors. It therefore becomes less easy for the student to rationalize cheating behaviors3.

Students take considerable pride in their code schools, and find a sense of prestige in having attended
such an institution. Furthermore, code schools are highly respected by the local community,
academia, and potential employers. Having served on the student judiciary often advances the careers
of law and political science majors.
Moral norms are more likely to operate within such a structure.
Greater consistency in addressing cases of academic dishonesty is likely to occur.
Learned values may be carried away with students when they leave the university.
Many students grow to enjoy the freedoms and culture of trust they are provided, and may be
motivated to preserve them3.

Disadvantages: The development and maintenance of such policy requires significant time and effort on the part of faculty and administrators4. Full faculty and administrative support for the system should be in place. The system may be frightening and stressful to some students, at least initially'. The whole student community must understand the importance of the role each individual plays in maintaining the honor system. Large campuses and those with a high proportion of commuter students may find developing the supporting culture of integrity a difficult tasks. Some difficulty in adjustment to the honor system may occur. Students may find it easy to cheat on exams, and may find it troublesome to report offenses they observe'.

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Option B: Abbreviated Honor Code System Definition:

A few of the elements of a full honor code are present. The policy might just consist of a written pledge

and a student-run judiciary, for example. A culture of integrity is promoted. Advantages:

Many of the advantages of the full honor code are retained without some elements that may be unappealing, such as unproctored exams or required student reporting of offenses.

Same as first five advantages of full honor system.

Many students grow to enjoy the culture of trusts. Disadvantages:

Same as first five disadvantages of full honor system.

Option C: "Quasi-Honor Systems" Definition:

No honor code per se is in place, but a culture of academic integrity is promoted by
1) establishing clear policies and guidelines toward academic integrity, 2) clearly and frequently
communicating expectations regarding honesty to students, 3) providing an atmosphere which encourages
students to value and practice academic honesty (moral socialization), 4) initiating open university dialog
on honesty issues, 5) possibly setting up some courses or programs on campus that more fully emulate an
actual honor system, 6) frequently encouraging students to know the rules the school sets, and 7) carefully
monitoring dishonesty and taking offenses very seriously (at minimum, requiring completion of an
academic dishonesty form)5. A new grade might be instituted to denote course failure due to academic
dishonesty. Student involvement with the creation and implementation of such a system is critical to its

success. Faculty and administrative support must be present. Advantages:

May require less time, effort, and adjustment than an actual honor code system. Studies have suggested that the primary advantage of a full honor system (i.e., culture of integrity) is still present here, and is likely to be effective in promoting academic integrity 4,1,6.

May be less threatening to new and prospective students than an honor code system. Disadvantages:

A well-developed integrity plan and continual promotion of the culture of integrity is necessary for the system to be successful. Without continual promotion of the culture, it may be easy to slip into the 'no culture' option.

Same as first 4 disadvantages of option A.

The university and students would not benefit from the prestige and trust that comes with being an honor code institution. Furthermore, maintaining a strong culture of integrity may not be as easy without a code in place.

Option D: No Culture of Academic Integrity Definition:

No or little effort is made to develop a culture of academic integrity on campus. Advantages:

This option involves the least time, work, and effort. Disadvantages:

High levels of student dishonesty are likely to occur. Studies have shown that unless continual efforts are made to communicate to students the importance of and procedures for maintaining academic integrity, and students are involved in this process of promoting integrity, high levels of student dishonesty are often experienced45.

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References


1Melendez, B. 1985. Honor code study. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University.

2 Bowers, W.J. 1964. Student dishonesty and its control in college. New York Bureau of Applied Social Research, Columbia University.

'McCabe, D.L., and Trevino, L.K. 1993. Academic dishonesty: Honor codes and other contextual influences. Journal of Higher Education. 64: 522-538.

4McCabe, D.L. and Drinan, P.F. 1999. Toward a culture of academic integrity. The Chronicle of Higher Education. 46(8,Oct. 15):B7.

5McCabe, D.L., Trevino, L.K., and Butterfield K.D. 1999. Academic integrity in honor code and nonhonor code environments. The Journal of Higher Education. 70(2): 211-234.

6Cole, S., and McCabe, D.L. 1996. Issues in academic integrity. New Directions for Student Services. 73(spring): 67-77.

7Lowry, J.D. 1996. Communities of trust: A recent graduate's experience with honor codes. Journal of College Science Teaching 26(1): 6.

Questionnaire. Please assist the Honor Code Committee evaluate the faculty's opinions on the appropriateness of an honor code for MV. Rank the appropriateness of each of the following options for MU. '1' is the most appropriate option, and '4' is the least appropriate option. Please add your comments.

Option Rank
Option A
Option B
Option C
Option D
Comments:

Please return to box in back of room or to Kathy Schreiber, Geography, 245 McComsey by Monday, October 9.


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