Concord/Bluefield Alpha Chi hosts teleconference (Features)

Last week on April 3rd Concord and Bluefield College’s chapters of Alpha Chi hosted a teleconference between the Center for Academic Integrity and the Executive Director of the Alpha Chi Honor Society. In this teleconference they discussed issues regarding academic integrity and academic dishonesty.

This panel of people included student and faculty representatives from Concord University and Bluefield College. It also included representatives from the Center for Academic Integrity (CAI) at Duke University and from the National Alpha Chi office at Harding University. The representatives were: Dr. Dennis Organ - Executive Director of Alpha Chi, Mr. Timothy Dodd - Executive Director of the Center for Academic Integrity, Dr. Rob Merritt - Virginia Kappa chapter Sponsor, Michelle Stubbs - a student from Bluefield College and Kappa member, Dr. Daniel Anderson - Professor of Business at Bluefield College, Dr. Stephen D. Rowe - West Virginia Beta chapter sponsor, Ms. Corrie Mckee - Concord University student and Beta member, and Dr. James white - Associate Professor of Political Science at Concord University.

The entire teleconference was paid for by a chapter grant from Alpha Chi and was setup by Steve Meadows of the Center for Academic Technologies here at Concord. It was the first teleconference between the respective parties and went over with very few problems.

In 2004 the Association of College Honor Societies decided that its national theme would be academic integrity and many societies adopted this as their theme. According to Organ, Alpha Chi has adopted the theme for a 2-3 year period. The goal is to educate not only students in academic integrity but teachers as well.

Two questions were asked to the panel and they were “what level of honesty should be expected of students who submit written academic assignments, and what consequences should there be for proven dishonesty?” And “what level of honesty should be expected of faculty and administrators who publish professionally, and what are or should be the consequences for proven dishonesty?” The questions were asked in several round about ways and had input not just from the teachers but also.

During the discussion of the student Michelle Stubbs said, “...[we] give our instructors the benefit of being honest…[which] allows [students] to be able to build better relationships with instructors.” Which is true; as an unwritten rule, students do not bother to think that their instructor is going to be truthful about what they say about policies and rules regarding academic integrity and dishonesty.

Shortly after, Dodd said, “...[students recognize] how important it is to display the highest standards of integrity” in a place where academic integrity is discussed. He went on to say no matter the educational institution where academic integrity is discussed that, “expectations shouldn’t be different.”

Dodd also described the state of academic integrity and dishonesty policies as being “...buried in student handbooks and most students usually don’t spend their free hours reading it.” So that leaves many students ignorant of the policies their school may or may not have.

Dodd also firmly stated his opinion about the faculty needing to go farther than outlining what academic dishonesty and integrity is in their syllabus. He believes they need to go farther and spend a segment talking about it to the class so that students understand what can happen if they are caught.

White had a similar perspective, though harsher, as Stubbs’s stating, “we faculty are a lot to blame.” His comment was in regard to the CAI’s website about faculty not enforcing standing policies of their institution. White also regarded as an invaluable tool for teachers to head-off plagiarism and other attempts (known or unknown) at academic dishonesty.

The panel concluded that academic dishonesty consequences often fall to the professor instead of going with what is stated in the school’s policies because that leaves a student vulnerable and not able to defend themselves. Dodd stated that he believes an appeals process is essential in cases of academic dishonesty.
If you would like to see the entire teleconference you can acquire a free DVD copy by talking to Dr. Rowe in the library. His office is located at the back of library on the right just before the writing lab in the back.

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