I’m wrapping up a big project which entailed doing a bunch of things (it’s a long story, really) to strengthen academic integrity on our campus. As I’m putting finishing touches to the project, I’m also processing many plagiarism and other academic dishonesty reports against students (as part of my new administrative duties) .
So, as you might imagine, I’m having hard time making sense of it all.
If there are more reports of academic dishonesty, does it mean that more students are cheating or does it mean that faculty are more aware of the problem and being more vigilant? I’m just not sure. This is beyond the scope of my research. And how can we know such a thing?
All I know is that I’ve been running around the last three years (but really seven years) talking about academic integrity and “honest work” and the value of a degree and all that good stuff… and I’m now spending most of my time at work dealing with the “bad apples.” It’s as if they’re laughing at me – these reports. It’s as if they’re spitting in my face – these students. I’m questioning my efforts.
Of course, given the number of students who are taking English classes on our campus, the number of students reported is indeed a very small number. (And this is yet another example of how the negative things, the bad things in life take up more of our energy than the good – see “Bad is Stronger than Good.”)
I’m trying not to lose faith or heart… and think about all the other students who DID NOT cheat this semester in our English classes. Thank you, for NOT cheating.
I hope the other teachers are having a plagiarism-free ending to the fall semester.