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Academic Integrity Committee recommends initiatives to university

ATHENS, Ohio (Feb. 22, 2007) -- The Ohio University Academic Integrity Committee, which first met in August 2006, recently released a report to the campus community that provides recommendations for initiatives that promote academic integrity.

The recommendations draw from data collected from several sources including the "Day of Discourse," a campus-wide discussion held last fall, and the chairs and directors' survey, which gathered responses from 28 university employees in leadership positions. 

In the report, the 10-member committee recommends the university develop an integrated approach to promoting academic integrity in the areas of pedagogy, dialogue, accountability and culture. The report recommends the following initiatives to help promote academic integrity:

  • Expand the use of software Turnitin.com as a university tool for students and faculty. The software is being tested winter quarter on one of the university's learning communities. Turnitin.com identifies work that has a high degree of similarity to other recorded documents. If duplication surfaces, the committee recommends a meeting between the student, the instructor and other appropriate university administrators, to resolve the situation. The committee hopes the university can use the software as a deterrent to academic misconduct and an educational tool.

  • Adopt an Honor Code that will promote ongoing dialogue about academic integrity, educate the campus community and create academic expectations for students. Students from the Academic Integrity Committee and Student Senate wrote the initial draft of the code. The committee is currently collaborating with Student Senate to establish an Honor Council, whose initial charge will be creating a final version of the Honor Code.

  • Streamline academic misconduct violations in order to expedite and simplify the process of faculty reporting to University Judiciaries. The Academic Integrity Committee discovered that many faculty have not reported academic violations because they found the reporting process burdensome.

  • Continue assessing academic integrity statistics. Doctoral student Melissa Broeckelman wrote a 2006 report on academic misconduct and will continue to coordinate the university's assessment efforts.

     
  • Maintain a relationship with the Center for Academic Integrity as a resource. The center provides a forum to identify, affirm, and promote the values of academic integrity among students, faculty, teachers and administrators and has a membership of more than 220 U.S. universities and colleges.

  • Use the committee's Web site (www.ohio.edu/provost/academic-integrity-committee.cfm) as a tool to keep the university community informed about the latest news regarding academic integrity.

  • Continue searching for and sharing best practices with the campus community via the AIC Web site or workshops.

"The broad array of voices represented in the report demonstrates that we not only want to continue working to improve the climate of academic integrity at Ohio University, but that we want to be thoughtful in our approach," said Scott Titsworth, co-chair of the Academic Integrity Committee. "The report is just one step. Our committee will continue exploring ideas and promoting dialogue."

Titsworth added that the ultimate success of AIC initiatives will depend on the willingness of the campus community to act upon the ideas contained in the report.

The committee reported that it would not pursue online tutorials as an educational tool because of their perceived lack of impact. It would, however, like to see an ethos of honesty created in the long term.   

The report also explained that the name of the committee was changed from the Academic Honesty Committee to the Academic Integrity Committee because the word "integrity" is stronger and implies someone actively choosing to do what is ethical. 

The committee, which was formed after a former student's allegations of plagiarism at the university were presented to the administration, will continue to meet during spring quarter.

Members of the Academic Integrity Committee are: Co-chairs Susan Sarnoff and Scott Titsworth, Melissa Broeckelman, David Descutner, Jayme Feldman, Patti McSteen, Judith Millesen, Michael Mumper, Judy Piercy and Dee Dee Riffe.

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Media Contact: Media Specialist George Mauzy, 740-597-1794 or mauzy@ohio.edu

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