Dear Wittenberg University Faculty:
Most of us are honest. In fact, most of us believe we are more honest than a lot of the other people we know. Our students typically feel the same way we do. So, how is it that more than 70% of college students admit to at least one instance of serious cheating in their college careers? The truth is that students cheat for a number of reasons, including competition for grades, the perception that everyone else is cheating, and a culture of permissiveness that seems to tolerate and even reward dishonesty. Many times, though, we assume that students cheat because they are lazy, don't care, or just aren't smart enough. But how often do we stop to think about how our pedagogical practices influence the choices students make about whether or not to cheat? What does it mean that we sometimes turn a blind eye toward cheating in our classes?
As you know, at Wittenberg, we have a Code of Academic Integrity. This policy established an Honor Council whose responsibility it is to help Wittenberg develop an awareness of and appreciation for academic integrity. The policy outlines procedures for resolving allegations of academic dishonesty, and allows for new and, in some cases, more harsh penalties for violating Wittenberg 's standards for academic honesty.
The Honor Council wants to thank you for your support of the code. However, the work of defining our standards for academic integrity and of deciding what, as a community, we expect from each other is an ongoing process. We know that we can count on your continued commitment. Briefly, here are a few things you can do to show your support of the code:
- The best way to promote academic honesty is to have students pledge their work. Students can write the Honor Statement on their work or simply sign their work, indicating that they affirm the Honor Statement. Here's the Honor Statement: "I affirm that my work upholds the highest standards of honesty and academic integrity at Wittenberg, and that I have neither given nor received any unauthorized assistance."
- Talk with your students about academic integrity - what it is and why it is valuable.
- Be consistent in your challenges to academic dishonesty. Help to define and support campus-wide policies on academic integrity.
If you have any questions about the code or procedures, please do not hesitate to contact the Honor Council by emailing the Honor Council Chair. (See "Member Directory" link on the right - the first student listed is the chair.) Thank you.
The Wittenberg Honor Council