VPCAI releases report and proposed recommendations, invites feedback from University community
VPCAI releases report and proposed recommendations, invites feedback from University communityOctober 23, 2006Sara Millersemortim@syr.edu
The Vice Chancellor & Provost’s Committee on Academic Integrity (VPCAI) was convened in the Fall 2004 semester to conduct research and develop recommendations to uphold the highest ideals of academic integrity. The committee–faculty, staff and undergraduate and graduate students–was charged, among other tasks, to “address academic integrity expectations for faculty, students, staff and administrators,” as well as procedures for responding to alleged violations of those expectations.
During the Spring 2006 semester, the VPCAI completed its recommendations on student academic integrity, with the final report submitted to the vice chancellor and provost in May 2006. These recommendations were accepted, modified and became effective on July 1.
This year, in continuation of its charge, the VPCAI has focused primarily on academic integrity expectations for faculty, instructors, administrators and staff. Relevant data from the SU academic integrity survey administered in 2004 were reviewed, along with pertinent literature and best practices. In order to assess current practices regarding academic integrity, the committee collected and reviewed existing policies applicable to these groups, and conducted interviews with several administrators and faculty to gauge the current standards and procedures. Those interviewed were: Ben Ware, vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School; HSHP Dean Diane Lyden Murphy, in her capacity as former chair of the University Senate Committee on Academic Freedom, Tenure and Professional Ethics; Michael Flusche, associate vice chancellor; Kal Alston, associate provost; Neil Strodel, associate vice president and chief human resources officer; Curlene Autry, director of diversity and resolution processes; Jack Matson, director of staff relations and recruitment; Jamie Mullin, director of compliance in the Department of Athletics; Thomas Evans, University counsel; and Ernest Wallwork, professor of religion.
Based on this research, the VPCAI has drawn the following conclusions:
1. To coordinate and provide an appropriate context for academic integrity expectations set forth in a variety of existing documents, a policy should be adopted setting forth the University’s general commitment to integrity and the specific importance of academic integrity to the endeavors of all members of the University community. Accordingly, the committee proposes that the following statement be adopted and made applicable to all members of the University community:
“Each administrator, faculty member, instructor, staff member and student is responsible forthe integrity of the University community. Our roles within this community differ, but we share the obligation to exercise honesty, trustworthiness, fairness and respect for one another in all endeavors we undertake as members of this community. We rely on each other to act in accordance with those expectations, and we are all accountable for upholding these values.
“Academic integrity is the essence of integrity in an educational setting. Academic dishonesty undermines the objectives of our community: learning, intellectual exploration, teaching, research, creative accomplishment, leadership, engaged citizenship and personal development. Results obtained through academic dishonesty are hollow.
“Specific academic integrity expectations for administrators, instructors, staff and students are separately set forth in the Syracuse University Code of Ethical Conduct, Syracuse University Academic Integrity Policies and Procedures, NCAA Manual, Syracuse University Faculty Manual, and the Syracuse University Employee Handbook.”
2. Procedures exist for reporting and addressing concerns related to the academic integrity of instructors, staff and administrators. Although the VPCAI proposes no modifications to existing procedures for reporting and addressing concerns related to the academic integrity of faculty, instructors, staff and administrators, the committee recommends that individuals responsible for implementing these procedures review their efficiency and effectiveness in light of the University’s renewed commitment to academic integrity.
3. A campus culture characterized by “the highest ideals of academic integrity” depends on the participation and commitment of all members of the University community. This will be achieved only through ongoing education, reflection, discussion and practice.
“Many people ssociate ‘academic integrity’ only with student conduct,” says Elletta Sangrey Callahan, committee chair and professor of law and public policy in the Whitman School of Management. “We need to view this as relevant to the actions of faculty, instructors, staff and administrators, as well. High personal standards are critical to the educational process, and all of us are accountable in this regard.”
The committee invites all members of the University community to provide feedback on its draft report and conclusions through two public forums, Oct. 26 and 30. The Oct. 26 forum will begin at 4 p.m. in Room 1-109 of the Center for Science and Technology; the Oct. 30 forum will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Room 201B of the Goldstein Student Center on South Campus. Additionally, the committee’s draft report is available for review online at the MySlice website (https://myslice.syr.edu), and a comment form is available through the SU Academic Affairs website (http://provost.syr.edu/integritymatters.asp). Feedback may also be provided by contacting any member of the VPCAI. Committee members’ e-mail addresses are also available on the Academic Affairs website.
After receiving feedback from the University community, the committee will present its revised report to the University Senate on Dec. 6 and expects to submit a final report to Interim Vice Chancellor and Provost Eric Spina by the end of the fall semester.