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UCF Burnett Honors College Freshman Symposium: “Ethics, Integrity and Building an Academic Community: The Role of Honors Students”. Nancy A. Stanlick, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Philosophy E-mail: September 13-14, 2003. Introduction. What is Ethics?

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UCF Burnett Honors CollegeFreshman Symposium:“Ethics, Integrity and Building an Academic Community: The Role of Honors Students”

Nancy A. Stanlick, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Department of Philosophy


September 13-14, 2003

  • What is Ethics?
    • A branch of philosophy
      • Applicable to all areas of human inquiry and endeavor
    • Two major divisions in theoretical ethics:
      • Liberal Individualism
      • Virtue Ethics/Communitarianism
honor codes in colleges and universities
Honor Codes in Colleges and Universities
  • What are they meant to do?
    • UCF’s Golden Rule
    • UCF Creed
    • Burnett Honors College Honor Code (next slide):
        • Note the highlighted terms and phrases
burnett honors college honor code
Burnett Honors College Honor Code

As a member of The Burnett Honors College I pledge to uphold the following academic andethical standards:

To strive for the highest levels of performance in all scholarly endeavors and to do so with the enthusiasm that stems from a true love of learning and adevotion to academic excellence

To demonstrate self-discipline, commitment, and responsibility in fulfilling my obligations as amember of the academic community

To show thoughtfulness, understanding, and empathy toward my peers, and to offer encouragement as they pursue theirintellectual goals

To be respectful of, and attentive toward those who teach and mentor, while cherishing the ideal that academic excellence is best served wherescholarly debateflourishes

To honor thetraditional rules of conductthat guide the achievements of a scholar includingcontempt for plagiarism, cheating, falsification, or any activity that threatens academic integrity and honesty.

what is the honor code
What IS the Honor Code?
  • Is it a list of externally imposed rules with attendant punishments for infractions?
  • OR
  • Is it a way of academic, personal, and professional life that you choose for yourself?
  • How do these possibilities relate to theoretical views of academic integrity?
bernard gert s competitive model of cheating and academic integrity
Bernard Gert’s Competitive Modelof Cheating and Academic Integrity
  • The goal of education is not only to do the best that you can, but to do better than others (an analogy to a game). So, to cheat is to cheat other students - not yourself, not faculty, not the community on the whole.
  • Cheating is wrong because it disadvantages others who are engaging in the same competition. Education is like a game.
what are the implications of gert s approach
What are the Implications of Gert’s Approach?
  • An Individual Ascendancy Approach/Individualism
    • Present orientation, hedonism, duty to self (see Kibler, Nuss, Paterson and Pavela, 4).
    • Heavy Emphasis on Negative Rights – Liberal Individualism’s focus
    • Not to do harm to others, to leave others alone, not to interfere with their rights
  • From Sissela Bok, Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life (New York: Vintage, 1999, p. 244) - “The very stress on individualism, on competition, on achieving material success which so marks our society also generates intense pressures to cut corners.”
an alternative view emphasizing academic community
An Alternative View: Emphasizing Academic Community
  • Gert’s view lacks appropriate incentive NOT to cheat; encourages “passing,” but not “passing.”
    • If Gert is right that education is competitive, it does not follow that the cheater will NOT cheat because others won’t allow the cheater to gain the benefits of the activity (education). It is, instead, that a competitive view of education leads to the cheater finding more and better ways to cheat so as NOT to be caught.
  • Therefore, thinking of education as a competitive activity does not minimize problems of cheating. It might, instead, exacerbate them.
  • Is the analogy to a game appropriate for education?
an alternative view continued
An Alternative View Continued
  • Perhaps the way to combat the problem of academic dishonesty is to prevent the temptation to cheat before it starts. The way to do that is to build educational, academic communities in which respect for others and commitment to academic excellence are ways of life, not externally imposed requirements. To help to build such a community is to see oneself as a member of a community, not to see oneself simply as being present in an impersonal academic institution. An academic community is a place in which the community enhances the individual and where the individual enhances the community.
building an academic community a virtue ethics approach
Building an Academic Community: A Virtue Ethics Approach
  • Stating the “rules” is not enough
    • The rules come from within oneself
  • Focus on Community Ascendancy – future orientation, taking responsibility for oneself, recognizing and acting on obligations to others (see Kibler, Nuss, Paterson and Pavela, 4).
    • Recognition of the dignity and value of self and others
    • The model of friendships as personal, political, and social relations in Aristotle’s ethical theory
      • Types of friend/personal relationships (pleasure, utility, mutuality)
      • Interest in the good of the self and others, and others as “other selves”
      • What is your relationship with others as honors students? Why does it matter?
  • Building Trust:
    • “Trust and integrity are precious resources, easily squandered, hard to regain. They can thrive only on a foundation of respect for veracity” (Bok, 249).
aristotle on friendship as holding communities together
Aristotle on Friendship as Holding Communities Together
  • There are … three kinds of friendship, equal in number to the things that are lovable; for with respect to each there is a mutual and recognized love, and those who love each other wish well to each other in that respect in which they love one another. Now those who love each other for their utility do not love each other for themselves but in virtue of some good which they get from each other. So too with those who love for the sake of pleasure; it is not for their character that men love ready-witted people, but because they find them pleasant. Therefore those who love for the sake of utility love for the sake of what is good for themselves, and those who love for the sake of pleasure do so for the sake of what is pleasant to themselves, and not in so far as the other is the person loved but in so far as he is useful or pleasant. And thus these friendships are only incidental; for it is not as being the man he is that the loved person is loved, but as providing some good or pleasure. Such friendships, then, are easily dissolved, if the parties do not remain like themselves; for if the one party is no longer pleasant or useful the other ceases to love him. (Bk. VIII)
aristotle on friendship continued
Aristotle on Friendship continued
  • “Perfect friendship is the friendship of men who are good, and alike in virtue; for these wish well alike to each other qua good, and they are good themselves. Now those who wish well to their friends for their sake are most truly friends; for they do this by reason of own nature and not incidentally; therefore their friendship lasts as long as they are good-and goodness is an enduring thing. And each is good without qualification and to his friend, for the good are both good without qualification and useful to each other. So too they are pleasant; for the good are pleasant both without qualification and to each other, since to each his own activities and others like them are pleasurable, and the actions of the good are the same or like.” (Bk. VIII)
  • This ismutuality, other-selfness, and it holds people, and communities, together for common goals & the common good.
aristotle on friendship continued1
Aristotle on Friendship Continued
  • “But it is natural that such friendships should be infrequent; for such men are rare. Further, such friendship requires time and familiarity … nor can they admit each other to friendship or be friends till each has been found lovable and been trusted by each.” (Bk. VIII)
  • “The friendship of good men is good, being augmented by their companionship; and they are thought to become better too by their activities and by improving each other; for from each other they take the mould of the characteristics they approve ….” (Bk. IX) -- that is, they are moral exemplars to themselves and others.
questions about academic integrity
Questions about Academic Integrity
  • If you witness someone cheating on an exam, why do you believe it is morally wrong?
  • If someone buys (or steals, or in some other way appropriates) a term paper from another source and submits it as his or her own work, what is your reaction? Are there ever cases in which doing so is defensible or excusable or “understandable”?
  • Why do you believe that the individual ascendancy model of academic cheating might characterize our society?
  • Would you prefer the community ascendancy model? Why?
  • Who gains and who loses in cases of academic dishonesty?
  • How does the BHC Honor Code affect you individually? Does it heighten your awareness of your obligations to yourself and to others?
  • How is the concept of "honor" related to your status as a student in an honors college?
  • What are the obligations of honors students as academic exemplars in a university setting?
  • Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics (any edition).
  • Bok, Sissela. Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life. New York: Vintage Books, 1999.
  • Gert, Bernard. Morality: Its Nature and Justification. New York: Oxford, 1998.
  • Kibler, William L., Elizabeth M. Nuss, et al. Academic Integrity and Student Development: Legal Issues and Policy Perspectives. College Administration Publications, 1988.
  • McCabe, Donald L., Linda K. Trevino and Kenneth D. Butterfield. “Cheating in Academic Institutions: A Decade of Research,” Ethics and Behavior, 11(3), 2001: 219-232.
  • McCabe, Donald L. and Linda K. Trevino. “Academic Dishonesty: Honor Codes and Contextual Influences,” Journal of Higher Education, 64(5), Sept-Oct. 1993: 522-538.
  • Noah, Harold J. and Max A. Eckstein. Fraud and Education: The Worm in the Apple. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2001.
  • Stanlick, Nancy A. “Ethics, Integrity, and the Academic Community.” Selected Papers from the 16th International Conference on College Teaching and Learning. Jacksonville, FL: Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, 2005, pp. 171-183.
selected websites and books on ethics
Selected Websites and Books on Ethics
  • Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics (An Online Version)
  • Immanuel Kant, Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals (An Online Version)
  • John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism (An Online Version)
  • Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (An Online Version)
  • David Gauthier, Morals by Agreement
  • J.L. Mackie, Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong
  • Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  • Ethics Updates (Academic Integrity Site)