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Academic Integrity: Some Ethical Issues. Academic Integrity Workshop University of San Diego January 26, 2005. Overview. Introduction What’s Wrong with Cheating? Three P’s of Academic Integrity A Culture of Integrity Expanding the Horizons Web resources. Introduction.

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Academic Integrity:Some Ethical Issues

Academic Integrity Workshop

University of San Diego

January 26, 2005

©Lawrence M. Hinman

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  • Introduction

  • What’s Wrong with Cheating?

  • Three P’s of Academic Integrity

  • A Culture of Integrity

  • Expanding the Horizons

  • Web resources

©Lawrence M. Hinman

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  • My own involvement in:

    • The Fundamental Values project

    • Web-based plagiarism

  • Fundamental conviction: If students don’t learn integrity now, there’s no hope that they will learn it later—and the consequences are Enron, WorldCom, political misrepresentation, etc.

©Lawrence M. Hinman

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What’s Wrong with Cheating

Five approaches:

  • A Kantian analysis: not playing by the rules

  • A Consequentialist analysis: cheating hurts other people

  • A Virtues analysis: cheating as a violation of personal integrity

  • Feminist ethics: cheating as a violation of relationships

  • Multicultural ethics: cheating and cultural values

©Lawrence M. Hinman

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A Kantian Analysis

  • Cheating is not playing by the rules

  • Understand cheating as a form of deception

©Lawrence M. Hinman

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A Consequentialist Analysis

  • Cheating is wrong because it hurts other people (Bernie Gert)

  • Myth: cheaters only cheat themselves

  • Reality: cheaters often get

©Lawrence M. Hinman

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A Virtues Approach

  • Virtues necessary for flourishing

  • Cheating is a weakness of character

  • Deception cuts us off from others

©Lawrence M. Hinman

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Feminist Perspectives

  • No single feminist perspective, but certain distinctive themes

  • Cheating is a disruption of a relationship:

    • Between teacher and student

    • Among students

    • Between students and parents

  • The challenge: restoring the relationship

©Lawrence M. Hinman

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Multicultural Perspectives

  • Conflicting values: honesty, loyalty, duty to parents

  • What counts as cheating in the U.S. might not be perceived in the same way in home country

    • Compare bribery

  • U.S. viewed as dominating country

©Lawrence M. Hinman

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Three P’s of Academic Integrity

The three P’s:

  • Prevention

  • Policing

  • Punishment

    Depends on point of intervention in the process:

©Lawrence M. Hinman

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Better teaching

  • Cheating often arises in a vacuum

  • Good teaching reduces the likelihood of those vacuums

    Better exams and assignments

  • Individualized paper topics

  • Rough drafts, outlines, oral presentations of papers

©Lawrence M. Hinman

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  • Proctoring exams


    • Often effective

    • Similar to urine testing for athletes

    • High cost, and the costs don’t contribute to better teaching

    • Surveillance society

©Lawrence M. Hinman

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  • The challenge is to find ways of making punishment something that will help the offender.

  • Often, for the professor, the challenge is finding a way of staying connected with the student while still imposing punishment or reporting the offense.

  • Importance of reconciliation

©Lawrence M. Hinman

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A Culture of Integrity

  • If we fail to establish an environment of integrity, it becomes reasonable for students to cheat.

  • We want to avoid a situation in which honest students are disadvantaged by their honesty and dishonest students get ahead.

  • Fundamental values: honesty, trust, respect, fairness, and responsibility,

  • Direct link between academic integrity and honesty in business and politics, where often lack of integrity seems the norm.

©Lawrence M. Hinman

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Expanding the Definition of Academic Integrity

All-too-easy to cast stones. We should look at ourselves, not just our students. Additional areas of concern:

  • Faculty model integrity for students

  • Fair grading and letters of recommendation

  • Treating students with respect

  • Establishing a climate of trust

  • Faculty violations of trust relationship with students

  • Responsible for excellence in course content

  • Faculty evaluations of each other for RRT

  • Academic misconduct by faculty

  • Downloading music on school networks

  • Favored treatment of athletes

  • Academic integrity in distance education

  • School administrators and teachers cheating to raise student scores in K-12

©Lawrence M. Hinman

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Web Resources

This presentation:


    Ethics Updates resources:


©Lawrence M. Hinman