Update for academic integrity policy

Justine Haaland

Justine Haaland

On Dec. 11, the Academic Senate and the Students’ Association will be co-hosting an Academic Integrity Forum in room 169 in The Union from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The forum will discuss definitions of plagiarism and cheating as well as ideas for updating the current policy.

“It’s a vague, out-of-date policy that is understood differently between faculty and students,” said Eric Hanson, Students’ Association’s administrative assistant as well as head of the senator sub-committee for the forum. “For example, the process for appealing a charge of academic dishonesty is not clear, guidelines aren’t apparent regarding technology and policies are handled differently from department to department.” The current policy can be found on course syllabi.

A sub-committee of three senators was created to research and focus on the three areas of academic integrity. These include the prevention of plagiarism, other institution policies on plagiarism (both with the regents system and without) and a study about cases of plagiarism. The committee members include Hanson, Assistant Professor and Reference Librarian Laura Wight and Padu Krishnan, a Department of Nutrition, Food Science and Hospitality professor.

The Academic Integrity Forum will “give students and faculty some broad definitions on plagiarism and cheating,” said Madeliene Andrawis, the Academic Senate chair. “It’s open to any faculty and students. It will bring more awareness to the whole issue and help students realize the consequences. However, students shouldn’t feel like they’re being targeted.”

The ideas discussed at the forum will be brought before the Academic Appeals committee.

“The primary goal of the forum is to clearly outline the policy and develop where we go from here,” said Hanson. “Plagiarism is not a major issue at SDSU.” He said it is more of an issue in specific departments that deal a lot with writing.

“So far it’s been dealt with between students and faculty or students and faculty heads,” said Andrawis.

Coming to discuss the policy and answer student and faculty questions is Jim Shekelton, a lawyer for the Board of Regents who writes and interprets policies. He will be answering any questions from the faculty or students regarding plagiarism, cheating and fabrication. “He had already been examining the academic integrity policies before I came to him, so he’s well-educated in the matter,” said Hanson.

“This provides an open setting for students and faculty to come and have their concerns and voices heard,” said Students’ Association President Alex Brown. “It is a good opportunity to partner with the Academic Senate and help open up lines of communication.”

Brown recommends that questions be e-mailed to Eric Hanson ([email protected]) prior to the forum so that Shekelton can review the questions and prepare answers. “This is a great chance for students to bring up issues and concerns about cheating and get questions answered,” said Hanson. “It’s a great opportunity for students and faculty to work together.”

“We are building the future of this country and it is good to have that future built on honesty and integrity,” said Andrawis.