Now What? Bouncing Back from an Unusually High Caseload of Academic Dishonesty

For academic integrity practitioners across the globe, incidents of reported academic misconduct were likely higher in the previous semester. If you thought you were alone, a quick Google News alert will send you multiple emails a week detailing other institutions’ struggles with academic misconduct rates. For faculty, students, and practitioners this was a frustrating semester. While no stakeholder is to blame–this was an unprecedented pandemic–it can be argued that stakeholders failed to work together to get through this time of crisis. Looking forward, what steps can be taken in the new year to increase collaboration and cooperation with our campus partners?

  1. Review faculty strategies: You may have seen which approaches worked and which were less successful. If there were specific strategies that made a positive impact on student behavior, make sure you share them. Faculty across departments don’t always interact, but you may know some tips and tricks that cross departmental lines and can assist faculty campus-wide.
  2. Manage student interventions: If you have any interventions for students in the coming months, review their implementation in a remote environment. If they prove unhelpful, maybe the intervention should be shelved pending a return to in-person coursework. Evaluate the content programming you are providing and make adjustments as needed.
  3. Communicate clearly: Send out expectations, tips, tricks, and reminders at key points throughout the term. See if you can tag on to an existing newsletter or campus publication to help students uphold their integrity without inundating their inboxes.
  4. Adjust your expectations: You may be busy closing cases that occurred during final exams, but faculty and students are eager to start the new term and move forward. Embrace this term. You may continue to have an increased caseload this semester, but you can make it through this one too!

While there may be a few more hiccups as we navigate remote, distance, and hybrid learning models, there is also hope that the return to “normal” is fast approaching. Comment below to share your strategies for the new term.

About the Author
Courtney Cullen is the Program Coordinator in the Office of Academic Honesty at the University of Georgia. Cullen works to support the initiatives of the Office of Academic Honesty and is working towards a Ph.D. in Higher Education.
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