Spotlight- Grand Valley State University’s Academic Integrity Training for Students and Faculty

Academic Integrity Training for Students and Faculty
GVSU’s Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution
Anthony T. Williams, Jr.

Holding students accountable for academic misconduct has been a priority for colleges and universities since the beginning of higher education. Faculty expect and trust that their students will honestly complete work independently as they pursue their academic studies. Like many universities, Grand Valley State University (GVSU) understands that we must use a multifaceted approach to address academic misconduct effectively.  In addition to the facilitation of a  restorative, socially just, and educational conduct process, GVSU’s Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution (OSCCR) provides students and faculty a variety of academic integrity workshops to prevent academic misconduct.

College courses are fundamentally different and, in many cases, more complicated than what most high school students experience. In preparation for this difference, colleges and universities must proactively prepare students for this change. Our general workshop, Avoiding Academic Misconduct, provides students with an opportunity to explore and fully understand our academic integrity policies, students

  • Learn the specific policies they are being held accountable for
  • Gain an introduction to the student conduct process should any allegations arise
  • Identify the potential harms of academic misconduct and restorative measures should they be found in violation of any policy.

Knowing this information up front has proven to be a deterrent in students committing academic misconduct. This workshop is also very engaging. The workshop facilitator assists students in working through a series of scenarios to identify specific types of academic misconduct and invites students to share how they have avoided or addressed related scenarios in the past. This workshop facilitation technique truly fosters a more engaged group of participants and creates an invaluable shared learning experience. We end the workshop by providing students with a list of campus resources to avoid academic misconduct.

Working with students to avoid academic misconduct is only half of the battle. Working with faculty to ensure that they are promoting academic integrity and holding students accountable for student misconduct, per the student code, is also very important. In collaboration with GVSU’s Faculty Teaching and Learning Center, we developed a Promoting Academic Integrity and Avoiding Academic Misconduct workshop. This workshop provides faculty with the same opportunity to explore and fully understand our academic integrity policies – faculty must know what the university is holding students accountable to and the procedures for appropriately responding to and reporting academic misconduct concerns. We open this workshop by asking faculty, “How do faculty help students cheat?” This question highlights the primary focus of this workshop – promoting academic integrity. We invite faculty to share how they communicate their expectations, how they design their assignments, and how they assess student learning, all while keeping student learning and academic integrity at the core. This dialogue was especially important as we transitioned to 100% online classes in response to COVID-19. Like the student workshop, we invite faculty members to share how they address academic misconduct within their specific disciplines and end the workshop with campus resources.

The data from our assessment efforts have been consistent across all workshops. Both students and faculty have shared that they benefit from understanding our policies and procedures, the opportunity to learn from their peers during the workshop, and the list of campus resources provided by the OSCCR facilitator.

About the Author
Anthony T. Williams Jr. is an experienced Student Affairs Professional, Social Justice Educator, and Restorative Practices Facilitator. He currently serves as the Director of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution at Grand Valley State University. Anthony earned a B.S. in Business Management from Chicago State University, a M.S. in College Student Personnel from Illinois State University, and is currently enrolled in Jackson State University’s Urban Higher Education Ph.D. program. Throughout Anthony’s career, he has served in various University Housing and Student Conduct roles. Anthony grounds his work in Social Justice and Restorative Practices, and has served as a Consultant for many organizations and universities across the United States.
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