Top 10 Ways to Improve Academic Integrity
Without (Much) Money
Form a Campus Academic Integrity Committee
Everyone on campus touches academic integrity. So one easy (and affordable) way to enhance academic integrity on campus is to form a committee that includes student, faculty and staff representatives. Charge the committee with one specific goal that they could actually accomplish in the first year such as: surveying the student body to establish a baseline measure of academic integrity (ICAI survey free for ICAI members!), conducting focus groups with faculty to uncover their concerns or ideas, or organizing the campus participation in the International Day of Action Against Contract Cheating. If the Committee is able to accomplish something in year one, it will gain traction, legitimacy, and support.
We recommend that you include representatives from:
- Student Government (Undergraduate, graduate and professional)
- Academic/Faculty Senate
- Educational technology services
- Student Affairs Administrators
- Residential Life
- Academic Advising
- Teaching and/or Learning Centers
- Writing Programs and/or Centers
- Testing Center
- Student Support Centers
- Any area/unit that supports teaching and learning!
Determine the State of Academic Integrity on Your Campus
Make Use of the Academic Integrity Rating System (AIRS)
AIRS is a FREE tool your campus can use to assess in what areas of best integrity practices your institution is doing well and in what areas you could improve. It is a quick assessment that can also help generate academic integrity awareness on your campus.
Provide an Academic Integrity Checklist for Faculty
Faculty are on the front line of academic honesty, and they may need reminders that integrity in the classroom is important for them to address. A checklist can help faculty remain informed about integrity, the office handling cases of academic misconduct, and best practices to address integrity in their classrooms. You can make these easily and send them out using email lists.
Get Students Involved
Students should be involved in educating their peers on the integrity policy at your campus. They know how to best engage their peers. They understand what their peers are going through, and they can relate to them better than faculty and staff. Some student organizations may offer academic credit for student participation in their institution’s academic integrity process. If your institution offers an experiential learning program, you may consider applying for experiential learning credit. Participation in a committee, council, or peer mentoring, may also provide that peer-to-peer contact, regardless of whether or not it appears on the student’s transcript.
Create a Solid Academic Integrity Policy
Encourage faculty at your institution to be consistent in promoting academic integrity through education and reporting.
In improving academic integrity on campus, it’s important to not only attend to academic integrity violations and respond to them appropriately, but to celebrate the people, offices, and things that uphold and demonstrate integrity. Edgar Schein, organizational theorist, notes that “we do not think and talk about what we see; we see what we are able to think and talk about.” In other words, if we want people to see academic integrity, then we have to talk about it and get them to think about.
So, how do you talk about academic integrity in a way that helps people see it in-action, as something that is practiced everyday by lots of people and something that is thought about and talked about by one’s peers?
Here are some ideas:
Awareness days/weeks. Create an Integrity Awareness Day or Week and hold a talk, show a movie, stand out on the busiest walkway of campus and hand out integrity tips and reminders. You can start as small as you’d like and grow the day or week as you become more comfortable or have the resources. Don’t forget to partner with other units on campus like the wellness center, counseling services, learning center, or writing center who might be willing to conduct a workshop or provide give-aways for your event.
Exam Survival Kits. Hang out in front or in the library (or wherever students study) and provide them with protein bars, blue books, scantrons, pencils, erasers, snacks and integrity reminders or tips on how to reduce stress and avoid panic.
Integrity Contest. Host a contest each year that asks students to answer a question with art like “how do you excel with integrity” or “why is integrity important?” The prize could be what you could afford — maybe just a certificate and bragging rights. Or, maybe you can get other units on campus to donate to a gift basket or you could provide the winner with a free service that your unit normally charges for. Be creative! For more ideas, see the Integrity Contest at UC San Diego.
Integrity Awards Ceremony. This is definitely the most expensive idea on the list. However, when UC San Diego held their first ceremony in 2011, they managed to pull it off with small donations from units around campus ($100-200). It doesn’t have to be fancy — just some light refreshments and some certificates or plaques for the awardees and a light program. As you grow, you can add professional photos, nicer awards, and maybe even speakers. For more ideas, see the Integrity Awards at UC San Diego.
Engage in an Interdisciplinary Approach
Academic Integrity is not limited to one instructor, one office, or even one campus. Part of building a culture of integrity on our campuses lends itself to working with others. Office partnerships can help share your values and weave integrity into the fabric of your campus. Some examples of partnerships include (but are not limited to):
- Office of Admissions
- Housing Department
- Resident Assistants Training
- Curriculum for residents
- Office of Online Learning
Center for Teaching and Learning
- New Faculty Orientation
- Fellow Programs
- Student Success Center
- Library System
- First Year Curriculum Programs
- Graduate Teaching Assistant Courses
- Satellite Campuses
- Student Organizations
- Student Government
- Greek Life
- Student News Outlets
- Radio Station
- Student Conduct (if your office is in a separate office)
- Student Affairs
- Faculty Committees
- Department Heads
Your students live online and get most of their information from social media platforms. So, it’s a great place for you to reach your students and faculty – FOR FREE!
You can use the platforms to raise awareness of academic integrity, educate students and faculty about policy and procedures, help faculty educate students about academic integrity, warn students about the risk of contract cheating and even answer their questions.
Here are some ideas for using technology to your advantage:
Once you create your social media sites, make sure you start following campus offices and partners that students already follow and like and share their posts — this will get more students following your accounts!
- Post, post and post! Don’t just post about academic integrity. Consider sharing posts and articles that relate the 6 fundamental values of academic integrity (courage, respect, responsibility, trustworthiness, fairness, and honesty) to things students are interested in (like applying to jobs, working their first job, their professional lives).
- Create academic integrity commons modules in your LMS (e.g., CANVAS) that can be accessed by any faculty on your campus.
These modules can be quizzes or lesson plans or assignments that the faculty can use to educate their students about academic integrity.
- Make short-form videos and post on TikTok