As an institution, we prize academic integrity. It is important for us to uphold this principle, reinforce it from within and create a culture of academic integrity among faculty and students throughout our campuses.
According to research and surveys conducted between 2002 and 2015 from the International Center for Academic Integrity, 68 percent of college undergraduate students admitted to cheating in college. During this past academic year, an implementation committee has been working to fulfill the recommendations of WSU’s Academic Integrity Task Force, commissioned by the Faculty Senate to identify needs and opportunities for improving the policies and processes related to academic integrity.
Students, faculty and staff are developing resources and tools to promote and encourage academic integrity throughout WSU. This includes efforts to help students better understand what constitutes a violation of academic integrity. Several important steps and projects are already underway, including:
- The WSU Board of Regents voted to add students to the Academic Integrity Board. Five student members, from GPSA and ASWSU, are undergoing training from the Office of Student Conduct this summer and will join the Board in the fall.
- A committee of ASWSU and GPSA students developed a WSU Honor Statement, which will be sent to ASWSU as a resolution in the fall.
- The Office of the Provost and Faculty Senate are preparing updated recommendations on academic sanctions, proctoring exams, reporting obligations and syllabus statements.
- The Office of Student Conduct and the WSU Libraries are working to develop content for training sessions, which they hope to launch this fall for students, faculty and administrators.
In addition to the policies, training and processes in development, there are tools in place to help uphold academic integrity. Faculty are encouraged to utilize SafeAssign, the tool within Blackboard that can prevent plagiarism and help teach students how to attribute sources. Faculty and students also have access to iThenticate, a tool used to verify originality in scholarly writing.
It’s important to note that SafeAssign and iThenticate are not comprehensive, and faculty are encouraged to use their best judgement and verify sources when they suspect plagiarism.