Spotlight: Kansas State’s Development & Integrity Course

Topics: Blog, Spotlight

For the blog post this week, I asked Dr. Camilla Roberts, Kansas State University, to describe the Development & Integrity Course that many K-State students take after a violation of academic integrity. The course has existed since 2000 and provided inspiration to other Universities that now also offer similar type courses (e.g., University of California, San Diego). While coordinating and teaching such a course in-house requires some resources, the in-person, in-context learning after a violation can be extraordinarily beneficial for leveraging the cheating moment as a teachable moment. This might be experiential learning at its finest hour. ~ Tricia Bertram Gallant, Editor, Integrity Matters Blog

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When students are academically dishonest in higher education, the institution has the choice to sanction the student with or without removal from the institution.  Kansas State University (K-State), as well as many other institutions, will often sanction a student with a grade, but will allow the student to remain in classes; however, the administration at K-State want to ensure that students learn from their choices and will strive to not repeat them.

Therefore, Kansas State has been sanctioning many students with an eight-week, one-credit hour course entitled “Development and Integrity.”  The DI course as it is more commonly known is taught seven times during the academic year (both face to face and online). Not only does this class give the sanctioned students the ability to learn from their mistakes, it also gives a variety of graduate students (traditionally in the student affairs/college student development program) the opportunity to teach in the classroom as the primary instructors of the course.

The course has evolved some since it’s first offering in the spring of 2000; however, the following main components are still discussed during each session:

  1. Plagiarism: What is plagiarism? What are citations? Why do I need to cite?
  2. Unauthorized collaboration and unauthorized aid: What are these and why can I not work together with another person or have outside assistance?
  3. College student development and moral development theories: The focus is mainly on the theories of Chickering, Kohlberg, and Gilligan, allowing the students to explore their own development.
  4. Personal Values: What does each student value inside and outside the classroom and how does that tie into respect for others?
  5. Integrity outside the classroom: What do we see on a daily basis on the news that lacks integrity? What ethical dilemmas might they face upon graduation in the workforce?
  6. Technology and academic integrity: How has technology changed violations in academic integrity?
  7. Reflection and refocus on the student’s individual violation: After examining their own morals and values and understanding academic integrity, how have their thoughts about their own violation changed since the beginning of the course?

During one of the final assignments for the course, the students are asked what one thing they would say to the person or persons who sanctioned them to take this class.  While we of course do have the few students who might still want to argue with the professor or say the class was not worth their time, the overwhelming majority of the students wish that they would have been able to take the class when they first came to campus and then they might not have been in the position which caused them to be required to take the course.  So now, Kansas State is working to determine what kind of proactive education can be used to help students before a violation occurs. We might have to explore some of what the University of Waterloo Is doing!

About the Author
Camilla is the Director of the Honor and Integrity System at Kansas State University. In this position she oversees both the education of academic integrity to the K-State Community as well as the adjudication of alleged violations. Camilla has been active in the International Center for Academic Integrity since 2008 when she made the transition to academic integrity from working several years in university housing. Since fall 2016, she began serving on the leadership board of ICAI. She currently serves as Vice President where she focuses mainly on membership recruitment and planning conference planning. Camilla has a BA (2001) in Psychology and an M.Ed. (2004) in Counselor Education from Clemson University as well as a Ph.D. (2008) in Higher Education Administration from Kansas State University. With her counseling and student affairs background, she strives to help students understand academic integrity as a “big picture” in terms of ethics and moral development and not something that they will only see while at a university.
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