Dr. Timothy Paul Cronan was the 2022 recipient of the ICAI Lifetime Achievement Award. He is an internationally known teacher and researcher who also performs a wide variety of service obligations as a professor in the Information Systems Department. He has served as a faculty member since 1979 and has authored many papers and led conference sessions based on academic integrity. He was an early pioneer in recognizing the impacts of academic integrity. He has also published in numerous high-quality journals in the Information Systems field, was a co-founder of the Teaching Center, and has won numerous prestigious awards related to teaching and mentoring during his career. He has developed academic programs and served in a department leadership capacity.

Although he clearly has many obligations, academic integrity has been a cause that he has remained committed to. In 2012, Cronan led a charge to change how academic integrity was handled at the University of Arkansas. Core values that drove the development of the new policy included improving the campus culture, building trust among faculty and students (many violations were not being reported), and fairness and consistency. At the time, there were no commonly agreed upon violations or sanctions, so each faculty member was tasked with handling issues independently. The system that emerged is unique and has been positively received by faculty, staff, and students.

Key tenets of the policy are:

  • Academic Integrity Monitors (AIMs) for each college at the Associate Dean level meet individually with students alleged to have violated the policy and recommend whether a violation occurred.
  • All University Academic Integrity Board (AUAIB) – This is a formal hearing body that reviews any contested allegations, and it is comprised of a faculty representative from each college, graduate student, and undergraduate student.
  • Appellate decisions are rendered by the Chancellor and the Provost.
  • Developed a standalone Office of Academic Initiatives and Integrity (OAII) reporting to the Provost’s Office. The OAII is responsible for campus-wide prevention and programming specific to academic integrity initiatives that engage students, staff, and faculty.
  • The policy mandates faculty report alleged violations of academic dishonesty.
  • A more centralized approach to reporting led to the development of a Sanction Rubric that addresses behaviors consistently across campus and supports the use of educational sanctions.

Cronan did more than lead the thought process behind the new policy. He stepped forward as the public face of the policy and led implementation by speaking at all colleges on campus, he reported back the statistics related to the policy, and five years later assessed faculty buy-in. He built a culture of buy-in by leading multiple presentations on campus showing the impacts of the system.

As Provost Terry Martin stated, “Over the last ten years the level of buy-in has significantly improved among faculty due to the system’s equitable and efficient nature. Cronan’s leadership was invaluable in terms of assessment, policy design, and coalition building.”

Cronan’s contributions to academic integrity have been invaluable on the University of Arkansas campus, and he has willingly shared information and ideas with other schools. Many lessons can be learned from his contributions.