December 2021

Once again this year, Deree-The American College of Greece participated in the activities on the International Day of Action Against Contract Cheating. A number of organizations and academic societies contributed in various exciting and interactive ways.

The Economic Society presented an interactive installation, "Hercules: Vice or Virtue," the English Society attracted students to “Create Your Own Title" for novels, The International Honors Program participated with a poster and video, the Management Information Systems Society invited students to make pledges, and the Student Academic Support Services came up with the installation "Grades do not grow on Trees."

The event took place on Wednesday October 20 at the main corridor, and it attracted the attention of more than 200 students, faculty, and administrators. All the activities had the common aim of promoting academic integrity in a creative way, while simultaneously condemning the practice of contract cheating and academic misconduct.

You can see more about Deree's actions on the International Day of Action Against Contract Cheating by watching this video.

One widespread practice found on college campuses to lure students into purchasing custom prepared papers for a fee is people handing out business cards. This constitutes a serious breach of academic integrity. This also happens at Deree – The American College of Greece, located in Athens, an institution offering undergraduate degrees, with English as the language of instruction.

This had an effect on me both as a student and as part of the ACG’s Student Academic Support Services (SASS).

Similar to other institutions, Deree offers personalized assistance to its students through individual or group peer tutoring sessions. Learning facilitators such as myself aim to help fellow students produce quality academic work that is of their own by fostering the development of their learning style, writing and critical thinking skills.

My involvement urged me to take a conscious choice against contract cheating by deciding to refuse the card when offered to me. In retrospect, it made me feel empowered and caused me to reflect on the value of my studies.

SASS followed up to fight contract cheating with the same weapon. With the help of others at SASS we designed a business card with our logo, contact info and the following message: “Efficiency and Honesty for Free”. 

For the last three years, we have been handing out business cards to other students at the busiest parts of campus on the International Day Against Contract Cheating. This has attracted the interest of students and served as a conversation starter and sets the ground for realizing the importance of Academic Integrity. In our eyes, it sends out the message that we, the students are the owners of our academic achievements.

 

 Anastasia and SASS are taking a stand against contract cheating. What are you doing to support your students and fight contract cheating service providers? Tell us by tweeting @TweetCAI. 

The English Department at Deree – The American College of Greece may be small, compared to other departments, but it is making a significant contribution to the conversation on academic integrity taking place on campus. Here’s our thoughts, on the one hand from a professor and on the other from a student:

As professor in this department, I was impressed upon reading in an email from the English Society on the upcoming elections for the governing body (GB) that the Constitution was amended to include as a new “eligibility criterion for election to the Governing Body: no breaches of Academic Integrity!” This amendment showcases the importance of students participating in this conversation on academic integrity, exchanging the language of policy voiced by professors with a language of shared values expressed through their actions. When students promote a culture of integrity themselves, when in other words the source of the message changes, the content of the message might be heard differently.

As student in this department, I have been a part of the English Society for two years now and the President since this semester began. Academic Integrity has always played a significant role in our philosophy. That is why on International Day Against Contract Cheating the English Society always organizes events on campus where we ask students and faculty to write pledges that support authenticity and remind everyone that Academic Integrity is a choice we need to make every day. In the Humanities, our work is reflected in our authentic ideas, so it is vital that we protect them by speaking out against plagiarism and cheating that undermine not only the efforts of the writer but the reader, as well. This semester, with the help of our advisors, the GB decided to integrate this amendment into our constitution to demonstrate the Society’s commitment to Academic Integrity and to encourage the students of the English major and minor to trust their own creativity.

This statement, this requirement for eligibility might not seem like much, but it does exemplify how students can show their commitment to principles of integrity themselves, inviting others to understand that honoring academic integrity in their work means upholding the fundamental values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility, and courage. And by uniting our voices with that of the faculty, we can co-author our statement and openly communicate our commitment to integrity. Our hope is that by collaborating on this post, we can show that by valuing honesty in academic life, students can develop the habit of self-reliance and confidence, and therefore possess the necessary skills for future success.

 

Tweet @TweetCIA to tell us how faculty and students are working together to support academic integrity at your institution.

COVID as catalyst.

I heard this phrase at the virtual ICAI conference in March. It is an inspiring motto for educators in the midst of this pandemic moment.

The COVID-era has highlighted issues that significantly threaten our institutions, such as inequities in the remote-testing industry’s artificial intelligence and the rampant issue of contract cheating. As a result, there are important discussions in institutions around the world that should, in theory, effect lasting positive change in teaching, learning, and their related academic integrity subtexts. It can be daunting to know where or how to start any large-scale project which intends to address those academic integrity subtexts, especially when you combine the significant institutional threats with the old adage that big ships (i.e. institutions) turn slowly.

I am on a big ship here at Iowa State University, where there are 30,000+ students and over 6,000 full-time faculty and staff. I have started small initiatives and continue to foster partnerships that will help support more academic integrity initiatives as more opportunities arise on the other side of the pandemic.

Since mid-2020, I have been working on small-scale projects to amplify the importance of academic integrity. For example, I revamped our Testing Center newsletter that contains reminders about academic services (e.g. tutoring; Writing & Media Center (WMC) presentations to student clubs) interspersed with our usual Testing Center policy reminders. I have also worked with my departmental student services colleagues to right-size an early-semester text-message campaign that highlighted academic coaching services for students. However, I want to note that too many of any kind of text messages can cause mass unsubscribe events; so proceed with caution, choose what you decide to message carefully. Furthermore, I have used my relatively small Testing Center FAQ platform to prominently post academic integrity ideas for both students and instructors.

While there is nothing quantitative I am yet able to share about the degree of success these tactics have brought, it is part of a larger effort to make academic integrity an even larger part of the culture here. Due to a developing partnership with the Office of Student Conduct (OSC), that larger push has been signified this Fall by launching the McCabe Survey. My savvy partners in OSC arranged an interview with the school newspaper, which resulted in some good press.

There are still plenty challenges; some are endemic to educational institutions, while others are the result of social and economic changes brought about by two years of global upheaval. For one, working interdepartmentally has its pitfalls. As I hope to expand collaborations with other ISU departments like the Center for Excellence in Learning & Teaching (CELT) and WMC, I need to be patient with and sensitive to their agendas. Other areas of concern are finance and workforce. The partnership with OSC is strong, but we have had to pump the brakes on our UCSD-inspired peer-facilitated Academic Integrity pilot program because not only are we searching for funding, we are also coming up against the possibility of student labor shortages: workers everywhere are demanding more money. ISU is not immune to this trend.

COVID can be a catalyst for change in an institution’s culture of academic integrity. The change can happen if we recognize the limitations of our workgroup, work within those boundaries, and patiently build relationships across departments.