Low angle view of four skyscrapers

            This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend a graduation ceremony on campus.  I was excited to be there to support some of my former students and to see them walk across the stage.  The importance of this ceremony as a major transition point was highlighted by the pageantry of the event and the words of the speakers.  Students were recognized for their accomplishments and were also reminded that a bright future awaits them. 

            As a faculty member, seeing the pride (and relief!) on the faces of graduating students was very motivating.  I will even admit that there is a possibility that I became a little misty-eyed when some of the students who had started in my class as freshmen took the stage.   It is truly an honor to get to play a small part in the development of these students.  It really makes you think about the impact that faculty members can have. 

            We, of course, want to help students to understand and be able to apply the content of our courses.  However, we are also helping to prepare these students to “leave the nest” and find their place in the world.  We want our students to think for themselves, to make decisions, and to use their own knowledge and skills to pursue their passions.  We want our students to grow into educated professionals who act ethically and with integrity.

            Studies have shown that there is a negative correlation between ethical behavior and the frequency in which an individual has participated in academic dishonesty.  In 2010, a study involving students from 6 different campuses showed an increase in the likelihood that students would engage in dishonest behaviors when they believed that these behaviors were acceptable.  These students were also found to be “more likely to engage in dishonest acts in the workplace” (Nonis & Swift, 2010).  A 2020 study involving undergraduate and graduate students at a private university in Mexico found that “the extent to which students perceived the committing of any kind of cheating within the university as severe, their behavior, both inside and outside the workplace, was more ethical” (Guerrero-Dib, Portales, & Heredia-Escorza, 2020).  This would suggest that making students aware of the importance of academic integrity as well as the consequences of dishonest behavior can have an impact on student behavior in our classes as well as in their future workplaces.  When we discuss the importance of academic integrity in our syllabus, in class on the first day, and throughout the semester, it is about more than just discouraging cheating in our classes.  It is a golden opportunity to help foster integrous and ethical behaviors that students will carry with them as the build their careers and their lives.


Guerrero-Dib, J. G., Portales, L., & Heredia-Escorza, Y. (2020, February). Impact of Academic Integrity on Workplace Ethical Behavior. International Journal for Educational Integrity. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s40979-020-0051-3

Nonis, S., & Swift, C. O. (2010, March). An Examination of the Relationship Between Academic Dishonesty and Workplace Dishonesty: A Multicampus Investigation. Journal of Education for Business, 77(2), 69-77. doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/08832320109599052