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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

March 9, 2007

Survey results pinpoint academic integrity issues

by Erin Rosacker

Academic integrity is always a concern, one that continues to grow in this electronic age. Keeping a finger on the pulse of this topic is the mission of ISU's academic integrity assessment committee. The committee, formed last fall, recently used a survey of students and faculty to take a look at the issues surrounding academic integrity on campus.

The survey, administered by Donald McCabe, professor of organization management at Rutgers University and founding president of the Center for Academic Integrity (Duke University), was a cooperative effort organized by the dean of students and provost offices. At ISU, more than 2,300 students and 300 faculty responded anonymously to questions focusing on student conduct.

"The committee serves in an advisory role," said Kevin Saunders, committee member and program coordinator in the provost office. "The committee is collecting data from the survey, sharing the information with the campus community and encouraging dialogue - exploring if there is a need to review the current academic integrity policies at ISU."

The committee shared some of the survey's preliminary results at a March 7 faculty forum. Additional data - including answers compiled from open-ended questions - still is being analyzed. In June, McCabe also will provide the committee with an updated set of "norms" from surveys done across the country, providing ISU comparisons to national or peer group results.

According to Saunders, feedback and discussion from the faculty forum will help the committee evaluate academic integrity at ISU. He said the committee is looking at faculty and student perceptions of ISU's academic integrity policies, including severity of penalties, student and faculty understanding of the policies and effectiveness of the policies.


In a recent survey, ISU students and faculty responded to questions on academic integrity. Here's a breakdown of how many in each group thought the behaviors below occur "often" on campus.

Plagiarism on written assignments

  • Students 28%
  • Faculty 43%

Inappropriate sharing in group assignments

  • Students 61%
  • Faculty 55%

Cheating during tests/examinations

  • Students 26%
  • Faculty 20%