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Reports of cheating increase at business college


By Joe Ferguson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, September 7, 2004
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College adviser says increase shows new 'E-tegrity' program is working

Citing an increase in reported cases of academic dishonesty in the Eller College of Management, the undergraduate adviser said the college has cracked down on cheating.

According to the Code of Academic Integrity Summary Report, released by the Dean of Students Office, 68 cases of academic violations by students enrolled in the Eller College of Management were reported during the 2003-2004 academic year. Thirty-three of those cases were initiated by Eller College faculty members. This is a dramatic increase from the previous academic year.

While most officials would be upset to see a rise in reporting of cases of academic dishonesty from their college, Paul Melendez, the Eller College undergraduate programs adviser, says he thinks this is evidence that "E-tegrity" initiative is working.

E-tegrity is in its second year at Eller. The initiative has several facets to ensure academic honesty within the college.

During the 2002-2003 academic year, there were 85 cases of students enrolled in Eller reported to the Dean of Students Office. Only 13 of those cases were reported by Eller faculty.

Melendez said he believes this a positive sign, showing the willingness of faculty and teaching assistants at Eller to report violations.

"Underreporting (of violations) is just as dangerous," said Melendez.

Melendez said in the past underreporting, as well as instructor apathy, was a concern when it came to academic violations. He said some instructors felt helpless to punish students they had caught cheating.

"They felt like they were being ignored," Melendez said.

One of the main components of E-tegrity is an oath all undergraduate students are required to sign. All students taking courses in the Eller College of Management have to sign the Eller Student Integrity Oath, which requires a student to abide by a code of ethical standards.

In addition to the oath, Eller has taken steps to minimize opportunities for students to cheat. During tests, students may be asked to surrender (for the duration of the test) their backpack and their cell phone. Melendez said students might also have assigned seating during an exam and given specific tests coded to their seating assignment.

Under the E-tegrity initiative, students are held responsible to this strict code. If a student is caught cheating, he or she will face more than a grade reduction or a written warning.

Melendez says while each case is unique, Eller officials have options in place to remove students. Depending on the offense, officials at Eller can deny freshmen and sophomores admission to the Eller College as well as remove juniors and seniors from the program.

Over two-thirds of the cases of Eller students being reported to the dean of students are due to plagiarism.

Eller's E-tegrity Web site uses the same definition of plagiarism found in the university's code of conduct. It describes plagiarism as "intentionally or knowingly representing the words or ideas of another as one's own."



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