Academic Integrity for Faculty
Ten Principles of Academic Integrity for Faculty
At Royal Roads University, faculty are educational leaders. We have a duty to model academic integrity by subscribing to the following ten principles:
- Recognize and affirm academic integrity as a core institutional value.
- Foster a lifelong commitment to learning.
- Affirm the role of teacher as guide and mentor.
- Help students understand the potential of the Internet - and how that potential can be lost if online resources are used for fraud, theft, and deception.
- Encourage student responsibility for academic integrity.
- Clarify expectations for students.
- Develop fair and creative forms of assessment.
- Reduce opportunities to engage in academic dishonesty.
- Respond to academic dishonesty when it occurs.
- Help define and support campus wide academic integrity standards.
Source: Ten Principles of Academic Integrity for Faculty by Donald L. McCabe and Gary Pavela.
Whether we instruct in the face-to-face or online classroom, we have a responsibility to set the tone and model behaviours that ensure all learners feel welcome in that learning environment. We need to avoid behaviours or jokes that could be exclusionary for some learners or run counter to the areas protected by our human rights code (race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation or age of that person or that group or class of persons). It is incumbent on us to create up-front expectations so that all can enjoy a safe learning environment.
For more information, please see the BC Human Rights Code.
Dealing with inappropriate comments made by learners
If a learner makes an inappropriate comment, either face-to-face or online, there is an obligation on the part of the faculty member to address it. Silence can suggest endorsement. Discussion allows all parties to "save face". Below is one approach.
- Speak to the student individually, or privately by email in the online context;
- Calmly express your reaction to the offensive remarks;
- Ask the student to comment on the possible negative effects of his/her remarks, and to suggest a solution.
Inappropriate comments in the class may be due to a lack of awareness or critical thinking. Generally, once students become aware of the negative effects of their comments, they want to apologize and make amends. They can either do this themselves in the next class opportunity, or ask you to do this. In any event, the class in which the incident took place needs to be informed that appropriate action has been taken. Again, class dynamics will be negatively affected if inappropriate comments are not effectively handled, and class "safety" may be compromised.
Why is our leadership important?
- Inappropriate humour or behaviours on the part of faculty or learners can prevent learning from taking place. A comment perceived to be insulting by a learner will generally prevent that learner from focusing on the learning at hand. Moreover, individual learner discomfort can also affect group dynamics. Empathetic class members may feel a variety of emotions that redirect their focus from the learning topic to the interpersonal or human rights issue.
- Inappropriate humour or behaviours by a faculty member jeopardizes Royal Roads University by opening the university to a possible libel suit. We have an obligation to ensure that we respect the BC Human Rights Code, and that our learners do the same.
A faculty member may be oblivious to an incident and its impact. To minimize the risk of this happening, faculty are advised to share with learners the responsibility for defining and creating a safe learning environment. Royal Roads University faculty are strongly encouraged to initiate discussions early in their course about the type of environment in which learners and faculty want to learn. Clearly expressed guidelines for learning, and a process that deals with guideline infractions, need to be written up and distributed to all members of the class. Such collaboratively prepared guidelines go a long way to creating a safe environment for all who learn together.
Using anecdotes is a valuable way to reinforce learning. Engage in a mental check before using a story or posting it to a discussion group, to ensure it will be understood and appreciated by all learners, especially by those who do not belong to the dominant culture. It's hard to re-gain "safety" once it is lost in a class.
If research involves human subjects, then it will likely require an ethical review by the Royal Roads University Research Ethics Board or one of its sub-committees.