Survey shows little severe cheating at U

The survey was sent to students and faculty members during spring of 2004.

The most severe forms of academic dishonesty are performed the least, while the least severe are performed the most, according to a survey released Wednesday.

University undergraduate and graduate students consider cheating on exams to be the most severe form of cheating and sharing assignments to be the least severe, according to the survey.

The University conducted the survey March 24 to April 14, 2004, to determine attitudes and perceptions of academic integrity among undergraduates, graduate students, professional students and faculty members at the University.

Micky Trent, Office for Student Academic Integrity chairwoman, said 125 public and private college institutions nationwide were also surveyed.

Of the total 1,830 surveys randomly distributed to University undergraduate and graduate students, 17.8 percent were completed. Of the 500 surveys distributed to faculty members, 23.8 percent were completed, she said.

This is the first time a survey focusing on academic integrity has been conducted, Trent said.

Many cases of academic dishonesty, such as plagiarism, result from “pure” confusion, said Sharon Dzik, Student Judicial Affairs director.

“Students have a hard time knowing what can be taken from the Internet or source materials and simply have trouble citing those sources,” Dzik said.

She said most students are sent to writing centers and very few are reported. Of those reported, extremely few are expelled for academic dishonesty.

Trent said that to combat academic dishonesty initially, the University needs to begin with the students and spread awareness about the problem.

The office has provided 25 classes and spoken to 360 people, focusing on academic integrity, since 2004, Trent said.

“We have created online resources, magnets and coffee mugs, but peer groups have blossomed and made the largest impact on spreading awareness,” Trent said.

Craig Swan, University vice provost for undergraduate education, said there is an increased demand on educators to define what is cheating.

Faculty members need to promote awareness and provide structure in their courses so students are not as rushed, develop good habits and are not as tempted to cheat, Swan said.