Abu Dhabi: About 80 per cent of undergraduate students in the UAE engage in cheating - 56 per cent of business graduate students and 47 per cent of non-business graduate students admitted to cheating at least once during their academic programme, according to recent research.
According to Joseph M. Ford, Vice-President for Student Affairs, the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) the most common type of academic dishonesty is plagiarism, which involves students accessing information through the internet without citing their sources accurately.
"The highest incidence of academic dishonesty happens in Business and Engineering schools. It doesn't depend on the size of the school, it depends on the ethics and code of conduct of that university.
"Also, the internet, cell phones and MP3 players make it easier for students to engage in academic dishonesty. I wouldn't say that it promotes dishonesty, it just makes it easier," said Ford.
During a presentation at the NYIT campus on Sunday, Ford spoke about promoting academic integrity using five fundamental values.
"Academic integrity is commitment even in the face of adversity to five fundamental values: honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility. From these values flow principles of behaviour that enable academic communities to translate ideals into action."
The causes of academic dishonesty, said Ford, come from family pressure or trying to meet job requirement expectations; the pressure of being put in a position of failing; lack of awareness with regard to academic dishonesty; a change in student's values; increased competition of enrollment in popular disciplines and for admission to prestigious graduate and professional schools; inability to understand that what they are learning is relevant to their future careers and succumbing to frequent temptations.
"There should be two-way communication between students and the faculty about fostering trust and integrity.
"Dealing with the issue of academic dishonesty is very complex and some suggest that colleges and universities do not care and turn their back on the problem, but we do care as academic dishonesty undermines the core mission of our university," said Ford, who has 25 years experience in the academic and student affairs field.
Intervention: Suggestions by ford
Ethos: this reflects the character, values, honesty, trust, respect, fairness and responsibility of an institution and conveys that academic integrity is something to honour and uphold.
Ethos is established by all forms of written and verbal communication by evidence of practice and by the extent to which academic integrity is a priority of the institution.
Written documentation that address an institution's position and/or rules regarding academic dishonesty. Education training activities or programmes that address academic dishonesty beyond the existence of a policy.
Seven components of the interventions:
- Honour codes
- Faculty Assistance
- Disciplinary policies
- Disciplinary process/programs
- Promotion of academic integrity