New academic integrity policy on back burner

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The prospective campus-wide academic integrity policy has made little progress since the idea’s conception at the beginning of the semester. 

Samantha Tommer, Dixie State University Student Association vice president of academics and a senior integrated studies major from La Habra, California, has been working with Traci Kent, a senior communication major from Mercer, Pennsylvania, to develop DSU’s first campus-wide academic integrity policy. However, Tommer said other than compiling information from a survey of 349 students, the policy’s development is “at a stand-still” because the student senate is awaiting instruction from the faculty senate on how to proceed.

The policy Tommer and Kent proposed was to be an academic honors contract that students would have to sign. Doing this, Tommer said, would educate students on the various different ways of cheating and force them to read and understand their role in academic integrity.   

 “We didn’t know what exactly we needed to do, who to talk to or where to get the information we needed,” Tommer said. “So, my adviser, Jordan Sharp, said, ‘We need to get some data together … And we need to be able to present it to the people who have the power to make the change.’” 

Tommer said a presentation is being put together to show to the faculty senate. Then, it is up to the faculty to determine whether it will progress to the policy committee. The presentation is set some time before graduation, and Warren Anderson, DSUSA vice president of academics elect and a senior accounting major from Santa Clara, will be working with the faculty senate to develop the policy further during his summer internship.

“Warren has been involved since day one,” Tommer said, “So he is completely and totally informed.”

Warren said because of his “lack of knowledge” in relation to the policy and its development, he did not feel comfortable answering any specific questions. However, he did say his primary focus was to interview and hire next year’s academic senators.

The biggest step taken toward development of the policy was the completion of a survey, Tommer said. The survey, created Feb. 3 by Sharp, DSU director of student involvement and leadership, quantified students’ understanding of cheating, and it will be included in the presentation to the faculty senate.

Tommer said although Kent was the one who initially approached the senate with concerns about DSU’s lack of a clear and comprehensive academic integrity policy, communication between them has been sparse throughout the semester.

Kent said other than the survey, nothing of substance to further the policy’s development has been done.

“It is on hold,” Kent said. “They tried doing a survey and got about 340 to 350 responses. With the changing of the [senators], things have slowed down. So, as far as I can tell, It has been put on the back burner.”