Catching Them Redhanded
Mark J. Doorley,   Ph.D.
Villanova University, PA
he other day a student of mine violated the code of academic integrity
in my ethics class. The irony of such a violation occuring in an ethics
class was a bit beyond his recognition. What he did understand was that
I was hurt by his action. As I told him, it was beyond me why he would
cheat in order to cover up his own inabilities especially since he and
I had a history as teacher and student. I taught him last semester,
and we developed a bit of a relationship, at least enough of one that
he ought to have come to me with his difficulty rather than violate his
own integrity as a student and mine as a professor.
There is a lot of talk about how academic integrity is losing ground in
today's institutions of higher learning. Perhaps that is so. Whatever
the case may be, one of the casualties of violations of academic
integrity is the relationship between professors and students. Yes, my
student, by his actions, undermined the academic integrity of my
university and my course. Yes, he deprived himself of a learning
experience by fabricating his work. However, and I sometimes think most
importantly, his actions severely tried my confidence in my students and
in my ability to establish and maintain relationships of trust and
respect with them.
Indeed, lying is the most destructive of acts. What ties us together
as humans is our ability to trust each other. What happens when trust
is left on the floor in tatters?