Syracuse University Magazine

Instilling Academic Integrity

As a graduate student pursuing a doctoral degree in religion, Holly White is proud to enter this particular community of scholars, and takes seriously her responsibility within that fellowship to make her own unique contribution. As a teaching assistant and future professor, she is similarly invested in the originality and honesty of the students whose work she evaluates. White believes her success in both roles requires a comprehensive understanding of academic integrity principles and the tools for putting them into practice, as well as an appreciation for their increasing complexity in a world of electronic media. "I am being disciplined into ways of thinking, and that means I have to be both original and conventional at the same time," she says. "How do I do that? To be conventional means to present standard arguments in the texts I read, but I want to do so in a way that is original to me, as well as consistent with the academic community I am a part of." 

 In dealing with such issues, White and co-editors Tyra Twomey, a doctoral candidate in composition and cultural rhetoric, and Ken Sagendorf '95, G'97, G'07 produced Pedagogy, not Policing: Positive Approaches to Academic Integrity at the University to serve as a valuable resource for those entering the teaching profession. Published by the Graduate School Press at SU, the book reaffirms the University-wide policy on academic integrity by focusing on creating an environment that promotes honesty and inspires trust and respect, rather than one that relies solely on punishing those who cheat or plagiarize. Winner of a 2009 Critics Choice Book Award from the American Educational Studies Association, Pedagogy not Policing is a collection of some 20 essays by graduate students, faculty, and administrators from SU and other institutions, outlining teaching strategies that promote academic honesty and offering tips for preventing and identifying cheating and plagiarism. "It deals with very practical matters, such as designing course materials and creating original and consistent lab reports without falling into traps of plagiarism," White says. "It also poses theoretical questions about why originality matters in an intellectual community and how an individual can honor the ideas of others in her own work."

Pedagogy not Policing is one of several teaching resources for graduate students published as part of a Graduate School Press series that grew out of the University's Future Professoriate Program. Earlier publications examine such subjects as using writing as an instructional tool, incorporating disability-related issues into the classroom and curriculum, and honoring diversity of sexual and gender identity. A forthcoming book investigates strategies for successful learning communities. The press is also soliciting contributions for an upcoming project exploring publicly engaged scholarship. "We want to choose topics that are timely, useful, and relevant, but that are also in motion because they deal with live issues," says Glenn Wright, assistant director of professional development programs in the Graduate School, who leads the press series. "This lets us keep our finger on the pulse of graduate education."—Amy Speach