One professor takes a new approach to cheating at GW

Jerry Harvey, a business professor, adopts an uncommon definition of cheating in his classes.

Cheating is the failure to assist others on an exam if they request it, he tells his students.

Harvey, who says students should not have to experience the stress that comes from working alone on assignments and exams, allows his students to bring friends and faculty to class for help on exams.

Harvey says his policy brings out the best in his students because they are able to think creatively without the stress of working on their own.

For the final exam, students in Harvey’s class must demonstrate that they understand the meaning of randomly assigned terms and show the connection between them. The results are different than some would suspect.

I’ve never seen the same answer given by two different entities, Harvey says.

Students have cooked, brewed beer, performed strip teases, sung, danced and juggled for their final exam, he says.

Students think it is wrong to ask other students for help on tests and assignments because they are never presented with a different perspective on cheating, Harvey says.

Many professors disagree with Harvey’s policy of cheating because it contradicts what professors traditionally require from students, he says.

Most of them have puked in their soup, Harvey says about professors when they find out about his cheating policy.

David Degrazia, a philosophy professor, says he disagrees with the logic behind Harvey’s policy.

It’s true that cooperation is important.but one reason that you take an exam on your own is to show a certain knowledge base, Degrazia says.

Harvey, who has taught at GW for 28 years, says he is able to adopt such an uncanny policy is one of the extraordinary features of tenure.

His policy does not violate the University’s Code of Academic Integrity as long as he makes his expectations clear to all his students, said Tim Terpstra, executive coordinator of the Office of Academic Integrity.

(Professors) are free to run their class as they see fit, Terpstra said.

Because he is not aware of any job in which co-workers are not allowed to help each other, Harvey says the GW professors should re-evaluate their cheating policies.

Can you think of the absolute chaos at GW if everyone started helping each other? Harvey said.

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