Staff Editorial: An outreach plan for academic dishonesty

Earlier this year, the community learned that cases of academic dishonesty have risen by 10 percent since 2005, a problem that should concern everyone at an institution of higher learning.

One reason for this trend appears to be the rate at which international students are found to cheat and plagiarize. This group accounted for almost 25 percent of all academic dishonesty cases last year.

The Hatchet’s editorial board previously called for a more standardized approach in dealing with issues of plagiarism and academic dishonesty, and the University should take this opportunity to implement such a tactic in dealing with this trend of international students cheating.

While the Office of Academic Integrity already partners with the International Services Office during fall and spring orientations to discuss academic dishonesty, the office should be given more freedom to continue these steps of preventative outreach.

And given that many international students might not have been taught the same guidelines as American students regarding academic dishonesty before they came to GW, a model that strongly hinges on preventative outreach is critical.

A stronger partnership with the language center and the professors teaching English for academic purposes courses would go a long way in directly working with students whose first language is not English.

Peer educators from the Office of Academic Integrity could be required to directly speak with international students in English for academic purposes courses about what constitutes cheating and the consequences of academic dishonesty.

And professors who teach these courses should be further encouraged to have standardized discussions about issues of academic dishonesty before major assignments, as well as explanations regarding their specific definitions and rules for and academic dishonesty.

This opportunity to focus on preventative outreach for international students will hopefully serve as a model that can be used when dealing with the general student population.

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