February 3, 2003

Oxford conference to feature academic integrity


By Eric Rangus erangus@emory.edu

Oxford College will host a conference Feb. 7–8 geared toward bringing small colleges together to discuss the challenges of academic integrity.

“Academic Honor: A Student-Centered Conference” will bring to Oxford students, faculty and staff from a variety of institutions throughout the Southeast for panel discussions, working groups and roundtables on campus practices regarding honor code policies.

“We wanted to bring together students who serve as peer judges,” said Joe Moon, Oxford’s dean of student affairs. He is co-coordinating the conference with Christine Loflin, assistant professor of English.

“It’s a tough thing to do, and students often feel alone while doing it,” Moon continued. “A lot of students don’t support academic integrity initiatives. We wanted to support our own students and let them know they are not alone.”

Oxford, as well as Emory and many other institutions, has an honor code by which all students must abide. If an Oxford student is accused of breaking the honor code, he or she must attend a hearing of the college’s honor council. If a violation is found, sanctions could range from a F for coursework to expulsion.

The Oxford honor council consists of a chair, secretary, four student members, four student alternates, three faculty members and three faculty alternates. Faculty members are appointed by the dean, and student members are appointed by the current honor council. A majority of Oxford’s honor council will be attending the conference and helping run the programming.

When compiling a list of schools to invite, conference organizers looked for institutions similar to Oxford in size and geography. Participating schools also had to have active honor codes and student honor councils charged to enforce that code. Invitations were sent to students and honor council faculty/staff advisors not only from Oxford but from Agnes Scott, Birming-ham Southern (Ala.), Davidson (N.C.), LaGrange, Lyon (Ark.), Presbyterian (S.C.), Wesleyan and the University of the South (Tenn.).

The effort to organize the conference began last spring, and some of the students involved in the process have since continued on to the Atlanta campus. Therefore, Oxford’s “daughter campus” will be sending a contingent as well. Moon said he expects to host about 40–50 participants. Each school will most likely send three or four students along with one honor council advisor. “The interest was immediate and overwhelming,” Moon said.

Subjects of discussion include the challenges of educating students and faculty on honor codes, technology and cheating, the judicial process, peer judging, and faculty advising. Panel discussions will take up most of the day on Feb. 8.

Judith Ruderman, vice provost and chair of the Academic Integrity Council at Duke, will deliver the keynote speech on Feb. 8 at 1:15 p.m. in Tarbutton Hall. Ruderman has served as Duke’s vice provost for academic and administrative services since 1995. Prior to that, she was director of Duke’s Office of Continuing Education for 12 years. Duke created the Academic Integrity Council in 2001 to develop programs and materials to promote the university’s Honor Code among its students, faculty and staff.

Oxford has committed to hosting two academic-honor conferences. Next year’s event will be similarly themed, but a bit more open.

While this year’s event is limited to institutions with active honor codes, next year’s conference may include colleges that are just starting honor-code systems or considering them. Institutions that attend this year will run workshops.

The conference is cosponsored by Oxford, the Oxford-based Pierce Program on Religion and the Emory Center for Ethics. For more information refer to the conference website: www.emory.edu/OXFORD/AcademicHonor/.






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