Promoting academic integrity at a Midwestern University: Critical review and current challenges


  • Vidar Gynnild
  • Patricia Gotschalk



This article reports on an institutional study of academic integrity based on two different sources: reporting of incidents over a six-year period (2001-2006) and a campus-wide survey administered in 2008. Findings are that academic dishonesty is widespread and increasing, yet 40% of the academic staff responding admitted they had taken no steps regarding a suspected incident of cheating due to insufficient proof. Among college students, freshmen and sophomores are more frequently reported for cheating than juniors and seniors, and international students are overrepresented compared with domestic students. The proportion of integrity charges against females was less than their proportion of student enrollment, and there exists a perception gap between students and academic staff in the seriousness of a number of actions. The most frequent offence was students working with peers when asked for individual work. This may be indicative of a change of the value systems of young people compared to older generations, and former strategies to promote integrity may be less valid today. More emphasis needs to be put on structural approaches to reduce or eliminate opportunities to cheat, and the educational aspect of dishonest actions should be further strengthened.