Required academic honesty workshops for first-years, planned to start this semester, will be pushed back to the spring as the Office of Judicial Affairs finalizes the curriculum.
Administrators decided in April to ramp up efforts to promote academic integrity among Columbia College first-years, and planned to require workshops of incoming students this fall. Instead, the program will pilot this spring and will be fully rolled out next fall.
“While we want to get things started as quickly as possible, we also want to be sure that all constituencies have been consulted,” Dean of Academic Affairs Kathryn Yatrakis said.
The Office of Judicial Affairs is still in the process of forming a committee to plan the workshop, which will be taken by every incoming student. Associate Dean of Judicial Affairs Jeri Henry said the workshops will “assist students in identifying the skills that are necessary, and the resources available, in order to do their best academic work while maintaining the highest standards of academic integrity.”
Yatrakis said that her office has worked closely with Henry’s to think about the “best way to organize and shape the workshops.”
Still, during orientation, international students were required to attend a Judicial Affairs workshop on reviewing academic expectations in the United States. The discussion laid out the guidelines for “academic integrity, specifically about what we should not do: plagiarism, self-plagiarism, rules for taking exams,” said Marcos Martinez, CC ’16, who attended the event during the International Student Orientation Program.
“For most of the international students, it’s very important to have the rules clear, to have someone explain them to you, so you don’t have any doubts,” he said.
In April, Senior Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Hazel May said that the need for an academic honesty awareness initiative partially stemmed from the need to set limits on collaboration, considering that students take the same courses in the Core Curriculum.
“I have no idea what the policy is,” Eleanor Goerss, CC ’16, said. “I certainly don’t know what would happen” if a student were caught plagiarizing, she said.
Roberta Barnett, CC ’16, also believes the lines of “what exactly is cheating” can be “fuzzy” for students. “It can be hard to know, which is why it’s a good idea to have a general idea, a list, of what is cheating, so people know,” she said.
Barnett, however, is not convinced that a second-semester workshop will be effective for first-year students.
“I think that doing it second semester is silly, when you’ve already had exposure to the academic world, and professors have already explained expectations,” she said. “I think that programs related to academic honesty should be interwoven into the programs that are offered, like in Literature Humanities and in University Writing.”
Martinez, who said the ISOP workshop on academic integrity clearly outlined the rules, said he thought the workshops should be mandatory for all first-years.
“We’re new here, and it’s important to have clear rules about how we should work here,” he said. “The information is valuable at any time, even second semester, but it would be much better to have the workshop before classes start.”