Date of Award

12-2016

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Donna Talbot

Second Advisor

Dr. Regina Garza Mitchell

Third Advisor

Dr. Suzie Nagel

Abstract

Academic ethics and integrity are necessary elements of a quality education. The need for academic integrity education on campuses has been well documented (Bertram Gallant, 2008, 2016; Bertram Gallant & Drinan, 2006; Liebler, 2009; McCabe, Butterfield, & Trevino, 2004). Academic integrity is a cornerstone of the learning process (Bretag et al., 2014; Harp & Taietz, 1966). Higher education institutions have the opportunity to promote academic integrity and prevent academic misconduct on campus by providing clear guidelines, equitable resolutions, and student and faculty engagement. While researchers have examined four-year institutions approaches to academic integrity education, differences exist that are unique to the community college. Specifically, increased diversity, more part-time populations of faculty and staff, higher numbers of students enrolled in online education and an institutional commitment to workforce orientation (Tull, Kuk, & Dalpes, 2015) affect the methods used to promote academic integrity and prevent academic dishonesty. Literature on these concepts in the community college setting is extremely limited.

To address this gap in the literature, a single bounded case study using a partially mixed, concurrent, dominant status design (Johnson, Onwuegbuzie, & Turner, 2007) examined the components of academic integrity education within one Mid-Western community college, as perceived by faculty and staff.

The study included a review of 28 documents and academic misconduct violation data from 2002-2015, a modified survey instrument, the Academic Integrity Survey (N=57), and semi structured interviews with 10 institutional stakeholders including faculty, staff, and senior administrators. The resulting case reveals a change in academic integrity education over the last five years. The institution made policy revisions to promote faculty autonomy in decision-making. While study participants understood the issue of academic integrity and recognized its occurrence within the institution, the formal data collected on academic misconduct was limited. Responses to academic misconduct varied greatly among administrators, staff, and full and part-time faculty, including refusal to participate in a formal academic misconduct reporting process. Despite this, most study participants indicate a personal willingness to prevent academic misconduct and to promote academic integrity. This willingness spans academic department, faculty rank, and gender within the institution.

The findings indicate the most influential individuals on academic integrity on campus were faculty. Faculty classroom management and curriculum development emerged as important tools in setting expectations of integrity. The choices that faculty made in addressing academic misconduct were based on individual norms of academic discipline, personal, and professional experiences. The study participants found that limited resources of time, money, and priority were a challenge in providing institutionalized opportunities for academic integrity education. Recommendations for higher education leaders in community colleges included increased student engagement, increased opportunities for part-time faculty to share and disseminate ideas, demonstrated student learning, a focus on the integrity policies of workforce oriented certification programs, and a clear policy and shared mission. This study adds to the body of knowledge of academic integrity research, namely the promotion of academic integrity and prevention of academic misconduct in the community college setting.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

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