Academic Integrity Update - Baruch College

Academic Integrity Task Force Recommendations

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

Ethics Week at Baruch starts on Monday, March 18. It offers several opportunities for students, faculty and staff to be a part of the discussion and effort to protect and enhance an ethical learning environment at the College. The full schedule can be viewed online, but we bring your attention to a student-specific workshop on 3/18, titled Ethical Writing and Research. On Tuesday, 3/19, two events will focus on teaching and professional writing: Teaching Ethics: How to Start Ethics Discussions and How Not to Snuff Them Out by Accident in the afternoon; and The Pressure to Publish and Its Impact on the Academic Integrity Climate at Baruch that same evening. We encourage you to take advantage of these workshops.

After conducting discussions with several focus groups of students and with working groups of faculty and administration, we developed an initial set of recommendations regarding academic integrity. The ongoing effort of our entire academic community is needed for a threefold task: to continue to substantively address plagiarism and cheating on exams and homework, improve methods of teaching and testing, and assist faculty in understanding the disciplinary process and preventive in-class mechanisms and strategies.

To help in identifying violations of academic integrity and practices that undermine it, the College has established a telephone hotline and a website where incidents or concerns can be reported:

PHONE HOTLINE: 646-312-2020. This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.  Reports and suggestions will be shared with Baruch College administrators for follow up.

ONLINE HOTLINE: If you wish to communicate online by answering a few questions listed on a form, please visit the link above.  This form is similarly available 24/7, and reports and suggestions will be received electronically by Baruch College administrators for appropriate follow up.

Whether filing by telephone or the online form, you will have the opportunity to remain anonymous should you wish.

All members of the College community are urged to help in the efforts to make Baruch a leader in fostering and ensuring academic integrity. Following are the recommendations that will be the focus of our efforts in the coming months:

— Each department with high-pressure courses, especially in economics, finance, accountancy, statistics, and math, should empower an appropriate group of fulltime and adjunct faculty to review the pedagogy, exam methods, and grading practices in those courses and propose changes as needed. Discussion with focus groups of current and past students should be conducted at the outset to gain a sense of the nature and extent of academic dishonesty in those particular courses.

— Chairs should closely examine, through the normal peer observation process, the syllabi, assignments, exams, and grading practices of instructors in those courses. The purpose should be not only to review and evaluate instruction but also to inform a departmental discussion of concrete responses to academic integrity issues.

— A task-force subcommittee of computer-savvy faculty and students will be asked to identify those online textbooks and exams and procedures which lend themselves to cheating.

— The workshops recently initiated by the associate dean’s office in Zicklin to develop active and experiential learning in course curriculum and to match learning goals and pedagogy should not only continue, but also become an integral part of the development of curriculum designed to foster academic integrity.

— The math faculty should continue and expand its efforts, with the collaboration of SACC, to improve pedagogy in the courses that BBA students must successfully complete.

— The Faculty Senate should organize discussion between an appropriate group of faculty and those who deal with academic integrity and discipline in the office of student affairs with an eye toward achieving more effective policy and enforcement.

— Faculty development on designing assignments and enhancing students’ language acquisition through writing assignments should be organized through the Writing Center, the Schwartz Communication Institute, the ESL Lab, and SACC.

— A renewed effort should be launched to familiarize faculty with tools for detecting plagiarism, such as, and for helping students avoid plagiarism and teaching appropriate uses of sources and proper citation.

— The module on academic integrity should be reintroduced in Freshman Seminars, and Ethics Week should continue to be the occasion to raise awareness among students.

— The hotline on academic integrity should continue to be promoted and used as a means of identifying where problems most frequently arise.

— The Dean of Students office will engage with student organizations and clubs as well as student government and leadership bodies to enlist students themselves in the effort to promote academic integrity as a value within the College as a whole.

— The offices of Student Affairs and Academic Affairs should continue their recently renewed effort to meet with departments and engage faculty in discussions of detecting and reporting violations of academic integrity and the appropriate measures to be taken in disciplining students.

We appreciate all your suggestions and cooperation in fostering and ensuring academic integrity.

John Brenkman
Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Ben Corpus
Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management and Dean of Students