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Loyola Students Campaign for Academic Integrity

Loyola press release - February 21, 2005

Loyola Students Campaign for Academic Integrity

NEW ORLEANS, LA – Faculty members reported an average of 3-6 cases of academic dishonesty last semester at Loyola University New Orleans, yet only 37 percent of students think that cheating is a problem on campus, according to surveys recently conducted by Loyola students as part of a national competition.

Armed with these statistics and concern about a plethora of recent ethical controversies such as Armstrong Williams, former New York Times reporter Rick Bragg and Martha Stewart, a five-member team of communications students have planned a series of events for their "Check Out My Ethics" campaign to educate their college community and seniors at De La Salle High School about the need for enhanced academic integrity. As recently as last week parents of a Louisiana high school student filed a suit charging that Episcopal School of Acadiana was in breach of contract for not offering "sound and reasonable education policies" because an instructor used the same tests year after year."

The college team, Loyola Bateman 2005, conducted online surveys, focus groups and in-depth interviews in preparation for their "Check Out My Ethics" educational campaign. Loyola Bateman 2005 concluded that the conflicting data reinforced the need for increased discussion about what constitutes academic dishonesty at the university.

National trends include startling facts as shown in the 2002 campus survey of Texas A&M students in which 80 percent admit to cheating, despite their current honor policy. Such statistics led the team of communications students to resolve that something must be done to enhance academic honesty among all students.

As part of the “Check Out My Ethics” campaign, the team planned an event-filled week to highlight a corresponding fact discovered through a Bateman survey that ranked “personal morality” as the number one factor in preventing academic dishonesty.

“Check Out My Ethics Week” will include a tongue-in-cheek “Mr./Miss Integrity Pageant” to grab the attention of college students, various ethics and integrity workshops promoting the adoption of a university Honor Code and “Check Out My Ethics” stickers for students to wear on the back of their blue jeans all week long.

During religion classes at De La Salle High School on Feb. 23, the Loyola students will teach seniors how they can avoid instances of academic dishonesty and how unethical behavior can affect their future.

A discussion prompted by a scene from the film, Emperor’s Club, and a Family Feud-like challenge, the undergraduates will prove to the seniors that their academic actions today build a reputation of their individual character. The program will explain how better prepared for college or the work place your students will be if they take responsibility of their academics and use their own work rather than steal from other sources.

The campaign Web site highlights five Profiles on Plagiarism which will be used at Loyola and De La Salle to help define plagiarism and prompt discussion about complexities of academic honesty.

As part of the “Check Out My Ethics” campaign, the students ask undergraduates at the university to check out Loyola's ethics. The idea evolved from the premise that a pair of jeans, like integrity, is timeless: for every day and for every individual. Jeans are useful – a standard like ethics. The team wants students to invest in academic integrity on a personal level and “make it your own.”

Senior Jacqueline Bodet clarifies the link between blue jeans and academic integrity: “Just as you show your personal sense of style when you wear your favorite pair of jeans, you also wear your individual character on your sleeve with the way that you approach academic honesty. Academic integrity is a personal choice and we want students to ‘Make it your own’.”

Bodet, director of Loyola Bateman 2005, explains that the team is from the Loyola chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA).

This campaign is part of the 2005 Bateman Case Study Competition hosted by the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). It is a national student competition established to allow members of the PRSSA to prove analytical skills and public relations expertise at the college level.

The public relations team began the campaign with solid research including online surveys, in-depth interviews and focus groups to determine the level of awareness about academic honesty among Loyola undergraduates and Loyola faculty.

To view the entire list of “Check Out My Ethics Week” events, please refer to the Facts Sheet below this release.The Loyola Bateman team includes seniors Jacqueline Bodet of Mobile, Ala., Kirby Scelfo of Franklin, La. and Jessica Venezia of Slingerlands, N.Y. Junior, Andrea Ganier of New Orleans and sophomore Kristen Haro of Sacramento, Ca. are also members of the elite team of communications majors. Loyola's Bateman team has consistently placed in the top three finalists in the national competition for the past five consecutive years. For more information visit www.loyno.edu/~integrit.

Schedule of Events:Loyola Bateman 2005 "Check Out My Ethics"

Sun. Feb. 20 - Carrollton Hall, 3 p.m.

“Shattered Glass” Movie Discussion Residents and student organizations are invited to attend a screening of "Shattered Glass" a true story of unethical behavior in the professional world. A discussion of the film in the context of academic honesty will follow the screening.Mon. Feb. 21 - Monroe Library Multimedia Room 2, 4:30 p.m.

“Cultivating a Culture of Academic Integrity”The J. Edgar Monroe Library will host this “best practices” workshop for professors. Faculty members will attend to gain insights from fellow professors about developing effective strategies for dealing with academic dishonesty. Bateman team memberswill share the research findings, educating professors about their role in encouraging and maintaining academic integrity. Tues. Feb. 22 - Monroe Library Living Room, 12:30 p.m.

“Copy, Paste, CITE: A Workshop for Students”The Monroe Library staff will instruct students on the uses of both research and citation resources. Highlighted programs will include; Lexis-Nexis and RefWorks. Bateman team members will again discuss the research findings and their relevance to student life.

Wed. Feb. 23 – Underground, 8:30 p.m.

“Holy Grounds" Honor Code discussion”Partnering with the "Holy Grounds" discussion series, the team invites professors to discuss the issue of instituting a campus honor code with students in an informalsetting. Faculty will be asked to share personal experiences with academic dishonesty from their academic and professional lives.Thur. Feb. 24 – Peace Quad, 12:30 p.m.

“Mr./Miss Integrity Pageant”All campus organizations are invited to select a member to participate in the Integrity Pageant. Contestants will be judged on their expression of integrity as well as theirknowledge of academic honesty policies and practices. The winner will be crowned "Mr./Miss. Integrity" and will be awarded a gift certificate for a new pair of jeans.

Thurs. Feb. 24 – Monroe Library Seminar Room 4, 6:30 p.m.

“Careers With Character”

Professionals will share their experiences about integrity in the workplace and provide students with real-life accounts of how important being ethical is and the consequences of being dishonest. This event is a forum for student discussion about ethics in their future profession, while providing a networking opportunity for a variety of fields.