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Purdue University tackles cheating, academic dishonesty

February 17, 2017

Purdue University has been working to address cheating and academic dishonesty, which students say has become commonplace at the school.

The university's Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities has been working with faculty and students for more than a year to address cheating sources. The school also plans to launch initiatives that work to create a culture of accountability and academic integrity, the Lafayette Journal & Courier  reported.

The key is to set such expectations for the institution, said Jeff Stefancic, head of the office and associate dean of students.

Stefancic said the school had more than 180 cases of academic dishonesty last semester. Last spring, the number of cases was nearly double that.

Since the fall of 2014, the amount of cases each semester has averaged around 250.

Stefancic said unauthorized collaboration, or when students work too closely together, is the most common case of academic dishonesty. About 40 percent of the 450 faculty who completed an academic integrity survey said inappropriate group collaboration occurs often or very often.

Stefancic said one of the more complex issues at the university is plagiarism because some students aren't fully educated on what it means to plagiarize and haven't learned how to properly cite documents.

Yumin Gao, a senior studying engineering, said that in China, it's often acceptable to copy and paste part of someone else's work into your own paper without quoting the original author. To help bridge the gap, Gao took part in a recent initiative with several other Purdue students to create a new honor code.

"That's why I'm working with this group — to try to come up with a more effective way to get the message across to students of all backgrounds," he said.

Board of Trustees student representative Cameron Mann led the project. Mann said the university already has a code of honor, but that students don't connect with it.

"If it's coming from students, I think it means something to them," she said.

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