Personally, I see academic integrity as a key factor in the success of any student and for the entire society as a whole. Academic integrity means being honest and trustworthy, It ensures that the student/researcher is doing his/her part of the work morally. Academic integrity not only ensures the success of the student, but also adds value to the student’s degree. The students and faculty members at Missouri S value academic integrity and they are eager to convey knowledge to the community by maintaing a high standard of academic integrity and ensuring that our behavior is consistent with those standards.
Some students may not be aware of what constitutes academic misconduct such as cheating or plagiarism and may not ask their course instructor for clarification. On thr other hand, some instructors may assume that students understand the rules already. As a result, students can unintentionally fall in the act of academic dishonesty. According to recent researches, the number of academic misconduct has grown significantly in the past years. The most common reason for that growth is the pressure that many students go through, we as students sometimes can feel overwhelmed by the amount of work we need to accomplish.
While some of us trying to maintain work-study-life balance, the pressure sometimes can be intense and the amount of pressure that we go through every day can significantly affect our judgment and result in poor decision making. From my point of view, during the incident last semester, I have made a poor decision by not taking extra time to educate and train myself on how to prepare an academic report properly. I had also made a poor decision when I misinterpreted part of Dr. Maerz instructions and did not seek additional clarification from him, and going through this experience have changed my way of thinking when it comes to making a decision involving an academic integrity matter.
Our knowledge is based and built on previous knowledge and ideas created by others. As we read, study, and perform experiments, we are drawing on other people’s ideas. Building on their ideas and experiences, we create our own. When we create our ideas, and present it on a paper, it is very important to reference the resources and provide appropriate citations in order to avoid plagiarism.
Plagiarism can be in the form of taking other author’s publications, ideas or thoughts and represent it as if it was another person’s effort. For a student, plagiarism consequences can be in the form of disciplines such as warnings, probation, suspension, dismissal or even expulsion from the college. In the event that plagiarism was discovered after a degree has been awarded, the academic institution who issued the degree has the legal right to revoke the degree. For a faculty member or instructor, a student who committed a plagiarism or academic dishonesty behavior cannot be properly evaluated for the work they performed or the conception of the knowledge they acquired through their academic research. As a result of that, colleges may grant credentials to those who do not necessarily deserve them, which can have seriously damaging consequences in the practical workplace. An example for that, if there is someone who obtained a degree to practice medicine, engineering, law, or any other practical field through academic dishonesty, the public safety and welfare could be jeopardized.
When someone who obtained his or her degree dishonestly get hired by an employer, the potential incompetence of the graduate would reflect badly on the graduate’s alma mater, and that could badly affect future graduates’ employment endeavors. At times, faculty may assign students to projects granted to the university by an external sponsor such as businesses, government agencies, or organizations to expose students to real-life working experience. If a student involved in cheating or fabricate data in such projects, sponsors may take legal actions against the university and these actions could be very serious such as fines, loss of future projects to the university, and even lawsuits. Therefore, consequences of such actions will not only damage the reputation of the university, but may also result in loss of such opportunities for future students of the university.
If faculty are not concerned about academic misconduct in their classes and do not take any action when academic dishonesty is observed, they may lose students’ respect. On the other hand, students who continue to be academically dishonest, force class instructors to spend time policing students instead of educating them. Such atmosphere ultimately results in enthusiasm decline for the education process for both students and instructors and result in a poor quality of education.
Students who cheat and at first get away with it may eventually feel guilty and suffer from low self-esteem. This loss of self-respect can lead to other problems, including difficulties with their careers, families and other aspects of life.
Although some students may think cheating is harmless and that its potential penalties would impact only themselves, it is crucial that they understand the far-reaching consequences of academic dishonesty and the serious societal and personal ramifications it can have.
Going through this experience has taught me a lot about academic integrity and increased the level of awareness of plagiarism consequences. I have also learned that regardless of the causes of academic dishonesty, it cannot be justified under any circumstances and in the long run, this attitude can be harmful not only to the cheater, but to everyone else affected by his or her actions. I currently strive to apply what I have learned from this experience in my academic endeavors and professional career. Finally, I would advise anyone who is facing similar circumstances to seek help from their professor/instructor or a consular staff to clarify any ambiguity in assigned college tasks before they proceed with the task to eliminate any academic misconduct behavior before it occurs.