Senate to welcome academic Integrity leader

In common with many Australian Universities, Macquarie is currently undergoing a major review of its approach to the question of Academic Integrity.

University Council and Academic Senate has now completed an overhaul of all of the University’s student discipline processes and we are now turning our attention to the broader issue of how best to set, communicate and reinforce positive messages in regard to the ethical behaviours we expect all University citizens to model.

We know that we face significant challenges in regard to academic honesty and ethical practice throughout our assessment practice. The recent MyMaster events have served to remind us of the threat of contract cheating, organised essay mills and ghost writing of assignments. We can, and are, working harder to detect the use of these kinds of services but, given their rapid growth and proliferation, this is an escalating arms race we can’t hope to win outright.

Ultimately, our strongest defense may well be a matter of the educators art. Taking the time to explain what it means to be an ethical University citizen, why behaviours like plagiarism damage the individual and the University community, and how acting with integrity will benefit our students in their lives beyond the University. We do a great deal of this already, but maybe now is the time refine and redouble our efforts.

At the Academic Senate meeting on Tuesday 2nd June, we will be welcoming Dr Tracey Bretag from the University of South Australia, and Sonia Saddiqui, one of our local experts in this area. They will brief Senators on the state of the art in this area of policy, and on mechanisms to encourage student understanding and ownership of Academic Integrity principles and good practice.

Tracey Bretag

Tracey is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Management in the University of South Australia Business School. Her research focuses on higher education policy and practice, with a particular emphasis on Academic Integrity matters. She recently led the successful OLT project on embedding and extending exemplary Academic Integrity policy and support frameworks, and has produced a number of helpful resources to guide policy development in this space. In addition, she is the former Chair and Founding Member of the Asia-Pacific Forum on Educational Integrity, the President of the Executive Board of the International Centre for Academic Integrity, an Assessor for the Australian Office for Learning and Teaching, and an Excellence in Research (ERA) Peer Reviewer.

Sonia is currently completing her PhD on student engagement in Academic Integrity. Furthermore, she chairs a student led ambassadorship initiative called “Academic Integrity Matters” at Macquarie.

This meeting represents a significant opportunity for Academic Senate to engage with the challenge we face in embedding a renewed culture of personal integrity and ethical good practice throughout our academic programs. Recent media coverage at the national level has served to peak interest in Academic Integrity matters, and Senate is taking a lead in using this momentum to develop a much more integrated response to the question of Academic Integrity.

All meetings of Senate are open to the Macquarie community and you are most welcome to attend this important presentation. Space is strictly limited, so if you intend to do so please send an email to senate@mq.edu.au.

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