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Date: January 27, 2004

Survey Targets UVic Students, Faculty, TAs on Attitudes Towards Academic Integrity

The term “academic integrity” means different things to different people and UVic hopes a survey it is conducting early next month will provide valuable feedback on how all the values associated with student learning are regarded at the university.

In conducting the online survey, UVic is following in the footsteps of other Canadian universities in assessing the awareness, understanding and practice of academic integrity on campus by its faculty, students and teaching assistants.

“Academic integrity describes the fundamental values of respect, trust, honesty, fairness and responsibility we strive for in our learning and teaching practices and in our research,” says Dr. Geri Van Gyn, director of UVic’s learning and teaching centre, which is co-ordinating the survey. “It’s about adhering to UVic’s academic standards for writing, speaking, listening and researching. It’s about how you conduct yourself in an academic community and I’m not sure we’ve done a good enough job at informing our students about our standards.”

The upcoming survey will help determine just how well-informed UVic students—and their instructors—are. The survey evolved from one created by Dr. Don McCabe of Rutgers University in New Jersey and the president and founding member of the Center for Academic Integrity. UVic’s survey will be accessible on the Web for a one-week period—Feb. 2 to 9. Eligible respondents will receive a prompt directing them to the survey when they sign on with their UVic ID.

A random sample of 2,000 additional students will be asked to complete the survey and participate in a sub-study as part of McCabe’s research. One thousand students will receive a paper copy of the survey, while the remaining 1,000 will complete it online. This group will be part of a comparison study investigating if the format affects survey responses.

All responses will be completely confidential and anonymous. The data collected will contribute to McCabe’s 10-year longitudinal study on academic integrity. Ten other Canadian universities, a Canadian college and over 100 American colleges have already participated in his study. UVic’s survey is endorsed by the university’s vice president academic and the undergraduate and graduate student societies.

The results of the survey will be made public and could influence UVic policy and student orientation programs as early as the fall. “The process is meant to inform our future activities to support both faculty members and students to understand and follow academic standards that are fundamental in an academic community,” says Van Gyn.

Media contacts:
Dr. Geri Van Gyn (Learning and Teaching Centre) at (250) 721-8572 or gvangyn@uvic.ca
Patty Pitts (UVic Communications) at (250) 721-7656 or ppitts@uvic.ca

UVic media releases and other resources for journalists are available on the World Wide Web at http://communications.uvic.ca/media

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