Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Launching a Crusade

This semester, there seems to be an increase in the cases of plagiarism. The provost's secretary is working on coming up with quantifiable numbers. It could just be that more profs are using Turnitin, but then that probably means the problem was bigger than anyone realized. Or it could be students are becoming more ignorant as secondary schools continue their gradual decay.

We have also had a sharp increase in the number of students on academic probation. I don't know if these two issues are related, but I'd like to get the library involved where we can.

So I'm proposing an all-out crusade on plagiarism. Here are some of my ideas after discussing the issue with my director.
  • Teaching Effectiveness/Writing Across the Curriculum lunch this spring - We have three or four of these each semester, but this would be a little bit different. First of all, try to get the Provost to admit to coming to show the importance of this issue. Also, send a special invitation to the coaches as they have more influence over a segment of the students that no professor has. Finally, try to offer food (the college has cut back on this to save money).
  • Turn the current plagiarism tutorial into a game - Hopefully I can get this done by the TE lunch.
  • Contact the Dean of Freshmen to get some time with the students during "First Weekend" - This is problematic as there is more to do than they have time for already, but this is a grave problem! This should be something fun. Perhaps a mock trial or a game.
  • Contact the Panhellenic Council and see if we can do a mock-trial or game with the Greek organizations this spring.
  • Perhaps in some of these presentations or "games," take advantage of video/animation with the new clickers in the library classroom.
  • Form a focus group of students to ask them why students do it and their opinion on how to get it to stop.

To play our part in addressing the growing number of students on bad academic standing, perhaps offer a study skills session in game format in the library. Contact the Dean of Freshmen to get her to require any freshmen on probation to attend this program.

With all of the problems of enrollment in such a scary economy, we need to do everything we can to make our students succeed without lowering our standards. And if it's war that's required, I'm willing to stand in the front lines... okay, that's overly dramatic, but I really want to help improve this.

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