Answers to Facultys Frequently Asked Questions about the Stetson University Honor System
What was the rationale behind adoption of a student-run Honor System at Stetson?
First, an Honor System is consistent with Stetson's high commitment to values-centered education. Second, an Honor System facilitates a more serious academic environment on campus, as students hold their peers to higher standards of academic integrity and excellence. An additional benefit is coordinated decision-making and centralized record keeping. Similar offenses committed in different classes can now be handled similarly; repeat offenders can be identified.
What is the role of the Honor System Council?
The Council's primarily responsibility is to educate the campus community about issues of academic integrity, and to motivate the campus to uphold high standards in this arena. Their secondary responsibility is to serve as a peer hearing board in cases of alleged academic dishonesty.
Must I report violations of academic integrity to the Honor System Council?
The Honor System is the university policy for dealing with alleged cases of breach of academic integrity. Faculty would normally be expected to use the Honor System procedure in dealing with such cases.
But it seems like such a hassle! Why do I need to report cases?
The minimal answer is: If people don't report cases, then no one has any way of knowing whether the same student has cheated in more than one class. Most faculty would treat a student with an isolated uncharacteristic instance of plagiarism differently from one who had systematically cheated his/her way through a multitude of courses.
But a more fundamental answer appeals to the very nature of the Honor System. It is a movement to transform campus academic culture. The peer accountability afforded by the Honor System is a powerful force for students to hold themselves and one another to high standards of academic excellence and integrity.
Do Honor System Council findings affect my ability to assign grade as I see fit?
The Honor System Council can only recommend academic sanctions. Professors still retain final authority over grades in their classes. Many follow Honor System Council recommendations. However, in some cases faculty have chosen to assign grade penalties harsher or more lenient than those recommended by the Council.
I'm concerned about plagiarism in my class. Does the Honor System use online plagiarism detection tools such as TurnItIn.com?
Clearly, problems with plagiarism and inadequate attribution of sources continue to plague the academy. However, the Council does NOT recommend blanket submission of all submitted papers to a plagiarism detection process such as TurnItIn.com. This sort of "mass processing" approach is antithetical both to the spirit of the Honor System and the character of Stetson as a small, personal institution. Nor does the university have a campus-wide subscription to this service (though some departments and individual faculty members may choose to subscribe). However, the Council does believe that, used judiciously, such tools can be helpful in cases where there is some prior reason for the faculty member to be suspicious about a submitted work. The Council can submit selected papers to TurnItIn.com, if requested, as part of its investigative process.
What about violations that happen at the end of a semester?
Violations reported at the end of the term are particularly problematic, as the student Council members as well as the accused students are busy with final exams. Nevertheless, the Council aims to act upon every reported violation in as timely a manner as possible. In recent practice, violations reported by the last day of class have been heard by the conclusion of exam week, while cases reported during exam week are deferred until the beginning of the next semester.
What if I have other questions or concerns about the Honor System?
Any member of the faculty Honor System Advisory Committee will gladly discuss the matter with you. Current members are:
Jane Bradford (Library), 822-7190, firstname.lastname@example.org, 143 duPont-Ball Library
David Dysart (A&S), 822-7279, email@example.com, 126 Sampson Hall
Lloyd Linney (Music), 822-8985, firstname.lastname@example.org, 340 Presser Hall
John Rasp (Business), 822-7444, email@example.com, 526A Lynn Business Center