The Academic Regulations and Procedures of Carleton College outline the core standards for defining any act of academic dishonesty on page 1. One crucial point to underscore to advisees and all students is that any ideas that they take from work that was not authored by them or any idea that they receive orally, even from colleagues, must be attributed in all of their written work to fulfill the ethical standards of the College. This applies to published and unpublished work, work on the internet or email attachments, work that students consult as a reference on all but the most mundane historical and empirical facts and figures that do not provide any original analysis or interpretation. The principle applies to ideas not presented as direct quotations; ideas that are put in the student’s own words but are not the original ideas of the student. Attribution can take a variety of forms depending on the conventions of different disciplines and courses. Advisees with questions about the particular expectations of departments or professors should consult these sources directly before they hand in their work product.
It should be noted that some of the most common factors that tend to correlate with academic misconduct are excessive procrastination and poor time management. These conditions often accompany last-minute, poor decision-making by students. Even plagiarism can often be the result of students making poor decisions or simply being sloppy under impending deadlines. Advisers can help to avoid these problems by encouraging advisees to work on their time management skills, perhaps with the help of a coach at the Academic Support Center. The Center maintains a time management coach and provides students a variety of tools for avoiding procrastination and refining their organizational strategies.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that misrepresentation by students in advising confirmation constitutes a violation of academic integrity.
Advisers should be aware of some of the most common causes of academic misconduct at Carleton. According to the last Academic Standing Committee (ASC) memorandum on “Academic Integrity Cases Processed by the ASC During 2015-16,” student behaviors that violate the College’s academic integrity standards are typically done out of ignorance of what constitutes academic misconduct. To be sure, willful academic misconduct does occur, but that is harder to prevent with the recommendations that ASC distributes to faculty. Nonetheless, it is always useful to review the following recommendations with advisees and for faculty to incorporate them into their own efforts to minimize the possibilities for academic misconduct.
The ASC recommends that:
- Faculty [and advisers] ought to “instruct students about what academic dishonesty is and why it is a serious infraction of the norms that govern a community of inquiry.” One good starting point is the webpage Understanding Plagiarism, which provides definitions and further discussion of plagiarism and other acts of academic misconduct.
- The welcoming of new majors is an appropriate time to have major advisers and SDAs clarify the disciplinary conventions and the department’s expectations concerning proper citation, collaborative research and writing, and use of on-line information.
- All advisers ought to reinforce to their advisees the importance of being honest and conscientious about reporting meetings with their advisers. According to the ASC, “a portion of [the ASC] caseload involves students who have misrepresented themselves on the confirmation form for advising meetings, or who have otherwise been dishonest in dealing with faculty or College officials.”
If faculty believe that a student has violated the academic integrity standards of the College, they ought to consult with Cathy Carlson of the Dean of Students office or with David Liben-Nowell, Associate Provost. Such cases may be turned over to the ASC for adjudication.