Task force strengthens Penn State’s focus on academic integrity issues

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Executive Vice President and Provost Nick Jones advanced the University’s focus on academic integrity earlier this year by creating a task force to assess the current process and structure used to manage academic integrity cases and strengthen a culture of integrity. The first deadline for recommended improvements is July 31, 2017.

“Integrity is one of Penn State’s six core institutional values, and the University’s Academic Integrity Policy emphasizes the pursuit of scholarly activities that reflect our commitment to excellence,” Jones said.

“The work of our Academic Integrity Task Force will ensure that when a student earns a prestigious Penn State diploma, it continues to honor and reward authentic individual achievement.”—Nick Jones, Penn State executive vice president and provost 

From 2012-16, academic dishonesty violations throughout the Penn State system have seen an increase of 64.3 percent, from 711 to 1,105 confirmed cases. Common examples of academic dishonesty include plagiarism, fabrication of information or citations, and identity misrepresentation, among others.

“Given the rapid growth in mini-tech and wearable devices, cheating technologies and online “cheat-for-hire” companies are similarly advancing to provide services in this area,” said Yvonne Gaudelius, associate vice president and senior associate dean for the Office of Undergraduate Education and co-chair of the Academic Integrity Task Force. “New and agile methods must be developed to deter these efforts for Penn State to continue its promotion of an environment where honest, academic pursuits are rewarded.”

The 16-member task force was convened to identify potential gaps in the University’s current approach and will review best practices and tools currently utilized at other universities of a similar size to Penn State or that are part of the Big Ten Academic Alliance. The task force also will collect information about best practices and make recommendations about outreach, training and communication related to integrity across the University community.

Penn State Academic Integrity Task Force members are:

·       Karen Feldbaum, task force co-chair, associate director, Office of Student Conduct

·       Yvonne Gaudelius, task force co-chair, associate vice president and senior associate dean, Office of Undergraduate Education

·       Suzanne Adair, associate dean for graduate student affairs, The Graduate School

·       Omid Ansary, senior associate dean for academic affairs, Penn State Harrisburg

·       Tim Balliett, university ethics officer, Office of Ethics and Compliance

·       Kayla King, undergraduate student representative

·       Chris Masters, assistant dean for academic support and global programs, College of Engineering

·       Keefe Manning, associate dean for academic affairs, Schreyer Honors College

·       Russ Mushinsky, director, Morgan Academic Center

·       Andrew Peck, senior lecturer in psychology, College of the Liberal Arts

·       Gireesh Raman, Ph.D. candidate, Mining and Mineral Processing

·       Andrew Schulz, associate dean for research, College of Arts & Architecture

·       Dennis Shea, associate dean for undergraduate studies and outreach, College of Health and Human Development

·       Jennifer Sparrow, senior director, Teaching and Learning with Technology

·       Don Welch, chief information security officer, Office of Information Security

·       Elizabeth Wright, director of academic affairs, Penn State Hazleton

The task force will suggest revisions to Penn State’s current academic integrity policy and procedure, provide recommendations to achieve best practice status and build a culture of academic honesty, and identify staff and other infrastructure resources necessary to reduce the proliferation of academic dishonesty through improved methods of prevention and detection.

Current academic integrity guidelines can be found at University Faculty Senate policy 49-20 Academic Integrity and in the Academic Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual (AAPPM).

Questions should be directed to task force co-chairs Karen Feldbaum at [email protected] or Yvonne Gaudelius at [email protected].


Yvonne Gaudelius

Associate Vice President and Senior Associate Dean, Office of Undergraduate Education