I would like to explore how the class concepts have related to my actual teaching experiences at both Virginia Tech and at Radford University. I will compare the academic integrity programs at both schools and combine that with my own anecdotal experiences as well as relevant research. There are many similarities in the underlying goals of both policies regarding plagiarism and cheating, but how those two programs are executed and what is expected as an instructor are very different.
The purpose of the paper would be to expose future GTAs and adjunct faculty to the different environments they may find themselves in as they enter the teaching profession. The policies and experiences at Virginia Tech do not always translate directly to different types of institutions who have their own culture regarding ethics in the classroom. At times I personally felt challenged by the different cultures and had to figure out how to navigate them in a way that was both fair and ethical.
This paper essentially is a discussion that I wish I had had, prior to starting my position as an adjunct faculty. Topics will include the process for reporting discrepancies to the university, how teachers use their discretion in such instances and the guidance and support that new adjunct faculty is given in navigating these systems.
So far everything I’ve written has one author only, me. I haven’t had the experience of co-authorship yet, so many the concepts from this week were relatively new to me.
I have fortunately had one of my teaching mentors relate her experience to me, in the hopes that I would avoid the pitfalls that she had to work through. She said that as a student she had co-written a paper with one of her committee members. She claims that the work was essentially 50/50 on the publication, but that after she had left her institution and the paper was finally published there was only 1 author listed. She was not that author. As a young faculty member at a small liberal arts school, she said that it was really difficult for her to argue against the tenured faculty member who was listed as the sole author. The faculty member had a lot sway and was an important member and leader in the school’s Political Science department. Eventually, this situation was resolved, but it was a lot of work and stress for my mentor.
I think the best way to avoid this type of interaction is to be very clear from the beginning how authorship for a shared project will look at the end. The guides that this week’s reading offered are helpful frameworks to start that conversation.
This could not be a more timely reading. This week I had a student who had written a paper without attributing the words and ideas she used to the original author. It was such a blatant case of plagiarism that I felt compelled to refer the student to the academic integrity board at the university I teach at.
During the next class, we discussed as a group some of the fundamentals of good citations and why we need to do this as scholars. There were a number of students who were having trouble citing work and I think it was a beneficial lesson.
The students brought up at least two questions about some of the finer points in citations that I didn’t know. I said that I would research the answer and get back to them. I take for granted that I try to cite work correctly and that I am experienced in it. Going through the last couple of weeks has made me reexamine my own citation strategies and teaching students has definitely made my own research stronger.