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tv   Ethical Perspectives on the News  ABC  February 28, 2016 11:00am-11:30am CST

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speaker 1: ethical perspectives on the news is produced by the inter- religious uncil of linn county, which is solely rereponsible for its content. the views and opinions expressed on this program do not necessarily reflect those of the staff and nagement of kcrg-tv9. craig: good morning, welcome to this week's edition of ethical perspectives on the news. my name is craig vansandt, i hold the david w. wilson chair in business ethics at the university of northern making the grade, term papers for sale. we'll be talking abt with today is dr. leslie williams the dean of students at the university of northern iowa. leslie welcome to for
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panelist is micah hawker-boehnke who is a senior at cornell college here in cedar rapids. micah thank you for being with us. micah: thank you for having me. craig: our third panelist is dr. carin crain the dean of students at the university of iowa law school. carin thank you for joining us. carin: thank you for inviting me. craig: i mentioned that our conversation today will be about cheating in higher education. the impetus for this show came from a class i taught last year, unfortunately an ethics class, in which three of the students that i had failed because of plagiarism. i also suspected several other students of buying papers to turn in as their own work, i couldn't prove that so they passed the class. but i had never before seen in such
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cheating that goes on in our education. lesley i'd like to start with you, i understand your dissertation was about student cheating in higher education. leslie: yes. craig: can you give us a brief summary of that? leslie: sure. my dissertation, basically i was worked at a university that i handlededcademic shonesty on the cacapus. there was a few high profile cases that got me thinking about why do students cheat and why are they deciding to do this. i really wanted to look at the reasons why and i thought maybe if we look at whyare they doing it, is there something we can do about it, we can do something about this problem. my topic is on academic dishshesty and moral develelment theory. it's whether or not we could increase the moral development level of students, thereby
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right now we're just telling students, "don't cheat, it's the wrong thing to do. don't do it," instead of helping them understand why we shouldn't do it and why it's important and why it's against yoururharacter and your moral ethics. my study has looked at twenty six different behaviors of cheating, and whether or not students engaged in those or not, and then how that related to theheoral development level. my study showed that in my study of four hundred and fifty three students over ninety percent admitted to some form of cheating, which was quite high and very shocking. crcrig: that's scaa. leslie: it's quite scary. but there was a positive correlation to their moral development level. the higher they were developed morally, the less likely they were to cheat. it also looked to perceptions of cheating, how serious it was versus not serious and t tngs like that. it had different dimensions, it was very interesting to look at the reasons students are cheating, and maybe ways we can attack cheating differently. craig: thank you, we'll talk more about that i'm sure. leslie: yeah. craig: carin you had mentioned in a phone conversation we had that yououe had the opportunititto talk to several
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accused of cheating. could you tell us a little bit about what they talked about in terms of motivations for cheating? carin: yes. i i found that most students who were accused of cheating or who admitted to cheating, i don't think would consider themselves dishonest people. i think mainly the situation they found themselves in was that they had a deadline and they weren't prepared to meet the deadline. they were ve motivated to do well in the course or to do well on their journal a aticle and the nly option they saw for themselves, because they weren't prepared to do all the work, was to cut corners. the way they tended to cut corners was by plagiarizing. that was the most typical situation i saw. craig: it was more of a deadline imposed necessity as craig: itas more of a deadline imposed necessity as they saw it? carin: mm-hmm
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out to cheat, it was that the circumstance overtook them.craig: okay. micah, , ing the student in the group i'll asas you, from your experience as a student what do you see would drive a student to cheat? micah: i think the real question is what wouldn't drive a student to cheat. craig: really? micah: reay, the pressure especially at the level is so high at this point. scholarship are directly tied to your gpa at this point. students always are met with that incentive to always make the grade. now for me personally i saw a lot more cheating in high school. that really was all about getting into college. in college a lot of the cheating that's going on is more, really what
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just trying to make that grade, trying to make that deadline and not being able to do it.a lot of the times, at least in the areas i've seen cheating, are in classes that are particularly harder for students to learn, sucucas languages or statistics. it's one done out of necessity, and one done out of the fact that there is everything to gain from making that grade e d often times, like e u said, professors suspect students but can't catch them. is perceived as $& ll. micah i'll play off of you, y y don't have to be the one to answer this question, but we've talked a little bit about consequences , that students see little chance of being caught. e there things that we could do as educators to make the consequence more immediate, more
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leslie: i would definitely thihi there are. i think that's one of the things, i think students see that it's socially acceptable, otr ssdents are doing it so everyononelse is doing it, ii should try it myself. but then i think that there are a lot of professors who will turn a blind ey in the sense that it's a lot of work sometimes to fill out the paperwork to do all the stuff to turn someone in over a hundred points. they're just like, "okay, whatever i might have a conversation with them but i'm not going to go through all the papeork." i think hat you find that a lot of teachers, they might if they take the time to confnfnt a student individually say like, "you shouldn't do this, maybe redo the paper," but they're not going to take the time to formally report it to the provost's office or the dean's office and take that effort, because it's a lot of extra paperwork. anything that we can do as administrators maybe to make it easier to report and easier to keep those records, i think it might help. craig: i can personally attest to the paperwork having had three students that failed recently. leslie: right. micah: i definitely want to echo that. i actually ha a friend, i won't nam them for obious teasons, who turned in a paper
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and was met with a deadlle and completely plagiarized i i. the student t hen received an a. the student then said, "hey this is a great idea," so the student then to turn that into another professor, hoping to get that exact same a. that professor actually had the time, granted it was a visiting professor, to fill out all the paperwork and turn it in. i definitely thininthat getting rid of the paperwork is one of the big challenges we face.on the other hand part of the paperwork is also to make sure that innocent students are being punished. i've also had a friend of mine who would never cheat t her life and she w w also accused of plagiarism. it ended up being a three months battle for her, basically just to prove that no she didn't plagiarize whatsoever. craig: as we talk about consequences, is this something that we should have a zero toleranceceolicy for? if a student is caught cheating immediate expulsion, immediate f? carin can i ... carin: yes. i think it depends. i think it depends on a lot of the situation. it depends on what the student did, how willing the student is to accept reponsibility for the extent of the academic dishonesty. i d d't think
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would be correct for academic dishonesty. i think cheating in professional schools is very consequential if a student is caught, because the essence of going to professional school is enenging in a professional life after graduation, and many of those professional lives require students to be licensed. students who have a history y academic misconduct are going to face a very complicated path to professional licensure. for example, applying to be admitted to a bar to practice law. all of the evidence of academic dishonesty must be disclosed to the bar, both by the student and by the college or university. the chararaer and fitness committee of a state bar is
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about aitting students to practice law who have shown that they aren't honest people, because in addition to representing clients lawyers are officers of the court. their ability to be honest when pressure is high is really crucial to our justice system. craig: the law students understand that coming into law school? carin: i certainly hope so. we tell them, m my different ways, many different times, that this is an important role that they're taking, not just as an advocate but as an officer of the court. craig: i'm glad you said you tell them a lot. there was
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this pa september student that as you follow through. but even prior to that in orientation very little is said about academic honesty. leslie: i can definitely attest to that. i think, i work orientation obviously at my school, and we do this session on student conduct and i think academic dishonesty has two slides out of thirty. we got so much to cover in two days that the students are really there just trying to get acclimated to college, get registered, find a place to live. the idea that we only have time to talk about this topic is just not there.we've got basically two slides in a presentation that's thirty minutes long to talk to
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just not enough. i also think as carin was saying earlier, i think that we need to have a really strong, kind of a no tolerance to academic dishonesty, that we need to confront every time it happens. i agree that there's a different sanction for every one that happens. there's so many different levels of academic dishoneses, from looking off someone's paper during a five point quiz, to turning in a bought term paper off the internet. i really think you have to look at it, the number of times they've done it, their ability to take reponsibility for it, things like that. you have to look at a lot of different factors when you're really looking at the issue. i think it would be helpful if students would turn other students in. i think at the professional level that might be more likely, but undergraduate students aren't likely to turn in their peers for drinking let alone cheating. i definitely don't think they're going to do that. i think faculty need to go ahead and try to confront students, even if you can't prove it it's just say, "i think there's a problem here, we should talk about it." it might be worse that conversation for that student and the educational matter. craig: okay. micah, i wawa to ask you this question. all three of us represent large state supported institutions, you go to a fairly small private l leral arts
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how the institution deals with academic cheating at your school? micah: at cornell, i think they actually handle it t pretty well. essentially how it works is much like what everyone else has talked about on stage. if yoyore caught cheating y y automatically fail the course, but however we do allow a grace period, usually within your first year. if you're caught once, all right, we punish you, we explain what you did wrong but we don't letethat destroy your career, we let you stay at cornell. if we catch you twice we might actually expel you. granted i'm not an expert on any ofofthese, thankfully i haven't had to deal with it.craig: sure. i like the way that you approach this as a we. at least as you're saying this,ou see it as a joined effort between the students, the faculty, the administration. one of the
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as a faculty member is, do i become an adversary in the classroom by talking about cheating and talking about ththconsequences of that? any ideas on that aspect? carin: i don't think adversary, i think you're providing helpful informamaon thaastudents would know what the boundaries are and if they know the consequence for stepping over those boundaries, i think that's valuablelenformation and i wouldn't consider that adversarial at all.craig: good. leslie: i agree. i think it's one of those things, it's definitely going to help that student learn whatat
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repercussions are for it, what the long term effects are. because i think when students are doing it they're under pressure like micah said. they're not really sure what's going on or they want to get a good grade. it might hurt your ratemyprofes sors ratings for a little while because are going to see you're going to turn them in. i think it will help in the long run that you're going to help people understand the repercussions and that it's not just a victim-less crime so to speak. it does affect them, it affects other students and it affects the university.micah: i actually wanted to chime on that if that was okay. craig: please. micah: i really do think that's very important forr profeeors to turn in students. for one thing, students are never going to do it in undergrad, but also professors even at cornell get reputations for not being able to pick out students that are plagiarizing and not turning students in. what that turns the professor intotos just an easy professor to walk all over. where the professors that actually turn students in actually gain a lot more respect at cornell. they're actually seen as professors that really do care about their jobob almost all of our professors will turn students
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find those that won't as well. it's really important to ... it my hurt the $ratemyprofessors, but at the school y're going to get a lot more respect for it. craig: okay. let me ask you, you started off that statement by saying pndergraduate students will not turn other students in. at the military academies in the united states, the army, navy, air force academies, they have an honor code that says, "i wiel not lie, cheat, ststl or tolerate thosee who do." making g an honor code violation to not turn in someone that you see cheating. why wouldn't that work at an undergraduate institution? micah: it's very simple actually unfortunatel y. craig: please. micah: part of my college search, i hope they don't get angry, but was looking at knox college. knox has something very similar to that, where they allow students to take their tete papers, their tests, anywhere they like. students are sworn in on some sort of honor code, i
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then students are supposed to report anyone that they see cheating. hohover i actually had a chance to talk to many of the students at knox about this system. many of them said, "yeah, you always know the student that's cheating and no one ever does actutuly turn them in." part of that is the difference between the characters of people you have at a military academy, that are honor bound to their country, honor bound individuals in and of themselves, and nowowou have is at the undergraduate level everyone else. it's one pool of the best of society and another pool of the kind of everyone else. the system really is built, espepeally in undergrad it's the students the faculty and the administration. a lot of that comes through the punishments that are handed down, just like in regular society, it's the people versus the government. there's really just no way to change that craig: okay. carin, in speaking before the show you mentioned
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much more apt to report cheating when they see it. could you talk about that? micah: yes. at the university of iowa college of law students are not required topturn in fellow students who they suspect of violating our code of mimionduct. however sometimes students will, and i think there is some interesting reasons for that. i think part of it is because law school is difficult and law school is competitive. they would prefer that their classmates not have an unfair competitive edge. but i also think it's because they're studying law and they believe in process a they believe i i fairness and they wawa to uphold those principles in their educational pursuits. i'm grateful to students when they will let me know what they think is going. sometimes they're right, sometimes they're wrong, but it's often useful information to have. craig: sure, okay. let me bring this back to part of why i got very interested in this, which is the services that offer to write term papers for students.
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computer programs that can help faculty members find plagiarized documents, but if a student hires someone to write an original paper for them i think that's pretty clearly cheating but at the same time it makes it almost impossible for me as a faculty member to prove that cheating has occurred. not that any of you have first hand information about this, but i'd be curious to hear your thoughts about what motivates the services that provide these papers? c carly they are
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the educational process, and they have to know that. why would a college graduate turn around and offer to write a paper for micah? leslie: because it's easy money for them, especially if it comes easy. if writing papers comes easy for me and it's a skill, a talent i have, i'm offering it to the world at a fee. i'm not hurting anyone by offering my services, am i? you kind of wonder that, if they think that. it's supply and demand, if students are coming to them and asking for something they're going to provide it. it's just one of those things that it's available. i don't know, i don't sell papers so i wouldn't know how these people think, but i'm gugusing that they don't't think they're not hurting anyone. they're helping a student, they're paying for a service and they're taking advantage of a skill that they happen to have. craig: okay. i follow the logic, i do find it hard to see where they could think that that was ethical. but
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school i also know the lure of money and why that is avlable. leslie: ethics for them might follow the person who's buying it from them, not them writing it. they're writing in and they're doioi it honestly, they're just selling it. craig: okay, so- leslie: the ethics is the question is the person who's buying the paper ... craig: selling it to an unethical buyer is okay? leslie: yeah. i don't know, i'm not one of the sellers, or buyers. craig: i understand law school, are there any legal ramications for cheating in academia? carin: legal in terms of, i i wouldn't b ba crime but where the students would really feel the consequence is whatever sanction their school might impose, and then if they're planning to on to graduate study it can frustrate an application, it will ceceainly complicate an application. in the admissions process you might have two equally qualified pople, high standardized
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recommendations and a good gpa, but one person has academic dishonesty, the limited number of seats in a class it's pretty clear who would be the choice. craig: sure, sure. again, referring back to this new york times article thth i mentioned earlier, one of the things that i found interesting, in the headline it says that these studies find that more students are cheating and then they make a specific statement that high achihiers are no exception, that we don't seem to make a difference between high or low achievement, everybody's cheating. leslie: i think it's what micah said earlier, that especially the high achievers, they're under a huge pressure to get good grades, to be top in their class, to really excel so they'll make it to law school. their motivation might be lightly different, to look, to
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best that can possibly be, versus maybe the low there's just laziness. the motivation might be different but i think they're all still doing it for different reasons. craig: then is the answer to make school less competitive? to expect less from students? leie: i would like to think that it's to help people decision, andnd up who you are. doing it really affects you as a person, and that they'll see that that means something longer term. what it m mns for this papap today is not the same thing as it means for you ten years from now when you look back on your college career and, "i passed that business ethics class because i cheated." does that feel good? not really. i would like students to ... i think my goal would be moral education and helping students grow ethically and morally as people will help solve the problem. other
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confronting cheating, making it not socially acceptable, things like that might help with the blem. craig: okay, micah? micah: i actually think we've heard the solution on here basically using the curve, which is used in law school, which basically forces students to compete with made this country not to compete with themselves. when i take a test in undergrad i'm competing with myself, when i see a classmate cheating, i really couldn't care less because i'm not competing with that classmate i'm competing with myself to do better and the best i can possibly be. but if all of a sudden i'm competing against that classmate,e,ou better believe that i'm going to report that student because he's taking something away from me at that point. now i realize, i have a professor at cornell, dr. , who if he saw this he would go crazy because he hates the curve system. but i do think
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maybe not the most academically sound way to go about is getting the curve but i feel like that is the m mt effective, at least the most effective solution we've heard here tonight.craig: okay. carin, your thoughts? carin: another way i think that at least we could a aress the term p per problem would be having more exercises. for example, at law school we have a system where students to oral advocacy for at least one course. now it's pretty hard to cheat when you are arguing a point to a panel of real or student judges. i think if students are more personally accountable for their work, if they have to present it in some way and ownn it in some way, i think that would reduce ... at least it would i think eliminate the bought term paper problem. i think it'd be really hard to do that. the other thing, i think if colleges a a universities would work with students maybe even to a greater extent than they do now on planning their papers
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drafts and working through thihis and having to have intermediate steps that they're accountable for and that the professor sees, at least they won't maybe find themselves in that time crunch that seems to motivate so many people. craig: i know professor who is at a university out in massachusett s has written a book called cheating lessons in which he advocates one way fofofaculty members to reduce thee level of cheating is to make more assignments at lesser value each, which then supposedly reduces the incentive to cheat. xe're getting close to the end of our show and i would like to ask each of you to tell the audience what you think is important for them to take away from this conversation. what would you like to leave the audience wiwi? leslie i'll starar with you.leslie: ohoh goodness that's a big question. i guess what i'd like to leave the audience with is that this is a problem on campus. my study at the university i was at, the university i
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admitted to cheating. overajl across the nation studies report it's anywhere from fifty to seventy percece on average that are cheating. obviously it's a big problem and i think it does have long term effects that we ar't really thinking about, as far as in the business world afterwards and corruption and crime and things like that. i really thinkt would be nice to really take a look at this in the shoho term to then see how it affects the long term. i i ally would like us to spend more time talking about it and being open about it and being honest about why we do it, why students are doing it, why we're not addressing it, and really start talking about it. that way we can th maybe do something about it. craig: okay, thank you. micah? micah: i think first and foremost it's prevalent out of necessity. what we've heard here tonight, i think talking about it'd be great if we could have that open conversation but i don't
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reallyappen unless we either leleen the punishment or find ways that we can bring it oet of students. craig: thank you. carin? micah: i think my comment wwld go to students, which is they might perceive that it's low risk but if they get caught it is high cost. think most school administrator s would say it's s st not worth it. craig: thank you. on behalf of the inter-religious council of linn c/unty, i'd like to4thank all three of zou for this very interesting discussion. i'd like to thank you, the audience, for tuning in. have
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>> hi, everybody, welcome in to another edition of premier investments of iowa "financial perspectives." myame is bob bruc i'll be joined shortly by jeff johnston, as welll asary speichernd jonas everett. on today's episode, you're 62, do you have to retire? do you have to stop working? what $% about retiring if you're single? we'll get into that, plus more, let's begin.


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