Academic and Professional Integrity:
Graduate Attributes for the Future
Rosy Crehan
Executive Pro Vice Chancellor, Staffordshire University
Dr Steve Wyn Williams
Dean of Academic Policy and Development
Staffordshire University
Structure and Purpose of the
• To review some of the key features of current policy and
practice relating to academic misconduct.
• To connect the practice of academic misconduct whilst
at University to professional integrity in the workplace
• To make a case for an increased emphasis on
professional and personal integrity in all programmes in
the broader context of ethics and ethical conduct
• To argue that graduate attributes provide a clear
opportunity to embed and deliver the expectations
around academic and professional integrity.
Academic Integrity:
Broader context
There is growing interest in issues connected with
academic integrity. This is partly attributable to the
increasing number of reported cases about
academic fraud worldwide, which in turn is related,
at least to some extent, to the rapid massification
of university education and the growth of
universities and higher education systems.
(McFarlane et al, 2013)
Interesting – in that the paper focuses on
academics…but that is another issue!
Academic Integrity: Broader
• ‘Integrity’ in English derives from the Latin words ‘integer’ and
‘integritas’ meaning whole or entire, integrating different parts of
one’s true self. In moral philosophy the word ‘integrity’ is closely
associated with the virtue that constitutes a ‘good’ person.
• Important to reflect on the broader definition of integrity – insofar
as current discussions re student academic integrity tend to focus on
specific actions i.e academic dishonesty/misconduct
• Need to approach within a more holistic framework which links
academic integrity to a broader context of (institutional) ethical
values and graduate attributes
• Clear links to professional integrity when students enter the
workforce - Professional integrity a big issue with a lot of companies
Employers’ Top Priorities for Student
Learning Outcomes in US universities…
% saying two- and four-year colleges should place MORE emphasis on helping
students develop these skills, qualities, capabilities, knowledge
Effective oral/written
Critical thinking/
analytical reasoning
Knowledge/skills applied
to real world settings
Analyze/solve complex
Connect choices and
actions to ethical
Teamwork skills/ ability to
Ability to innovate and
be creative
in science/technology
Summary of aspects of individual and
organisational integrity
Baxter, J et al (2012) Real Integrity: Practical solutions for organisations seeking to
promote and encourage integrity
The Integrity Iceberg
Individual actions: Plagiarism/
Academic Misconduct
Institutional Culture:
Academic Integrity
and Ethical Values
Personal and Social
International Center for
Academic Integrity: 5 fundamental values
Academic integrity is a commitment to five fundamental
International Center for
Academic Integrity: 5 fundamental values
“We believe that these five values, plus the
courage to act on them even in the face of
adversity, are truly foundational to the academy.
Without them, everything that we do in our
capacities as teachers, learners, and researchers
loses value and becomes suspect. When the
fundamental values are embraced, utilized, and
put into practice they become touchstones for
scholarly communities of integrity.”
Developments in Academic
Developments in Academic
• An interdisciplinary field
– International Journal of Educational Integrity
– International Plagiarism Conference
• International Centre for Academic Integrity (ICAI)
• Asia Pacific Forum on Educational Integrity (ASPFEI)
• Academy JISC Academic Integrity Service
(from Erica Morris (2013))
A Strong Policy focus
Two recent influential reports
•‘Policy Works: Recommendations for reviewing policy
to manage unacceptable academic practice in higher
education’. Produced 12 recommendations building
on good practice (HEA 2011)
•Australian Government Office for Learning and
Teaching (formerly the Australian Learning and
Teaching Council) priority project ‘Academic integrity
standards: Aligning policy and practice in Australian
universities’ (2010-12). Examines AI policies of 39
The Centrality of a Culture of
Academic Integrity (Bretag et al 2011)
Aligning policy and practice in a culture of
academic integrity (based on East, 2009)
Core elements of exemplar academic integrity policy
Comparison of Core Elements of Academic
Integrity Policy (Bretag et al, 2011) with HEA
A Focus on Student Behaviour
• Long history of surveys attempting to gauge student academic
misconduct starting with Bowers in 1963
• Don McCabe and colleagues - a robust body of work since
1990 using self reporting of academic misconduct and looking
at the causes of such conduct
• There seems to be some commonality in the figure self
reported - Bowers reported 75% in his sample, McCabe’s
results confirm this average level as do other surveys
• Influences on academic misconduct: age, gender, ug vs pg,
culture, technology, individual moral beliefs, pressure, honour
codes, awareness initiatives (Jiang et al (2013))
So far so good…
But how far to go?
• Rule compliance or an integrity approach?
• A holistic approach - recognised by all key writers –
academic integrity to be included at all stages:
– From university mission statements and marketing…to
assessment practices and curriculum design…to information
during orientation…to frequent and visual reminders on
campus…to professional development for staff…
• Tricia Bertram Gallant talks about the need to build a
culture of academic integrity suggesting that ethics
and ethical conduct must underpin our approach to
academic integrity
And further still…
the road not taken
“Changes in the educational system, society and
technologies over time seem to offer increasing
opportunities and temptations to cheat, yet the educational
system has not countered that with an enhanced emphasis
on teaching students about ethics and ethical conduct”
“What this means is that today’s students may face more
ethical dilemmas than did their predecessors, and yet they
are less adequately trained to handle them. In other words,
students will struggle to act with integrity and make good,
ethical choices unless they learn how—and our colleges
and universities are not teaching them.”
(Bertram Gallant, 2010)
Academic and Professional
• Universities are not only responsible for the intellectual
development of students but also for their personal,
moral and professional development as well.
• Students need to be supported in developing a set of
ethical standards that will guide their personal and
professional decision-making abilities as they enter the
• Universities have a responsibility to prepare
students to accept responsibility for their actions,
not only in the business world, but also in professional
education programmes and in the practice of their
chosen profession.
Academic and Professional
As much is recognised by students:
For example in the survey reported in Bretag
(2013) 92% of students who responded provided a
positive response to the question: ‘Do you think
academic integrity has relevance to your life or
work experience outside the University?’
Graduate Attributes
Graduate Attributes:
a definition
Graduate attributes are commonly understood as an
articulation of
“…the qualities, skills and understandings a university
community agrees its students should develop during their
time with the institution. These attributes include but go
beyond the disciplinary expertise or technical knowledge
that has traditionally formed the core of most university
courses. They are qualities that also prepare graduates as
agents of social good in an unknown future.” (Bowden
Ethics: a Graduate Attribute
In the Australian context GAs have been in
existence for some time and Dunleavy
(2012) it has demonstrated that for all
“The number one position of communication
skills will surprise no one, but the number
two position of ethics and a sense of
social responsibility may be less widely
Some Thoughts on How to Include
in Curriculum
The pragmatic approach
•Starting point - the framework of rules and
procedures defined by regulatory bodies charged with
the task of raising or maintaining professional
•Learning and teaching starts from the student’s ‘need
to know’ in these and related areas; is pragmatic in
the sense that ethical considerations are defined in
relation to their practical consequences for the student
•Emphasises professional propriety and
Some Thoughts on How to Include
in Curriculum
The pragmatic approach
• Codes of conduct are - widespread within health and
social care, and are now influencing commercial practice
• Students need to be aware that such codes exist, and
able to apply them to their own behaviour.
• Students who are required to do a research project as
part of their coursework should acquire some familiarity
with Research Ethics Committees (RECs) and the
factors that influence their deliberations
Some Thoughts on How to Include
in Curriculum
The embedded approach
•Pragmatic approach = professionalism as behaviour
constrained by an agreed code of conduct
•Embedded approach = professionalism is in terms of the
students’ emerging sense of self identity.
•Modules in which students are introduced to ethics in an
‘embedded’ way present moral issues holistically, as an
integral part of some broader area of concern which has a
significant ethical dimension such as Fitness for Practice.
Based on Illingworth, S (2004) Approaches to Ethics in Higher EducationTeaching: Ethics across the Curriculum,
Philosophical and Religious Studies Subject Centre, Learning and Teaching Support Network (PRS-LTSN)
Some Thoughts on How to Include
in Curriculum
• A further difference between pragmatic and embedded
methods is that while the former sees ethics primarily as
a set of externally imposed constraints, the
embedded approach places a greater emphasis on
personal autonomy.
The Staffordshire Graduate
Graduate Attributes – 6 key areas
30 credit UG Credit Framework
Mapping of SGA across the curriculum
In 2013/14 delivering at level 4/5
Staffordshire Graduate Employability
• 700 students/70staff
The Staffordshire Graduate
The Staffordshire Graduate represents a set of
qualities that the University passionately believes
is necessary for success in the 21st century. The
Staffordshire Graduate is a reflective and critical
learner with a global perspective, prepared to
contribute in the world of work.
Developing Global
Knowledge and
Reflective and Critical
Enquiry for Lifelong
Global Citizenship
and Teamwork
Reflective and Critical
Lifelong Learning
support for 3Es
and recording of
Employability, Enterprise and Entrepreneurship
(the 3Es)
The Staffordshire Graduate will:
1 Discipline Expertise:
•Have an understanding of the forefront of knowledge in
their chosen field
2 Professionalism:
•Be prepared to be work-ready and employable and
understand the importance of being enterprising and
•Academic and professional integrity
3 Global Citizenship:
•Have an understanding of global issues (including
sustainability) and of their place in a globalised economy
The Staffordshire Graduate will:
4 Communication and Teamwork:
•Be an effective communicator and presenter and able to interact
appropriately with a range of colleagues
•Have developed the skills of independence of thought and (when
appropriate) social interaction through teamwork
5 Reflective and Critical Learner:
•Have the ability to carry out inquiry-based learning and critical analysis
•Be a problem solver and creator of opportunities
6 Lifelong Learning:
•Be technologically, digitally and information literate
•Be able to apply Staffordshire Graduate attributes to a range of life
experiences to facilitate life-long learning and life-long success.
Connecting Academic and
Professional Integrity
• Failure of students to behave honestly in classroom and
clinical settings has the potential to jeopardise current
and future professional clinical practice.
• Academic misconduct can contribute to an inaccurate
assessment of a student’s knowledge base. For
example, lack of clinical knowledge or the failure to
master specific concepts may significantly impact a
students ability to become a competent health care
• Important for health care educators to understand why
students are engaging in academic misconduct and how
that behaviour can be changed.
Curriculum Example 1
• Nursing students on placement at Mid Staffs
• NMC – Whistle Blowing
• SU placements audit
• Renewed Policy and Student evaluation
• Good demonstration of relevance of links
between Academic and Professional
Francis Report
• Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust
Public Enquiry
• Francis Report - focused on concept of
‘Candour’ in this context
• Defined as:
‘Any patient harmed by the provision of a
healthcare service is informed of the fact
and an appropriate remedy offered,
regardless of whether a complaint has been
made or a question asked about it’
Curriculum Example 2
‘To support Staffordshire Graduate activity at
level 4, we have recruited an Employability
Champion. This is a current level 5 student
who demonstrates outstanding academic and
professional integrity, as well as strong
development of the Staffordshire Graduate
Attributes. It is hoped that his values,
principles and methods will act as a model for
level 4 students, helping to create a culture of
academic and professional integrity’.
Curriculum Example 3
‘A key example I can think of with my Level 5
Physical Education students is where we look
at professional teaching standards and link to
SGA and professional integrity. I will be
delivering this by comparing some SGA areas
with the standards expected by the DfE and
then on their school placement and in
assignments I am asking students to reflect
on how they model these standards and
integrity in a real workplace’.
Curriculum Example 4
Drama, Performance and Theatre Arts
Negotiated Creative Project
‘As part of this, we explore and examine the
notions of ‘originality’ and ‘creativity’ from a
practical context, and how that relates to an
ethical understanding of their work as
practitioners of theatre’.
Curriculum Example 5
• Sport Development & Coaching
- students sign and comply with an agreed
code of professional conduct
- guidance on work ethic, standards of
behaviour and communication, dress code,
autonomy and respect for confidentiality.
- A strong tripartite relationship between
student, placement host and placement
supervisor ensures this code is maintained.
Work with academic teams to:
• Link Academic and Professional Integrity in
curriculum - relating to:
- written work
- developing SGA - Employability
• using the same language for both
• Continuously make the connections
between Academic integrity and life/work
experiences outside the University
• Assess impact of increasing student
engagement in improving academic practice
and linking this with Professional Practice
• instances of Academic Misconduct:
- Plagiarism
- False Declarations
- Collusion
- Misconduct in Examinations
• Feedback from Employers
Academic Misconduct 12/13
253 cases – 1.2% of student population
95.3% Plagiarism
3.2% Collusion
Health Sciences – 0.3%
Arts and Creative Technologies – 0.5%
Business, Education and Law – 1.9%
Computing, Engineering, Science – 2.3%
And finally….
“We owe our society a compelling and wideranging conversation about the multiple aims of
college, not just of the economic aspirations.
Discussion of the ethical dimensions of learning
needs to be central to that dialogue.”
Dey, E.L. et al (2010) Developing a Moral compass; what is a the campus
climate for ethics and academic integrity, Association of American Colleges and
The Integrity Iceberg
Individual actions: Plagiarism/
Academic Misconduct
Institutional Culture:
Academic Integrity and
Ethical Values
Personal and Social
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