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Released June 4, 2004


HATTIESBURG -- When students return to classes in the College of Business and Economic Development at The University of Southern Mississippi this fall, they'll be subject to a new academic integrity policy recently adopted by the faculty.

Intended to assure honesty in all classroom activities and research, the policy "recognizes that honesty and integrity are fundamental expectations in the academic and business community" and will be adhered to by all CBED administrators, faculty and students.

"I believe this policy is a crucial component in the foundation that we are trying to build for students as they prepare for careers in the business world," said Harold Doty, dean of the college. "The policy sets a clear standard for behavior in the academic setting. But beyond that, students need to understand the importance of integrity in the business world as well. Recent corporate debacles illustrate what happens when integrity lapses."

The policy outlines responsibilities for faculty, administrators and students, the reporting of violations and procedures for responding to violations.

Members of the college's Academic Conduct Committee have worked since last September researching and putting the policy together, said chair Dr. Laurie Babin, professor of marketing. "I think having this policy in place sends the message that we don't accept cheating in the CBED."

Dr. Bill Smith, director of CBED graduate programs agrees. "Today's business world has a new, improved definition of character, integrity and ethics. It is important that the students we send to the business world recognize and subscribe to the highest code of professional responsibility. While we have always practiced academic integrity on an individual basis, for ourselves and our classrooms, this new policy lays our standards out in the open where all good professional values belong."

Faculty members will be required to inform students of the policy in each class at the beginning of the semester. Students must sign a form that will be kept on file stating that they understand and agree to comply with the policy.

In addition to reporting incidents of cheating, faculty members also are responsible for specifying permissible and impermissible conduct for classroom activities, fair treatment of students and proper crediting of students' work. According to the policy, violations of academic integrity may occur when there is "unauthorized and inappropriate behavior as defined by the instructor," and it acknowledges that academic dishonesty can take many forms. The policy outlines areas of course work preparation, exam behavior, communications, use of university libraries and materials, and use of computer facilities.

Violations may be handled in a number of ways including counseling the student, requiring other work or seeking college-level penalties that may include a letter of reprimand, probation, suspension or expulsion from the college.

"Honor and integrity codes are appropriate in academic institutions," said Dr. Eddie Holloway, Southern Miss dean of students. "Hopefully, the College of Business and Economic Development's adoption of this code will serve as a first step in the creation of a campus-wide honor code and academic/integrity policy. Codes establish expectations of academic performance and behavioral standards for students, faculty and staff. They can also set 'ground rules' for common agreements for student life."

The CBED policy does not interfere with the university-level policy already in place, but, says Babin, will work in conjunction with it. The college's Academic Conduct Committee will oversee the implementation of the policy and all hearings that may result from the reporting of infractions. It will comprise four faculty representatives, one from each of the four CBED academic units, plus one undergraduate student and one graduate student.


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June 4, 2004 4:41 PM