Thompson Rivers University

TRU hosts provincial discussion on academic integrity

October 21, 2019

A panel discussion at TRU's BC Academic Integrity Day conference, Oct. 18, 2019.

TRU is taking a leading role for academic integrity by initiating conversations and strengthening relationships with academic partners across BC.

On Friday, Oct. 18, TRU hosted BC Academic Integrity Day, an inaugural meeting on academic integrity that brought together educational partners, leaders and student representatives. Over 70 people were in attendance, representing the province’s university and college sectors, including student unions.

Guest speaker Dr. Sarah Elaine Eaton, a leading expert in the field of academic integrity, noted that while academic misconduct is an issue that every institution faces, little research has been focused on creating strategies and implementing processes to support faculty and staff in addressing them.

She noted that while other countries have legislation against companies hosting academic cheating websites that directly target students, Canada currently has no legal ways to challenge these web sites and their offerings or claims.

Eaton, an assistant professor and educational leader in residence for Academic Integrity at the University of Calgary, is interested in research that strengthens academic integrity and connects higher-education professionals with the tools needed to adhere to standards.

“Intellectual elitism has no place in academic integrity work. We need to work together to better support our students. Advocacy, sharing wisdom and more funding allocated to research will continue to lessen the issues that arise through academic misconduct.”

Eaton suggested that academic leaders must publicly and permanently document their work in academic integrity to influence policy makers so they will create change and allocate resources to better support academic institutions.

In addition, she noted that institutions need to connect, as they were doing on Friday, to form communities of practice, networks and research collaborations in order to develop understanding and implement best practices that prevent breaches in academic integrity.

It was with this purpose in mind that post-secondary partners gathered to learn more, share ideas, and discuss the establishment of a BC network for academic integrity.

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