Mentoring to Affect Student Perceptions of Academic Integrity

Mentoring to Affect Student Perceptions of Academic Integrity

Zeenath Reza Khan, Sabiha Mumtaz, Salma Sadia Rakhman
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2878-5.ch004
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Supporting higher education (HE) students by aiding in their learning journey and encouraging them to make advantageous choices so as to become members of their institution's community of scholars (CoS) is critical to their success. This is particularly true when instilling values of academic integrity (AI). Academic misconduct is constant, and combating it is difficult because of the immersion of technology, questionable role models, mistrust, bad decision makers, and possible political turmoil. HE educators are stretched thin between grading, teaching, career progression, and such to go beyond classrooms to support students in many such areas. Research posits the importance of proactive actions in developing a culture of AI on campus. Expanding a study tracking students' journey through mentorship, this chapter uses case study methodology and qualitative coding to record the impact of mentors (i.e., how they helped students combat hurdles such as peer pressure, demotivating experiences, lack of knowledge as examples, and how they were able to make students into advocates of AI at university and in their future workplaces).
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TS Eliot once said ‘Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal’.

Academic ‘dishonesty’ is defined as ‘a transgression against AI, which entails taking an unfair advantage that results in a misrepresentation of a student’s ability and grasp of knowledge’ (King, Guyette Jr, & Piotrowski, 2009, p. 4) among students in higher education institutions (HEIs) is not a new phenomenon. The word ‘plagiarism’, for instance, has its roots in the early first century (Bailey, 2011). McCabe’s (2008) extensive studies, among others, brought to light the high percentage of self-reported cheating cases among school students. It is also something that has not shown any signs of reducing from plaguing the academic world. Globally, academics are constantly grappling with ways to curb academic misconduct. Technology, information economy and proliferations of websites along with ease of doing business online have also helped misconducts evolve. E-cheating, contract cheating, cyber plagiarism are just some forms of traditional cheating behaviors that have become more persistent, sinister and more difficult to detect with technology.

As Bertram Gallant (2008) argued, AI (AI) is linked with institutional integrity and needs to be considered ‘beyond student conduct and character to the teaching and learning environment’. Kochoska and Gramatkovski (2015) discussed the crucial role teachers play in developing ‘critical appreciation of culture … [giving assistance] to students in order to understand their place in the world’ (p. 73). Researcher Price-Mitchell (2015) shed light on teacher’s role in developing AI culture through cultural socialization. However, it is not so straightforward or easy. Inconsistencies in understanding AI, lack of willingness from all stakeholders to upload policies, detect and penalize misconduct, and double standards, can make it difficult for educators to develop a culture of AI in their programs/courses/classes (Martin, 2007).

So, how can we be proactive in developing a culture of AI? This chapter attempts to study mentoring to help train and support students to make them advocates of AI and spread awareness among peers towards developing a culture of AI.


Literature Review

With reference to McCabe (2005, p. 30), ‘the African tribal maxim proclaims that ‘it takes a village to raise a child… it takes the whole campus community… to effectively educate a student’. Preserving the academic credibility and reputation of a Higher Education Institution (HEI) is ‘paramount’ (Batane, 2010) and requires a holistic, unified and collaborative institutional response i.e., academic advisors, administration, counsellors, faculty, and key stakeholders.


Clutterbuck, Devine and Beech (1991) stated that mentoring is an efficient form of developing talent and suggest that a good mentoring program helps people to recognize their abilities. A ‘mentor’ is someone who ‘advises, counsels, or helps (younger) individuals’ (Feldman, 1988). Murray (2002, p. 13) defined mentoring as ‘a deliberate pairing of a more skilled or experienced person with a lesser skilled or experienced one, with the agreed-upon goals of having the lesser skilled person grow and develop specific competencies’ and the backdrop where this occurs is called a facilitated mentoring program i.e., a structure and series of processes designed to create effective mentoring relationships, guide the desired behavior change of those involved, and evaluate the results for the protégés, the mentors and the organizations (Murray, 2002). Obtaining a mentor is an important career development experience for individuals (Eby et al., 2000). However, the Gallup index showed that only 20% of university students strongly agreed on the availability of a faculty mentor to provide them with guidance and encouragement to achieve their goals (Ray & Kafka, 2014).

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