The Whistleblower Effect

This is a guest post by Mihran Aroian and Michelle L. Damiani, contributors to the September-October 2015 issue of Academe. Mihran Aroian is a lecturer in the Management Department of the McCombs School of Business at the
University of Texas at Austin and was the first faculty member in residence in the Office of the Dean of Students, Student Judicial Services. Raymond Brown is a graduate student in the quantitative methods program at the University of Texas at Austin. 



As the authors of “The Whistleblower Effect,” we think about the dichotomy between how current institutional policies ask faculty to uphold academic integrity in the classroom but at the same time unintentionally punish faculty for not taking into account that enforcing academic integrity may lower instructor course evaluations.  This is especially true for non-tenure track faculty who primarily teach and are dependent on excellent student evaluations.  It is also relevant for tenure track faculty where solid student evaluations are one component in the tenure process.  Institutions are increasing spending on tools to reduce academic dishonesty.  For example, tools that look for plagiarized papers and tools that proctor online exams.  Spending money on enforcement is necessary in this era but unintentionally punishing faculty for upholding academic integrity should not be one of the outcomes.

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