An understanding and practice of good academic integrity is what you need to avoid getting into trouble at University; a lot of students breach University regulations, sometimes without even knowing.
Last year I did some research around academic integrity and worked with the University to ensure you don’t breach University rules. Over the year, the University regulations have been rewritten and a new module has been introduced to help you understand the importance of academic integrity. This module is now a compulsory element for all our undergraduate taught degrees as an educative and early preventive measure.
I also wrote a blog exploring the importance of being well educated in this area, as well as the consequences and cost of making a mistake.
Although a few students would intend to cheat, from my experience sitting on academic misconduct, fitness to practice and disciplinary panels for the past year and a half, students who do go on to cheat intentionally will get caught as the University systems, procedures and interventions have developed very significantly to ensure the academic integrity of students' work.
This year, I am repeating the campaign and I want all students to know the perils of using proof-reading services and essay mills.
There are companies targeting students, selling academic work and trying to make money from vulnerable students even though it's morally and ethically wrong. They undermine the integrity of other students who work and earn their degree. Why should you work for your degree while an illegal business is allowed to sell to your colleague elements of the same degree so cheaply?
There is a significant number of these companies currently within the U.K and they are accessible online both on and off campus. These companies and businesses have grown in sophistication and effectiveness. Specific deadline and pressure periods are used for tailored and targeted emails to students. This is a period of vulnerability and, considering most of these businesses approach students disguised as proof reading aids (claiming to be 100% plagiarism free), a number of students are drawn in by careful cunning craft and stealth. This is very unfair because sadly, a number of initially unintending students fall into this trap. That's why I’m asking, when does proofreading become cheating?
What is in it for you and what should you do?
I’m looking forward to working with all the various schools, Academic Skills Tutors, Academic Integrity Officers and you, our lovely students. You’ve all got the potential to succeed, so don’t let academic misconduct be the reason you don’t.