This week at Mary Immaculate College (MIC), the College is marking National Academic Integrity Week. Taking place for the very first time this year, QQI's National Academic Integrity Week will run from 19-23 October and is aimed at students and academics in third-level institutions across Ireland.
Throughout Academic Integrity Week, MIC will be highlighting to students the importance of academic integrity and the supports in place for students to assist them in their academic endeavours. According to Professor Niamh Hourigan, Vice-President of Academic Affairs at MIC, it is more important than ever that students are fairly and appropriately rewarded for their academic work given the huge challenges they are now facing in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic.
She said, “Academic integrity is essential to ensuring fairness and this is why MIC is so strongly committed to Academic Integrity Week. It is vital that students understand current definitions of plagiarism and syndication so that they can avoid engaging in these behaviours. More importantly, those who engage in these behaviours compromise the fairness of assessment for all other students who are doing their best in very difficult circumstances.”
She added, “Working in partnership with MIC’s Students’ Union (MISU), MIC is committed to fostering a culture of academic integrity and fairness within the College community and as a result, we are very pleased to participate in the inaugural National Academic Integrity Week.”
Academic Integrity is underpinned by five fundamental values, namely Honesty, Trust, Fairness, Respect and Responsibility, as defined by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI). The concept is deeply embedded in all of MIC’s undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, and enables students to put forward ideas and insights whilst acknowledging and respecting the work of others who have shaped those ideas and insights.
Outlining the ways in which MIC encourages academic integrity amongst its students, Dr Geraldine Brosnan, Director of Student Life at MIC, said “Understanding the key concepts and mechanics of academic integrity are an integral component of our undergraduate degree programmes here at MIC. All students on our 12 undergraduate programmes undertake a generic skills programme during their first semester at the College. In these generic skills programmes, all students participate in a suite of instruction seminars on academic writing, which are designed by experts in the area. These seminars are both mandatory and examinable ensuring that students are fully informed on all issues in relation to plagiarism, cheating and other dishonest academic endeavours.”
For academics, there is also a responsibility as higher education educators to promote and reward behaviours that adhere to the principles of academic integrity. According to Dr Laura Costelloe, Academic Developer in MIC’s Learning Enhancement and Academic Development Centre (LEAD), “Academic integrity is at the core of effective teaching, learning and assessment approaches here at MIC, and higher education educators have an important role to play in promoting and rewarding student behaviours that adhere to the principles of academic integrity. LEAD continues to support higher education teachers to embed the principles of academic integrity across the programmes and modules in MIC, focusing particularly on how robust assessment design can support students to engage in positive academic integrity behaviours.”
Throughout National Academic Integrity Week students and academics will have the opportunity to engage in a number of online activities. On Tuesday at 2pm, Gary LaCumber from MIC’s Library will present a webinar on how to search the Library’s resources effectively. Also on Tuesday at 12pm, Margaret Phelan from LEAD will host a webinar for academics focusing on using Turnitin assignments for managing assessment and feedback.
On Thursday at 12.30pm, Dr Laura Costelloe from LEAD will take part in public webinar hosted by CCT College Dublin. Dr Costelloe will explore how academic integrity can be promoted through robust assessment design. Finally on Friday at 12pm, Dr Amy Healy from MIC’s Research and Graduate School will present a webinar for postgraduate research students that will focus on research integrity and ethics in research.
A dedicated Academic Integrity Hub has been created to provide easy to access resources for students. Here you will find MIC’s Academic Integrity Policy and Study Skills Handbook, as well as a suite of resources on citing and referencing developed by MIC’s Library. MS Teams links for the above webinars can also be found on the Academic Integrity Hub.
Register here for Dr Laura Costelloe’s webinar on Thursday.
For more information on National Academic Integrity Week and the national events taking place, click here.