At Royal Roads University, faculty are educational leaders.
We have a responsibility to set the tone for our classes. We model behaviours that ensure all students feel welcome in our learning environment.
The Centre for Teaching and Educational Technologies has compiled information and resources on academic integrity to inform your classroom practices.
Ten principles of academic integrity for faculty
These principles of academic integrity can help you create a fair and respectful classroom.
These principles are from a seminar delivered by Donald L. McCabe and Gary Pavela:
- Recognize and affirm academic integrity as a core institutional value.
- Foster a lifelong commitment to learning.
- Affirm the role of teacher as guide and mentor.
- Help students understand the potential of the Internet - and how that potential can be lost if online resources are used for fraud, theft, and deception.
- Encourage student responsibility for academic integrity.
- Clarify expectations for students.
- Develop fair and creative forms of assessment.
- Reduce opportunities to engage in academic dishonesty.
- Respond to academic dishonesty when it occurs.
- Help define and support campus wide academic integrity standards.
Creating a safe learning environment
As instructors, we need to create a safe learning environment for all students.
It's our role to set expectations that we will not tolerate behaviours, jokes or comments that:
- exclude learners or a group of people
- run counter to areas protected by our human rights code (e.g., race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religion, family status, physical or mental disability, gender, sexual orientation, age)
Dealing with inappropriate comments and behaviours
If someone makes an inappropriate comment, either face-to-face or online, the instructor has an obligation to address it. Silence can suggest endorsement. Discussing it allows all parties to share responsibility and work toward resolution.
Here are some tips to create a thriving and safe learning environment:
- Initiate discussions early in the course addressing how everyone shares the responsibility for creating a safe learning environment.
- Write guidelines for learning that include a process for dealing with infractions.
- When using anecdotes in class, do a mental check first to ensure they will be understood and appreciated by all learners, especially by those who do not belong to the dominant culture.
If a student says or does something inappropriate, the instructor is responsible for addressing the issue.
Here's one approach you can take:
- Speak to the student who made the comment privately.
- Calmly express the reasons the remarks/behaviours are offensive.
- Ask the student to reflect on the possible negative effects of their actions.
- Ask the student to suggest a solution. Generally, once students become aware of the negative effects of their comments, they want to apologize and make amends.
- Support the student through their apology. For example, they may wish to address the class in person or write something.
- Inform the class that appropriate action has been taken.
Why we need to deal with inappropriate comments
Inappropriate humour or behaviours on the part of faculty or learners prevents students from focusing on learning. Class dynamics will be negatively affected if inappropriate comments and behaviours are not handled properly. It's hard to re-establish safety once it's been lost in a class.
Further reading about academic integrity: