"Implementing plagiarism policy in the context of internationalisation"
Implementing plagiarism policy in the internationalised university Tracey Bretag School of Management, University of South Australia Outline of presentation Abstract Introduction: International EAL students Context: Internationalisation of Higher Education Literature Review: Perspectives on plagiarism Method Findings Notable quotations from the data Conclusion Abstract Findings from interviews with 14 academic staff members from 10 Australian universities. Implementation of student plagiarism policies, particularly in relation to international EAL students. Findings: Institutional and personal factors contribute to effective implementation of plagiarism policy. This paper reports on institutional issues Introduction International students studying in a second language at an Australian university are unlikely to have comparable linguistic competence to their local counterparts. IELTS (International English Language Test Score) BICS (Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills) vs CALP (Cognitive Academic Linguistic Proficiency). Need for academic induction A range of researchers (Biggs and Watkins 1996; Tang 1996; Kirby, Woodhouse and Ma 1996; Stoynoff 1996; Thompson & Thompson 1996; Angelova and Riazantseva 1999) all agree that international students should be inducted into the new academic environment, with specific training provided in western academic conventions. >1000 international students in Division of Business; two learning advisers. Wajnryb (2000) is critical of online resources for L2 students. Accusations of plagiarism Combination of factors: Low English language entrance scores (with insufficient recognition of CALP) Little institutional support or training Different cultural expectations and learning backgrounds It is not surprising that accusations of plagiarism are a frequent occurrence for many EAL international students. Context: Internationalisation of HE Definitions: ‘combined effect’ of a variety of activities, including the international movement of students, staff and campuses; international links (between governments, between institutions, or for research); and the internationalisation of curricula. (Back & Davis cited in de Wit 1995 p. 121). Definitions of internationalisation… Canadian perspective: A process rather than a series of activities, and that this process should infuse all aspects of higher education, ‘fostering global understanding and developing skills for effective living and working in a diverse world’ (Francis 1993, cited in Savage 2001, p. 1). Definitions of internationalisation… Most recent definition: “Internationalisation at the national, sector, and institutional levels is defined as the process of integrating an international, intercultural, or global dimension into the purpose, functions or delivery of postsecondary education” (Knight 2004). Rationales for internationalisation Rationales for internationalization can be grouped in four categories: social/cultural, political, economic and academic (Knight 2004) Knight notes that while the promotion of intercultural understanding is still significant, there has been a shift toward economic and commercial interests. Economic basis of internationalisation Internationalisation has been complicated by the increasing numbers of private, commercially based operations which are in the ‘business’ of education for one purpose only: to make money (Knight 2004) Note: Knight regards many Australian universities as ‘commercial providers’. Economic basis of internationalisation In practical terms, ‘internationalisation’ has been a direct result of decreased federal funding of education in the tertiary sector (see Matthews 2003; Marginson 2003; de Vita and Case 2003; Starck 2000; Dobson, 1998; Back et al.1996; Alexander & Rizvi 1993) According to Merrill Lynch, the international education sector is a $2.2 trillion business worldwide (Savage, 2004). Impact of commercialisation Commercialization of higher education: new paradigm of student as consumer, with the ‘client’ now seeking value for money, not necessarily in terms of a quality education, but in terms of the best grades for the minimum effort (De Vita and Case 2003; Szekeres 2003; Coady 2000; Bailey (2000); Sacks 1996) Marginson (2003): ‘race to the bottom’ This research project This research: Exploration of how plagiarism policies are implemented in the current context of internationalisation; Students’ fee-paying status arguably more important than academic credentials or the institution’s commitment to intercultural understanding. Literature review: Perspectives on plagiarism Plagiarism as an ESL issue Plagiarism as an issue of academic literacy Plagiarism as a cultural construct Accusations of plagiarism as a form of racism Plagiarism as an issue of academic integrity Plagiarism as media scandal Responding to plagiarism (preventative and punitive) Obstacles to managing plagiarism My own position and biases All of the perspectives on plagiarism have some merit and therefore need to be considered within a holistic framework. Large body of literature on understanding and responding to plagiarism. Very little open critique of the commercialised context of HE and its link with plagiarism (see Saltmarsh forthcoming IJEI) My position as an EAL business lecturer dealing with both inadvertent and deliberate plagiarism on a regular basis. Method 14 semi-structured interviews (40-60 minutes, transcribed) 10 universities, all states + ACT 7 women, 7 men 11 academic staff, 3 learning support Experience from four to >15 years’ experience. Data from interviews triangulated with literature review and personal experience Interview questions Have you personally had any involvement with cases of plagiarism at your institution? In your professional role, are you satisfied with the institution’s policy regarding plagiarism? In your professional role, are you satisfied that the institution consistently follows its own policy in relation to plagiarism? In your experience, are international EAL students more likely to be accused of plagiarism than local students? Why/why not? Do you perceive any differences between the way that your institution deals with international and local students regarding plagiarism? In an ideal world, would you have any suggestions for improving the institution’s policy and/or processes in relation to plagiarism? In your opinion, are there any special considerations that need to be given to international students in relation to plagiarism? How might these considerations be incorporated into policy/processes? Any other comments? Method Nud*ist software (N6) Interviews coded into categories or themes and sub-categories. Memoing Text searches Construction of tables & matrices Revisited literature review Findings Main categories to emerge from the data: Types of plagiarism (deliberate & inadvertent, reasons, academic complicity) Policy (use of, knowledge of, responses, Turnitin, appeals and penalties) Best practice Institutional context (pressures, consideration of big picture, workload, media concerns, support for staff) International students (EAL issues, special considerations) Emotional aspects (student behaviour, stress, confidentiality) Findings… Two categories of factors emerged: Institutional and personal. Only the institutional factors are discussed in this paper. Institutional factors Plagiarism as an issue of governance 50% of respondents were critical of university processes (entry requirements, support arrangements, break down at Appeals) Int06 stated that there was a direct relationship between fee-paying status of student and outcome of Appeal Int11 spoke of senior managers intimating that he “turn a blind eye” to plagiarism by fee-paying students. Institutional factors… Responses to plagiarism 13/14 respondents agreed that both local and international students should be treated in the same way for all types of plagiarism. Int06 provided detailed suggestions for how the particular needs of international students should be addressed (language, culture, learning styles, articulation, financial issues, institutional support, paid employment, visa issues, fear of failure, living arrangements, family expectations, motivations). Institutional factors… Obstacles to managing plagiarism 13/14 respondents wanted clear procedural guidelines 10/14 cited workload as a key impediment 8/14 referred to a lack of institutional support 7/14 discussed institutional pressures to pass fee- paying students All respondents mentioned financial issues when discussing deliberate plagiarism All respondents who had pursued cases of plagiarism discussed stress related issues. Institutional recommendations Separate academic issues from financial considerations; Provide clear definitions and explicit procedural guidelines; Require academic staff to be involved during the Appeals process; Provide adequate training, staff development and support to staff; Recognize workload and stress issues for staff involved in pursuing cases of plagiarism. Notable quotations from the data Institutional pressures “There is no doubt…that there is pressure on [academics]…I actually think that plagiarism is one aspect of the bigger problem [which] is that the work is just not up to scratch…and the university needs to rethink its institutional framework for dealing with these students. If we are really committed to educating them. Not just to the dollar…” (Int01) Notable quotes… English skills and fee paying status “…the policy is not clear about the role of staff either. I’m doing this now for a [Masters] student whose English skills are very poor but there are no guidelines for how I’m supposed to manage this. He’s a full-fee paying student…Where’s the policy that tells me that it’s not my job…to try and solve it? Should I try to send the thesis out to someone who I know will be sympathetic? A mate…who has a track record of being generally generous or sympathetic…?” (Int01) Notable quotes… Governance and stress issues “Q: So you had direction from the most senior person in the university to graduate this student even though you knew she’d plagiarised on numerous occasions? A:Yes, and it was the most painful thing I’ve had to do…I did not attend and I will not be attending this current graduation because I would have been ashamed or I might have…lost my decorum…and shouted ‘Cheat!’ when she was given the degree…”(Int09) Notable quotes… Workload “…the main problem…is there is no incentive to take any steps against plagiarism. It’s a lot of work, there is very rarely a serious penalty applied to the student but quite often the lecturer can get him or herself into trouble” (Int11) “following the plagiarism policy through is like torture” (Int13). Conclusion… Plagiarism policies in most universities have undergone a radical overhaul in the last few years. Lecturers try to balance ‘maintaining standards’ with recognition of students’ diverse cultural/learning backgrounds. Efforts undermined by ‘internationalisation’ based on economic rationale. International EAL students are more likely to be accused of plagiarism, but more likely to have penalties reduced on appeal. Conclusion… Commercialisation is a factor that hinders the effective implementation of plagiarism policies. Universities need to reclaim traditional role as places of research, teaching, learning and community service.