Date of Award
Open Access Dissertation
Educational Leadership and Policies
Faculty can play a significant role in setting the academic standards of a university, and certainly for graduate programs. Addressing academic misconduct is one of many ways to set those standards at a university. Faculty perceptions of graduate student academic misconduct impact how they address it when it occurs. To understand those perceptions, a qualitative study through a semi-structured interview protocol with a supplemental document analysis was conducted. Business faculty who teach at the graduate level were selected to interview based upon research into academic misconduct by business majors. These faculty were recruited from three different institutions that are similar in characteristics, including that they are public institutions, classified as Research Universities (very high activity), offer graduate programs at the masters and doctoral level, and are geographically located in the same region (the South). Through eighteen individual interviews of faculty participants at these institutions, participants shared how they defined academic misconduct, how they discussed it with their graduate students, how they addressed it, and whether or not they utilized their institutional process to report it. The framework providing the lens for faculty perceptions of graduate student academic misconduct is composed of four parts formed by interview responses: graduate student delineation, faculty roles with graduate students, is academic misconduct an issue, and how faculty feel about academic misconduct. This framework was used to answer the four research questions on how faculty address graduate student academic misconduct. Graduate student differentiation of masters and doctoral students was an important piece of information that most faculty participants emphasized. Findings reveal that faculty participants did not ignore academic misconduct, but depending on the level of the graduate student, participants address it differently. Additionally, the choice of faculty participants to use an institutional process as one means of addressing academic misconduct is dependent on several factors, including knowledge of the process, support and resources provided to faculty, and the effectiveness of the process. Those participants who did utilize their institutional process stated it was an institutional requirement and overall had a positive experience using the process. Those who did not use the process listed a variety of reasons why. These included not knowing about the process, being deterred from using it by their peers, or lack of evidence to submit a misconduct incident to the process. Additionally, participants discussed a lack of support from the university in trying to utilize the process, minimal outcomes for students responsible for misconduct instead of more stringent outcomes, and too severe outcomes for students when faculty believed they should have been less.
Eifert, K. A.(2014). The Ugliest Part of the Job: Faculty Perceptions on Addressing Graduate Student Academic Misconduct. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from https://scholarcommons.sc.edu/etd/2808