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Honor system review findings to be presented to Faculty Council

After months of evaluation, the review of the student-led honor system is moving forward.

At Wednesday’s educational policy committee meeting, members discussed a report drafted by a subcommittee charged with reviewing the honor system and approved a resolution based on the report’s findings.

The presented report analyzed faculty responses to a survey issued in the spring of 2010 on faculty satisfaction with the honor system.

The survey results pointed to a variety of opinions about the system — both skeptical and supportive — prompting the need to look into the concerns.

The report of the survey results features 12 recommended improvements to the honor system for approval by the educational policy committee and the committee on student conduct.

The committee narrowed the 12 recommendations down into a resolution made up of four major suggestions for immediate action, which included:

Improved communication between honor system personnel and faculty.

Revival of the faculty honor system advisory committee.

Alternative funding for the honor system that would not come from the “activities” category of student fees.

Conversion of faculty membership on the committee on student conduct membership into an elected office.

Andrea Biddle, chairwoman of the committee, said the recommendations are necessary in order to ensure future faculty support of the honor system.

The resolution was passed favorably and will be presented to the full Faculty Council at its October meeting.

Jan Boxill, chairwoman of the council, will then convene a task force to further examine the honor system after receiving the recommendations.

Chancellor Holden Thorp called for the creation of Boxill’s task force after it was found that former defensive end Michael McAdoo had plagiarized sections of a paper, an offense that was not detected by the honor system.

The report presented to the committee included broad proposals aimed at increasing the strength of the honor system.

“There are two sets of major recommendations: one that aims at improving efficiency and communication, and another that reasserts the University’s collective response to the honor system,” said Jay Smith, a history professor who led the subcommittee created to examine the survey’s findings.

Bobbi Owen, senior associate dean for undergraduate education, said one of her biggest hopes is that the recommendations approved by the educational policy committee be considered and morphed into Boxill’s efforts.

“We have some things here that should be acted on now,” Owen said.

“I admire the idea that we need to communicate more about this, so it can be a more transparent process.”

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