Faculty members’ limited comfort with the processes of UNC’s honor system was the driving force behind new faculty roles to be implemented next fall.
“When we did a survey of faculty opinions of the honor system, we found that there were a number of departments and individuals who had seen or suspected Honor Code violations who weren’t reporting them, or felt there were barriers to reporting cases,” said Nathan Tilley, the undergraduate Honor Court chairman.
Starting in the fall 2014, faculty members will be able to take part in the initial hearings panel of the Honor Court during the phase in which guilt or innocence is determined.
Judith Wegner, the chairwoman of the Faculty Honor System Advisory Committee, said faculty members serving on a panel would be able to help the students on the Honor Court understand the cases from the perspective of the instructors.
While faculty would be able to provide their understanding of issues such as cheating and plagiarism in order to aid in decisions of guilt or innocence, Wegner said they would not be involved in the stage during which sanctions are issued.
Faculty Chairwoman Jan Boxill said approximately 50 faculty members will be in a pool that will be used to fill the hearings panels for the Honor Court, as well as the previously established University Hearings Board.
Each hearings panel will have four students and one faculty member, including a vice chairman who is also a student.
“I think it’s a recognition that we take academic integrity seriously,” Boxill said. “Now it’s time for (faculty) to stand up, and so far they have.”
Boxill said another new position, the faculty liaison, is intended to give members in various academic departments someone familiar to reach out to.
She said faculty liaisons will be taught the various functions and procedures of the honor system so they can give their colleagues advice.
Boxill said some liaisons in smaller departments might serve in both positions.
Tilley said faculty will be introduced to the ins and outs of the system, as well as the mentality that student members of the Honor Court use, to approach a case.
A handful of departments remain without a potential liaison, but faculty members have been very interested in participating in the new role, something Boxill said she is optimistic about.
The first training session for liaisons is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 8, and recruitment is ongoing.
“I think it’s hard to tell what the details will look like at this point,” Tilley said.
“I’m sure we’ll work out a good agreement. I’m excited about it.”
Boxill said at last week’s Faculty Council meeting that she is still looking for faculty members to serve on the committees.
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