Academic Integrity Matters

The Academic Integrity Matters (AIM) program is offered by the U of M Office for Community Standards to address student academic misconduct. A panel of community volunteers (faculty, instructors, students, retirees) meets with students in violation of the U’s policy on academic honesty. The goal is to help these students better understand academic integrity and the impact of academic misconduct on themselves, their classmates, their families, and the University. 

AIM needs volunteers. Over the past year, according to AIM Associate Director Katie Koopmeiners, faculty reported incidences of academic dishonesty among U of M students has nearly doubled. National data are similar. 

Koopmeiners suggests the impact of COVID-19 and the shift to e-learning may have influenced this rapid increase in academic misconduct: students, especially undergraduates, report feeling stressed and isolated from on-campus academic resources, and unproctored take-home exams have increased.

An “explosion” of online websites, through which students can upload and share course information and materials without instructor approval, has occurred. Some of these websites also provide access to online “tutors” who may provide answers to submitted assignments and exam questions. Koopmeiners says that students—and sometimes parents, in an effort to help—buy subscriptions to these websites. 

Understanding the student experience
“An AIM volunteer needs to have an understanding of the student experience, have an open mind, and be able to listen and suspend judgement,” Koopmeiners says. “The AIM volunteer is supportive, but willing to challenge the student to dig a little deeper to better understand the impact of academic misconduct.”

The AIM program offers volunteers the opportunity to make significant impact on a student’s s academic development while at the University and potentially beyond. The program is flexible; volunteers choose as few or as many “virtual” student review panels on which to participate. 

To volunteer or learn more, contact Katie Koopmeiners at communitystandards@umn.edu or 612-624-6073, or the University Retirees Volunteer Center at urvc@umn.edu or 612-625-8016.

—Deanne Magnusson, URVC Communications

Publication date: 
March 17, 2021
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