Professors and administrators will discuss the Government 1310 cheating scandal at their monthly Faculty Meeting Tuesday, according to faculty members who have received the meeting agenda. The discussion is the first among faculty since Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean Michael D. Smith announced the results of the investigation in a University-wide email Friday.
The University announced in August that it was investigating approximately 125 students thought to be involved in widespread cheating on a take-home exam last spring in the course Government 1310: “Introduction to Congress.”
Professors said Smith’s email on Friday was the first they had heard of the case from the administration since the initial announcement. Discussion amongst faculty members since then, they said, has been largely limited to personal conversations.
The University made the investigation public in the hopes that it could be used as a “teaching opportunity” that fostered broader discussion on academic honesty. Faculty members are hopeful that Tuesday’s meeting will give them a chance to reflect on the University’s handling of the case.
Government professor Michael E. Rosen said that he has no reason to question the way in which Harvard handled the controversy. He said he thinks that trust amongst the students and faculty is essential as Harvard looks to prevent such incidents in the future.
“Harvard—universities in general—are learning institutions, and we all make mistakes,” Rosen said. “And while cheating is a very grave mistake, it’s very important that...the University handles it in a way that people can learn from it.”
In his email to faculty and students, Smith indicated that the Committee on Academic Integrity hopes to release a number of proposals in the coming months regarding the scholarly values of both students and professors.
—Staff writer Nicholas P. Fandos can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @npfandos.
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