In Light of Honor Code Proposal, Working Group Discusses Integrity Conversations

In light of a proposal to establish the College’s first honor code, an ad hoc working group composed of faculty and administrators is working to identify possible points during the undergraduate experience to start conversations about academic integrity.

According to Stephanie H. Kenen, the administrative director of the Program in General Education, the working group, which convened earlier this semester, grew out of efforts from the Academic Integrity Committee—the body of administrators, faculty, and students that recently drafted a proposal for an honor code.

Kenen, who convened the working group with Dean of Student Life Stephen Lassonde, wrote in an email that the group is brainstorming at which points in time during a student’s four years at Harvard it would make sense to start a discussion about academic integrity. She cited freshman orientation, Expository Writing, declaring a concentration, and applying for fellowships as examples of possible points of intervention.

“We’re going through major events of all four years and trying to find places where we think we can introduce some sort of conversation or activity around integrity,” said Michael C. Ranen, the resident dean for Ivy Yard and a member of the both the working group and the Academic Integrity Committee.

Kenen wrote that the group’s work aims to support the proposed honor code and the Academic Integrity Committee. According to Kenen, the working group may look at “projects based on existing programming” and “small pilots that we could try out next year and learn from.”

“We’re hoping to identify some low-hanging fruit,” Kenen wrote.

The Academic Integrity Committee’s proposal for an honor code is expected to go before the Faculty of Arts and Sciences for a vote at its next meeting in May. If approved, the proposal, as outlined in a draft on Jan. 10, would establish a student-faculty judicial board to hear cases of academic dishonesty and require students to sign a statement of integrity affirming their commitment to the honor code.

The working group includes a number of College staff members and representatives from the undergraduate concentrations. Kenen wrote that the group plans to present its findings to the incoming Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana, who will assume the deanship on July 1. Khurana, who is also co-House Master of Cabot, sits on the Academic Integrity Committee and was one of several members of the subcommittee that drafted the language of the proposed honor code.

The group had met three times as of Tuesday, and would likely meet once or twice more, according to Kenen.

—Staff writer Madeline R. Conway can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @MadelineRConway.

—Staff writer Meg P. Bernhard can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @Meg_Bernhard.