Conference on promoting academic integrity: IIEP shares practical policies and tools

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IIEP contributed to a conference organized by the Council of Europe and Erasmus University in Rotterdam, sharing its insights on how values of academic integrity can be translated into practice.

On October 5, 2022, the Council of Europe (CoE) organized a conference in the context of its Best Practice Programme in Promoting Academic Integrity. This Programme was launched in 2021 to identify, publicly recognize, and disseminate relevant practices for improving academic integrity across Europe, and to reward institutions and academics whose work in this field serve as an example and inspiration for others.

The Conference, organized in partnership with Erasmus University in Rotterdam, aimed to discuss, and connect research carried out in academia on ethics, transparency, and integrity with the educational realities of higher education institutions. Overall, participants were able to:

  • learn about latest legal standards, international experiences and practices in the area of academic integrity
  • share and discuss examples of good practices and lessons learned in promoting academic integrity
  • learn and provide feedback on the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers Recommendation on countering education fraud.

Showcasing successful approaches to academic integrity

On this occasion, the IIEP was invited to present recent global experiences on the issue at hand. More specifically, Muriel Poisson, IIEP programme lead on ethics and transparency in education, shared IIEP’s expertise in supporting practical approaches to improving transparency and academic integrity, as well as promising initiatives from around the world. These included:

  • IIEP’s recent integrity assessment in Georgia, which identified red flags and corruption risks in the Georgian education sector and formulated policy recommendations. These covered the areas of funding, staff management, admission and exams and governance of the sector.
  • Montenegro’s process of establishing nationwide codes of conduct for Higher Education Institutions, including recent follow-up activities, such as disseminating the codes, setting up monitoring tools and establishing effective whistleblowing mechanisms.
  • The question of Open University Data, taking the example of ComparED in Australia. This website provides prospective students with relevant and transparent information about Higher Education Institutions from the perspective of students and graduates. It served as an example on how open data may hold school authorities to account, improve service delivery, and detect malpractice.

The above examples showcased specific measures that could inspire stakeholders to work towards improving academic integrity in higher education and beyond.

Integrity and trust in science

Other key-note speakers presented on a variety of topics on integrity and trust in science, ethics, and student involvement in fostering a culture of integrity. For instance, Prof. Michael Draper, Swansea University, focused on the Council of Europe’s Recommendation on Countering Education Fraud. Complementing that, Prof. Phil Newton, Swansea University Medical School, shared alternative assessment methods to reduce misconduct and cheating in online exams.

Dr Hilligje van’t Land, from the International Association of Universities (IAU), further elaborated on the role of her organisation in fostering academic integrity in rapidly changing environments, including through the adoption of an IAU code of conduct. Broadening the scope further, Prof. Dr Hub Zwart, Erasmus University, focused on how trust and open society relate to and depend on, one another. Dr Joeri Tijdink, Amsterdam UMC, presented on “the happy academic”, connecting mental health and research integrity to demonstrate how to become a responsible and healthy researcher.

The dilemma Game App

The event ended with a presentation from Tricia Bertram Gallant, University of California, who shared a compilation of good practices in promoting academic integrity selected as part of the CoE Best Practice Programme in Promoting Academic Integrity.

Finally, Mr Mathieu van Kooten, from Erasmus University Rotterdam, presented the winner of the Best Practice 2021/2022 award, namely the Dilemma Game App developed by Erasmus University Rotterdam. The App is intended for researchers who find themselves faced with ethical dilemmas. Through critical dialogue, it helps to further develop and strengthen their own “moral compass”.