Spartans Own Academic Integrity with New Academic Pledge Initiative

August 9, 2016

Each year, professors across campus lecture their classes on Michigan State’s rules of academic integrity. Students listen, but do they really hear what they’re saying?

The Associated Students of Michigan State University (ASMSU) is launching a new “Spartan Code of Honor” academic pledge campaign this fall that will promote student responsibility for rules of academic integrity. The pledge reads as follows:

“As a Spartan, I will strive to uphold values of the highest ethical standard. I will practice honesty in my work, foster honesty in my peers, and take pride in knowing that honor is worth more than grades. I will carry these values beyond my time as a student at Michigan State University, continuing the endeavor to build personal integrity in all that I do.​”

In addition to seeing this as an opportunity for students to take personal ownership over many of the values that already exist in the Spartan Life Handbook (http://splife.studentlife.msu.edu/), 2016-2017 ASMSU President Lorenzo Santavicca said there was a need to bridge the gap between honor codes for different colleges within the University.

The new academic honor code website, where students can take the pledge.

The new academic honor code website, where students can take the pledge.

“The new academic pledge is a collaboration between MSU colleges and student groups on campus that already had an honor code in place,” Santavicca said. “We were bringing everyone together to talk about what this could be for the University, and what it means for a responsible academic work ethic to be in place for all of Michigan State.”

ASMSU began planning for the project over a year and a half ago. According to Santavicca, the process was lengthy because it started on the student level and was then passed through multiple levels within the University, all the way up to the Board of Trustees for formal recognition.

University administrators have voiced avid support for the campaign, including Provost June Youatt.

“I hope it becomes a signal, or a prompt for students to really think about what it means to be a Spartan,” Youatt stated in an interview with ASMSU. “That this isn’t something students casually agree to or do because they there is some peer pressure to do it, but because they actually stop and think: What does it mean to be at Michigan State University? How does this place differ?”

MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon agreed, saying she is “proud of ASMSU” for starting this discussion.

Spartans can expect to see the new academic pledge in syllabi and posted in heavy traffic buildings on campus, in addition to being codified in the Student Handbook. Santavicca shared that another important element of the Spartan Code of Honor campaign: the online presence at honorcode.msu.edu.

“When we have this pledge in place that was acknowledged by the board of trustees, adopted by ASMSU, and recognized by academic governance, there needs to be a way for students to go and read through these resources that are already available to them,” Santavicca said, noting that the website offers something more accessible than the Student Handbook—a ready reference accessible across all digital platforms.

“We want to make something more interactive and dynamic to the experience here at Michigan State, where students can go to read updated materials, or just sign the pledge and feel like they can be part of this campaign for themselves,” he said.

The Spartan Code of Honor website provides resources for students to review frequently asked questions about academic integrity and learn about reporting and appealing cases of academic misconduct. In addition, it will feature a call to action for students to sign the pledge and share it online.

For more information to take the pledge, visit the Spartan Code of Honor website at honorcode.msu.edu.

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