Times Higher Education's online journal The Campus recently published an article advocating that professors abandon their “holier than thou” attitude toward students on the subject of cheating. The article made the surprising but valid point that professors cheat, too. Professors cheat in a variety of ways. Some fail to report publishing stipends or other honoraria as taxable income. Some, in other words, are tax cheats. Others cheat on their domestic partners. Still others cheat on workplace rules, pretending to have taken mandatory workplace training. Professors even take shortcuts and cheat on academic matters. Many professors recirculate old exams and instructional materials to avoid the hard but valuable work of creating timely and fresh materials. They even use others' exams and materials as their own. Plagiarism, anyone?
Professors Justify Their Own Cheating
Professors even justify their own cheating in the same ways that students do. Professors blame a broken system for their shortcutting faults. They say that they simply do as other professors do. They say that their shortcuts and shortchanges are victimless crimes. And professors argue that playing by the rules doesn't produce the return to justify the extra effort. Yet these same professors can be quick to blame students for cheating, increasingly characterizing students as lazy, corrupt, and lacking any moral compass. In short, hypocrisy runs rampant, not just off-campus but also on.
The Student's Perspective
The Times Higher Education article cites a reliable source for asserting that professors are hypocritical when accusing students of being dishonest and lazy. The Harvard University Press book, “Cheating Lessons: Learning from Academic Dishonesty” summarizes studies suggesting poor teaching actually incentivizes cheating. Students who cheat are not necessarily lazy or lacking a moral compass. Instead, they respond rationally to the unreasonably high stakes of single assessments, poor test-item design, and arbitrary grading criteria. In many cases, professors have no one to blame for student cheating but themselves. Indeed, when instruction is especially poor, students who complete assignments in ways that they would never do in a better-designed course may not be cheating at all. They may just be doing what the poorly designed course requires. One conclusion is clear: better instruction, along with better assessment, sharply reduces cheating.
Get the Best Available Help to Beat Unfair Cheating Charges
Cheating charges can unnerve the college or university student. The professor and institution seem to have all the cards. Yet, with the right actions, students can defend and defeat unfair cheating charges. To do so, your single best step is to retain national college and university academic attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm. Don't underestimate the impact of cheating charges. Your future job and career may well be at risk, not to mention your education. And do not underestimate the complexity of institutional misconduct procedures. You have ways to defend yourself against unfair cheating charges, but you need the help of a national academic attorney expert. Call 888-535-3686 to schedule a consultation or use the online service.