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An open letter to the Hofstra Community:

August 25, 2010

Throughout my tenure as President of Hofstra University our focus has been on the unwavering pursuit of academic excellence. That ambition drives every decision we make. Happily we are enjoying extraordinary results as our reputation grows throughout the United States, and internationally.

Changes in technology and cultural sensibilities have led to a proliferation of dishonesty in the academic realm. Across the nation, news reports regularly point to individuals who have lied about their credentials, researchers who presented falsified results, and students who have engaged in new forms of cheating. Such stories do great damage to academic institutions by undermining the public’s trust. No institution can succeed in its pursuit of academic excellence if there is any question about its commitment to academic integrity.

For this reason I am asking the entire Hofstra community to join in a campus-wide project the goal of which is to confront the problem of academic dishonesty head on. As we begin it’s important to remind ourselves that Hofstra’s commitment to academic integrity has always been steadfast. Given the tenor of our times, we must do more. My aim is to establish Hofstra’s reputation as a leader among institutions of higher education on this issue.

To this end, the Provost’s Task Force on Integrity and Responsibility is initiating multiple opportunities for students, faculty and administrators to examine, discuss and propose solutions to the challenges we and other institutions face in the area of academic integrity. Our aim will be to draw upon the creativity and wisdom within our whole community as we design new strategies, programs and activities that promote integrity in all aspects of campus life.

The four core questions driving our conversation will be:

  1. What is the situation at Hofstra and to what extent is it in line with national trends regarding incidents of academic dishonesty?
  2. What strategies do we currently employ to promote integrity and respond to incidents of dishonesty and how effective are they?
  3. What new strategies ought we to undertake?
  4. What can we do to raise the visibility of this issue so that every member of the Hofstra community and the world at large sees us as an institution committed to the vigorous pursuit of academic integrity?

In the coming year, you will be invited by the Task Force on Integrity and Responsibility to participate in public discussions, surveys, workshops, and focus groups. There will be broad public meetings as well as detailed discussions about specific proposals in departments, programs, and student organizations. All will be designed to elicit reflection and feedback on our four core questions. I ask that everyone take up this challenge. Only by working cooperatively and comprehensively on this issue can we raise the visibility of our commitment to academic integrity and devise effective strategies for promoting it.

 

Sincerely,
Stuart Rabinowitz
President, Hofstra University

Stuart Rabinowitz