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President's Statement, Sept. 3, 2013

President's Statement, Sept. 3, 2013

To the Hofstra Community:

As President of this extraordinary academic community I have enjoyed the great privilege of working with thousands of faculty, administrators and students.  In virtually every case I’ve been deeply impressed by their work ethic, by their achievements, and by their integrity.  It is with that integrity in mind that I write to you today.

Three years ago I invited the entire Hofstra community to participate in a campus-wide conversation about academic integrity.  Provost Herman Berliner appointed an Academic Integrity Task Force to lead that conversation.  They distributed a nationally normed survey and promoted many small group discussions designed to assess the situation at Hofstra and explore possible responses. Drawing upon the results of the survey and these discussions, the Task Force reached the following conclusions:

  • The vast majority of Hofstra students, faculty and administrators are committed to academic integrity and see it as central to Hofstra’s mission.
  • Our issues are typical of most other national institutions.
  • Our procedures for handling cases where cheating may have occurred are well formulated and fair. 
  • Hofstra’s commitment to academic integrity, while longstanding and tangible, could be made more visible.
  • With these conclusions in mind the Task Force recommended that Hofstra establish an Honor Code and an Honor Board charged with “promoting, protecting and upholding academic integrity at Hofstra University.”  These proposals were discussed and ultimately recommended by the University Senate, the Full Faculty, the Provost, and the Student Government Association during the Spring 2012 semester.  I was very pleased to affirm and approve them as well in my role as President.

Our newly appointed Honor Board met last year for the first time and decided to launch our new Honor Code in Fall 2013 by mounting a campaign that invites each member of the Hofstra community to affirm his or her commitment to Hofstra University’s new Honor Code.  The goal of this campaign is to introduce the Hofstra community to the Code, and to make as explicit as possible the extent of Hofstra’s commitment to academic integrity.

I am very proud to know that Hofstra has taken this step.  Having affirmed my own commitment to the Hofstra University Honor Code I write today to encourage each of you to do the same by clicking on this link and affirming your willingness to “commit to the Code.”  Over the next several weeks all Hofstra students, faculty, administrators, and staff will be encouraged to add their names to the list of Hofstra community members who affirm their commitment to the Code’s values.  Our goal is to come as close to 100% participation as possible. 

In the future, all prospective members of the Hofstra community will be told that a willingness to affirm one’s commitment to the Code is a part of the admissions and employment process.  In this way, in not too many years Hofstra University’s commitment to academic integrity will be a prominent part of our reputation world-wide.  

Of course, the campaign’s goal of raising awareness is only the start of what the Honor Board has in mind.  Its members are hard at work developing new educational resources that will help students and other community members navigate confusing questions about attribution and ownership.  Look for enhanced web-based resources, workshops, visiting speakers, and many other opportunities to discuss some of the more complicated issues that are raised as we become more intentional in promoting academic integrity on our campus.

I am very grateful to everyone who has worked hard to establish and implement Hofstra’s new Honor Code and look forward to seeing the many ways the Code and the Honor Board will help shape our understanding of the issue and our reputation.  Their work, coupled with the cooperation of Hofstra community members, will go a long way toward protecting the value of a Hofstra University degree.

Right now, however, I hope you will join those of us who have been willing to “Commit to the Code.”

Stuart Rabinowitz, President