Samford University's Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership recently hosted the 2013 Southeast Regional Academic Integrity Conference. The event was cosponsored with the International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI).

Conference sessions focused on best practices in academic integrity.

Keynote speaker was Gary Pavela, director of academic integrity at Syracuse University. Pavela began with his thoughts on preventing academic dishonesty. According to Pavela, students engaging with teachers is the most effective way to establish academic integrity in the humanities.

"When we create the sense that we have bonded in some way, we have less problem with academic integrity," Pavela says. "We must try to reach people with what they feel, not what they cognate.

 "People have to find some way to make sense of the world. That's what part of the humanities is. If we can engage students in their work…we can help them sort out what's happening around them."

Pavela said the passion to question "why things are as they are" is not limited to the humanities, however. "In the hands of good teachers, it carries over to all of the fields."

Samford freshmen students Kristin Aebli, Catherine Forman, Claire Gaxiola and Christina Witt  performed a short play on academic integrity, which they wrote, and led the audience in a discussion of the ethical issues in the play.

"Not only was their performance fantastic, they exhibited an enormous amount of poise during the discussion and represented Samford very well," said Azalea Hulbert, Mann Center program manager.

This was the first year for the Southeastern Regional Academic Integrity Conference. Hulbert said the conference was successful in bringing leaders from other schools together on campus to discuss the issue of academic integrity.

"We had just over 40 attendees at the conference, representing 26 institutions in seven states. These attendees included faculty, student affairs staff, administrators, and students, and represented a variety of schools: large public institutions, community colleges, military schools, and smaller private schools."

The Mann Center will continue to use the Academic Integrity Conference to establish these relationships between different academic fields, according to Hulbert. The Mann Center will begin to lead a consortium formed in partnership with the ICAI, one facet of which will be the annual conference, at Samford.

"ICAI hosts an international conference every year, but has recently been working to create smaller regional consortia that can keep the work of ICAI going more effectively throughout the year," Hulbert said. "Our ICAI Southeast Consortium is the third such group to be formed to date. We feel that this collaboration will enrich academic integrity practices at schools throughout the Southeast, and will position Samford as a thought leader in this critical area."

Megan Thompson is a senior journalism and mass communication major and a news and feature writer in the Office of Marketing and Communication.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.