Jan. 19, 2006 by Jeany Llorente-Ontiveros NMSU News Center
When Grace Ann Rosile, an assistant professor of management at New Mexico State University, realized some students in her class were using cell phone text messages to cheat on a test, she faced a tough decision.She could change her testing methods and quietly “plug the hole and move on – sadder, wiser and more cynical,” or she could face the situation head-on.
Rosile chose the latter. She failed nine students and engaged the remaining students in examining the issues.
Since the incident two years ago, Rosile has conducted workshops, written articles, given presentations and engaged faculty and students in promoting a classroom culture supporting integrity.
For her efforts, Rosile received the “Champion of Integrity Award” from the Center for Academic Integrity (CAI).
The award was given to Rosile for her commitment to academic integrity, her willingness to “do the right thing” despite obstacles and/or rebuff, and for her contribution to effecting positive change among students, peers and colleagues within educational communities.
In a letter to Rosile, Timothy M. Dodd, executive director of CAI, said the organization was “particularly impressed by her efforts at ‘championing’ integrity through workshops, conferences, and published proceedings and articles.”
The aftereffects of the incident could have left a bitter taste in Rosile’s mouth; however, she found a way to turn it into a positive experience.
Rosile has conducted workshops for faculty on the Las Cruces campus and one at a national conference for management professors. Future possibilities include workshops at other NMSU campuses across the state. She has written several articles, conference proceedings and conference presentations on the subject.
In her classroom, Rosile uses a two-part exercise to help create a climate where cheating is not a “taboo” topic. She begins by talking about her experience with cheating and provides stopping points where students have the opportunity to predict the next stages or analyze the causes of the problems stage by stage. The next phase includes gathering anonymous student feedback, a process that “may yield the greatest candor,” Rosile said.
“My approach goes beyond procedural justice and due process in prosecuting cheaters,” she said. “Instead of focusing on the ‘bad apple,’ I emphasize methods to engage all students as well as faculty in promoting a classroom culture supporting integrity.”