The society, today, is facing an integrity dilemma as people aspire to succeed through whatever means (Lunsford and Ruszkiewicz 179). It is one thing to identify what is right from what is wrong and another thing to decide the choice between doing right or wrong. This ethical dilemma finds its way into the college classroom as students are unable to weigh the options when it comes to the path towards academic success. Many students end up choosing the easier path involving cheating and plagiarism rather than hard work to attain good grades. It is, therefore, evident that the only way to encourage strong ethics and pride of work in college is through character education to mould individuals who have not only performance character, but also moral character in order to be able to do they’re best and what is right (Lickona 10).
I have a friend who is studying Engineering in college. In addition to the units specifically designed for engineering, there is also a course in HIV/ AIDS that all the students in the university have to take. The unit, however, does not contribute at all to the overall grade of engineering students, but each student has to pass it to be able to graduate. According to her, majority of the engineering units are difficult and require more time and, therefore, she skips the HIV/AIDS classes most of the times to concentrate on her engineering units then whenever they are given assignments she ends up copying from her colleagues. This ethical dilemma leaves me with the question: Does she need to do this?
My belief in as far as classroom ethics is concerned is that all students should be sincere and work hard to better their grades rather than result to unethical practices such as cheating. There are more self gratification and pride in what we achieve through our own efforts than by corruptive means. Integrity in the classroom is very important as it instills a trait of trusting one’s capabilities even in the future (Lunsford and Ruszkiewicz 187). I also believe that different people have different intellectual capacity , therefore, no one should feel embarrassed when he is not able to achieve what others have been able to achieve so long as he has done his best (Lickona 13).
Cheating still exists in college because it is a practice that has its roots way before entering college, that is, high school. A culture of academic integrity is yet to seize ground in colleges. For cheating to stop, all the stakeholders including, students, parents, peers and professors need to be involved in developing a culture of integrity (Church 1).
I believe the responsibility on ethical decisions made by college students is to be blamed on the society as a whole. As a result of decaying moral integrity in the society, more emphasis has been directed towards performance rather than doing what is right (Lunsford and Ruszkiewicz 180). This has put a lot of pressure on students to perform through all means. We fail to understand that effort is all that matters in life irrespective of whether the result is the performance or not (Lickona 13).
Ethically speaking, there is no reason for cheating because it results in achievement that is not justified through one’s own effort. Integrity demands that we choose to do what is right irrespective of the outcome and, therefore, there is no justification for cheating.
In conclusion, the only way to encourage strong ethics and pride of work in college is through character education to mould individuals who have not only performance character, but also moral character in order to be able to do they’re best and what is right. All the members of the society need to embrace a culture of integrity in order to ensure individuals of character both in terms of performance and moral character.
Church, Matt. Cheating in College: Why Students Do It and What Educators Can Do about It. 2 014. Web. 28 Feb. 2014.
Lickona, Tom. Helping Our Students Become Smart and Good. 2008. Web. 28 Feb. 2014.
Lunsford, A. Andrea and Ruszkiewicz, J. John. The Presence of Others: Voices and Images that Call for Response. 2008. Bedford/ St. Martins. New York.