Program watches over academic integrity

Thursday, November 6, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 8:03 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 14, 2008

If students want to cheat, they’ll find a way to do it, said Bryan Maggard, the director of MU’s athletic tutoring program. But the program is designed to stop cheating before it starts.

Since Maggard joined the Total Person Program in 1995, no tutor has been charged with academic dishonesty.

“It’s never happened,” he said as he knocked on his wooden desk.

When MU’s Intercollegiate Athletic Committee surveyed student athletes, parents, faculty, administrators and athletic department staff about the department’s academic integrity last spring, the results came up clean.

It was the first survey of academic integrity done since Maggard became director of the program three years ago.

“In the future we’ll probably end up doing a survey like that every one or two years,” he said. “We do smaller reviews internally every semester to see where we can improve as a program.”

No system is immune to cheating, however, Maggard said. MU’s academic integrity committee and the NCAA are investigating MU’s basketball program, partly because of recent allegations of academic dishonesty involving former point guard Ricky Clemons.

Despite the scrutiny the Total Person Program has faced during the last few months, Maggard said it has not affected the morale of his staff. To help prevent dishonesty, Maggard makes sure his staff is well informed about the do’s and don’ts of academic integrity.

In order to police academics, the program has each tutor fill out a tutor-session summary after meeting with an athlete. The summary gives program administrators an overview of such things as assignment due dates, exam dates, attitudes and concerns, Maggard said.

Tutors are taught to report any academic improprieties, he said.

If anyone, including a tutor, is caught participating in academic dishonesty, that person is reported to the Office of the Provost.

“At that point it would be out of our hands,” Maggard said.

Both MU’s investigation and the NCAA integrity probe are scheduled to be completed in December. If any impropriety is found, Maggard is unsure of what will happen to the program.

“I’m very much looking forward to seeing what they find out,” he said. “If anything, if you’re smart, you’re going to use this as an educational opportunity, whether it’s in training sessions or orientations. We’ll benefit from it no matter what’s found.”

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