90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
Here and Now with Robin Young
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Friday, September 21, 2012

Creating A Culture Of Academic Integrity

Colin Diver, former president of Reed College, came to Here & Now studios in Boston to discuss his views on academic integrity. (Jesse Costa/Here & Now)

A recent cheating scandal at Harvard University got Colin Diver thinking — and writing, in the Boston Globe.

Diver, a former president of Reed College, writes in an opinion piece that to prevent cheating, schools shouldn’t focus on policing students.

Rather, they should create a culture of academic honor that holds students and faculty accountable to one another and decreases emphasis on grades.


  • Colin Diver, former president of Reed College in Portland, Oregon

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Rex Henry

    Maybe more tests should be collaborative.  Every student receives different questions, they collaborate to teach each other, making the learning process more effective.

  • J Frog

    I chuckled when Robin asked “We don’t know how much cheating Harvard missed….How do you know you just didn’t miss it?”  Ah..yes.  So easy to cheat and….how do we know?  Another case where photo ID could help verify a system.

  • The_Truth_Seeker

    Wow!! Hey, press, look into the 2004 Siemens Science Competition! – the students seem to have done everything right, but in this case it was the “adults” and “professionals” that got it all wrong and then didn’t want to admit it! University officials actually went along with Siemens in  covering up what really happened and never informed the press (or the press were also in on the cover-up).  Proof of this now exists in writing (so sue me Siemens – PLEASE!!!). Wonder if the 1000+ students (who didn’t win anything) ever found out.  I don’t think so. Would they even care now? I don’t know, but I do.

    And, what about the whole emphasis on “winning prizes” and getting on TV, in order to “score” (win) an important and scarce STEM scholarship? Isn’t this done to mainly help promote the company offering it and get them lots of free publicity?  Will handing out ONE $100K, ONE $50K and ONE $25K  scholarship (out of 1000+ students seeking one) help stem the decline of interest in science and technology in this country (particularly if mistakes happen in the process)? Couldn’t Siemens (and other big companies) afford to just give out 100-1000 $50K scholarships, without all the “dog & pony” shows?  It would cost them $5M-$50M but they make billions every year. These contests (like grades) make little or no difference at all to the future success of students and in the case of high profile science contests, in particular, usually reward the already affluent students (who have easier access to highly trained “mentors”).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=686519255 Daniel Healy

    MCAS for Massachusetts Community Colleges. Watering down content and lowering standards has been the norm for the past 23 years I have worked as an instructor here in Massachusetts. I’ve left because of the ‘scam’ atmosphere of my colleagues. No way would I support Higher Education here in Massachusetts without bonafide exit testing. It’s not even 13th grade anymore, it’s more like 8th grade with respect to math. Good luck Massachusetts, we lower standards but we don’t lower pay. We pay these bloated salaries to folks that do less EVERY YEAR!

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

August 27 Comment

Veteran Honored, But Struggles To Keep Business Open

Former Marine Matt Victoriano is being recognized as a "Champion of Change" at the White House.

August 27 40 Comments

In Defense Of Schlock Music: Why We Love/Hate It

Music critic Jody Rosen defends the kind of over-the-top, sentimental songs that Journey, Lionel Richie, Billy Joel and Prince made famous.

August 26 8 Comments

It’s Not Business As Usual In Ferguson, Missouri

From barber shops to bike shops, WBUR's Deborah Becker looks at what the protests have meant for businesses.

August 26 95 Comments

A Fan Says No To Football

Steve Almond writes, "our allegiance to football legitimizes and ever fosters within us a tolerance for violence, greed, racism, and even homophobia."