NYUCD recently introduced a new approach to an important aspect of College governance, one that relies exclusively on student leadership to promote academic integrity, champion ethical behavior, and adjudicate allegations of academic dishonesty. The one-year pilot program, known as the Peer Review Board, or PRB, replaces the former faculty-led Committee on Ethics and Professionalism for DDS students.
"Perhaps no profession is more responsible for self-monitoring than dentistry, since the majority of dentists work in solo practices with no one looking over their shoulder to make sure that they are doing the right thing," said Dean Bertolami. "That's why it is so important for dental students to help one another understand the value of academic integrity, and how this translates into the ethical standards they will carry with them into practice."
As campuses across the country report a virtual epidemic of explicit cheating, a national effort has formed to help institutions of higher learning combat the potential of this phenomenon to do lasting damage to American education and the larger society. At the core of this effort is a new "honor code" movement that values peer orientation in promoting honesty, ethics, and integrity. Indeed, while all institutions have incidences of cheating, students in institutions that have PRBs are more likely to report them than students in non-PRB institutions.
Added Dean Bertolami, "The message is clear: When students are empowered to set and enforce high academic integrity standards, they tend to do so."