Academic Integrity Conference Brings Essential Conversations

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As a member of the ICAI Executive Board of Directors, where I lead on issues in advocacy and conference leadership, I recently headed up the planning committee for the International Center for Academic Integrity‘s (ICAI) 2021 Annual Conference. While normally in person, COVID changed everyone’s plans, and it was necessary to pivot to an online conference. It worked out, as ICAI had its biggest conference ever!

ICAI is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to advocacy for academic integrity the world over. My team and I organized four keynote panels and 36 concurrent sessions by over 100 speakers over four days that were live broadcasted to over 1200 attendees across 15 concurrent time zones, from St. Petersburg, Florida to Auckland, New Zealand to Kyiv, Ukraine and everywhere in between!

New Challenges

This year’s conference was especially unique, in that it was completely online because of COVID. It was a huge lift to go from a conference for about 350 attendees planned to be in Chicago hotel to around 1200 people attending online simultaneously from around the world.

I hope to be back to meeting face-to-face in 2022, and I’d like to innovate even more by developing a hybrid conference experience so folks can discuss and share important issues in integrity on the ground and online simultaneously.

Important Discussions

Some of the most popular sessions included research on identifying contract cheating, developing effective integrity policy, and inspiring academic cultures and students towards honor and truthfulness in all aspects of academic life. As South County Academic Chair of the Applied Ethics Institute at St. Petersburg College, I am proud to have represented the community college’s role in the conversation, as well as its role in developing effective policy at both the individual class and institutional levels.

Florida’s community colleges serve 65 percent of the state’s high school graduates. For many students, they haven’t done college-level work before, and many others haven’t been in a formal classroom in some time. This makes it important for us to facilitate our students to learn with integrity and give credit where credit is due. Community colleges are uniquely suited to encourage students to be good citizens, to live their lives with integrity, and to teach them how to be good stewards of public and private money and trust.

Christian Moriarty is the South County Academic Chair of St. Petersburg College’s Applied Ethics Institute at St. Petersburg College.

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