Alumni share how the Pioneer academic community provides intrinsic motivation for academic integrity

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Academic Integrity

Research is a valuable experience for students because it puts them in a larger academic community of scholars all over the world. Fostering such a sense of academic community not only gets students excited about research––it can produce intrinsic motivation for academic integrity. Guidelines about plagiarism and citations transform from classroom rules to values that have a purpose to benefit the community. For Gayathri (history, 2020), a Pioneer scholar from India, feeling part of an academic community inspired a strong sense of responsibility. She explains that while her assignments at school seemed self-contained, “[Pioneer] pushed me to see beyond myself… The feeling of community that stemmed from Pioneer was that I do not want to endanger someone else’s knowledge about something through my miscommunication or a mistake on my part. When you have this sense of academic community, it gives you a sense of duty. We are all trying to be better people, we are all trying to better understand the things we are passionate about, and you do not ever want to skew someone’s understanding because of an error on your part.” Naturally, this duty also extends to ethics regarding originality and citations. “We take citations and plagiarism very seriously, because it shows we respect the work of others, and it shows that when we produce work it is not only meaningful to us, but it is valuable to a community outside of us,” Gayathri says. 

Andrew (neuroscience, 2020), a Pioneer scholar from Canada, agrees. “At Pioneer, it was really emphasized that you’re building on knowledge from previous researchers. The way science works is we build on papers and studies that came before us. We’re all a collective team. Pioneer emphasized that we need to give credit to those who came before us and conducted research in our field. It’s all a collective effort to do research and discover what is left to be discovered,” he says.

Mayuri (business, 2019), a Pioneer scholar from the United States, also gained insight about the importance of academic integrity through her experience at Pioneer. “There is a possibility that other people will be using your work in their own research… It’s important to feel good about what we’re presenting to the research community,” she explains. Having done her own research at Pioneer, Mayuri understands what is at stake when it comes to plagiarism. She explains, “Academic integrity is the importance of not claiming that other people’s ideas and other people’s words are things that I thought of on my own. I think you can still build on people’s thoughts while keeping academic integrity as long as you credit the people who thought of it first. If you reverse the situation and think about it as if someone else tried to take credit for the conclusions and analysis that you spent hours coming up with and tried to brand it as something they thought of, it’s not only extremely hurtful but it discredits the amount of hours that you spent.” 

Research presents students with the chance to be part of a larger academic community, which changes the conversation about plagiarism and academic integrity. When students believe that their work matters not just in the context of a single class or grade but within a global community of scholars, they take the responsibility of academic integrity more seriously.

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