2nd Asia-Pacific Educational Integrity Conference
Wags the dog
Laurine Hurley - Australian Catholic University
Integrity – having no part or element wanting; honesty; material wholeness (OED, 1973) – is under threat, academically and educationally, from a seemingly innocuous direction. The increasing reliance of the University sector on centralization and uniformity requires a bureaucracy to match; and as Clarke’s astronauts in 2001: A Space Odyssey discovered to their peril, the servant can, by degrees and with the best of motives, come to control the master. When questioning why submission of written examinations is needed less than half way though a semester’s teaching is met with the admonition from the bureaucrat in charge that “the exam should be written before you start teaching and you teach to that”, one wonders who in fact is in charge of the asylum. Timelines for academic activities are increasingly set by administrators far removed from, and often with little if any experience of, the front line. One could be forgiven for thinking that the core business of the university is now to maintain an even workload for certain administrative sections, and not, as most of us who teach and administer at the coal face once thought, the full educational experience of our students. The tail is indeed wagging the dog; which dog, however, is increasingly irritated by the seemingly random directions in which it is thrust, and, to shamelessly mix metaphors, the worm must turn and bite the hand that (thinks it) feeds it. This serious situation has increasingly negative effects on a staff and student body already under external threat.
Keywords: academic integrity, educational integrity, values