Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Integrity discussed at open forum led by HLC

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Integrity Week, sexual harassment and classroom conduct were the primary topics discussed during an open forum revolving around integrity.

The forum was hosted by an accreditation team from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) on Tuesday, Sept. 24 at the Grand Ballroom in the University Center.

HLC site team representative Jeff Anderson led a forum to discuss the procedures the university is taking to keep the order and values in the Southeast community. The forum took place Tuesday, Sept. 24, at Grand Ballroom in the University Center.

About 30 people including faculty and staff attended the event. Some offered examples of what each of their departments do to keep a safe and honest environment on campus.

The HLC representatives were interested in Integrity Week and how it aids in student support and accessibility, as well as the impact it has on students.

Integrity Week, which took place Sept. 6-13, is in its second year. The event involved several academic and co-curricular departments working together to develop activities to encourage students to make ethical decisions both on and off-campus.

“It was successful, because it started a conversation around good decisions that our students are making,” Director of Testing Services, Sally Carter said.

She added plagiarism is a main concern for the university, efforts have been made to decrease these instances and prevent this from happening. She noted the numbers of cases have been significantly reduced since Integrity Week was first held last year.

Classroom conduct was another topic HLC representatives wanted to hear about when it comes to what’s being done to improve campus honesty and safety.

One professor shared her thoughts on student-professor relationships: “A lot of it comes from the faculty. The students have a good relationship with the faculty.”

She added professors are receiving constant feedback from students, and it is a dual effort in setting and determining boundaries.

This led to a discussion about issues related to sexual harassment. Many faculty members mentioned the university already has several preventative efforts in place, including online training programs designed to educate students about sexual harassment and misconduct.

“Both our students and faculty and staff are trained repeatedly at least once annually. We have online training. I do onboarding for new faculty going over and procedures,” a faculty member said.

He added students are heavily informed on this topic, especially during freshman year in seminar courses.

This was the final in a series of three open forums held as part of the HLC accreditation visit The first two forums were held earlier in the week on the topics of Resources, Planning and Institutional Effectiveness, and Teaching and Learning.