Cindy Bither
Administrative Assistant
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For Honor to Work, You’ve Got to Have Buy-In

FullTextImage/img/@altDr. Eric Anderman discusses the nature of cheating. -- VMI Photo by John Robertson IV.

The 500-seat Gillis Theater on the VMI post was filled to capacity with high school and college students and teachers from across the nation as VMI’s second biennial Leadership Conference, “Cheating, Lying and Honor in America’s High Schools, Colleges and Universities,” opened yesterday. The conference continued today, as the current generation of students took the lead in discussing and presenting strategies for encouraging academic and personal integrity. 

LEXINGTON, Va., March 6, 2012 – Dr. Eric Anderman, professor of education psychology at the Ohio State University, compared cheating to placing a vote: it’s a deliberate choice that individuals make that cannot be revoked.

The metaphor was especially timely since he addressed conference attendees on Super Tuesday, a primary voting day here in Virginia and in Anderman’s home state of Ohio.

Anderman examined reasons that people cheat and techniques that can be used from an educational perspective to curb cheating.

“The strongest predictor of whether or not kids cross that line and vote to cheat and actually cheat is how much emphasis they personally place on grades and ability and how much emphasis their teachers and schools place on them,” said Anderman.

Anderman communicated the necessity of having honor systems that are supported by faculty, students, administration, and parents.

“Any effort will fail if you don’t have buy in from everybody. That’s one of the things that I think is really great about this conference,” said Anderman. “It’s one of the first times in my career that I’ve seen a large group where everybody is buying into the same concept.”

Anderman expressed his hope that conversations initiated at this conference will produce solutions to the problem of cheating.

“You have a chance of making something work here. Really, I’m extremely optimistic.”

Finding solutions to the problem of cheating is more important than ever, as cheating is a problem that is getting worse.

“I get asked the question a lot: Is cheating worse today than it used to be?” said Anderman, “and the answer is yes, the data support it. It’s gone up a lot.”

Following Anderman’s address, Capt. Susan Rabern, director of VMI’s Center for Leadership and Ethics, thanked him for his participation in planning and executing VMI’s leadership conference.

“Dr. Anderman has been integral to the planning of our conference. He’s been working with us for two or three months now,” said Rabern.

–John Robertson IV