THE CORE CURRICULUM: BECOMING RESPONSIBLY ENGAGED IN THE WORLD
ACADEMIC INTEGRITY The Academic Virtues As a community of study, Concordia College seeks to nurture in all of our members the human qualities that enable us, individually and collectively, to engage in our academic enterprise. The academic enterprise, like any other “coherent and complex form of socially established cooperative human activity” (MacIntyre p. 175), requires that its practitioners possess certain qualities which make the academy possible, and without which it can exist as an academy in name only. These human qualities, or virtues, make possible not only our collective existence as a community of study, but also our individual participation in our chosen fields of study. Students, faculty and administrators relate to one another in a way defined by the purposes and standards that make our community an academic community. A student may choose to pursue a particular major in order to become powerful, wealthy and famous. But power, wealth and fame are “external goods” that may be achieved by means other than pursuing a particular academic major. The purposes and standards that make our community an academic community of the church are not concerned primarily with “external goods,” but rather with goods that are “internal” to the various academic disciplines and “eternal” before God. This also suggests that, to lack integrity, one misconstrues what we profess to be humanity’s ultimate and most worthy goal, to live with God in a community of perfect justice. To become a student within a particular discipline is to enter a form of activity with its own methodology and standards of excellence. While a discipline’s methodology and standards of excellence are not immune from criticism and change, “we cannot be initiated into [such] a practice without accepting the authority of the best standards realized so far” (MacIntyre p. 177). As you study a discipline, you learn to appreciate the feelings or ideas of others, and in so doing you learn to be empathetic. As you study a discipline, you learn to distinguish between excellent and average examples of disciplinary practice, giving each person (including yourself) what is due them; in so doing you learn to be fair minded. As you study a discipline, you learn that you must expose your ego and limited knowledge to criticism, and in so doing you learn to be courageous. As you study a discipline, you learn that the quest for knowledge is never completed, and in so doing you learn perseverance and humility.
The Centrality of Integrity to Academe Without a commitment to the virtues of fair mindedness, courage, perseverance, intellectual humility and empathy, the academic enterprise, individually and collectively, is doomed to failure. Yet none of these virtues is possible without the central virtue of integrity. When we say that the Concordia community expects all of our members to act with integrity — to act with honesty, uprightness and sincerity — we speak in a language of virtue as well as of duty. We say, unequivocally, that dishonesty is always wrong. We say that dishonesty is wrong because it is unjust, robbing everyone of the knowledge of what each person is due. We say that dishonesty is wrong because it is cowardly and intellectually false. We say that dishonesty is wrong because cheaters prefer ease and expediency to hard work and perseverance. We say that dishonesty is wrong because it robs the student of the goods internal to the practice of the student’s chosen discipline. We say that dishonesty is wrong because the dishonest seek only the goods external to the academic enterprise, namely, wealth, power and fame.
Because academic dishonesty in all its forms is so fundamentally contrary to the community of study, because it is so fundamentally destructive of the moral virtues required of those engaged in the academic enterprise, we must collectively and individually reaffirm the central importance of the virtue of academic integrity at Concordia College. This document represents just such a collective and individual reaffirmation of the core principles of the college. Faculty, students, administrators and staff members are charged with specific practices and responsibilities in following these principles. These obligations are described in full in the Student Handbook. Additionally, faculty members follow practices germane to the fair evaluation of student performance. These practices are described in the Joint Statement on Academic Responsibility, located in the Faculty Handbook.
Academic Integrity Violations Refer to the student handbook for procedures regarding academic integrity violations, including plagiarism.
Bibliography Alasdair MacIntyre. 1981. After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory. South Bend, IN: University of Notre Dame Press. Richard Paul. 1990. Critical Thinking: What Every Person Needs to Survive in a Rapidly Changing World. Rohnert Park, CA: Center for Critical Thinking and Moral Critique.
The Core Curriculum: Becoming Responsibly Engaged in the World As an essential part of the liberal arts approach to learning, every candidate for the Bachelor of Arts degree at Concordia is required to take a specific set of courses that comprise the Liberal Arts Core Curriculum. These courses are designed to provide a solid foundation in written and oral communication skills and to establish a methodological competency and sensitivity to intellectual perspective through the study of a variety of disciplines. Core courses emphasize the development of analytical and critical thought processes and the ability to recognize and deal constructively with significant problems. Through the Core Curriculum, students also develop an appreciation for other peoples and cultures and an ability to respond to change in creative, effective ways. The Core Curriculum’s explicit goal is to prepare our students to Become Responsibly Engaged in the World (BREW). The Goals for Liberal Learning in the Core Curriculum are the following. Goal 1: Instill a love for learning • Demonstrate an ability to learn independently (seek opportunities to learn) • Appreciate that learning is a lifelong process • Obtain information needed to make informed judgments Goal 2: Develop foundational skills and transferable intellectual capacities • Express ideas effectively • Make decisions and solve problems by engaging in creative and critical thinking • Access and evaluate a variety of sources of information • Consider multiple perspectives when developing solutions to problems