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Summer Research project examines effectiveness of Randolph’s Honor Code

Shelby Koretke '17 and psychology professor Holly Tatum conduct research online.

Shelby Koretke ’17 and psychology professor Holly Tatum conduct research online.

Shelby Koretke ’17 has been an enthusiastic proponent of Randolph’s student-run Honor Code since she arrived at the College. This summer, she and Holly Tatum, a psychology professor, are working to analyze and enhance the long-standing tradition at the College.

Tatum has researched the effectiveness of honor codes in preventing cheating and promoting academic integrity since 2012. She is the author of several articles and book chapters on the topic. This summer, Koretke will help gather information for her next book, which will focus on ethics in undergraduate research. In addition, Koretke will assist Tatum as she serves as one of three guest editors for an upcoming special issue of the Theory Into Practice academic journal.

Tatum and Koretke will also attend the Association for Psychological Science National Convention in Chicago, Illinois, where Tatum will co-lead the workshop, “Evidence-Based Strategies to Improve Academic Integrity.” Koretke plans to attend the workshop and several lectures as well as a keynote by Dan Ariely. The author of The Dishonest Truth About Dishonesty, Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University and founder of the Center for Advanced Hindsight and co-founder of BEworks.

Koretke and Tatum SRP 2“Doing all of this work is really helping not only my senior project, but also my future as a researcher,” Koretke said.

This is not the first time Koretke has conducted research and investigated ethical issues with Tatum. Koretke first assisted Tatum with research last fall as a student assistant for the psychology department. She has also served on Randolph’s Judicial Board since her first year; Tatum is the board’s faculty representative.

“To me, the Honor Code is a core part of Randolph’s identity,” Tatum said. “We both really value and cherish the Honor Code here, and our research is not focused on ways to catch all the cheaters. It’s more about how you can create integrity, explain what the honor system is and what the expectations are, and building a community of trust.”

The research is also intended to provide methods to help teachers uphold academic integrity in the classroom. “We’re including real and tangible examples, and giving strategies that you can use to work with students,” Tatum said. “I’ve made a lot of changes in my own classes based on all this research.”

Koretke hopes the project will give her new ideas for how she and the Judiciary Board can better educate incoming students about the importance of the Honor Code and how it works.

“I don’t think of it as an academic thing. It’s more about character,” Koretke said. “It has a lot to do with academics, and that’s what we mostly are focused on. But as a person, it’s important to have that character and be trustworthy and honest about things.”

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