New Academic integrity Award Will Honor Research of Retiring Professor Donald L. McCabe

Add This

Rutgers Business School and the Institute for Ethical Leadership have created an annual academic integrity award to recognize and honor the research of retiring Professor Donald McCabe.

McCabe, who is part of the Department of Management and Global Business, will be presented with the inaugural Donald L. McCabe Award for Academic Integrity and in coming years, it will be given annually to a student, faculty or staff member who promotes the values of academic integrity at Rutgers Business School.

"It couldn’t be more fitting,” said Ann Buchholtz, a professor of leadership and ethics at RBS. "Don is responsible for lifting the issue of academic integrity into the light.”

McCabe, who is often referred to as the "founding father” of research in the area of academic integrity, will retire in June after 26 years at Rutgers Business School. He turned 70 in March. He began teaching management and strategic marketing at Rutgers in 1988 after a 20-year-long career in the plastics industry and following the completion of his Ph.D.

A semester into teaching, he started to do research in the field of academic integrity, motivated in part by his own curiosity over the lack of cheating at Princeton University and by discussions with a friend who was headmaster at a boy’s preparatory school. McCabe’s research has taken him around the world, made him a leading expert in the field and elevated awareness about the growing prevalence and problem of cheating.

In some cases, his work has led schools to implement an honor code system, but he isn’t convinced even now that an honor code is the answer.

"It’s still a question as to how well codes work,” he said. "I’m still wrestling with that.”

Curbing cheating may take more time and different ideas of what’s most important, he said. "I think it’s going to take another generation of adults who don’t place as much value on grades and where someone goes to school,” he said.

For a man who spent decades studying and speaking about academic integrity, the award bearing his name is both recognition for his work and an appropriate way of raising awareness about a troubling crisis of ethics.

While cheating – or behavior that leads to it – is believed to begin in elementary school, McCabe focused his research on college-level students.

"Colleges need to foster academic integrity. They have a responsibility to foster it,” McCabe said. "I think most colleges turn the other way. They don’t want a reputation for being too harsh.”

Buchholtz said McCabe successfully highlighted the important role universities have in promoting academic integrity. In his 2012 book “Cheating in College: Why Students Do It and What Educators Can Do about It,” McCabe argued that college years are critical ones for ethical development. "I love that point,” Buchholtz said, "because we’re working with students who are developing who they are, and what we do here will impact who they become.”

While he is pleased with the recognition of having an award in his name, McCabe said the award’s greatest impact may be a result from the competition among students vying for it in the future.

"The award may help bring out some ideas and different perspectives,” he said. "That’s where the real value is going to be.”