Academics awarded the Professor Tracey Bretag Prize for Academic Integrity

The Professor Tracey Bretag Prize for Academic Integrity

Torrens University Australia has been acknowledged for its innovative work to bring awareness to academic integrity.

Dr. Kris Nicholls, former Director of Academic Integrity at Torrens University and Jacqui Casey, Design and Creative Technology Academic Integrity Officer and Senior Learning Facilitator, were awarded Studiosity’s ‘The Professor Tracey Bretag* Prize for Academic Integrity’.

The Professor Tracey Bretag Prize for Academic Integrity

The award’s purpose is to advocate and provide a platform for the pursuit of academic integrity as part of a positive teaching and learning experience, a concern that has always faced universities - but even more so now with the prevalence of Artificial Intelligence tools and sophisticated cheating services.

Dr Nicholls and Ms Casey received the award for advancing the understanding of best practices and demonstrating the impact of academic integrity initiatives in tertiary education.

The award acknowledges the ongoing commitment and strong emphasis Torrens University places on academic integrity.

“The award recognises the work being done at Torrens University to encourage learners to take responsibility for their own learning journey, to invite all stakeholders into a process that results in qualifications having meaning and the integrity on which to base a professional career,” said Professor Helmut Lueckenhausen, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Global, Academic, Torrens Global Education.

“We strive so hard to develop initiatives and strategies that best help our students throughout their educational journey,” said Ms Casey. “It’s refreshing that awards like this exist to recognise the hard work. It is also a gentle reminder that innovation is always needed in the fast-changing world of academic integrity."

The Face-Less Crowd highlight academic integrity breaches

Torrens University Australia’s entry for the award, ‘The Face-Less Crowd’ Exhibition, highlighted the perils of cheating in higher education.

The university’s design students tackled confronting experiences and various types of academic integrity breaches, which they brought to life in visual installations at the university’s campuses in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide.

Dr Nicholls said the award reflects her passion for student success.

“The Face-Less Crowd campaign was outstanding. The students spoke to other students, surveyed their feelings and thoughts and came up with the ‘unspoken words,‘ and that became the nucleus of the final exhibition,” said Dr Nicholls. “The student voice is powerful, and this was the essence of the immersive campaign.”

The judges commented that the approach was unique, demonstrated behavioural change and was ‘by students, for students.’

Ms Casey’s academic integrity research has informed me that the best way to solve student problems like cheating is to involve them in the process. In addition, by students sharing these stories, they can positively influence those around them.

“I saw firsthand how important it is to educate students on our core values of integrity,” said Ms Casey. “When you deal with misconduct from an educational approach and a guiding hand (and heart), you start to see a change in behaviour and attitude.”

The exhibition showcased student voices and highlighted personal responsibility.

“It is when students understand the threat that breaching standards of academic integrity is to them and their professional standing and capabilities, and they take responsibility for the quality and integrity of their own learning, that we arrive at the most functional, most promising, relationship between the learning provider and the individual,” said Prof. Lueckenhausen.

Within the exhibition, students drew from personal experiences of blackmail and extortion by online cheating operators and their realisations of the value of earning their qualifications with integrity.

“Honest doubts and challenges experienced by students about the nature of their learning, the temptation of taking shortcuts, and the values they came to realise were important to them were presented in the student’s voice, through images and supporting text that spoke honestly and candidly to the viewer,” explained Prof. Lueckenhausen.

*Tracey Bretag was a professor at the University of South Australia and a leading researcher in the field of academic integrity who spoke widely and publicly on the importance of universities taking a strong stand regarding educating their students about academic integrity and enforcing the rules with vigour and strong sanctions.

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