Meet the BILT Community

Meet the Associates… Humphrey Bourne

The following post is from Humphrey Bourne, who has been a BILT Associate since September 2018.

Hello, I am Humphrey and I currently have the role of Graduate Education Director with responsibility for PGT students in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law.  As a BILT associate, my project is in and around academic integrity (and misconduct).

A few years ago, I took on the role of plagiarism officer within the Faculty which largely involved investigating cases, sitting on a lot of plagiarism panels and giving plagiarism talks, mostly to students but occasionally to staff.  It was here that I developed an increasing interest in the issues confronting students from all over the world as they came to grips with our conventions on writing, referencing and authorial authenticity, which at times they found to be quite at odds with those that they had learned on their journey to Bristol.  This interest led to something of a determination to try to change the way we look at plagiarism and other forms of misconduct, and the opportunity arose when I was asked to head up a University working group reviewing our approach to academic integrity, with a focus on plagiarism.  The group reported in October 2017, its recommendations accepted.  In brief, the key recommendation is that the University embrace a developmental approach to academic integrity, emphasising learning over policing and relevant to all students and staff throughout their time here, and beyond.  An academic integrity approach is based in values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility and courage, with the principle that committing to these values helps to distinguish conduct that is sound and acceptable from that which is not, in ways that can be applied to all academic endeavour.  I am now continuing the work of implementing the recommendations, starting with a new policy statement on academic integrity which is, as I write going through the final stage of approval, this to be followed over the coming year by revised guidelines, practices and procedures.

Over the next two years I shall bring aspects of academic integrity (and misconduct) work into the BILT environment, starting with a session on contract cheating (“Write my essay for me!”) in February 2019 and continuing with information and support for enhancing and developing academic integrity in schools across the university.

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