Conversations on Integrity

By Daniel Hastings, Dean of Undergraduate Education

Dean Steve Lerman, Dean Larry Benedict and I have started a set of joint discussions on attitudes to integrity and responsible behavior at MIT. These come in the context both of recent events as well as more general concern in the community that choices on integrity and responsible behavior are seen as cost benefit calculations rather than a commitment to core values.

Steve Lerman and I led a recent discussion at Academic Council on these issues and Larry Benedict and I spoke at a joint meeting of the DUE and DSL office heads on the subject of integrity. The joint meeting was organized by Elizabeth Reed and Barbara Baker. The Academic Council meeting affirmed the importance of MIT wide conversation around responsible behavior. Each major unit is expected to initiate such conversations. There was also a sense that out of these conversations an Institute wide consensus would emerge which might eventually result in a written code of conduct. Academic Council was specifically complimentary of the Academic Integrity Handbook that we put out and asked that we be sure to get it to each student (UG and G) and each faculty member. The joint DUE/DSL meeting focused on the need to look broadly at issues of integrity as well as setting the right tone at the top. Each DUE and DSL Office head is asked to set the tone for his or her organization.

In DUE, Elizabeth Reed and I will continue to raise and discuss this set of issues. Steve Lerman and I will charter a committee to consider issues specifically of academic integrity. The charge will ask the committee to address what is being done at MIT and what could be done to re-emphasize the importance of these issues.