Critical thinking 1

June 18, 2004

The Council for Industry and Higher Education recommends that universities adopt a didactic role in relation to ethics and morals ("Uphold morals, industry tells v-cs", June 11). I suggest we begin by developing moral awareness of academic integrity. All universities have ready access to the ethical aspect of their methodologies.

Common to all academic endeavour is the moral treatment of sources - attribution and academic integrity. Yet university guidelines for explaining attribution and avoiding plagiarism are often unclear. The focus seems to be on using search engines to catch culprits rather than teaching the philosophical underpinnings of attribution.

The growing number of overseas students from diverse epistemological traditions places an ever greater duty on host universities to make expectations of attribution explicit. This would be an excellent initial step in moral teaching.

Hania Salter-Dvorak
Westminster University

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