Academic integrity, academic sabotage, and moral disengagement in higher education

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University of Alabama Libraries

Academic cheating has firmly established itself as a mainstream practice by students in higher education (Bertram Gallant, 2008; Callahan, 2004). Much of the current academic integrity research has focused on the methods employed by students to cheat (Davis, Drinan, & Bertram Gallant, 2009; Eberhardt, Rice, & Smith, 2003; Higbee & Thomas, 2002), institutional responses to cheating (Aurich 2010, 2011), and the connection between cheating and student moral development (Stephens, Young, & Calabrese, 2007; Whitley, 1998). While these efforts are laudable, there exists a gap in knowledge on lesser-known forms of academically deviant behavior, such as academic sabotage. This dissertation is unique in that it proposes to be the very first of its kind. Although well documented through anecdotal evidence, to date, academic sabotage has gone without any deliberate research efforts or empirical evidence that establishes the phenomenon in higher education. This dissertation establishes academic sabotage as a phenomenon in higher education through the lens of student moral disengagement. In this study, I first develop theoretical assumptions and frameworks while simultaneously exposing the lack of literature on the topic of academic sabotage. The results of these efforts combine to provide a better understanding of the previously under studied phenomenon of the academically deviant behaviors known as academic sabotage. I then provide explanations of the research methodology and design, survey instrument, and data analyses that are used in this study. The expectations for this dissertation are twofold. First, I expect the results produced by this study to confirm the existence of academic sabotage in higher education. Second, I posit that that the information produced by this dissertation will provide practical knowledge for students, faculty, and staff to combat forms of academically deviant behavior, such as cheating and sabotage. This study aims to contribute to the body of literature on academic integrity and student moral development in higher education. The information contained in this dissertation should be used to inform policy, practice, and future research on academic integrity, academic sabotage, and student civility in higher education. Key words: Academic Integrity, Academic Sabotage, Cheating, Student Civility, Higher Education, Student Moral Development

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Higher education administration