Academic Integrity Seminar:
Ethical Concerns for PA Graduates in
School and in the Workplace
Kristin Wetherbee
AAC&U Core Commitments Grant Participant
UCF Ph.D. Student, Public Affairs
May 1, 2008
AAC&U’s Core Commitments
• Five dimensions of personal and social
Striving for excellence
Cultivating personal and academic integrity
Contributing to a larger community
Taking seriously the perspectives of others
Developing competence in ethical and moral
Core Commitments is an initiative of the Association of American Colleges and Universities
(AAC&U) and is funded by the John Templeton Foundation. The Core Commitments
language and graphics should not be reproduced for purposes unrelated to this project.
University of Central Florida
(UCF) Grant Involvement
Faculty development
UCF Ethics Bowl competition
College, departmental, and student participation on
the Ethics Task Force
IPL/StoryBox Research on
ethical decision making
Academic Integrity Seminars
Ethics All Around Us at UCF
• Creed: Integrity, Scholarship, Community,
Creativity, Excellence
• Golden Rule
• Office of Student Conduct
Professional Codes of Ethics
American Society for Public Administration (ASPA)
I. Serve the Public Interest
II. Respect the Constitution and the Law
III. Demonstrate Personal Integrity
IV. Promote Ethical Organizations
V. Strive for Professional Excellence
Relativity applies to physics, not ethics.
— Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist (1879-1955) (Josephson Institute, 2008)
National Association of Schools of
Public Affairs and Administration
What is “Ethics?”
– a system of moral principles
– the rules of conduct recognized in respect to
a particular class of human actions or a
particular group, culture, etc.
– of, pertaining to, or concerned with the
principles or rules of right conduct or the
distinction between right and wrong
How do You Learn “Ethics?”
Ethic Theories
• Virtue ethics - emphasis on virtues and
character; motivations like charity and
kindness (Aristotle, Hume)
• Deontology – emphasis on duties or rules
(Kant, Ross)
• Consequentialism – emphasis on
consequences of actions
– Utilitarian - maximizes social well-being
(Bentham, Mill)
Social Justice Theories
• Social Contract – one’s moral and political
obligations are dependent upon an agreement
with government to maintain social order
(Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau)
• Social Justice - rights that society members are
owed by the government; should be distributed
in ways that promote the most overall good for
society rather than the most good for the most
underprivileged (Rawls)
• Entitlement Theory - Equality due to access to
the process; distribution will be unequal but not
considered an inequality (Nozick)
Why are Ethics Important?
Personal relationships
School outcomes
Employer expectations
Civil society
– Trust is the basis of social stability
– Education is the foundation for civic engagement
– Civil society is built upon civic participation
(Field, 2003; Lin, 2001; Moore, 1998; Shirley, 1997; Verba, et al., 1995)
Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.
- Isaac Asimov, author and biochemist (1920-1992). (Josephson Institute)
What Do You Think?
Never create by law what can be accomplished by
— Charles-Louis de Secondat Baron de Montesquieu,
French jurist, philosopher (1689-1755). (Josephson Institute)
What are some differences between moral rules and
Cheating Behavior in Higher Education
• Cheating behavior has remained fairly
constant over the past decade
• Studies show 70% - 80% of students
admit to cheating in college
• Incidents of plagiarism are on the rise
(McCabe & Pavela, 2005; McCabe & Treviño, 1993; McCabe, Treviño, &
Butterfield, 2001; Rettinger & Jordan, 2005; Thompson, 2006)
Public Administrator Ethical Issues
• Conflicts between personal beliefs and
organizational values
– Social justice issues; responsibility of
– Enforcing a policy you disagree with
– Loyalty to imperfect institutions
Case Study
You - coordinator for your state’s DOE in a new building
Legislature - found $200K to furnish your building
Vendor - 6 to 8 weeks for furniture; purchasing contract w/state so no bids
State policy - no purchases w/o a PO prior to placing the order
2 months - Governor and state reps coming
2 days left to make purchases before fiscal year-end. Funds not spent will
be lost and next year’s budget can’t cover it.
Large purchases require budget office sign-off. You sent the form to the
budget office 2 weeks ago but no one knows why it hasn’t been signed.
The salesman says, “We’ve done business before, sign the quote. We’ll
start the order and enter the PO# later.”
Your supervisor is pressuring you to place the order but the PO won’t be
created until signatures are received; she tells you to sign the quote.
What factors would you consider before taking action?
Policy Analyst Ethical Issues
• Efficiency vs. equity
– Greatest good for society vs. distributive
• Analytical integrity vs. responsibility to
client vs. adherence to personal beliefs
– White House staff analyst vs. a regulatory
commission analyst
(Weimer and Vining, 2005)
Case Study
You are a policy analyst for your county’s parks service.
You have prepared an analysis regarding the placement
of a new park in the county. You have calculated and
weighted the costs and benefits of the project, such as,
cost to buy land, level of use, community needs, etc.
You conclude that the best location for the park is in a
high-crime, high-poverty, urban community with no
parks. This idea is politically unpopular and your
supervisor is going to use part of your analysis to justify
building a second park an upper-class community.
What factors would you consider before taking action?
Research Issues
Faking data to get the results you want
Removing outliers without explaining why
Sending the same paper to multiple
journals without telling the editors
Adapted from
– Ask a professor or mentor for guidance
– Review IRB guidelines and training
– UCF’s University Writing Center
– Buy a publication manual or style guide for
the citation method used in your discipline
• APA, MLA, Chicago, Turabian
Association of American Colleges and Universities. (2008). Core commitments: Educating students for
personal and social responsibility. Retrieved January 28, 2008, from
Crown, D. F., & Spiller, M. S. (1998). Learning from the literature on college cheating: A review of empirical research.
Journal of Business Ethics, 17, 683-700.
Field, J. (2003). Social capital. New York: Routledge.
Josephson Institute. (2007). Quotations on management and business ethics. Retrieved January 29, 2008, from
Lin, N. (2002). Social capital: A theory of social structure and action. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Mayer, J. & Seidel, R. (1998).Citizenship and the policy professional. In J. Bowman & D. Menzel (Eds.), Teaching
ethics and values in public administration (p. 107). Albany: State University of New York Press.
McCabe, D. L., & Pavela, G. (2005). Honor codes for a new generation. Inside Higher Education. Retrieved October
17, 2007, from
McCabe, D., & Treviño, L. (1993). Academic dishonesty: Honor codes and other contextual influences. Journal of
Higher Education, 64, 522–538.
McCabe, D. L., Treviño, L. K., & Butterfield, K. D. (2001). Cheating in academic institutions: A decade of research.
Ethics & Behavior, 11(3), 219–232 Moore, D. (1998). What makes these schools stand out? (Designs for Change, April
1998). pp. 1-19, 81-107. Retrieved October 7, 2007 from
Resnik, D. B. (2007). What is ethics in research & why is it important? Retrieved January 30, 2008, from
Rettinger, D. A., & Jordan, A. E. (2005). The relations among religion, motivation, and college cheating: A natural
experiment. Ethics & Behavior, 15(2), 107–129.
Smith, K. J., Davy, J. A., Rosenberg, D. L. & Haight, G. T. (2002). A structural modeling investigation of the influence of
demographic and attitudinal factors and in-class deterrents on cheating behavior among accounting majors. Journal of
Accounting Education, 20, 45-65.
Shirley, D. (1997). Community organizing for urban school reform. Austin: University of Texas Press. Chapter 8
(“Texas”), 200-220.
Swift, C. O., & Nonis, S. (1998). When no one is watching: Cheating behaviors on projects and assignments. Marketing
Education Review, 8, 27-36.
Thompson, C. C. (2006). Unintended lessons: Plagiarism and the university. Teachers College Record, 108(12), 24392449.
Verba, S. Schlozman, K. L., & Brady, H. E. (1995). Conclusion: Voice and equality in democratic participation. Voice
and equality: Civic voluntarism in American politics (pp. 509-533). Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Academic Integrity Seminar: Ethics and Public …