April 22, 2010

Tutor Cheating Scandal?

--- Forwarded Message from Holly A. T. Potter ---

>From: Holly A. T. Potter
>Date: 22 Apr 2010 11:48:15 -0400
>Subject: The D article yesterday
>To: (Recipient list suppressed)
>Reply-To: Holly Potter

On April 21, The D reported:

Academic Skills Center tutors are available to help students understand course material, but a member of the Class of 2013 who wished to remain anonymous said that she knew several students who have the Center's tutors complete assignments for them. She added that her friends use the center in this manner because they are driven by "pressure to do well and keep up academically."

"[They'd] bring in tests and get their tutors to do the whole thing," she said.

--- end of quote


My assumption is you can imagine how disappointed I am with this report in the D yesterday.

Those of you who have attended tutor training sessions, I believe, have a clear understanding of the gravity of this allegation. The Tutor Clearinghouse has never been tainted with an academic honor principle violation of which I am aware. Those who have attended training sessions are aware that it is my philosophy that all Dartmouth students are bright and every one of you has every opportunity before you to excel academically. Those of you who have attended training sessions know that I am all about empowering all students on campus to meet their academic potential – at whatever level that may be.

I recognize that information presented in The D can be inaccurate. Whether or not this assertion is accurate is moot at this point; perception is reality. What you are likely unaware of is the regular debate that is carried on between me and faculty who have a dim view of the work that the Tutor Clearinghouse has accomplished. What was presented today will only serve to reinforce a deeply embedded perception by faculty that does not represent the majority of those of you who facilitate the good work for the Tutor Clearinghouse.

Even more disappointing (to me) is the stain that this public statement represents for all the good, hard work most of you do with a sense of pride and honor. It will not come as a surprise to any of you that I feel that any student (tutor or tutee) who engages in this sort of behavior is dishonest, cowardly and engaging in a violation of the Academic Honor Principle.

You might wonder what you can do about this? I would encourage you to do what you do best. Spread the word among all students that this is an inappropriate representation of the work that you do. Although this is a student service sanctioned by the Administration, what this really speaks to is your integrity. Does it reflect your values correctly? If not, speak up.

The Administration has before them a daunting task of cutting waste. If there is any perception at all that there's funny business going on here, consider what could be lost: academic support that so many students honestly seek (and seek to deliver) and a job on campus that is not only monetarily rewarding (albeit minimal), but also academically stimulating, offering tutors and study group leaders benefits well beyond the few bucks that come to them for their time.

As a result of this revelation, there will be changes coming down the pike with regard to who will be allowed to tutor and what the criteria are that each student needs to fulfill. More will be coming out about this once my deliberations are concluded.

If you have any insight into this perspective (from any angle) that you'd care to share, I would be interested to hear your thoughts. This is, after all, your service in which you generously offer your gifts and strategies for success to help your classmates.

I will be back to you shortly.

Holly A. T. Potter
Tutor Clearinghouse Coordinator
Office Manager, Academic Skills Center
Office Manager, Student Accessibility Services

1 comment:

  1. I wonder what this "new criteria" will be...