Stress, Academic Honesty and the Pandemic
With massive stress, limitations and social and political developments to cope with, it can be hard to stay on top of academics. One indicator of this is the fact that twice the normal number of students have been referred to the Office of Student Support and Judicial Affairs (OSSJA) for academic dishonesty, i.e., cheating, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stressors and Pitfalls
"Students are usually unaware of how instructors can determine when a student engages in misconduct [online]," says Marilyn Derby, associate director of OSSJA, "and they are often devastated when they give in to the temptation and have to face the consequences. Quite often, students are hoping to get a few extra points and end up failing the course."
We know that when we are stressed, in crisis, or feeling desperate, our ability to make good decisions is compromised. When we don’t feel connected to the learning community to the same degree that we did in person, it can be easier to detach from a sense of academic integrity and responsibility. It may be tempting to want to test the boundaries of the apparent blind spots we perceive in the online learning environment.
We're three-quarters of a year into the COVID-19 pandemic; you should be proud of your resilience and flexibility, as well as your integrity. It’s a challenging time to be anything at all, but especially a college student. Make sure to brush up on what constitutes academic misconduct so that you have a clear picture of what to avoid and how.
If you find yourself struggling, you are not alone. "Please reach out for help sooner rather than later," says Associate Director Derby. Assisting students in need is a key part of the OSSJA’s mission, and UC Davis has many resources to support you—counselors, learning strategists, tutors and more. Reach out to any of these and get connected to the right support services for you.
Some of these services are listed below:
- Tutoring at Academic Assistance and Tutoring Centers (AATC) — individual academic support to undergraduate students enrolled in BIS, Chem, Econ, Math, Physics, Stats and Writing.
- Success Coaching and Learning Strategies — learn new strategies, build your skills and reflect on your academic, personal and professional goals through workshops and one-on-one appointments.
- Faculty and TAs — take advantage of virtual office hours to talk to your professor or TA.
- Academic advisors — each undergraduate college has advisors in their respective colleges and majors to help students choose their major or plan their class schedule.
- Case Management (Student Support) at OSSJA — case managers can connect you with campus and community resources or help problem-solve challenges involving crises, life traumas and other barriers that impede your success.
- Academic Retention Initiatives — students with marginalized identities may need extra support, especially early in their education, to achieve, build resilience and feel the sense of belonging that is essential to their success at UC Davis. Get support at Center for African Diaspora Student Success, Center for Chicanx and Latinx Academic Student Success, Native American Academic Student Success Center and Strategic Asian Pacific Islander Retention Initiative.
Mental Health and Community
- Counseling Services — Student Health and Counseling Services offers individual counseling via secure video conferencing or by telephone, crisis consultation services, and many more resources in support of students' mental health and well-being. See also: Mental Health and COVID-19 flyer.
- CAN Counselors — a diverse group of professional staff who understand student issues and provide consultation and personal counseling in addition to programs, workshops and other campus community outreach activities.
- Community Resource and Retention Centers — find community and support at AB540 and Undocumented Student Center; Center for Student Involvement; Cross Cultural Center; LGBTQIA Resource Center; Middle Eastern, North African and South Asian Student Resources; Women's Resources and Research Center; and the Student Recruitment and Retention Center.
- Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) — offers its community members check-ins and counseling.