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[Audio] MSU Professors Author "Best Paper" at International Business Conference

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Three Murray State University professors recently authored a peer reviewed paper that won the "Best Paper Award" in the Business Education Category at the Academy of Business Research International Conference in Boca Raton, Florida. The professors are Dr. Gerry Muuka, Interim Dean of the Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business, Dr. Bella Ezumah, Assistant Professor in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications and Dr. Kevin Qualls, Assistant Professor in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications. On Sounds Good, Tracy Ross speaks with Dr. Qualls about the paper's reception and its findings.

The recently awarded paper is a continuation of an effort started several years ago by Dr. Tim Todd, Dr. Gerry Muuka and Dr. Bella Ezumah researching academic honesty, looking at cheating and the integrity of the business program. Being a business school, Dr. Qualls says, it's important that the values of honesty are something we can follow and assured.

The findings showed that the rate of cheating is higher among international students. He says he went to the conference and in the week prior was making ready letter of recommendation for an international student. When looking at the student's resume, he saw that one of the associations he affiliated with had an advertisement on its Facebook page inviting members to cheat. The message wasn't "let us help you research your paper" but rather "let us write this paper for you." Dr. Qualls says there is an active community preying on international students.

In a literature review, Dr. Ezumah found a study looking at ghost writers who go online and take classes for you. There's a predatory aspect, he says, and when he sees higher incidents of cheating among international students, he sees that they are being marketed to. Students know this practice is illegal and wrong as it's written in the syllabus, but it's not so much an issue of character as much as culture.

Dr. Qualls says it's important to understand that in the United States there tends to be an individualistic ideal of doing your own work, whereas in Asian, Saudi Arabian and Lebanese cultures - to name a few - there's a cultural value of being collaborative and achieving things as a group. He recommends that a way to remedy this is that efforts need to be rehabilitative and not only punitive. Literature shows that the more time an international student spends in the culture, the more they adapt to the cultural expectations of honesty in academia.

There is an effort underway in the Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business putting together a tracking system that will work with already existing software on campus that will identify and flag students acting in academic dishonesty. If a student migrates to another school, that advisor will know their history. In tracking what happened to students in the initial study, they found many escaped the consequences simply by changing majors or transferring to another institution.

The findings have actually gotten worse over the years, he says, and not that cheating is more prevalent, but rather that incidents are more known. He says faculty have gotten better at policing academic dishonesty. Technology has enabled cheating, but it has also enabled ways to track the students.

Another solution is to adopt an attitude understanding that it isn't always an issue of character, but one of culture and be mindful that coming from a different learning tradition, some students may approach things differently. There is a particularly high incident rate of plagiarism among students from Asian countries, he says, and this isn't because they are wanting to do an "evil deed," but because of cultural respect.

For example, if you study the work of someone who is considered a master in a subject, it may be considered disrespectful to alter their words. Suddenly, we don't have someone with evil intent, in fact they're going about their activities in a way they consider respectful. With that in mind, he says, be more expansive in explaining what these actions mean in this culture. When students leave and participate in a global marketplace, you want to ensure they have the integrity they need to succeed in their careers.

More about the "Best Paper" award on MSU Today

Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business

Tracy started working for WKMS in 1994 while attending Murray State University. After receiving his Bachelors and Masters degrees from MSU he was hired as Operations/Web/Sports Director in 2000. Tracy hosted All Things Considered from 2004-2012 and has served as host/producer of several music shows including Cafe Jazz, and Jazz Horizons. In 2001, Tracy revived Beyond The Edge, a legacy alternative music program that had been on hiatus for several years. Tracy was named Program Director in 2011 and created the midday music and conversation program Sounds Good in 2012 which he hosts Monday-Thursday. Tracy lives in Murray with his wife, son and daughter.
Matt Markgraf joined the WKMS team as a student in January 2007. He's served in a variety of roles over the years: as News Director March 2016-September 2019 and previously as the New Media & Promotions Coordinator beginning in 2011. Prior to that, he was a graduate and undergraduate assistant. He is currently the host of the international music show Imported on Sunday nights at 10 p.m.
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