Sixty universities from all over Ukraine, 30 webinar hours of busy work with their Education Quality Assurance Centers, online surveys of teachers and students, and about 68.5 thousand collected quantitative data, 14 project presentations, including six for the international community, six webinars for the wider educational community on topics related to academic integrity and quality of education, six presentations for teachers and school administration, the organization of one round table and participation in two more – all of the above and much more was done during the first year of the implementation of the project “Academic Integrity and Quality Initiative”- Academic IQ.
Academic IQ was launched on September 1, 2020. It became a logical continuation of the Strengthening Academic Integrity in Ukraine Project – SAIUP and Seeding Academic Integrity in Secondary Schools Project – SAISS, which lasted from 2016 till 2019. The Academic IQ project aims to make the changes initiated by the SAIUP and SAISS projects sustainable and irreversible.
The results of SAIUP and SAISS projects have shown that academic integrity and quality of education are linked very closely. That is why Academic IQ focused its attention on one more element, and that is education quality.
Armed with the experience gained, the Project team significantly expanded its scope of work. We focused on institutionalizing the principles of academic integrity in secondary and higher education systems in Ukraine.
One of the main tasks of the Project is to provide training and technical support to the staff of internal educational quality assurance centers or their counterparts for creating an effective model for monitoring the quality of education, identifying critical problems and causes of academic integrity violations, as well as providing expert advice on improving the quality of education in universities.
At the beginning of October 2020, we began selecting the universities that would commit to the Project activities over the next two years. While universities from all over the country were working on their applications, we held a press conference dedicated to the start of the Project.
Holding a press conference
The press conference took place on October 21, 2020, in “Ukrinform,” and that is when American Councils for International Education presented Academic IQ to the public. The press conference was attended by Andrii Vitrenko, Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine; Serhii Kvit, Head of the National Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education; Scott Whitmore, Assistant Cultural Affairs Attache, US Embassy in Ukraine; Ivan Iuriichuk, Director of the Accreditation and Monitoring Directorate of the State Service of Education Quality of Ukraine; Yarema Bachynsky, Director of the American Councils for International Education in Ukraine, and Yana Chapailo, Academic IQ Project Coordinator.
“We have an ambitious and very responsible goal – to help raise the quality of education in Ukraine. American Councils has a long and successful experience implementing international technical support projects for education reform in Ukraine. Therefore, I am convinced that together with partners and the education community, we will be able to achieve this goal,” said Yana Chapailo during her speech at the press conference.
Meanwhile, universities have been actively applying for the Project. 156 HEIs from all over Ukraine took part in the selection process. The selection committee included representatives of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, the National Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education, the US Embassy in Ukraine, and the American Councils for International Education. It selected 60 finalist universities to participate in the Project. The list of participating universities can be found here:https://bit.ly/3i7l5IG.
First training for participating universities
On November 23-27, 2020, Academic IQ held its first event for participating universities – “Academic integrity in the system of internal education quality assurance system in universities” training.
Five days of intense webinar work, 3 invited experts from the International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI, USA), 5 Ukrainian education experts, 15 training hours, and 180 satisfied representatives of internal education quality assurance centers/ their counterparts.
Experts from International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI, USA), who worked with participants, were: David Rettinger, Director of Academic Integrity Programs at Mary Washington University, USA; Tricia Bertram Gallant, Head of the Academic Integrity Office of the University of California, San Diego, USA; Amanda McKenzie, Director of Quality Assurance (Academic Programs), University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.
On the Ukrainian side, Yana Chapailo, Academic IQ Project Coordinator; Yehor Stadnyi, Academic IQ Project Consultant; Serhii Kvit, Head of the National Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education; Viktor Drozdov, Head of Educational and Methodological Department, Academic Integrity Coordinator, Izmail State Humanities University; Olha Bershadska, Director of the Center for Internal Education Quality Assurance, National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy.
What did participants learn at the first training?
At our first training, we talked about the basics of academic integrity, looked at academic integrity from an international perspective, and raised the question of institutional self-evaluation. We also presented Institutional Internal Evaluation Toolkit, which had been previously developed within the project activities. Apart from that, participants learned about the best Ukrainian practices in creating a culture of academic integrity in universities.
The participants’ homework from the training became their first step towards the practical transformation of their internal education quality assurance system. Participants had to put the Toolkit into practice – fill out a self-evaluation form and conduct two online surveys – one with teachers and one with students.
Online surveys of teachers and students
A total of 12,944 teachers and 55,427 students took part in the surveys conducted by the participating universities. The survey allowed participating universities to evaluate formal and practical adherence to norms and practices related to academic integrity in the institution, namely:
- Acquaintance of students and teachers with the existing norms in the institution.
- Practices and procedures of receiving feedback, complaints, and appeals related to educational process from students and teachers.
- Assessment practices and communication of assessment criteria to students.
- Workload of students and teachers.
- Integration of academic integrity into educational programs (teaching academic integrity/academic writing, access to syllabuses, elective courses).
Thus, the HEIs received a holistic picture of how academic integrity policies and internal education quality assurance system functions in their institutions. The data they received allows them to make better management decisions and create an individual development strategy that meets the characteristics and needs of their particular university.
We hold our 2nd training, and participating universities roll up their sleeves
On April 6th-8th, and April 13th-14th, 2021, we conducted our second training for participating universities on the topic: “Data Analysis and Data-Driven Strategies to Strengthen Academic Integrity and Quality Policies.” And again – 5 days of webinar work, 15 training hours, 3 invited experts from the International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI, USA), 1 Ukrainian expert, and 180 representatives of internal quality assurance centers.
During the training, our international experts (David Rettinger, Amanda Mackenzie, and Tricia Bertram Gallant) from ICAI, USA, talked to the participants about monitoring and evaluating the university’s capacities in the context of academic integrity and education quality. The participants learned how to conduct surveys and create university development strategies. Our Ukrainian expert Tetiana Zheriobkina explained to the participants in detail how to use online surveys that they conducted as a monitoring and evaluation tool. The participants received step-by-step instructions on how to work with the data they received.
Now our participants had an important task to complete – their analysis of the data received from the surveys. At the end of May, they already sent us their analysis reports. All participants coped well with the task, proving that our training was not in vain.
Not forgetting about the broader education community
Though our hands were full while working closely with our participating universities, we did not forget about the wider education community. We organized a series of open webinars with international and Ukrainian educational experts. The events’ recordings are available on our Youtube Channel:https://bit.ly/3iLHOdC
Webinars with international experts
We organized an open lecture, “When Good Students Make Bad Decisions: Why Students Cheat,” with David Rettinger, Ph.D., Psychology Professor and Director of Academic Integrity Programs at Mary Washington University, USA (https://bit.ly/3jHfg3c). Prof. Rettinger talked about internal and external factors that drive students to violate academic integrity rules. He gave some advice on how to understand better what causes particular violations and explained why it is important to work specifically with these causes when building a culture of academic integrity in the institution.
Amanda McKenzie, ICAI representative and Director of Quality Assurance (Academic Programs) at the University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada), shared an experience of creating an Education Quality Assurance Center at their university. We talked about the education quality assurance process and educational standards in Ontario, as well as their impact on the functioning of the Education Quality Assurance Center, the Center’s responsibilities, activities, as well as the benefits of having such a center and its value for the university (https://bit.ly/3zMnUoK).
Webinars with Ukrainian experts
Vladyslav Greziev, CEO and Founder of the Lobby X Recruitment Agency, shared his advice on “What to study for: tips for a successful career.” (https://bit.ly/2McAB8o). In particular, Vladyslav spoke about the trends in the labor market, employment prospects for young professionals, what employers are looking for in candidates, the importance of quality education for future careers, and what to pay attention to when studying at university.
We held a webinar on the topic: “Ethics of Scientific Research” with our Ukrainian expert Tamara Martseniuk, Ph.D., National University “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy” (https://bit.ly/3w1dlep). Ms. Martseniuk drew the audience’s attention to the academic integrity aspects of conducting research and presenting its results. She also spoke about the challenges that researchers face in the process of writing a scientific text relating to the structure, theoretical and empirical principles, professional citation of the sources list, research ethics.
Webinar “Culture of interaction: how to organize a course on research paper writing” focused our audience’s attention on how courses on writing research papers (term papers, thesis) help universities to ensure education quality. Participants learned how to develop and organize such a course. We also talked about how the culture of interaction between teachers, students, and supervisors within a similar course builds a culture of academic integrity. Tetyana Hryhorieva, Candidate of Historical Sciences, National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, conducted the webinar. https://bit.ly/3jaLG86.
We held an open webinar with the Ukrainian company Unicheck on the topic: “Facilitating plagiarism check.” Here we talked about how to work with reports of anti-plagiarism programs.
On April 29, 2021, in partnership with the National Technical University of Ukraine “Kyiv Polytechnic Institute named after Ihor Sikorsky,” we held a round table “Academic Integrity in the Educational Environment: Challenges and Practices” https://bit.ly/3j9wp7C.
The event started with opening remarks by Scott Whitmore, Assistant Cultural Affairs Attache, US Embassy in Ukraine, and Yarema Bachynsky, Director in Ukraine, American Councils for International Education.
The discussion was held in two blocks. We devoted the first block to university management. And the second – to the legislative regulation of academic integrity.
First block discussion
The first block discussion was attended by Anatolii Melnychenko, Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs, National Technical University of Ukraine “Kyiv Polytechnic Institute named after Ihor Sikorsky”; Anton Panteleimonov, Vice-Rector for Research and Teaching, Kharkiv National University named after V.N. Karazin; Valerii Soroka, Vice-Rector for Research, Education and Training, National University of Water Management and Environmental Sciences; Ihor Gerush, Vice-Rector for Research and Teaching, Bukovynian State Medical University.
Discussion centered around the topics such as development and implementation of university academic integrity policies (challenges and opportunities); the process of communication of policies to students and teachers; resources for ensuring academic integrity; academic integrity as part of the educational process; monitoring the observance of academic integrity; academic integrity as an image issue for universities.
Second block discussion
The second block discussion was led by Serhii Kvit, Head of the National Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education; Ivan Nazarov, Deputy Head of the National Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education; Serhii Horbachov, Education Ombudsman; Volodymyr Adamenko, Deputy Dean of the Radio Engineering Faculty, National Technical University of Ukraine “Kyiv Polytechnic Institute named after Ihor Sikorsky”; Natalia Pipa, Member of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine from the Voice Party, Secretary of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Science, Education and Innovation.
Participants discussed academic integrity legal framework, laws, and regulations, as well as a practical implementation of sanctions for academic integrity violations.
During the discussion, Serhii Kvit and Ivan Nazarov presented a draft Law of Ukraine “On Academic Integrity.” Serhii Horbachov touched upon the issue of academic integrity legislation in the context of secondary education. Natalia Pipa expressed her support and readiness to lobby for the presented draft law, and the topic of academic integrity in general, in the Verkhovna Rada.
In total, about 2,900 participants took part in our online events. The total number of views of recordings of all open events on our Youtube channel as of the beginning of June 2021 reached the number 8900.
Not only events. Online course for faculty
One of our goals for the first year of the Project implementation was to improve the faculty’s understanding of academic integrity. We aim to provide them with theoretical and practical materials that will help them integrate academic integrity into education programs. We also decided to offer them tools to improve pedagogical skills.
To achieve this ambitious goal, we started working on an online course, “Integrating Academic Integrity into Education Programs,” for university faculty. The course will soon be available on the Prometheus platform.
The course will consist of separate modules. Some modules will be devoted to theoretical overviews of various academic integrity aspects —some – to elements of teaching methods that directly affect the culture of academic integrity in higher education. The modules will contain videos, practical, interactive tasks, and methodological materials. The latter will help to put theoretical knowledge into practice – in teaching and research supervising for students. Follow our Project’s and partner’s websites to get more information on the course “Academic Integrity for faculty” and how to enroll.
As part of the Academic IQ project, we continued to work actively with secondary education. In order to strengthen the capacities of teachers and school administrations in building a culture of academic integrity, we have conducted a number of activities.
“Academic Integrity” Special Issue
In cooperation with the “School World” publishing house, we have prepared a special issue of the newspaper for school administration and teachers dedicated to the topic of academic integrity. The issue includes:
- A theoretical overview of academic integrity.
- Interviews with Ukrainian educational experts.
- Scenarios for pedagogical staff meetings.
- Methodological materials for lessons with integrated academic integrity (for senior classes).
You can view and download the issue on our website in the “Resources” section: https://bit.ly/3zuOToO.
Methodological recommendations for schools
In December 2020, together with the “OsvitAnalityka” analytical center, we began working on methodological recommendations for teachers and school administration. A team of experts from all over Ukraine joined the work. The recommendations are designed to help build a culture of academic integrity in schools. In six months, we developed a document with academic integrity best practices and practical recommendations. The topics cover issues of academic integrity as a reflection of the quality of education, development of internal regulations on academic integrity, internal monitoring and improvement of academic integrity policy, teachers’ understanding of academic integrity, students’ acquisition of academic integrity competencies, integrity in the assessment of learning outcomes, and more complex issues of academic integrity in the educational process, such as teaching students academic writing, preparing students for academic competitions, research writing competitions, research supervising in schools.
Academic Integrity Cases
We continued to inform the wider educational community about the nature and importance of academic integrity. For this very purpose, we have launched a thematic rubric “Academic Integrity Cases.” These are very memorable and easy-to-understand stories framed in visual cases. These demonstrate the principles and importance of academic integrity for the quality of education and trust in learning outcomes. These cases are available for free on our website. Teachers or school administration can easily download and use them to educate students and parents. You can view and download the cases on our website in the “Resources” section: https://bit.ly/3wrIYii
Presentations for teachers and school administration
The pandemic did not stop us from doing our presentations on academic integrity in secondary schools. Through online webinars, we educated teachers on the key principles of academic integrity. We also gave them practical tools to use when conducting their lessons to encourage students to learn authentically and build a culture of academic integrity in their classrooms.
The Departments of the State Service for the Quality of Education in Poltava and Cherkasy regions invited us to talk about academic integrity, tools, and resources for teachers in their oblasts. About 400 teachers came to listen to us in each region. Once again, this proves the importance of the topic of academic integrity for schools and their desire to improve their educational environment.
Working with NAQA and academic integrity legislation
The issue of academic integrity in Ukraine is gaining momentum. At the same time, it is becoming more and more clear that the legislation in this area needs to be improved. Therefore, this past year, we have been working not only with educators “in the field”, but also with government agencies. Our key project experts from the International Center of Academic Integrity (ICAI, USA) advised NAQA in the development of the draft Law of Ukraine “On Academic Integrity.”
Tricia Bertram Gallant, ICAI expert and Academic IQ trainer, has joined Academic Integrity Advisory Board created by NAQA. On May 12, 2021, she took part in the Board’s subgroup meeting and participated in the discussion of the draft Law of Ukraine “On Academic Integrity” together with other experts.
Another of our ICAI experts, Christopher Lang (Director of the Center for Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances, University of Toronto, Canada), proposed his changes to the draft law. These were approved by NAQA and included in the text of the draft law.
Sharing Ukrainian experience with international audiences
Throughout the year, we have been actively sharing our project implementation experience in Ukraine with the international community. We talked about the local peculiarities, challenges, and achievements in the field of academic integrity in Ukraine. We participated in the International Conference “Honesty, Trust, Unity: Academic Integrity and Education in a Globalized World” (Regional English Language Office, US Embassy), International Day against Contract Cheating, Annual Conference of the International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI, USA), as well as European Conference on Academic Integrity 2021. We also gave a presentation for the International Center for Academic Integrity on “How K-12 Teachers Can Strengthen a Culture of Academic Integrity: A Ukrainian Perspective.” The international community was pleasantly surprised by the results of our work and the rapid pace of improvement in the field of academic integrity in Ukraine.
Summarizing the year
No doubts, it was a year full of challenges, but at the same time of outstanding achievements. We had to change and adapt our Project implementation strategy in accordance with pandemic requirements. We did not hold any live events that we had planned. However, we not only managed to achieve the goals we set but did much more than we had initially planned. And this gives us the strength and inspiration to continue to work for the qualitative change of the Ukrainian education system and the formation of a culture of academic integrity in Ukraine. So with new plans, we step into the new academic year.
The article was written by Anastasiia Sydoruk.