A demanding and personalized ethical development resource for students and administrators

Our Objectives

Core objectives of the Academic Integrity Seminar

The Academic Integrity Seminar has several key objectives:

  • Offer challenging academic content that promotes engaged learning and critical thinking about how a meaningful life might be defined
  • Help students understand the importance of social trust, self-discipline, and mutual obligation to individuals and societies
  • Emphasize the impact of academic dishonesty as a breach of trust in the university setting
  • Highlight implicit ethical components of the scientific method, including truthfulness and a willingness to accept constructive criticism
  • Draw upon literature from diverse traditions (including China and India) to help students appreciate the universal importance of social trust, truth-telling, and mutual obligation
  • Provide exercises that enhance critical thinking skills and help students write persuasive, well-reasoned essays

Here are the three sample questions and answers from our list of Frequently Asked Questions about the Academic Integrity Seminar:

What is the aim of the Seminar?

The Seminar is designed to help students examine the importance of social trust and the components of emotional intelligence required to sustain it. We also seek to enhance critical thinking skills and help students write persuasive, well-reasoned essays. Please see this one-minute video for an added overview of AIS instructional aims.

Do students receive individual attention?

Yes. Personal attention is essential to what we do. This is not a machine-graded enterprise. We draw upon a common core of readings, but tutors frequently make additional suggestions tailored to individual students.
Our senior tutors (Ph.D.s or J.D.s with substantial professional experience) have taught thousands of Academic Integrity Seminar students. They understand typical student responses and can structure evaluations accordingly. It is not uncommon for tutors to ask follow-up questions designed to help individual students better understand and reflect upon the readings.

What empirical research guides your content?

Much of the information we share with students about human development is grounded on research from the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California at Berkeley and an ongoing (75 year) longitudinal study of human development at Harvard University called the “Grant Study”.

You can see Grant Study overviews and updates in this Harvard Magazine article (2001) and the Huffington Post (2013). In his 2012 article “The Heart Grows Stronger,” New York Times columnist David Brooks reviewed the Grant Study and wrote:

Perhaps we could invent something called the Grant Effect, on the improvement of mass emotional intelligence over the decades. This gradual change might be one of the greatest contributors to progress and well-being that we’ve experienced in our lifetimes.