CU QEP retreat focuses on ethics during retreat at Cumberland Falls

CU QEP retreat focuses on ethics during retreat at Cumberland Falls

July 19, 2016
For Immediate Release


Group at Cumberland Falls

Campbellsville University professors and staff attending the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) retreat at Cumberland Falls include from left: Darrell Locke, Stan McKinney, Dr. Tom Bell, Dr. Donna Hedgepath, Dr. Joe Early Jr., Dr. Wendy Wood, Dr. John Hurtgen, Dr. Dale Wilson, Joan C. McKinney, Linda Gribbins and Sherry Bowen. (Campbellsville University Photo by Jane Tucker)

By Joan C. McKinney, coordinating director

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – On death row for 18 years, an inmate who has a chronic and debilitating degenerative disease needs a hip replacement.

The man, who killed six people in two separate incidents, cannot afford the operation which will cost $56,000. The prison warden will decide if taxpayer’s money should be spent to alleviate the man’s pain while he is awaiting execution.

These and other case studies were discussed at a Campbellsville University Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) meeting at Cumberland Falls last week. The case studies, compiled by the eight faculty members attending, were part of ethical elements to be discussed by students in their classroom.

Dr. Joe Early Jr., director of Campbellsville University’s QEP, a component of the university’s regional accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS), led the discussion which focused on ethics in the classroom.

Dr. Donna Hedgepath and Dr. Wendy Wood

Dr. Donna Hedgepath, vice president for academic affairs, left, and Dr. Wendy Wood, professor of history, study materials at the QEP Retreat. (Campbellsville University Photo by Joan C. McKinney)

The faculty members followed a process of stopping and thinking to determine the facts, identifying options, considering consequences for themselves and others and making an ethical choice and taking appropriate action.

Each faculty member submitted a case study from their areas of expertise including: journalism, nursing, theology, history, criminal justice, sport management and social work.

Professors participating were: Dr. Donna Hedgepath, vice president for academic affairs; Dr. John Hurtgen, dean of the Campbellsville University School of Theology; Dr. Wendy Wood, professor of history; Dr. Tom Bell, associate professor of sport management; Dr. Dale Wilson, assistant professor of criminal justice; Stan McKinney, associate professor of journalism and lead professor in mass communication; Darrell Locke, associate professor of social work; and Linda Gribbins, instructor in psychiatric nursing.

Early said Campbellsville University has been recognized by SACS for its QEP, and the university is getting a lot of attention for the quality of the program. The QEP is a ten-year plan with an impact report to SAC at the end of the fifth year. This year is the third year of the plan. 

Although the questions for case studies for their students focused on ethical situations in their fields, the faculty members were also led in discussions concerning cheating and plagiarism as they worked on developing an ethical classroom.

The professors were asked to discuss common ways students cheat and what is on their syllabi concerning cheating. They were asked what could be added to their individual syllabus concerning cheating.

Dr. John Hurtgen and Dr. Dale Wilson
Linda Gribbins and Dr. Tom Bell

Dr. John Hurtgen, left, dean of the School of Theology and professor of theology, listens to questions from another professor at the QEP Retreat. At right is Dr. Dale Wilson, assistant professor of criminal justice. (Campbellsville University Photo by Joan C. McKinney)

Linda Gribbins, instructor in psychiatric nursing at Campbellsville University, talks with Dr. Tom Bell, associate professor of sport management, talk during the QEP Retreat. (Campbellsville University Photo by Joan C. McKinney)

Hedgepath said professors can do something about both cheating and plagiarism. She said there are various options including the student failing the assignment or the class. She said a student can also be removed from the academic program or school.

“You are the experts in your field,” Early said, when he was discussing the academic integrity each professor brings to the classroom and expects of his or her students.

“We need to teach ethics of the field, apply it to the method of teaching and hope students, in their lives and in their careers, will make the correct ethical decision,” Early said.

Each professor had different examples of how students cheat including how students can
cheat online. Early said professors can talk about cheating the first day of class when syllabi are passed
out. He said students can be told if they cheat it will be reflected on them and their career. “You cheated whether you got caught or not,” he said the students should be told.

He also suggested syllabi be signed and returned to the professor to be sure the student understands about cheating and the other items in the syllabi.

Locke said each discipline has a code of ethics under which they work that builds integrity.

“Integrity is so critical,” Wilson said.

Early said professors should tell the students, if caught cheating or plagiarizing, they are doing a disservice to their lives. He said, “We at Campbellsville University have a very high responsibility to catch everything we can. We have to protect the integrity of the school. Our students need to understand we are not just being hard on them, but we are protecting our name as well as you.”

Early said students need to realize faculty members talk with each other, and cheating and plagiarism will not be tolerated. “The number one reason students cheat is that students are lazy. It’s easier to cheat than studying.”

“You can teach ethics,” Early said, “but you can’t teach character.”

He said the number one way to cut down on plagiarism is for the faculty members to know their field.

Wood asked if the university could have an academic integrity board. Hurtgen said faculty members need to be creative in their testing and not do everything by rote.

Gribbins and Locke said their areas have incidents when the student is the teacher and helps develop the test.

Wood said the university is using Turnitin®, a technology to improve student writing, which will help with the ethical concerns expressed.

Wood said this was the second QEP retreat she had attended, and it was by far her favorite.

Darrell Locke and Dr. Joe Early

Darrell Locke, left, associate professor of social work, listens to Dr. Joe Early, director of Campbellsville University’s QEP and associate professor of theology, who led the QEP Retreat. (Campbellsville University Photo by Joan C. McKinney)

“Dr. Early created an environment that encouraged discussion and the exchanging of ideas. I had not thought about incorporating ethics into my classroom until this retreat.

“I especially enjoyed the last session where each attendee presented a case study related to his or her field. That was a great learning experience.”

Locke said the discussions sparked “greater critical thinking” by the participants, and “We were charged with advancing our own courses in ethical discussions.

“Overall, this workshop brought greater knowledge in our roles as faculty while allowing for growing more comfortable as faculty across disciplines.”

Bell said he was glad to attend the retreat. “I believe the most valuable takeaway I had at the event was hearing the different faculty members’ viewpoints and problem-solving methods to a variety of ethical scenarios.

“I am going to take this information and some of these methodologies into the classroom and try to stimulate my students’ thinking. Getting them to think in a way that will consider all viewpoints when they are faced with an ethical dilemma will be my goal.”

“It is beneficial to discuss ethical issues from various fields,” McKinney said. “It is also valuable to discuss the thought process. I want my students to be able to think their way through ethical issues they are bound to face in their careers.”

Hurtgen said he enjoyed getting to know newer faculty at the retreat, and he would encourage all faculty to consider participating in QEP 2017 next summer.

Campbellsville University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the University’s accreditation.

More photos of the retreat can be found on CU's Flickr page.

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 3,500 students offering over 80 programs of study including 24 master’s degrees, seven postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs. The website for complete information is

QEP Retreat at Cumberland Falls.pdf