Date of Conferral


Date of Award



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Vicki Underwood


Academic dishonesty and cheating abound in universities across the globe, with increased instances of academic dishonesty in many disciplines including medical professional education programs that have high expectations for integrity and ethical conduct. The purpose of this study was to determine how faculty in physician assistant (PA) programs described their experiences, specifically their roles and responsibilities, in addressing incidents of academic dishonesty. The conceptual framework by Nitsch and colleagues, which focused on faculty failure to report conduct violations in dishonesty cases, informed interviews with 10 PA faculty members concerning the role of faculty members in academic dishonesty violations. Interview transcripts were analyzed to identify common themes through a manual coding process. Interviews were followed by a modified Delphi process with 5 of the participants to confirm consensus of the responses obtained in the interviews. Themes from the findings focused on faculty members' high expectations of academic honesty from students in PA programs, the role of university involvement in reporting and managing cases of academic dishonesty, including deterrents to faculty reporting, and program strategies to deter academic dishonesty. Based on findings, a PA faculty development workshop was developed for creating cultures of academic integrity in PA programs and program campuses. Positive social change may result through better management of cases of academic dishonesty in PA programs and on campus, as well as the use of faculty as change agents in promoting a culture of campus integrity.

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