Thursday, September 8, 2011
So I'm using today's blog to announce that I have signed a deal with Harvard University Press to write a new book about cheating in higher education. The book manuscript is due in exactly one year (September 2012), and should be out then the following year (so spring or fall of 2013).
This was a first for me, in that my editor at the Press actually wrote to me and asked me whether I would be interested in writing on this subject. My first response was a pretty lukewarm one: although I had written a chapter about cheating for On Course, and done a Chronicle column or two about it as well, I had not done any kind of extensive research in this area.
So after we had a few exchanges about the topic, I agreed to think about it. I went to the library and checked out a few books on cheating in higher education, and then I took off with my family for a ten-day vacation. By the time we returned, I had discovered that the topic held much more interest for me than I had first anticipated. That following week I had my first-ever lunch with an editor, and we hashed out the main ideas of the book over seafood at the Sole Proprietor.
I put together the full proposal that the Press needed in order to give me a contract, sent it off and then left for a Lang family reunion in Ohio. While I was sitting in the Cleveland Indians stadium, watching my first-ever no-hitter, the editorial board met and agreed to give me a contract.
So now I am deeply embedded in books, articles, and interviews about cheating in higher education. I'm finding that my interest in the topic continues to grow, as I realize that the methods we have at our disposal for discouraging cheating are--for the most part--the very same methods that I believe make for the best teaching and learning practices at the college level. So while the focus of the book will remain on how faculty and administrators can work together to reduce cheating in higher education, the topic will still allow me to continue to explore the same overall subject matter that I have written about in On Course and for the past several years now in The Chronicle of Higher Education--how do we best help our students learn?
Shortly after I signed the contract, a couple of speaking invitations came in for the fall semester. For both events, I will be presenting the research and initial thinking I have been doing on this subject, and engaging in conversation with faculty at two very different institutions about academic integrity. I hope, over the next year, to supplement my conventional research by speaking with faculty and administrators at a wide variety of institutions, and hearing perspectives from a range of people and constituencies.
In the next blog I will describe my favorite article I have read on cheating thus far--"'Princess Alice is Watching You': Children's Belief in an Invisible Person Inhibits Cheating"--and how it nicely ties together the normal subject matter of this blog (religion and spirituality) and this new research I have been doing on cheating in higher education.