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BCC revisits academic integrity
Shafer air conditioner, accounts receivable discussed

Today’s college instructors don’t just have to watch for plagiarized term papers. Issues with academic integrity include “professional cheating,” Barton Community College Vice President of Instruction Elaine Simmons said.
It’s a problem all higher learning institutions face, Simmons told Barton’s trustees Tuesday at their monthly study session. That is why the college is stepping up its efforts to make sure students understand that “cheating is a crime.”
“I sadly tell you that as of today I’ve expelled five students this semester for ‘professional cheating,’” she said. “We have trained professionals that can spot it.”
Simmons said more training will be offered to faculty. One issue is making sure that students in online classes are real. Among those expelled, Barton found a “student” enrolled under three different names.

As the college steps up efforts to grow enrollment, it is still important to recruit students who actually want to learn. For those who just want a transcript but don’t actually do the work, she said, “I’d prefer they not be here. ... “We (must) protect the reputation of this institution.”

Board of Trustees Chairman Mike noted that the problem isn’t unique to Barton. “We’re not alone here,” he said.
Cheating can occur in a classroom as well as online, and it’s not just one student looking over another’s shoulder during a test, Simmons said. But online classes pose additional security issues.
“We have students from all over the world,” she said. And in some cultures, things that are considered cheating at Barton are thought to be acceptable. “So we must be very clear (about) what we consider cheating to be.”

Shafer air conditioning
During Tuesday’s board of trustees study session, Vice President of Administration Mark Dean presented the April financial statement and noted that the air conditioner for the Shafer Art Gallery that was installed in 1992 has failed. He expects repairs that include replacing some components will cost $20,000.
The gallery is in the Fine Arts Building and still has air conditioning using the main chiller, as long as it is running. “But we don’t have a unit to take over if we shut that down,” Dean said.
The separate system is important for cooling and dehumidifying the gallery.

Accounts receivable
During his report on finances, Dean noted that Barton has $840,000 more in accounts receivable compared to last year. This is mostly due to a change last fall to allow BartOnline students to pay for their classes in installments instead of paying 100 percent in advance. The change gives online students the same option that students in other classes have had for the last two years.
A student who owes the college money cannot receive a transcript or enroll in another course until the bill is paid. In addition, the student is sent three letters and then the account may be turned over to a collection agency.
Barton Trustee Mike Minton asked about the rationale for the decision to accept payments. “Is that an experiment?”
“(Students) had to pay upfront, before, or they couldn’t even start the class,” Dean said. “Now they have additional time to pay for it.”
Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman said that accepting payments helps with the recruitment and retention of students.