The Georgetown College strategic plan titled “Strategic Initiative Plan Georgetown College 1998-2003: Moving to Higher Ground” directed a study as to whether or not a campus-wide honor system should be initiated. An eighteen-month study that included the study of student survey data, faculty input, student focus groups, and study of the benefits of an honor system at comparable institutions concluded the need to develop a College-wide Honor System. The study indicated a need to develop an honor system that emphasizes faculty involvement, student participation, and administrative management focused upon consistency. As a result, this Honor System document was developed. The intention of the creators of the Georgetown College Honor System was that the Honor System would become an important tradition toward the maintenance of a truly scholarly environment that highlights the ideals of honor, responsibility, consistency, student/faculty involvement, and fairness. The Georgetown College Honor System was initiated during the fall semester 2000.
Georgetown College is “an innovative community of scholars developing ethical scholars committed to our heritage of Christian discernment.” In a truly academic community, honor must be expected. Honor is an ideal that is evident in the lives of ethical scholars. Primarily, the function of the Honor System is to educate and instill a common purpose within the campus’ student community. The Honor System is an educational tool to assist the process of teaching morality and ethics. The Honor system helps create an environment that will assist in the development of the whole person by insisting upon honorable traits and behavior. Further, the process assists in the establishment of precedent, consistency, and fairness with regard to questions of academic integrity. An effective honor system requires students and faculty to understand and abide by the system’s expectations.
All students are expected to sign an understanding of the Honor System. Record of this understanding is kept on file in the Office of the Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students. Further, an introduction to the Honor System will occur during the new student orientation program each year. Additional Honor System orientation programs will be scheduled as needed.
The strength of the Honor System is in the creation of an atmosphere in which students can act with individual responsibility. This includes the personal decision to act honorably and to not tolerate others who choose to violate the conditions of the Honor System. Therefore, an important aspect of the College’s Honor System is that all students are expected to report violations of the Honor System by their peers. Faculty and Staff must also understand the spirit of the system and do everything possible to abide by the guidelines.