All signs point to honor in inaugural Integrity Week
Story by Ashlee Larrison
Photos by Ralph Freso
GCU News Bureau
“It’s just a reminder of ‘Am I living my life like Jesus would His life? And what does that look like in our everyday actions and our everyday words?’” she said.
Through her signature, Blair followed the Lord’s leadership and made a pledge to act with integrity – a pledge she hopes will set an example for her family.
“Integrity is living as Jesus would live every single moment. He lived His life with integrity because His father was watching,” she said. “For me personally, I have six younger siblings, so are my words and my actions something that I would want my six siblings to imitate? If the answer is no, then I’m not living with integrity.”
Integrity Week includes workshops, information sessions and guest speakers about the role integrity plays in our lives. Many of the sessions are virtual, allowing online students to participate.
Honors College Associate Dean Dr. Breanna Naegeli said it began with the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS). In the second week of February, the nonprofit academic honors society dedicates the week to integrity throughout its 300-plus chapters, and she wanted to extend its benefits beyond GCU’s members. So the chapter got the Associated Students of GCU and Student Engagement involved to make it an event for the entire campus.
“I feel like this is a major step up from anything we’ve done previously,” Naegeli said.
In 2020, the University formed an Academic Integrity Committee to ensure that there was enough support in place for students and faculty on how to act with integrity in the classroom environment. It was important to Naegeli that, in addition to discussions about the academic side of integrity, the committee focus on further integrating the personal side and how it plays into a person’s character.
All she needed was a way to combine the committee’s efforts with the weeklong campaign.
That’s where Academic Integrity Committee organizer and Colangelo College of Business Dean Dr. Randy Gibb came in.
“The GCU campus needs to have this conversation,” Gibb said. “Integrity is not only required in the classroom, but in every aspect of one’s life, any and all co-curricular activities as well as internships.”
It was a key point of discussion for the committee – how to further encourage academic integrity in the curriculum and classroom. The next step was furthering the dialogue for students, both in and out of the classroom.
“The overarching effort is character and integrity at GCU and, under that, we can further promote it to the students,” he said. “When Integrity Week is over, that doesn’t mean that this topic is done. We’re using Integrity Week as this springboard to the future of character and integrity development at GCU.”
The concept of “by students for students” was an important part of bringing the campaign to the student body. That is why Naegeli made it a priority for GCU’s NSCS members to organize Integrity Week.
It is a responsibility they haven’t taken lightly.
“I have been super grateful to share my passion for growth and service with fellow students and in the community,” NSCS President Elect Taylor Campbell said. “As I get to step in as the co-president this semester, I have gotten to collaborate and work with so many amazing people on generating this awareness for student success through integrity.
“Getting to work with so many different people and seeing how each individual manages their own integrity is what is so inspiring with getting to share this with students and bring this national campaign to our campus.”
Bringing the vision to life also has been rewarding for the students making it happen.
“It’s definitely been a long process of putting all the pieces together to create a weeklong initiative,” NSCS Vice President Amara Murray-Bell said. “However, it has been great to come together with so many other clubs/organizations on campus to create something that promotes integrity on GCU’s campus.
“Personally, for me, after a year of feeling pretty disconnected from campus activities, creating this weeklong initiative helped to make me feel more connected during my last year here at GCU.”
Honors VOICES is one of the clubs that have shown its support by having its members work at the banner signing station. President Lena-May Haught said it has been a great opportunity to team up with other clubs and organizations and support such an important message.
“In Honors VOICES, and the Honors College in general, integrity is pretty much integral to everything we do, and the Honors College tries to equip students with integrity and the skills they need to be successful,” she said. “It really lines up with the values of the Honors College.”
Haught added that she has been encouraged by seeing so many people participate in Integrity Week:
“It’s been super cool to see there are so many integrity-and service-oriented people here on campus. Nobody has to show up for this. They’re here because they care about what we’re doing.”
And Naegeli couldn’t be prouder.
“I think working with our students on this initiative has just been an exceptional experience,” she said. “It’s always inspiring to work with students who are so driven, eager and just invested in giving back to our current student population and pursuing excellence in everything that they do.
“For that, I am exceptionally proud and excited to be a part of the process. I’m excited to see all that hard work unfold this week.”
Contact Ashlee Larrison at (602) 639-8488 or [email protected].