Dr. David Rettinger is a “utility infielder” of academic integrity. He has taught psychology at the college level for over 20 years, served as Procedural Advisor to UMW’s student-run honor system for more than 10 years, and has published frequently on the psychology of academic integrity. With a PhD in Cognitive Psychology, he is also well versed in the basic principles of learning science that underlie excellent teaching. More formally, David is Professor of Psychological Science and Director of Academic Integrity Programs at the University of Mary Washington. He also is Procedural Advisor to UMW’s student-run honor system. His academic research interest is in academic integrity behavior, having published research on the psychology of cheating in Theory into Practice, Research in Higher Education, Ethics and Behavior, and Psychological Perspectives on Academic Cheating. His research has demonstrated the importance of students’ attitudes toward school and beliefs about peer behavior in determining whether students will cheat. He has presented on topics relating to pedagogy, policy, and practice in academic integrity around the U. S. and internationally.
His collaborations include partnerships in Nepal, Chile, Mexico, Nigeria, Thailand, and Ukraine and is currently on the Fulbright Specialist Roster as a consultant on issues of academic integrity.
He has appeared in numerous media outlets like the CBS Morning Show, Good Morning America, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Inside Higher Education, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. Rettinger is President Emeritus of the International Center for Academic Integrity, an organization founded to combat cheating, plagiarism, and academic dishonesty in higher education. In addition, he leads the organization's efforts in assessment and survey research, continuing the McCabe academic integrity survey.
He earned a Ph.D. (1998) and an M.A. (1994) in psychology from the University of Colorado, Boulder, after receiving a B.A. (1991) with high honors and distinction in psychology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Areas of Expertise (5)
Psychology of Student Cheating
Academic Integrity Policy
Teaching and Learning for Academic Integrity
Institutional Assessment of Academic Integrity
University of Colorado: Ph.D., Psychology
University of Colorado: M.A., Psychology
University of Michigan: B.A., Psychology
- International Center for Academic Integrity : President Emeritus
- Fredericksburg-Nepal Exchange : Board Member
Media Appearances (14)
As online education grows, the business of cheating is booming
CBS News online
“I think the state of cheating at colleges and universities is serious and getting more serious,” David Rettinger, a professor of ethics at the University of Mary Washington, told CBS News.
How should universities deal with student cheating?
Brookings Institution TechTank Podcast online
To discuss these issues, host Darrell West is joined by David Rettinger and Lindsey Barrett. David is a professor of psychological science and director of academic integrity programs at the University of Mary Washington. He also is the president emeritus of the International Center for Academic Integrity.
LISTEN: Town Talk/Fredericksburg Sister City response to Nepal COVID crisis
Fredericksburg Today online
Dr. David Rettinger from UMW, David Caprara with the Fredericksburg-Nepal Exchange Board, and Scott DeLisi-former American Ambassador to Nepal talk about rising COVID in the country and how the region is responding.
Colleges See Surge in Cheating, Plagiarism
WRC-DC; NBC Washington tv
Professor David Rettinger with the University of Mary Washington believes students are feeling pressure from the pandemic and online school, and it's why they may make bad choices to get good grades.
Fredericksburg Sister-City group helping partners in COVID-devastated Nepal
The Free Lance-Star print
A college professor and director of Academic Integrity Programs, Rettinger has visited Nepal three times, once as a young adult and twice in recent years. In 2018, he and fellow professor Dan Hirshberg, an expert in Asian religions, led a study abroad trip for UMW students.
If You Can't Stand the Cheat, Get Out of the Kitchen
As David Rettinger of University of Mary Washington noted on The Key, “If you’re going to give a 50-question multiple choice test, that’s pretty much the most cheatable possible assignment online. Even if you just change that to 10 five-question multiple choice quizzes, you’ve made it less likely that students will cheat, because you’ve reduced the stakes and the pressure.”
Remote Learning and Cheating: Professors and Students Weigh In
Teen Vogue online
“I call it a game of whack-a-mole,” says David Rettinger, president emeritus of the International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI) and director of academic integrity at the University of Mary Washington. New sites are constantly rising in popularity, he explains, making it harder for professors to prevent students from seeking answers online, especially now.
Combating Cheating in the COVID Era: The Key Podcast
Inside Higher Education online
Are more students engaging in academic misconduct now than is normally the case? Should colleges be turning to proctoring services and lockdown browsers to fight cheating? Or are they better off encouraging instructors to assess students in new and different ways that are less susceptible to gaming? This week's guests are: [...] David Rettinger, professor of psychological science and director of academic integrity programs at the University of Mary Washington and president emeritus of the International Center for Academic Integrity.
Backlash Over Leniency at West Point After 73 Cadets Are Accused of Cheating
The New York Times online
There is additional pressure to cheat, Dr. Rettinger said, because the workloads at service academies are higher than at most universities, and long-term career success is closely tied to a student’s performance in class.
Students Cheat. How Much Does It Matter?
The Chronicle of Higher Education online
While there aren’t any hard data showing that cheating has increased since the pivot online, says David Rettinger, a professor of psychology and director of academic integrity programs at the University of Mary Washington, it may well have. Either way, he says, higher ed was probably “naïve” about exam cheating before. Most in-person tests, Rettinger says, are not proctored especially well. It’s simply much easier to tell that students have copied from a website than from a classmate’s paper.
Best Way to Stop Cheating in Online Courses? ‘Teach Better’
Inside Higher Education online
"Ever since the first monks were saying, 'Oh, those new styluses are allowing them to illuminate those manuscripts much more easily, that’s clearly dishonest,' there's been somebody who thought the new technology makes [cheating] so much easier," David Rettinger, a professor of psychological science and director of academic programs at the University of Mary Washington, said during the Wiley webcast. "The reality is that there has always been people using technology for good and for ill. I don't think the internet is an epochal technological change -- it's just another in a series of the wheel turning."
Course Hero Woos Professors
Inside Higher Education online
David Rettinger appreciates that change is afoot in higher education, as professors like Gaye Johnson and Barbara Oakley suggest, and that faculty members may not be adjusting sufficiently to it. It's a "totally legitimate point that sharing documents can be beneficial in some particular cases and that tutoring can be legitimate in many cases," says Rettinger, professor of psychological sciences and director of academic programs at the University of Mary Washington, in Virginia.
The Ethics (and Crime) of Plagiarism
How Stuff Works online
"It's a particular problem in academia because we care so much about the process," says David Rettinger, a professor of psychology at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and the president of the International Center for Academic Integrity. "I say this to my students all the time: I don't care that you give me a [clean] paper. I care that you write a paper. The point is ... it's like sending someone to the gym for you. It completely defeats the purpose."
UA bans 'contract cheating'
Rettinger, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia who also directs the school's academic integrity program, said institutions "must teach our students why this is wrong." "If they value their education, and we can explain to them why a particular assignment furthers their education, they're more likely to attempt the assignment honestly," Rettinger said.
The role of emotions and attitudes in causing and preventing cheatingTheory Into Practice
David A. Rettinger
2017 Given that students at secondary and postsecondary levels believe that certain behaviors are morally wrong and consider them cheating, they still perform them, albeit infrequently. This article examines the psychology of cheating, emphasizing individual psychological factors that influence integrity behavior. From this research, strategies to prevent cheating for students at all levels emerge...
The influence of personality on the decision to cheatEthics & Behavior
Melissa McTernan, Patrick Love, David Rettinger
2013 Seventeen transgressive behaviors were studied in the context of six personality variables using survey methods. The personality variables were impulsivity, sensation seeking, empathetic perspective taking, guilt, and shame, with social desirability used as a control. Confirmatory factor analysis indicated a five-factor model as having the best fit...
Imitation Is the Sincerest Form of Cheating: The Influence of Direct Knowledge and Attitudes on Academic DishonestyEthics & Behavior
Jillian O'Rourke, Jeffrey Barnes, Anna Deaton, Kristopher Fulks, Kristina Ryan, David A Rettinger
2010 What effect does witnessing other students cheat have on one's own cheating behavior? What roles do moral attitudes and neutralizing attitudes (justifications for behavior) play when deciding to cheat? The present research proposes a model of academic dishonesty which takes into account each of these variables. Findings from experimental (vignette) and survey methods determined that seeing others cheat increases cheating behavior by causing students to judge the behavior less morally reprehensible, not by making rationalization easier. Witnessing cheating also has unique effects, controlling for other variables...