Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Alice Cheung: The Case of the Cheating Student

Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Alice Cheung: The Case of the Cheating Student

Article excerpt


Professor Kumar Sethi sat in his office troubled and thinking about the young woman, Alice Cheung, who had just left his office. For the first time in his six-year teaching career, Professor Sethi had encountered a suspected case of cheating. Did his student Alice Cheung actually cheat? Would the evidence against Alice hold up in front of a review committee?

Various thoughts and doubts raced through Professor Sethi's mind as he reflected on the tense and rather stressful encounter he had just had with Alice. Professor Sethi wondered whether he should give Alice more benefit of the doubt. Further, he thought about his conversation with Professor Patty Mcbride, the Department Chair, on this matter and wondered how strongly she would support him. His talk with Professor Juan Gonzalez, who had faced a similar cheating incident a few years ago that had not ended well, was also on his mind.

Professor Sethi discussed the suspected cheating incident in detail with a trusted and tenured senior department Colleague, Professor Helen Cobble. She advised Professor Sethi to write everything down and make detailed notes about the incidents with Alice Cheung from the beginning to the end. Professor Sethi agreed and felt that a documented history of everything that had happened would help support his decision if he proceeded to formally accuse Alice Cheung of cheating. The notes written by Professor Sethi are referred to throughout the case. In these notes Professor Sethi talks in the first person.


Professor Kumar Sethi is a popular professor of East Indian descent. He was born in Delhi, India and moved to the United States at the age of fifteen with his parents and siblings. He earned his undergraduate and master of business degrees from well-known universities. Following his graduate education, he taught math and statistics at several community colleges before deciding to pursue a doctorate. Upon completion of his Ph.D. in Human Resource Management, Professor Sethi accepted a tenure-track position at Eastern University. Professor Sethi is now coming up for tenure and is quite busy putting together his tenure package for submission to the Department.

Tenure is awarded to faculty members who are positively evaluated by their peers and supervisors in three areas: teaching, research and service. Teaching is measured by student evaluations and other criteria such as class observations, course syllabi, and the quality of student assignments. Research is evaluated by a review of the faculty member's publications in scholarly journals, books, and conference presentations. Service is measured by positions held on University committees, service to the community, and service to one's profession. Gaining tenure at a university or college is a major milestone for professors and it allows them a high level of job security, and the freedom to pursue research interests of their choice.

Professor Sethi is known as a knowledgeable teacher who cares deeply about his students. He takes the time to learn all of his students' names, speaks to them when he sees them in the dining hall or around campus, and spends many hours working with students individually, beyond the required office hours. A man of deep moral convictions, Professor Sethi is known for being tough but fair. Even when students earn poor grades on assignments, they still regard him highly, giving him positive ratings on course evaluations. Students enjoy his lectures and class discussions.

Professor Sethi's record of research and publication is exceptional and contributes to the national reputation and accreditation of the College of Business at Eastern University. He regularly publishes with other faculty in his department and has mentored several new department members. He has also published papers with some of the senior members in the department. …

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