Where does one draw the line between upholding academic integrity and exercising pastoral care? I have been pondering over this question for some time now. For me, the emotional agony always surfaces when the complex issue of exercising academic integrity and providing pastoral care collide.
Sometimes, I wish these two issues are mutually exclusive. This makes decision making much easier. If I am a pure academician, it is easy for me pass or fail a student's paper or thesis simply based on objective academic judgement. But it has always been said that a seminary is not purely an academic institution. It is also a place for the training of pastors and church workers, and as such, the duty of pastoral care is naturally demanded and expected from the students. As such, the role of a lecturer in a seminary is not simply the impartation of knowledge resulting in passing or failing a student. A seminary lecturer is expected to coach the students and be a role model or example to the students to be like Christ.
What if students turn in a piece of work that does not meet the basic academic requirement? If I fail them, I would be said to judge them purely based on their academic capabilities and ignore their divine calling to be a minister of the gospel. If I pass them, I would be said to compromise my academic integrity.
I know the real issues are always much complex. But where do one actually draw the line?