Internalizing the Value of Integrity
What is integrity? And what are the factors that can promote integrity? Marcella Elwina Simandjuntak has addressed those questions as a teacher of criminal law and as one of the designers of an anti-corruption curriculum used throughout Indonesia’s higher education system. Dr. Simandjuntak, dean of the Faculty of Law and Communication at Soegijapranata Catholic University (UNIKA) and a 2016-2017 United Board Fellow, combined her knowledge of Indonesian society, law, and culture with her international training in anti-corruption practices to help develop that curriculum.
“In 2011, the Ministry of Research, Technology, and Higher Education wanted to make an anti-corruption curriculum for all higher education institutions,” Dr. Simandjuntak explained. The ministry’s goal was to introduce faculty from all disciplines to the problem of corruption and help them integrate anti-corruption concepts into their teaching. Dr. Simandjuntak was part of the team that designed and delivered an anti-corruption faculty training program; through 2019, more than 4,800 faculty from about 2,200 public and private universities had participated in the training.
Participation was broad-based. “Faculty from law, medicine, nursing, journalism, economics, international relations, and more – all of them needed to connect it to their disciplines,” Dr. Simandjuntuk recalled. “The goal was for faculty to show their students how to avoid corruption and be a professional with integrity, whether as a doctor, nurse, accountant, or other professional.” The training started with general concepts about corruption, integrity, and accountability; introduced relevant anti-corruption laws; and highlighted ways that society can work together to prevent corruption.
In her own teaching at UNIKA, Dr. Simandjuntak encourages her students to internalize the value of integrity. “Students have idealism, and they want to be good and noble,” she said. “In the future, as prosecutors or advocates, they need to know how corruption may present itself and be prepared to deal with difficult situations.” She helps make the issue of corruption real to them by discussing corruption cases and highlighting connections between corruption and poverty.
Service-learning, she finds, can help students recognize and challenge corruption. UNIKA developed a service-learning project with Integrity Action, an NGO that monitors the delivery of vital projects and services. UNIKA students spent a month living in an Indonesian village. “They worked on an awareness campaign there,” Dr. Simandjuntak said, “letting residents know, for example, that they do not need to pay for an ID card.”
Whole person education connects learning to values – and through her teaching, Dr. Simandjuntak helps her students prepare for professional lives based on the value of integrity. “I take every opportunity, in every class, to reinforce the anti-corruption message,” she said.