This above all: To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”

William Shakespeare wrote these wise words for Polonius to impart to his son Laertes in Hamlet. When I read them for the first time in Mr. Lawless’s Grade 13 English class, I was struck by the apparent simplicity of this guide to integrity.

Integrity, as one of the four pillars of the College’s ethical standards, is illuminated in a number of resources (available online at → Members → Resources). Through ethical dilemmas, case studies and ethical-decision frameworks, the ethical standards are explored and their value illustrated.

Integrity is a tree with many branches: honesty, credibility, reliability and honour, to name but a few. These values are the foundations of ethical practice and the hallmarks of professional practice. They also represent the qualities that inspire confidence among students and parents in members of the profession, and represent one of the contributions of education and schooling to a civil society in which values such as integrity, respect, care and trust are esteemed.

I am reminded of a proud moment in my schooling when, in Grade 3, I received the year-end citizenship certificate. Although, at the time, I would have preferred the certificate that was given for highest achievement or athleticism, I have since come to appreciate what outstanding citizenship means and why it is such an honour.

Citizenship evokes responsibility, engagement and commitment and is integral to the teaching and learning process. Student engagement, responsibility for their learning, responsibility to each other, and commitment to achieving their potential are among the statements that form classroom mission statements or expectations.

They are also included in comments that teachers make about students on report cards and in communication to parents. A focus on these values helps prepare students for the future, our future. These students are our future teachers, our premiers and prime ministers, our concerned citizens and advocates for justice.

I think that we all walk taller when we live by our principles and adhere to our values, when we demonstrate our integrity.

I have taken out my Grade 3 citizenship certificate from my scrapbook. I feel taller already.

Registrar's Report
Integrity by design
Registrar's Report

I recently finished reading a biography of Florence Broadhurst (Florence Broadhurst: Her Secret & Extraordinary Lives by Helen O’Neill), an Australian designer known primarily for her printmaking, which led to a successful wallpaper design business in the 1960s and 1970s. I found the book of great interest for two reasons. First, it includes colour images of some of her 800 designs that reflect the bold style of the era in which she worked. Second, the book traces her life and provides detail on the way in which she reinvented herself three times in her professional life. I found her view of honesty — “I don’t think you fully appreciate the importance of illusion in life… honesty is essentially a disintegrating force in society…” — intriguing and very different from my point of view.

As I prepare my presentation for visits this fall with teacher candidates at each of our faculties and schools of education, I would be interested in your perspectives on integrity that I could incorporate. If you have some insight or an anecdote to share, please email me care of Please write “Integrity” in the subject line.