Academic Integrity


Academic Integrity

The Center for Academic Integrity at Clemson University hosts the International Center for Academic Integrity, founded in 1992 at the University of Maryland. In 1999, the consortium published a booklet titled The Fundamental Values of Academic Integrity, that clearly creates an argument for why this concept is so important to our community. The following is a statement from the publication:

Academic integrity is a commitment, even in the face of adversity, to five fundamental values: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility. From these values flow principles of behavior that enable academic communities to translate ideals into action.

The values alluded to are further described:

    1. Honesty: An academic community of integrity advances the quest for truth and knowledge by requiring intellectual and personal honesty in learning, teaching, research, and service.
    2. Trust: An academic community of integrity fosters a climate of mutual trust, encourages the free exchange of ideas, and enables all to reach their highest potential.
    3. Fairness: An academic community of integrity establishes clear standards, practices, and procedures and expects fairness in the interactions of students, faculty, and administrators.
    4. Respect: An academic community of integrity recognizes the participatory nature of the learning process and honors and respects a wide range of opinions and ideas.
    5. Responsibility: An academic community of integrity upholds personal accountability and depends upon action in the face of wrongdoing.

      The Center for Academic Integrity - used by permission.

Ohio State's Committee on Academic Misconduct website (COAM FAQs) defines academic misconduct as follows:

The university's Code of Student Conduct defines academic misconduct as "any activity that tends to compromise the academic integrity of the University, or subvert the educational process."

While many people associate academic misconduct with "cheating," the term encompasses a wider scope of student behaviors which include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Violation of course rules;
  • Violation of program regulations;
  • Knowingly providing or receiving information during a course exam or program assignment;
  • Possession and/or use of unauthorized materials during a course exam or program assignment;
  • Knowingly providing or using assistance in the laboratory, on field work, or on a course assignment, unless such assistance has been authorized specifically by the course instructor or, where appropriate, a project/research supervisor;
  • Submission of work not performed in a course: This includes (but is not limited to) instances where a student fabricates and/or falsifies data or information for a laboratory experiment (i.e., a "dry lab") or other academic assignment. It also includes instances where a student submits data or information (such as a lab report or term paper) from one course to satisfy the requirements of another course, unless submission of such work is permitted by the instructor of the course or supervisor of the research for which the work is being submitted;
  • Submitting plagiarized work for a course/program assignment;
  • Falsification, fabrication, or dishonesty in conducting or reporting laboratory (research) results;
  • Serving as or asking another student to serve as a substitute (a "ringer") while taking an exam;
  • Alteration of grades in an effort to change earned credit or a grade;
  • Alteration and/or unauthorized use of university forms or records.
This definition can be expanded to include the use of "contract material", that is, purchasing materials (essays, exam solutions, lab results, ghostwritten materials, etc) from commercial sources such as essay mills and passing it off as one's own.

It is important for faculty to include a statement regarding academic integrity on the syllabus for the course, and to clearly communicate to students what is acceptable in areas such as collaboration, group study, "open book" exam guidelines, self-plagiarizing, etc. Sample syllabus statements can be found on the Undergraduate Education website. It is also important for faculty to "design-out" the opportunity to cheat:
  • Change assignments or exams each session
  • Randomize questions or order of questions
  • When possible, individualize assignments or projects
  • Evaluate the process to the results as well as the results
  • Give frequent, low-stakes quizzes

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