Skip to main content
site header image

Faculty Information Literacy & Resource Page: Academic Integrity Resources

What Is Academic Integrity?

What Is Academic Integrity And Why Is It Important?

Faculty, administration, and staff are as responsible for upholding the standards for academic integrity as are our students. It is not just limited to issues of plagiarism, citing sources, and copyright, although these are important core practices. The heart of academic integrity lies in an institution’s shared commitment to transparency, trust, and truth. As role models for our students, the values we impart in our teaching methods and practices are as important as the rules we list in policies.
According to the International Center For Academic Integrity (ICAI), there are six fundamental values that define Academic Integrity which academic communities of integrity should advance. These values and their attributes are:

  • Honesty: The quest for truth and knowledge requires intellectual and personal honesty in teaching, learning, and service.
  • Trust: The willingness of the institution to foster and rely upon climates of mutual trust in order to encourage and support the free exchange of ideas.
  • Fairness: The establishment of clear and transparent expectation, practices, and interactions among students, faculty, and administrators
  • Respect: Acknowledgment that learning is as an interactive, cooperative, and participatory process that honors and values a diversity of opinions and ideas. 
  • Responsibility: A thriving community requires personal accountability coupled with the willingness of individual and groups to lead by example, uphold standards, and take action in the face of wrongdoing.
  • Courage: Sustaining communities of integrity requires more than believing fundamental values, but must include the resolve to stand up for those values in the face of adversity and pressure.  An expanded discussion on this can be found in the ICAI brochure, The Fundamental Values of Academic Integrity.

Academic Integrity Resources To Share With Students 
Video: Academic Integrity
Tutorial: Information Has Value
Tutorial: Scholarship as Conversation (2019 Update)    
Video: What is Plagiarism?
   
Lesson Plan - Discussion Topics and Exercises
Click here 
for a printable version of this lesson plan for Academic Integrity, Plagiarism and Intellectual Property.

Prelude To Course Design

Often, conversations about academic integrity revolve around Turnitin, plagiarism, cheating on tests, and the punitive measures at our disposal to enforce campus policies as plagiarism police.  We may not consider the various catalysts for students committing acts that could place them in academic jeopardy, nor do we always plan ways mitigate to them.  What motivates students to confound our expectations by breaking the rules that we so carefully set out?  The catalyst could be as uncomplicated as a student’s confusion over an assignment’s process and end product, or as convoluted as the pressure of having to meet assignment deadlines while juggling family, work, and/or health issues.  What can educators do to eliminate the opportunities of student cheating while creating a pathway for them to succeed in their assignments? 

Course design is an excellent way to combat issues of academic dishonesty proactively while providing students with the tools and examples to be honest, resilient, and successful scholars. Components of this approach include setting expectations, defining goals, creating assignments that are plagiarism resistant, and offering ample student support along the way. These bulleted points provide a good place to start. For practical applications, see the links provided in the column to the right.

Make It Clear

  • In addition to providing a complete syllabus that clearly describes course expectations, begin the semester with a discussion on how those expectations will help each student succeed, accentuating the learning process over the final grade.

Make It Relevant

  • Emphasize at every possible juncture where course material might find relevance in students’ current and future lives through pertinent examples, exercises, and authentic problems that spark open and lively conversations.   

Offer Options As Well As Responsibility

  • Give students the opportunity to participate in how they learn by offering them choices in the assignments you give.  This will change the paradigm from performance to learning by providing them with responsibility in their own learning process.    

Make It Plagiarism Resistant

  • Require pre-approved topics, or have them refine their topic further as part of the assignment.  Create unique assignments each semester, or require specific types of resources, such as primary sources and/or periodicals chosen by you.  During the writing process, incorporate in-class peer review exercises.  Ask students to present drafts/outlines at intervals.  Require that they provide an abstract of their own work. Incorporate a reflection assignment.

Minimize Pressure

  • Consider breaking down assignments into components that allow you to check student progress incrementally, while minimizing pressure on the student.  This will give you the chance to assess problems students have before they becomes critical and give them time to seek further help from you or from academic resources such as Tutoring or the Library. It will also help students manage their workflow and reduce anxiety.  Assessing student work at junctures helps eliminate issues of plagiarism as well providing you with a way to monitor how students develop, articulate, and present their assignments. 

Foster Success

  • Successful learning is a process dependent upon first steps.  Encourage students by creating assignments that they can succeed at early on so that they gain the confidence to continue and progress.  Celebrate their success with them.

Integrate Academic Integrity Into The Conversation

  • Foster an environment where academic integrity is valued as well as expected.  Model how it influences your practice as a teacher, researcher and past student.  Demonstrate why scholarship has value and why integrity in scholarly pursuits is as necessary in the professions as it is in the Academy.  Bring examples/case studies into the conversation and provide opportunities for students to reflect and comment on these.