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. International Center for Academic Integrity1
GSW’s Policy on Academic Integrity sets forth principles of behavior intended to enable its community members to act according to these fundamental values, thereby fostering a community of excellence in teaching and learning. This policy defines academic integrity, assigns responsibility of community members for upholding these principles, defines academic dishonesty, and delineates the procedure for handling violations of the community standard.
Principles of Academic Integrity
- Accurate Attribution of Ideas: While the free exchange of ideas does not demand that every idea a person expresses be her or his own original thought, it does demand that a person accurately represent the origin of the thoughts she or he expresses. The forms of attribution vary depending upon the formality of the setting in which ideas are exchanged. In conversation, attribution might be as simple referring to where you heard an idea while in a class presentation or a written assignment, a specific style of attribution or documentation will be required. The specific format for such is usually defined by the academic discipline.
- Collaboration on Assignments: Collaboration is a fundamental component of community building and a valued ability in the work force, as well as one of the most important practices of a democratic society, but it depends on community members exercising the values of fairness, respect, and responsibility. Respectfully listening to the perspectives of others, and shouldering the responsibility for contributing equitably to the success of the group demonstrate academic integrity. In the academic setting, collaboration has been shown to improve students’ learning, but it must be balanced with the need to assess a student’s individual mastery of a topic. Thus, faculty may actively discourage collaboration for some types of assignments, such as homework or papers, while encouraging it in others circumstances, like group projects or presentations.
- Collection of Data: The academic community is a culture of evidence in which decisions are made and opinions evaluated largely on the basis of the factual or logical support. Therefore, whenever a community member presents data he or she has collected firsthand through observing, interviewing, surveying, or experimenting, he or she must be careful to describe clearly how the data were collected to verify that the results are presented accurately and to maintain all confidentiality agreements with participants.
- Quizzes, Tests, and Examinations: The academic community often calls upon its members to demonstrate what they know, or what they can do individually, often under the pressure of time constraints, which can put a student’s honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility to the test. Academic integrity requires that a student abide by the rules established by the faculty member for assessing individual learning.
Responsibility of Community Partners for Upholding the Values of Academic Integrity
Responsibility of the Faculty Member:
Students do not always come to the GSW community knowing the principles of academic integrity and therefore teaching students to exercise these principles is the duty of the faculty. Given that the parameters of academic integrity are defined by the goal of an assignment or activity, the type of assessment being used, and the standards of the particular discipline, faculty members should be explicit about their expectations of students. To that end, faculty members should state in their syllabi the expectations for 1) attribution of ideas, 2) collaboration on assignments, 3) collection of data, and 4) quizzes, tests and examinations.
Responsibility of the Student
As partners in their own learning, students are responsible for making themselves aware of how the principles of academic integrity apply in each academic setting they enter. While the faculty member is responsible for setting expectations, it is the student’s responsibility to seek guidance from the faculty member, especially when unsure of how to apply the principles in a particular situation. When in doubt, seek guidance from the instructor.
Violations of academic integrity will be subject to sanction by the academic community. The examples given below are intended to clarify the standards by which academic dishonesty may be judged.
Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, asking someone to write part or all of an assignment, copying someone else's work (published or unpublished), inadequately documenting research, downloading material from electronic sources without appropriate documentation, or representing others' works or ideas as one’s own.
Cheating on Examinations
Cheating on an exam includes, but is not limited to, giving or receiving unauthorized help before, during, or after an in-class or out-of-class exam. Examples of unauthorized help include using unauthorized notes in either hard copy or electronic form, viewing another student's exam, taking pictures of exams with cell phones or other electronic devices, allowing another student to view one's exam, and discussing an exam or sharing information on an exam’s content with other students after the exam has occurred in one section but not in another.
Unauthorized collaboration includes giving or receiving unauthorized help for work that is required to be the effort of a single student, such as the receiving or giving of unauthorized assistance in the preparation of a laboratory or writing assignment, on-line exams, etc.
Falsification includes, but is not limited to the fabrication of citations or sources, of experimental or survey results, and of computer or other data.
A student may not submit substantial portions of the same work for credit more than once without the explicit consent of the faculty to whom the work is submitted for additional credit. If a work product is to be substantially revised or updated, the student must contact the faculty member in advance to discuss necessary revisions. In cases where multiple submissions are approved, faculty members will require copies of the original documents for comparison.
Process for Resolving Academic Dishonesty Issues
Instances of academic dishonesty are a serious violation of community standards for academic integrity and may result in suspension or expulsion from GSW. While faculty members have the primary responsibility for establishing the parameters of academic integrity in the academic situations they supervise, it is the responsibility of all members of the GSW academic community to report suspected instances of academic dishonesty. Therefore, any member of the GSW academic community can lodge an academic dishonesty complaint with GSW’s Student Conduct Officer.
Any member of the academic community who has evidence of academic dishonesty should report his or her suspicion and evidence to the faculty member of the student(s) believed to be in violation of the policy. The faculty member is then responsible for responding, and if she or he has adequate evidence, may file an Academic Dishonesty Violation Report with the Student Conduct Officer.
If an instructor discovers a case of academic dishonesty, he or she may impose whatever penalty is deemed appropriate by the faculty member, given the standards and expectations shared with students in that course (including but not limited to rewriting assignments, failure on the assignment, or failure in the course). The faculty member has the final word for how the incident will be handled in his or her own classroom.
All incidents of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Student Conduct Officer using the Academic Integrity Violation Report Form which asks for a description of the incident, a copy of the faculty member’s written policy on academic dishonesty, the penalty imposed by the faculty member, and the student’s signature indicating the faculty member met with the student about the incident and explained the consequences.
The Student Conduct Officer will keep on file all Academic Integrity Violation Report forms. When a new report is received, the Student Conduct Officer will review the record to determine if the student has any other academic integrity violations on file. A first offense will be filed, but no action will be taken by the University unless the student chooses to dispute the charge, at which time the Student Conduct Officer will call for a hearing of the Faculty-Student Conduct Board. If the student has two or more violations on file, the Student Conduct Officer will automatically call for a hearing of the Faculty-Student Conduct Board, and the faculty member may be asked to submit further documentation of the violation.
The Faculty-Student Conduct Board will hold a hearing to determine if the student should be found in violation of the academic integrity policy and recommend a course of action to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Only in cases where a student is exonerated of accusations of academic dishonesty can a grade be appealed through the grade appeal process. If the Faculty-Student Conduct Board determines the student to be in violation of the academic integrity policy, the Student Conduct Officer will then share with the Board any additional information concerning the number and types of prior violations, which the Board may consider when making sanction recommendations. The Faculty-Student Conduct Board will provide in writing its decision on the case and sanction recommendations to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Sanctions may range from educational, such as assignments which require the student to research the topic of academic integrity or speaking to the UNIV 1000 classes about academic integrity, to more serious including probation, suspension, or expulsion.
The Vice President for Academic Affairs will notify the student and faculty member of the outcome of the case and of any University sanctions imposed. If sanctions include suspension or expulsion, the student’s Department Chair and/or Dean will also be notified. A student may not withdraw from the course in which an accusation has been made during the student conduct process. Students accused of academic dishonesty are entitled to the due process rights outlined in the Student Conduct Process of GSW.
1International Center for Academic Integrity. The Fundamental Values of Academic Integrity. Des Plaines, IL: Office of College Relations at Oakton Community College, 1999. 4. International Center for Academic Integrity. Web. 3 October 2012.