Academic integrity refers to the ethical standards and policies that govern how people work and interact in the academic enterprise at a college or university. These standards and policies attempt to do more than define and condemn what is wrong or unethical; they also attempt to provide a foundation for the mutual trust and individual responsibility necessary in a healthy academic community.
Both faculty members and students have the responsibility of upholding the principles of academic integrity. Faculty and staff members should create an environment in which honesty is encouraged, dishonesty discouraged and integrity is openly discussed. Faculty members should follow the principles of academic integrity in their own work and conduct. Students are obligated not only to follow these principles, but also to take an active role in encouraging other students to respect them. If students suspect a violation of academic integrity, they should make their suspicions known to a faculty member or staff member in academic affairs. Students reporting dishonesty must be prepared to give evidence in a hearing before the University Review Committee (URC).
Many faculty members ask students to work collaboratively with others on written projects, oral presentations, revisions, labs, or other course work. The guidelines for collaborative work differ substantially from course to course, but in most cases part or all of a collaborative project must be completed independently. Faculty members should make clear, in writing, their expectations for collaborative work. Students should make sure they understand what is expected of them; they are responsible for knowing when collaboration is permitted, and when not. Handing in a paper, lab report, or take home exam written entirely by a member of one’s collaborative group, except when given explicit permission to do so by the instructor of the course, is an act of academic dishonesty.
Almost all the types of academic dishonesty described below have to do with working with others or using the work of others. This is not to suggest that working with others or using their work is wrong. Indeed, the heart of the academic enterprise, learning itself, is based on using the ideas of others to stimulate and develop your own. In this sense, all academic work is collaboration, and therefore academic integrity focuses on those acts that demean or invalidate fruitful collaboration.