Academic Integrity

Academic Integrity


In order to encourage and foster academic excellence, the University expects students to conduct themselves in accordance with certain generally accepted norms of scholarship and professional behaviors. Because of this expectation, the University does not tolerate any form of academic misconduct. Academic misconduct includes, but is not limited to, plagiarism, cheating, fabrication, and knowingly or recklessly encouraging or making possible any act of plagiarism, cheating, or fabrication. Academic misconduct is an unacceptable activity in scholarship and is in conflict with academic and professional ethics and morals.

To recognize academic misconduct and prevent plagiarism and for a link to all of the following information regarding academic integrity, please visit Academic Integrity page under the Dean of Students webpage at http://www.unco.edu/dos/academicIntegrity/index.html.

Definition
In order to encourage and foster academic excellence, the University expects students to conduct themselves in accordance with certain generally accepted norms of scholarship and professional behaviors. Because of this expectation, the University does not tolerate any form of academic misconduct. Academic misconduct includes, but is not limited to, plagiarism, cheating, fabrication, and knowingly or recklessly encouraging or making possible any act of plagiarism, cheating, or fabrication. Academic misconduct is an unacceptable activity in scholarship and is in conflict with academic and professional ethics and morals.

Plagiarism
The Modern Language Association defines plagiarism for the scholarly author as follows: “Using another person’s ideas or expressions in your writing without acknowledging the source constitutes plagiarism…plagiarism refers to a form of intellectual theft. In short, to plagiarize is to give the impression that you wrote or thought some-thing that you in fact borrowed from someone, and to do so is a violation of professional ethics” (http://www.umuc.edu/cip/vail/faculty/AI_overview/ai_overview.pdf).

University of Nebraska at Lincoln: “Presenting the work of another as one's own (i.e., without proper acknowledgment of the source) and submitting examinations, theses, reports, speeches, drawings, laboratory notes or other academic work in whole or in part as one's own when such work has been prepared by another person or copied from another person” (http://cse.unl.edu/ugrad/resources/academic_integrity.php).

Graduate School Definition of Plagiarism
UNC’s Graduate School defines plagiarism as follows (Graduate Catalog, 2010-2011, page 22):

“The following is the approved definition of plagiarism. Plagiarism is the act of appropriating the written, artistic, or musical composition of another, or portions thereof; or the ideas, language, or symbols of same and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind. Plagiarism includes not only the exact duplication of another’s work but also the lifting of a substantial or essential portion thereof.

Regarding written work in particular, direct quotations, statements which are a result of paraphrasing or summarizing the work of another, and other information which is not considered common knowledge just be cited or acknowledged, usually in a form of a footnote. Quotation marks or a proper form of indentation shall be used to indicate all direct quotes.

As long as a student adequately acknowledges his/her sources and as long as there is no reason to believe that the student has attempted to pose as the originator, the student will not be charged with plagiarism even though the form of the acknowledgement may be unacceptable. However, students should be aware that most professors require certain forms of acknowledgement and some may evaluate a project on the basis of form.”

Other Definitions

Unauthorized Collaboration
"Unauthorized collaboration means working with others without the specific per-mission of the instructor on assignments that will be submitted for a grade. These rules apply to in-class or take-home tests, papers, labs, or homework assignments. Students may not collaborate without faculty permission” (http://sja.ucdavis.edu/files/collab.pdf).

The University of Nebraska at Lincoln developed the following definitions for issues related to academic integrity, which the Task Force members found useful in their deliberations (http://cse.unl.edu/ugrad/resources/academic_integrity.php):

Cheating
“Copying or attempting to copy from an academic test or examination of another student; using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, notes, study aids or other devices for an academic test, examination or exercise; engaging or attempting to engage the assistance of another individual in misrepresenting the academic performance of a student; or communicating information in an unauthorized manner to another person for an academic test, examination or exercise.”
Fabrication or Falsification
“Falsifying or fabricating any information or citation in any academic exercise, work, speech, test or examination. Falsification is the alteration of information, while fabrication is the invention or counterfeiting of information.”
Abuse of Academic Materials
“Destroying, defacing, stealing, or making inaccessible library or other academic resource material.”
Complicity in Academic Dishonesty
“Helping or attempting to help another student to commit an act of academic dishonesty.”
Falsifying Grade Reports
“Changing or destroying grades, scores or markings on an examination or in an instructor's records.”
Misrepresentation to Avoid Academic Work
“Misrepresentation by fabricating an otherwise justifiable excuse such as illness, injury, accident, etc., in order to avoid or delay timely submission of academic work or to avoid or delay the taking of a test or examination.”

Discouragement

See Tips from the Dean of Students Website at http://www.unco.edu/dos/academicIntegrity/index.html.

Collecting the Clues

Watch for exceedingly well-written prose. If a paper on cell structure sounds as if it could be published in a textbook, it possibly was. Pay attention to complex sentence structure and sentences that contain multiple complex clauses or difficult juxtaposed wordings. Well-thought out sentence fragments can be an indicator of plagiarism. Seasoned journalists often use fragments to good effect. Students, on the other hand, rarely use them effectively. Do you see oddly placed "personalized" ethos in the middle of mundane or superficial essays? Students who obtain papers from internet paper mills often add a sentence here or there to sculpt a generic essay to better fit the class. Finally, odd grammatical errors and misspellings can be a result of copying-and-pasting. Students will often attempt to "dumb down" a plagiarized paper. However, more than likely, these students do not know enough about grammar and phonemic structures to make "typical" mistakes. If an error strikes you as odd, look more closely to see if some paragraphs are better written than others.

Gathering Evidence

Evidence is absolutely crucial when accusing a student of plagiarism. These are a
few methods of searching out a student's paper.

  • Safeassign.com: UNC pays for every teacher to be able to use this valuable
    service.
  • Google or other search engine: Follow these step-by-step screen shots of a real
    paper hunt (tutorial available online).
  • After you meet with a student and determine that s/he has plagiarized, there are
    several ways to proceed. As outlined in the Student Handbook, a student may be
    subject to:
    • A zero or "F" on the assignment in question;
    • An "F" in the course;
    • Other academic penalties as outlined in the course requirements and expectations;
    • Disciplinary action as specified in Student Rights and Responsibilities;
    • Any combination of the above.

Procedural due process, including the right to appeal, is to be followed in making a determination of whether academic misconduct has occurred .

About this Guide

This guide is intended to be used as a starting point for faculty members who may
be faced with a possible academic misconduct situation.

Who Cheats?

  • Students who are trying to achieve a high GPA for graduate schools.
  • Students who are trying to avoid academic probation or suspension.
  • Students to whom integrity and education are less important than high marks (Waryold, 2003).
  • Spending some time on writing and providing quality examples may be a good way to help students better understand your expectations. One of the best ways to prevent plagiarism is to eliminate “incentives to cheat” (Sterngold, 2004, p. 18). Sterngold recommends:
    • Breaking up research papers into smaller assignments. (This forces students to begin work on assignments earlier.)
    • A research proposal and annotated bibliography are good examples.
    • Requiring more specific assignments, rather than having students write about anything they want.
    • Meeting with students to discuss their assignments.

Internet Cheating

Many students do not see Internet plagiarism as a serious offense, and Scanlon and Neumann (2002) found that many students do copy and paste material from the Internet into their own assignments. Some students also purchase papers from online paper mills.

If a faculty member is unsure whether a student is the original author, it is possible to select a phrase and search for it on the Internet, using Google or SafeAssignment.com, for example. UNC has a license with safeassignment.com.

To learn more about safeassignment.com contact the UNC Center for the Enhancement
of Teaching and Learning at (970)351-2885 or email CETL@unco.edu.


Tips from the Dean of Students Website

It might be helpful for faculty members to:

  • "Let students know that plagiarism is recognizable and is not tolerated.
  • Place a clear plagiarism statement in class syllabi.
  • Obtain a two-page, hand-written writing sample from each student on the first day of class. This could prove to be helpful in comparing this writing with any
    questionable subsequent writings" (Recognizing Plagiarism). *
  • Have students turn in copies of the research articles and websites they used
    (http://www.antiplagiarism.com). *

* *All material taken from UNC Dean of Students’ website.