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Faculty Resources
for Academic Integrity

How to Encourage Academic Integrity

  1. Affirm integrity as a central value in academic work. Be aware of and support University policies and practices regarding academic integrity.
  2. Communicate expectations for academic integrity. Include SVSU's academic integrity policy as well as clear course expectations in your syllabus; include a clear definition of plagiarism and a statement of repercussions. Discuss these with students to be sure they understand the reasons as well as the strategies for preventing plagiarism. Explain why integrity matters and how citations show respect for scholarly work.
  3. Plan your course calendar and sequence the assignments to allow adequate time for students to complete learning tasks successfully.
  4. Create tests and assignments that are explicitly linked to specific course learning goals and difficult to complete in dishonest ways. (Example assignment: create a historical persona and, writing from that moment in history, recount events in the language of the person [in the form, say, of a diary or personal journal]. Add links to the [electronic] text that open "explanatory" footnotes in which you say more, in an academic voice, with references, about particular things the invented person is recounting. Include at least one piece of information from the text or class discussion.)
  5. Become involved in students' writing processes. "Prevention is a critical line of defense against academic dishonesty" (ASJA Law and Policy Report, Gary Pevala).  Of particular value are seven tips for designing writing assignments that may prevent plagiarism; these specific practices make it unlikely that students will be able to download papers that meet these requirements:
    • Create unique assignments (e.g., require both primary and secondary sources; specify specific journals or dates for articles; require an abstract, which is hard to construct if a student didn't write the paper; if appropriate, require a relevant image or table)
    • Require paper topics to be approved
    • Review working bibliographies/outlines/sections of the paper, to be approved before the paper is submitted
    • Require drafts and source materials to be submitted with the paper
    • Require written peer review
    • Add a reflection piece to the paper, in which students reflect on the most useful sources, or the questions left unanswered by research, or the ways their papers evolved from first to final draft
    • Collect a piece of student writing at the beginning of the semester as a “benchmark.”  (This could take many forms:  a response to course objectives, a reflection on a core question in the course, a short exploration of a relevant case or situation to set the stage for future learning. This also provides an immediate alert about issues of disability, English language proficiency, and lack of previous preparation that can be addressed in subsequent assignment design.)
  6. Establish mutual trust with students and get to know them. Use the "benchmark" writing pieces to identify issues a student may struggle with and direct the student to University resources available to assist him or her (e.g., the Office of Disability Services, the English Language Program, the Writing Center).
  7. Be aware that some international students may come from cultures that do not place the same emphasis on intellectual property as Americans do. Be explicit about how and why intellectual property is important in American universities and workplaces.
  8. Use University Resources available to assist faculty (e.g., Turnitin.com, the Writing Center).
  9. Focus on developing the writer, rather than on teaching formats and documentation styles
    (see "Citation Obsession?  Get Over It!" in a recent article in The Chronicle).
  10. Report violations of the Code of Student Conduct to the Student Conduct Officer. "Faculty members who ignore or trivialize academic dishonesty send the message that the core values of academic life aren't worth enforcing" (ASJA Law and Policy Report, Gary Pavela). Keep documentation for any reported instances of plagiarism.

University Policies

FERPA Policy (1kB)

Summary: School faculty, administrators, and staff may not disclose personally identifiable information about students nor permit inspection of their records without written permission of the student unless release or inspection is covered by certain exceptions permitted by the Act. Access to student information is limited to a school official's legitimate educational interest.

Academic Integrity Policy Statement of Philosophy

The primary purposes of a university are to produce new knowledge and to share knowledge acquired from others. These purposes can be achieved only when intellectual property rights are recognized by everyone within the university. Thus academic integrity is essential; university citizens must take responsibility for their own work and give credit when using the work of others.

Definitions

Academic integrity is undermined whenever one is dishonest in the pursuit of knowledge. Dishonesty takes many forms, including cheating, plagiarism, and other activities for undermining the educational process:
Cheating occurs whenever one attempts to gain an advantage through violation of rules regarding the relevant behavior. It should be assumed that collaboration is cheating unless explicitly authorized.
Plagiarism involves intentionally or unintentionally presenting another person's expressions –ideas, opinions, illustrations, data, style–as one's own expression.
Undermining the Educational Process occurs whenever one attempts to prevent another's learning or subverts the recognized means by which learning occurs.

Procedures for Dealing with Instances of Academic Dishonesty

The first step should be a review of evidence to ensure that there is sufficient reason to warrant a charge of academic dishonesty. This should be accomplished prior to failing a student for an assignment or a course and/or referring the matter to the Office of Student Conduct Programs. Faculty may elect to consult with a department chair, academic dean or the Coordinator of Student Conduct Programs. When the violation involves plagiarism, faculty members are encouraged to employ all available resources (e.g., Turnitin.com, Google searches, etc.) in developing a set of evidence.

Disciplinary Process for Incidents of Academic Dishonesty

All provisions for due process will be afforded to students charged with a violation of academic integrity. The disciplinary process is outlined in its entirety in the Code of Student Conduct.

Sanctions

The Hearing Panel may impose sanctions upon any student determined to be accountable for violations of the Academic Integrity Policy. Sanctions are cumulative and may be increased based on a past disciplinary record, the severity of the violation, and the impact upon the academic community. There may be circumstances that are cause for exception as determined by the Hearing Panel.

Appeals

Students have the right to appeal outcomes of hearings and/or sanctions imposed. Written appeals must be submitted within three days following the written notification of the decisions reached by the Hearing Panel. Appeals will be reviewed jointly by the Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Vice President for Student Services and Enrollment Management.

Records

All cases concerning academic dishonesty must be recorded in the Office of Student Conduct Programs. Additionally, student grade grievance proceedings that occur due to academic dishonesty must be recorded in the Office of Student Conduct Programs. This means that faculty, academic chairs or deans must notify the Office of Student Conduct Programs when a student's grade is changed for reasons of academic dishonesty.