Maintaining Academic Integrity in the Classroom

Imagine that you were about to get surgery and just as you were going under, you discovered that your surgeon had cheated throughout their university career. Would you feel betrayed? What if it was your lawyer? Your accountant? Your child's teacher?

Imagine you were taking an exam and you noticed other students cheating. What would you do? What if you knew that a fellow student had plagiarized their paper and the professor was unaware of it?

All the above scenerios are reflective of a concept called academic integrity. As the above examples illustrate, academic integrity not only affects the climate at the university but it can also affect every other area of your life.

The Center for Academic Integrity defines academic integrity as "a committment, 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 to action."

Why is Academic Integrity Important?

"At its core, academic integrity requires honesty. This involves giving credit where it is due and acknowledging the contributions of others to one's own intellectual efforts. It also includes assuring that one's own work has been completed in accordance with the standards of one's course or discipline. Without academic integrity, neither the genuine innovations of the individual nor the progress of a given field of study can adequately be assessed, and the very foundation of scholarship itself is undermined. Academic integrity, for all these reasons, is an essential link in the process of intellectual advancement." (Student Judicial Services at the University of Texas)

The values that underpin the concept of academic integrity go beyond simply not cheating or plagiarizing. Embracing these values mean that you are responsible for your own learning; you have an obligation to be honest -- with yourself and others; and you have the responsibility to treat other students and your professors with respect and fairness.


Information on this plagiarism website used and adapted with permission from the University of Alberta Libraries Learning Services.