Academic Integrity Statements to Include in Your Syllabus

One step in teaching your class in ways that encourage integrity is including a statement in your syllabus. As Penn History professor Ann Moyer explains:

“You are best off if you are prepared in advance by establishing a policy; and I prefer to state it clearly in course materials. It is possible to do so without calling unwanted attention to the subject. Here is one that I use; it is based on those used by some of my departmental colleagues. I place it at the bottom of the syllabus and on assignments:

'Academic honesty is fundamental to our community. The Pennbook contains our Code of Academic Integrity. A confirmed violation of that Code in this course will result in failure for the course.'

Having such a statement frees you from possible problems later. Should you decide that there are extenuating circumstances such that you wish to be more lenient, that is of course always your right. But a clearly stated policy is helpful all around.”

Your statement can be short or long (see below) but should explain your expectations about integrity and the consequences.

The following statements are samples of different types of statements of Academic Integrity from Penn syllabi in many different departments. They represent a range of perspectives on Academic Integrity (some departments worry more about plagiarism and others more about collaboration) and cover a wide range of consequences (some threaten failure for any violation; some simply say that students will be reported to the “appropriate” authorities.)

Of course, including this statement is ONLY a first step. Many of these professors discuss their expectations during class as well as before every paper or exam. They also discuss issues that sometime confuse students such as what constitutes an acceptable paraphrase and what constitutes acceptable collaboration.

Note that almost all statements include a link to the University’s Code of Academic Integrity.

Many also include links to:

The Office of Student Conduct’s Resources for Students page

Tips for avoiding plagiarism from the library’s online research tutorial

SAMPLE GENERAL STATEMENTS

From Max Cavitch’s syllabus for ENG 558 “Philadelphia Fire: Art and Politics in America from the Declaration of Independence to the MOVE Bombing”

It is your responsibility to be familiar with the University’s Code of Academic Integrity. Instances of academic dishonesty will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct for adjudication.

From Alain Plant's ENVS 100

Students are expected to be familiar with and comply with Penn’s Code of Academic Integrity, which is available in the Pennbook, or online at http://www.vpul.penn.edu/osl/acadint.html. I generally have a zero-tolerance policy for cheating, and all violations will result in substantial penalties. If you have any doubts or questions about what constitutes academic misconduct, please do not hesitate to contact me.

From Annette Lareau's SOCI 001 "Introduction to Sociology" 

Please familiarize yourself with Penn’s Code of Academic Integrity, http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/osl/acadint.html, which applies to this course.  It goes without saying that I do not anticipate any problems with academic integrity. In the unlikely event that any concerns do arise on this score, I will forward all related materials to Penn’s Office of Student Conduct, http://www.upenn.edu/osc/index.html, for an impartial adjudication.

From Tim Linksvayer's Biology 102

  • What happens if I am caught cheating? Our policy in BIOL102 is to send all cases of suspected Academic Integrity violations to the Office of Student Conduct (OSC). This is not negotiable. In addition, alleged violations of the Code of Academic Integrity are never referred for resolution by mediation. More information about the OSC can be found on its website: http://www.upenn.edu/osc/.
  • What are the penalties for Academic Integrity violations? Penalties can include suspension from the University and a notation indicating an academic integrity infraction in your academic record. If you think about it, this is an awful outcome for students and families. In addition, you will fail this course and receive an F on your transcript. Yes, we take this very seriously.
  • What procedures are used to detect cheating in this course? All graded exams will be scanned before being returned to you. Any discrepancy between the returned exam and one resubmitted for a regrade is considered a violation. No materials such as a smartphone are allowed to be used during an exam. Any use of a smartphone during an exam (for any reason) is considered a violation.

From Connie Scanga's Nursing 164 "Integrated Human Anatomy, Physiology & Physical Assessment"

All University of Pennsylvania students have the responsibility to know and observe the University’s Code of Academic Integrity. The faculty of N163/164 supports this code and expects that students and faculty will conduct themselves in all aspects of the academic process according to this code. Any form of academic dishonesty will be penalized with a failing grade (i.e., zero points) for the assignment, quiz, or examination in which the infringement occurred. Additionally, any violations of the Code may be referred to the Office of Student Conduct for further disciplinary action.

All assignments (including case studies) will be submitted via the TurnitIn feature on Canvas. As you see in the Code of Academic Integrity below, “using the ideas, data, or language of another without specific or proper acknowledgement” is dishonest. We will not accept work that includes copied and pasted information; all information or ideas included in your assignments must be in your own words. If you use ideas of others, whether they are “experts” writing for websites, friends from class, or other individuals, you must provide proper citations and references in the assignment. All references and citations must follow APA format. For your convenience, here is a link to a good tutorial on APA format: http://www.apastyle.org/