Students are responsible for understanding University academic integrity policies, forms of academic dishonesty and how to avoid academic misconduct. Students are also required to read their class syllabi to understand the course requirements and the instructor’s expectations for the course.
Upholding a culture of academic integrity impacts students' education and their professional goals and dreams, as briefly explained in this video.
Penn State policies direct faculty members to report suspicions of academic misconduct to the campus Academic Integrity office. Sanctions are assessed based on the allegation(s) and evidence and whether the infraction is a minor mistake or deliberate dishonest behavior. If proven, the claim is then forwarded to the Office of Student Accountability and Conflict Response (OSACR) to be recorded in the student’s record.
Forms of Academic Dishonesty & Misconduct:
The many forms and subsequent consequences of academic integrity misconduct are briefly explained in this video with the most common violations detailed below.
- Plagiarism: One the most frequent forms of academic violation is the failure to cite references – the failure to attribute credit for the work or contributions of others and presenting such work as your own. This failure to acknowledge references, whether intentional or unintentional, is known as plagiarism. This is one of the most common and most frequent academic dishonesty violations. Please see information below on how to avoid plagiarism.
- Cheating: Copying another student’s work or allowing another student to use your work for a test or homework assignment. Having another individual do your work or collaborate with you on a test is also defined as cheating. Using resources, such as referring to notes, internet search, etc., that are not permitted by the instructor for a test or homework assignment is also cheating.
- Duplicate Work: Submitting your own work in multiple classes or from a previous semester without the knowledge and permission of the instructor.
- Academic Misconduct: Behaviors such as obtaining tests in advance, sharing such tests with classmates, or altering grades are considered serious conduct violations.
- Unauthorized or Improper Use: This would entail the use of the internet or other devices such as calculators or other outside resources not approved by the instructor for an assignment.
- Misrepresentation or deceit: This would entail both lying to an instructor or deliberately omitting vital information to gain some advantage.
- Collusion/Conspiracy: This would be working together with someone on an assignment when you should be working independently or working together to attempt to commit academic dishonesty.
- Disruptive Behavior: Any form of unruly behavior within the class that disrupts the learning process. Examples of these would be failure to put your phone on silence, talking or texting in class, speaking disrespectfully to the instructor or other students while in class, or distributing or posting information that is inappropriate during class be it in-person or online.
- Fabrication: Manufacturing or misrepresenting information on a project or assignment.
- Bribery: Giving, offering, or soliciting a bride for a better grade or greater influence.
Consequences to Academic Dishonesty and Misconduct:
The sanctions to academic dishonesty can range from a warning to a grade reduction, to more severe disciplinary actions such as failing a course, suspension or being expelled from the University. Once an academic integrity violation is filed, a “Hold” is placed on the course in LionPath and you will not permitted to drop the course. If cleared of the violation, the hold will then be removed.
Academic dishonesty markers are not indicated on the student’s transcript, but for the most serious breaches of academic integrity, which may include repeat serious misconduct, the student’s transcript may have a notation assigned to the transcript either temporarily or permanently. Such indicators should be a rare occurrence and such sanctions are assigned in consultation with the instructor, Academic Integrity Committee and the Office of Student Accountability and Conflict Response (OSACR).
An allegation has been filed against you, now what?
Please refer to the Academic Integrity Processing Procedure for a brief summary of the process and how to respond to the allegation.
See also University Policy G-9, Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual for Academic Integrity and the Student User’s Guide in the academic Integrity online system for more detailed information on both processes.
How to avoid an allegation of academic dishonesty or misconduct.
Cite Your Sources:
Plagiarism - Intentional or Unintentional – It is still plagiarism if you fail to properly cite your source(s).
Academic plagiarism is defined when four or more words are taken from a printed source without quotation marks and no reference is made to the source of the material. This is using another’s words, ideas, data be it in the form of figures, charts, or graphs. In other words, work that is not your own but presented as if it were your original work.
You do not need to cite information that is common knowledge. These are facts, such as historic events, dates, information that can be found undocumented in at least five credible sources. An example of common knowledge would be “there are 12 months in a year”.
Work responsibly– Intentional or Unintentional – An innocent or misinformed action can result in an allegation.
A major key to avoiding academic dishonesty and misconduct is understanding the course expectations and instructor instructions. Read the course syllabus; be clear about your instructor’s instructions and expectations of assignments, tests, and allowable resources; obtain clarification from the instructor if in doubt whether you are required to work independently or can collaborate with classmates on projects; and act responsibly with your work and actions.
- Taking a quick look at your cell phone to check the time during a test can lead to a cheating allegation.
- Sharing your work to help a fellow student understand an assignment can lead to a cheating allegation against you if your work is unknowingly copied.
- Complete your work in a timely manner as rushing leads to mistakes and oversights.
- Don’t be afraid to ask your instructor if in doubt about what is permissible.
Academic Integrity Educational Resources:
- PSU Academic Integrity Tutorial that defines academic integrity and explains related concepts.
- Citation and Writing Guides includes comprehensive guides with examples for APA, MLA, and other citation styles.
- Starting Library Research Guide has resources from the University Libraries for students learning how to research.
- Information Literacy Badges have academic integrity assessments for faculty to incorporate into their curriculum.
- Information Literacy Tutorial (credo) to reinforce and guide students in applying academic integrity and creating citations.
For information about resources, contact Kristin E. C. Green, Reference and Instruction Librarian by Email: [email protected] or Phone: 570-963-2633.
You may also contact the Learning and Writing Center for assistance with learning how to cite your sources properly or how to paraphrase appropriately. To schedule an appointment, contact Jaime Mosher, Writing Center Coordinator, at [email protected] or 570-963-2697.
Academic Integrity Contact Information
Academic Integrity Unit Administrator at Penn State Scranton
Email: [email protected]