Faculty members are instrumental in protecting and promoting academic integrity on campus. As an educational leader, you have the responsibility to model and practice the values of honesty, trust, respect, fairness, and responsibility in aims of creating a culture of academic integrity for students to learn.
Here are ways to promote academic integrity in the classroom and online.
Create a positive learning environment and set expectations early on.
- Compose a learning-centred syllabus designed for student success. This means including learning outcomes, academic policies, expectations, resources, services, etc. for students to read and refer to. The Centre for Teaching and Learning provides a checklist for instructors to use when making a learning-centred syllabus (.pdf format).
- Make learning meaningful. Be explicit to students the reasons underlying the evaluations (assignments, papers, tests, etc.). What should they be learning and why is it important? How does it achieve the learning outcomes for the course? What new skills and knowledge does it produce? Further, discuss consequences of missed learning opportunities to stress your desire for their overall success in the course.
- Address the different forms of academic misconduct (plagiarism, cheating, unauthorized collaboration, etc.) and disciplinary measures (reduced grade, failure of course, transcript notation, etc.) to students. Refer students to Bylaw 31: Academic Integrity and the Student Code of Conduct.
- Provide additional resources and support to ensure that students feel equipped to do well in the course.
- Promote academic integrity yourself by citing sources in lectures and teaching materials.
- Encourage students to visit during office hours or to schedule an appointment, if they require assistance.
Educate your students on what constitutes as plagiarizing, cheating, unauthorized collaboration, etc.
- Provide an explicit definition for your students (refer to definitions in the University's Student Code of Conduct.
- Discuss the difference between appropriate, referenced use of ideas or quotations and inappropriate use. You might show them an example of a permissible paraphrase (with its citation) and an impermissible paraphrase (containing some paraphrasing and some copying), and discuss the difference.
- Discuss quoting a passage and using quotation marks and a citation as opposed to quoting a passage with neither (in other words, merely copying without attribution).
- Provide a lesson on paraphrasing, summarizing, and quoting and offer practice assignments (this provides students a safe space to make mistakes and learn without any penalty).
Discuss with your students on how committing an academic misconduct offense affects their learning.
- Acknowledge the importance of producing and submitting original work as a reflection of their knowledge of the course. For example, actually doing the work of the research paper or lab report rather than counterfeiting it gives the student not only knowledge of the subject and insights into the world of information and controversy, but improves research skills, thinking and analyzing, organizing, writing, planning and time management. All this is missed when the paper or lab report is plagiarized, and it is these missed skills which will be of high value in the working world.
Discuss the benefits of practicing academic honesty.
- Inform students that maintaining academic honesty not only demonstrates integrity but produces valuable, transferable skills.
- In the instance of writing papers, encourage students that using sources shows that they are engaged in "the great conversation", the world of ideas and that they are aware of other thinkers' positions on the topic. By quoting and citing writers who support their position, they add strength to the position. By responding reasonably to those who oppose the position, they show that there are valid counter-arguments.
Working with a Graduate Assistant/Teaching Assistant
Whether your GA/TA marks assignments and tests, proctors exams, and/or facilitates lectures or labs, they too play a role in promoting a culture of academic integrity. It is essential that you take the time to discuss the following topics with your TA/GA.
- Definition and forms of academic misconduct
- Acceptable vs. unacceptable work
- Grading criteria and fair marking
- Ways to detect academic misconduct
- Appropriate procedure to follow if academic misconduct is suspected
- Importance of confidentiality
- Proctoring procedures
- Exam security