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Academic Integrity

What Is Academic Integrity

"Academic integrity" is the term used to refer to some of the most important values of the university community. We hold high standards and expectations for the quality and honesty of our own work, and for the work of other members of the academic community. We rely on one another to live up to these standards because the quality and value of our own academic work depends on the trustworthiness of the work done by our colleagues.

Academic work is like building blocks--As the work of one academic builds upon another, it is imperative that we acknowledge and properly document the sources of information that we are using. This will also ensure that others can locate the original information if they want to know more. 

The reputation of our academic work is founded on whether others can use it with confidence and feel confident that their own contributions will be acknowledged. Similarly, the reputation of our University and respect for the value of the qualifications we gain from it are earned and maintained through the integrity of our work.

Please review the following codes and policy enforced by the VCSU Vice President of Academic Affairs office before proceeding with the rest of this tutorial:

Please be aware that the most up-to-date version of the Student Handbook is also available online, through OneStop.

What Does It Mean to Me?

As a student, to have academic integrity means that you have adopted principles or standards that consistently govern how you pursue your academic work. A student with academic integrity earns a degree with honest effort, and knows that this degree is a true accomplishment reflecting years of hard work and genuine learning. Academic integrity requires you to develop essential skills including research, writing, and documenting. 

It is not always easy to know what choices to make in school. There are many questions with answers that may be unclear to you. We have provided some frequently asked integrity questions below.

When is it acceptable to use other people's information or ideas?

In most situations it is okay to use other people's ideas in your own work provided the original authors have been properly acknowledged. There are some cases where all of your work must be your own such as when you are solving problems or completing specific assignments that indicate that all of the work must be your own.

How can I use other people's ideas without "cheating"?

In order to use other people's ideas without cheating you must acknowledge that the ideas you are using are not your own. You do this through the proper referencing of quotations, paraphrases, ideas, theories, charts, data, images and other information. As a general principle you must always indicate when you are using the work of others through proper referencing techniques. The only times you do not need to reference are when you are discussing your original research, your original ideas or when you are discussing that which is common knowledge. When in doubt ask your instructor.

Can I use work I did last year in one of my courses this year?

Yes and no. You can use your work from previous years provided you clearly indicate what section(s) of your assignment, paper or report was completed for an earlier course. Many students (and even academic professionals) use old research as a "jumping-off" point for further inquiry. You must, however, have enough "new material" so that your current assignment, paper or report can be counted for academic credit. Simply handing in an old assignment for evaluation in another course is not acceptable. If you are going to reference previous academic work for an assignment in another course, always check with your instructor beforehand.

Can I share my answers /work/research with my friends?

Yes and no. You can work with other students when the professor has announced that it is acceptable to do so. Often professors will encourage students to work in groups for specific projects. At all other times you must keep your work to yourself. This will ensure that you are not helping others to copy or misuse your work. It is academic misconduct to encourage, enable or cause others to commit a breach of academic honesty.