Free Academic Integrity Essay Example

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Students, Integrity, Education, Plagiarism, Dishonesty, School, University, Faculty

Pages: 5

Words: 1375

Published: 2020/10/21

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In my opinion, academic integrity at the graduate level consists of being honest on all of the coursework that is being turned in by the instructor. And not just on the coursework, but in all areas of communication within the graduate student atmosphere. Academic integrity is about not taking the “shortcuts” but instead, placing their academic studies into a professional practice which would be utilized when one step into their career of choice. Graduate schools usually place a huge emphasis on being proactive for students to emphasize academic integrity at all times. This paper will discuss the following areas of academic integrity- the academic integrity code, examples of graduate students portraying integrity versus the students who are not, common issues, causes of academic violations, consequences, and possible solutions.

The Academic Integrity Code

According to Clemson University, “An academic environment of integrity is one in which students, faculty, and staff interact with each other from a position of mutual trustworthiness. The university has committed itself to preparing a community of scholars dedicated to integrity within the sectors of teaching, research, scholarship, mentorship and the acquisition. All faculty and students must display professional values of trust, honesty, fairness, responsibility and respect.  It is an expectation that all of the graduate students avail themselves of the many opportunities and resources both on and off campus to learn how to engage in professional practice with integrity. The Graduate School and the community of scholars engaged in graduate-level education will vigorously and expeditiously. The school will respond to charges of violations of academic integrity. 
In order to promote an academic environment of integrity, “all students, faculty, and staff must commit to fostering honesty in academic work. Each individual has an important role in ensuring that the graduate school policy on academic integrity is respected and used most effectively as a mechanism for teaching versus a mechanism for punishment. The Graduate School encourages all faculty and students to take a positive role in eradicating ignorance of violations of academic integrity” (“Graduate Philosophy,” 2015). At the beginning of a course, regardless of the type of course, instructors have a duty to verbally communicate the expectations for that class so the students could receive a well-received grade. Students should be able to communicate with their professors during class or after class through various methods of communication such as email, office telephone, or by postal mail if appropriate. When a student reaches out to their instructor, is should be arranged for all of their questions are properly answered pertaining to their assignments. No student should be “left in the dark”, so to speak. However, there are those cases when this does occur, and as a result, students will in fact commit plagiarism simply because they may not understand the assignment, felt that they could not confide in the instructor or the instructor may not care in general. “In 2005, approximately 55 Master’s theses written in the mechanical engineering department at Ohio University were shown to contain plagiarized materials. A number of these theses were supervised by the same two professors, who were punished for their failure to adequately police their students’ work. The students themselves were also punished” (“CEW Brownbag Discussion,” 2007, p. 2).
It is important to note however, that there is no excusable justification for committing such an act, but to evaluate the reasons of students committing the acts in itself. We will take a look at the common issues of academic integrity and evaluate real life scenarios of the students who honor the academic integrity code versus the students who do not.

Common Issues and Causes of Academic Integrity

“56% of MBA students surveyed self-reported having cheated in the previous year, while 47% of non-MBA graduate students reported the same. On the blog resource “commit,” graduate student admissions of cheating are broken down by discipline as follows: 54% of engineering students, 48% of education students, and 45% of law students surveyed reported having committed academic dishonesty” (“CEW Brownbag Discussion,” 2007, para. 1). “Academic dishonesty has been a part of the higher education setting. Understanding the potential causes and complexities of academic dishonesty is critical in building an effective academic culture and system to try to counter this problem. Causal factors for academic dishonesty may be separated into (external) situational ones, and (internal) developmental ones. Values may be socially created between peoples and embedded in a culture. Some values are situational based and relativistic. Other values may be internal to individuals and may be a factor of their developmental stages. External factors related to competition affect academic dishonesty. These may be pressure to achieve good grades, test anxiety, classroom environment and relative risk of detection, institutional policies on academic honesty, and achievement issues”(Roberts, 2009, p. 2). Whereas the internal factors “may be poor time management, lack of preparation, lack of skills to find resources, inability to seek appropriate help, and low intrinsic interest in subject”. Traditional university-age students are seen as not “self-authorized” because of the particular stage in their intellectual development. If students do not feel that they can generate their own knowledge, then they might believe that it would be redundant to cite knowledge sources or to promise to refrain from accepting assistance on papers and examinations. When the environment is populated by individuals who are at the same developmental stage, it can ‘lead to the construction and reproduction of certain ‘social realities’ in a student culture that defines cheating as more acceptable” (Roberts, 2009, p. 3). Other causes of academic violations may be “deadlines which are determined by university calendars can complicate the research process and offer a temptation to cut corners. Scholars may feel pressure to increase their output to secure monetary or professional rewards. Research projects can offer opportunities for collaboration and the need to accept responsibility for one’s own role in the project, as well as the results obtained by the group. Scholars scrutinize the work of other academics in order to ensure that research methods are appropriately applied and results rigorously reviewed. Graduate students often have dual roles as teachers as well as researchers, and thus must consider the ethical implications of the instructor-student relationship and of those relationships between professional equals” ("Academic Integrity and Ethics," 2014). There are many reasons and issues surrounding academic misconduct, but there are also the consequences to face as well once caught in the act.

Consequences of Violating Academic Integrity

The consequences of academic dishonesty or misconduct vary from each university or school. Some enforce stricter rules than others. It is essential for students to read the policies and guidelines before participating in any acts of deceit since the consequences may be extremely severe. “The major consequence of plagiarism is that people who engage in it hurt themselves.  Good research and writing involve skills. This may include evaluating sources, selecting appropriate quotations, paraphrasing, and giving credit to others for their ideas. Students who plagiarize may never learn these skills, and life beyond college can be difficult without them. People who engage in plagiarism also hurt others, and the school they attend.  Turning in plagiarized work is unfair to students who do their own work.  It jeopardizes the integrity of the grading system. And whether detected or not, plagiarism violates the implicit contract of the school when everyone is working together to help students learn the knowledge and skills that will fulfill their potential” ("Baylor School," 2013). Nonetheless, the consequences of any sort of plagiarism could resort to expulsion, loss of tuition money which could be in the six figure range, a zero in the course and the other work which was completed in honesty would be in “vain”, or legal action depending on the misconduct. However, on the lighter side of the consequences could consist of forgiveness, a warning, and repeating the class over again.
In conclusion, throughout this essay, we have discussed intensively the issues and common causes of academic conduct and violating the academic integrity code. But there are also solutions to preventing plagiarism. No student goal is to fail. Therefore, if these solutions are followed, then the student would be honoring the academic integrity code. The solutions are “requiring students to submit copies of research notes, requiring students to submit bibliographies, outlines, or drafts, give pop quizzes on paper contents, make it mandatory that all resources to be current, from the last 2-3 years, and instructors should not leave any graded papers around, and allow students to grade other students papers which are members of the same class” ("PLNU," 2012).


18 Ways to Prevent Plagiarism in Student Papers. (2012). Retrieved from
Academic Dishonesty and Graduate Students. (2007). Retrieved from
Academic Integrity. (2015). Retrieved from
Causes of Academic Misconduct. (2014). Retrieved from
Consequences of Plagiarism. (2013). Retrieved from
Roberts, C. J. (2009). Issues of Academic Integrity: An Online Course for Students Addressing Academic Dishonesty. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 5, 1-15.

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