A fundamental principle for any educational institution, academic integrity is highly valued and seriously regarded at The University of Texas at Austin. More specifically, you and other students are expected to maintain absolute integrity and a high standard of individual honor in scholastic work undertaken at the University. This is a very basic expectation that is further reinforced by the University's Honor Code. At a minimum, you should complete any assignments, exams, and other scholastic endeavors with the utmost honesty, which requires you to:
- acknowledge the contributions of other sources to your scholastic efforts;
- complete your assignments independently unless expressly authorized to seek or obtain assistance in preparing them;
- follow instructions for assignments and exams, and observe the standards of your academic discipline; and
- avoid engaging in any form of academic dishonesty on behalf of yourself or another student.
For the official policies on academic integrity and scholastic dishonesty, please refer to Chapter 11 of the Institutional Rules on Student Services and Activities.
Why Is Academic Integrity So Important?
One significant reason concerns the University's educational mission. Quite simply, educational objectives cannot be meaningfully fulfilled without strict adherence to the standard of academic integrity. Acts of academic dishonesty not only undermine the learning process and disadvantage students who earn credit honestly, but also subvert key responsibilities of the academic enterprise, such as the assessment and certification of students' scholastic progress and claimed educational achievements. Too costly to ignore, these and other consequences of academic dishonesty clearly underscore the importance of academic integrity.
Academic integrity is just too valuable for academic dishonesty to be tolerated at the University!
Upholding this standard of conduct is also a minimal requirement for "a university of the first class," the honored distinction envisioned for our institution by the authors of the Texas Constitution of 1876. Many impressive accomplishments have earned that status over time and continue to do so, such as the University's distinguished efforts in developing and advancing knowledge. All participants - including students - must rigorously and consistently observe an exemplary standard of academic integrity in their contributions to this complex, interdependent process that cannot function effectively in the absence of honesty.
So, as vital members of the University community, you and other students share a vested interest in striving to achieve and maintain a prevailing norm of academic integrity on this campus.
Consequences of Academic Dishonesty Can Be Severe!
You may see or hear of other students engaging in some form of academic dishonesty. If so, do not assume that this misconduct is tolerated. Such violations are, in fact, regarded very seriously, often resulting in severe consequences. Consequences for engaging in Academic Dishonesty include:
- A Grade Related Sanction
- A Status-Based Sanction (Academic Integrity Probation, Deferred Suspension, Suspension etc.)
- An Educational Sanction (Complete reflective assignment, attend a workshop, mentoring opportunity etc.)
Engaging in dishonest behavior is simply not worth the risks of jeopardizing your academic career and gambling with your future!
The value of a University of Texas degree is also inherently connected to the prestige of this institution and its academic units - colleges and schools, departments and individual degree programs. So the accrued costs of any damage to their earned reputations can adversely affect you and other students who someday will compete for jobs and/or admission into graduate programs or professional schools.
Altogether, these and other concerns reinforce and assure the University's serious interest in confronting academic dishonesty and holding students accountable for any such violations.
Avoiding Academic Dishonesty
This section provides important general tips to assist you in avoiding scholastic dishonesty.
Seek clarification from your instructors regarding class policies; do not rely on other students for such information.
Carefully read your course syllabus and follow instructions for completing assignments and ask your instructors to clarify the guidelines. For example, to what extent is working together on an assignment allowed, if at all? Know exactly where the line is and do not cross over it.
Always assume that you are expected to complete assignments independently unless your instructors indicate otherwise.
Plan ahead so that you will be more adequately prepared. If you think that you may need tutoring in a particular course, arrange for that assistance early in the semester. Several helpful academic assistance programs on campus include the Sanger Learning and Career Center, the Graduate Student Writing Service, and the Undergraduate Writing Center (UWC).
Since desperation clouds judgment and often leads to poor decision making, avoid waiting until the last minute to study for exams or complete assignments.
Allow sufficient time to review your drafted assignments before completing and submitting them, and be sure to credit the sources of any borrowed material properly, using the types of citations specified by your instructors.
Remember, perceived "shortcuts" can actually be forms of scholastic dishonesty!