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Academic Integrity

Guide to having academic integrity and avoiding plagiarism

Academic Integrity Basics

Academic integrity defined:

Academic integrity is behaving honestly with regard to your classwork.

Basic values that demonstrate academic integrity:

  • Fairness
  • Honesty
  • Respect
  • Trust
  • Responsibility 

Academic dishonesty defined:

According to the Central Penn College Catalog, "Any student who uses the intellectual property of another without acknowledging the original source properly has committed academic dishonesty. This definition includes but is not limited to inserting verbatim resources from an outside source without citation; closely imitating the word choice, sentence structure, and/or paragraph from an outside source without citation; improperly citing a source with the intention to obscure the original source; submitting the work of another without attribution and as your own; resubmitting the same work a second time without the permission of the original and secondary instructor; using sources directly prohibited; and colluding with another student with or without their knowledge when prohibited."


Academic integrity is a broad and sometimes vague subject. It's not always black and white. If you're not sure if you're violating academic integrity, talk to your instructor or a librarian for guidance.

Some examples of what constitutes academic dishonesty include:

  • Lying to your professor about why you submitted an assignment late (or not at all)
  • Cheating on your homework, quiz, or test
  • Submitting a paper you previously wrote for another class without permission from BOTH instructors 
  • Having a friend complete an assignment for you or allowing a friend to turn in work that you completed
  • Fabricating research or statistics 


Sanctions for violating academic integrity:

The Catalog outlines the sanctions for violating academic integrity, including:

  • Grade reductions (or zeros) for minor first offenses
  • Course failure for a major offense
  • Permanent academic dismissal for major subsequent offenses


Real-world consequences for violating academic integrity:

The ideas behind academic integrity do not only apply to schoolwork.  Employers expect their employees to perform their jobs with fairness, honesty, respect, and responsibility to deserve the employer's trust. 

Here are just a few non-grade-related reasons to practice academic integrity:

  • Failing a course due to academic dishonesty means $money$ and time wasted
    • If the course was a required course, then you'll need to pay to take the same course again.
  • Copying someone else's work = not learning something yourself
    • If your employer sees a course on your resume and/or transcript, they will assume you learned the content and can use that knowledge/skill on the job.