Promoting academic integrity

February 13, 2018 | Claudia Stanny

Promoting academic integrity

Academic integrity encompasses a culture in which academic performance in courses and academic scholarship accurately represent student learning and the rigor of intellectual scholarship. Unfortunately, we often resort to negations to define academic integrity when discussions focus on how to detect failures of academic integrity, highlight examples of academic misconduct, and describe strategies for policing and punishing transgressions. How can faculty proactively promote the cultural values that serve as the foundation for academic integrity in their classrooms and research laboratories?

Boise State University hosts an excellent resource page for faculty and students that takes this proactive approach. Resource pages for faculty include tips for how to promote academic integrity at the beginning of the semester and tips for how to structure courses and assignments to promote intellectual rigor and integrity in student learning. Similar guidelines appear in a resource PDF hosted by the University of Surrey (Designing out plagiarism). In addition, Carroll and Zettering (2009) provide excellent guidance to both students and faculty on how to promote writing and use of sources in a way that respects authorship.

Promoting academic integrity during the first week of the term

  • Discuss academic integrity on your syllabus and facilitate a class discussion of the meaning of academic integrity in your class and in your discipline during the first or second week of the term. Reinforce the value of academic integrity both while students are enrolled at UWF and for their professional life following graduation.
  • Make sure that students understand what plagiarism and academic integrity are and what behaviors violate these standards. Establish unambiguous guidelines for behaviors that are and are not acceptable within your class to maintain academic integrity. Clearly state expectations about when and how students should cite work in papers, assignments, discussion board threads, and other academic work. State clear boundaries for student collaboration in group work, study groups, assistance with homework, and other assignments and exams.

Promoting academic integrity through course and assignment design

  • Create clear instructions and guidelines for assignments. Assignment instructions should clearly state acceptable and unacceptable collaborations between students. Instructions should also state expectations about how and when students should acknowledge the intellectual work of others through appropriate citations, including information about citation formats.
  • Model academic integrity practices in your course materials. Providing appropriate citations for images, graphics, and other source material used in PowerPoint slides, course handouts, and other instructional materials. Pay attention to fair use restrictions when using copyrighted material or posting copyrighted materials electronically. Be explicit about your behavior so students are aware of the principles of academic integrity that underlie your decisions.
  • Create assignments that demand original work. Vary assignment prompts and topics and change exam questions from year to year to minimize the temptation to “cut corners” and make use of student files or web resources instead of engaging in the intellectual work required for authentic learning.
  • Structure assignment to make faking originality difficult. Assign low stakes “milestone” tasks to scaffold student learning and allow students to receive feedback, learn from mistakes, submit improved work on future submissions, and meet learning expectations on higher stakes assignments.

The CUTLA Academic Integrity Resources page serves as a portal to resources in Student Affairs (Academic Misconduct, the Library guides on avoiding plagiarism, and information about Turnitin (undergraduate and graduate submissions) and iThenticate (graduate submissions)). Links to resources cited in this tip appear on this page.  

The Student Affairs web resources for faculty include online forms for reporting (misconduct and referrals to the Campus Care Team) and information about the Academic Misconduct Code, the Campus Care Team, and other services to address student needs.


Academic Integrity Resources (nd). Center for University Teaching, Learning, and Assessment. University of West Florida.

Carroll, J. (2010). Designing out plagiarism: A brief guide for busy academics. University of Surrey. PDF available at:

Carroll, J., & Zetterling, C-M. (2009). Guiding students away from plagiarism / Hjälp studenterna att undvika plagiering. Stockholm, Sweden: KTH Learning Lab, KTH Royal Institute of Technology. PDF available at:

Faculty Resources at UWF – Student Affairs (nd). Student Code of Academic Conduct []

Promoting Academic Integrity (nd). Boise State University.