How Should I Address Cheating on My Syllabus?

Overview:

To promote academic integrity at CSU, in May of 2011 the Faculty Council included the following standards for course syllabi in the Faculty Manual (Section I.5):

  • Each course instructor shall state in his or her course syllabus that the course will adhere to the Academic Integrity Policy of the Colorado State University General Catalog and the Student Conduct Code.
  • By the end of the second week of the course and/or in the course syllabus, the course instructor shall address academic integrity as it applies to his or her course components, such as homework, written assignments, lab work, group projects, quizzes, and exams. Examples of items to address include, but are not limited to, the use of class notes, study sheets, and solution manuals; appropriate uses of sources, Internet or otherwise; receiving assistance from others; and the use of prior work.

The minimum requirement could be fulfilled by including this statement:

This course will adhere to the CSU Academic Integrity Policy as found on the Student' Responsibilities page of the CSU General Catalog and in the Student Conduct Code.

At a minimum, violations will result in a grading penalty in this course and a report to the Office of Student Resolution Center.

For examples of how to include CSU Honor Pledge information on your syllabus, please view Sample Syllabi.

Contact Info

Photo of Dr. Joseph Brown

Dr. Joseph Brown
Director: Academic Integrity

Rm 147
Email Phone: 970.491.2898

Consider these suggestions as well:

Include a personal statement regarding academic misconduct. It is one of the most powerful and effective tools you have for preventing such behavior. It should cover:

  • Why academic integrity is important - to you, to fellow students, in this profession
  • The full range of consequences for academic misconduct
  • The procedures you will follow when academic misconduct is suspected
  • A quote from or referance to Article III of the CSU Student Conduct Code

Tailor your statement to the types of assignments you will be giving and instruct your students on the citation methods you expect them to use. Providing resources for correct citation may help your students as well.

Please see the Writing Guides. on Writing@CSU

Include definitions of types of academic misconduct from CSU policies:

  • Cheating; includes using unauthorized sources of information and providing or receiving unauthorized assistance on any form of academic work or engaging in any behavior specifically prohibited by the faculty member.
  • Plagiarism; includes the copying of language, structure, ideas, or thoughts of another, and representing them as one's own without proper acknowledgment.
  • Unauthorized Possession or Disposition of Academic Materials; includes the unauthorized selling or purchasing of examinations or other academic work; stealing another student's work; unauthorized entry to or use of material in a computer file; and using information from or possessing exams that an instructor did not authorize for release to students.
  • Falsification; any untruth, either verbal or written, in one's academic work.
  • Facilitation; knowingly assisting another to commit an act of academic misconduct.

Make only general comments about the grading penalties you will assess.

Refrain from using such phrases as: "First offense — failure on the assignment or test," and "Second offense — failure in the course."

The danger in prescribing specific penalities is clear. Doing so locks you into a course of action no matter the degree of seriousness or the possibility of mitigating circumstances attached to the offense.

In addition, the Learning@CSU Web site, contains a comprehensive resource for students wishing to hone their academic skills.

Include a link in your syllabus to Practicing Academic Integrity.

You might also want to include the text of the CSU Student Honor Code, approved by ASCSU and CSU faculty and staff in 2009:

As a student at Colorado State University, I recognize my active role in building a Campus of Character. This includes my commitment to honesty, integrity, and responsibility within the campus community. As such, I will refrain from acts of academic misconduct.

For more ideas, please read the Master Teacher Initiative (MTI) Teaching Tip, on Bill Taylor's Open Letter to My Students