How Should I Address Cheating on My Syllabus?


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):

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.

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:

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@CSU: Writing Guides.

Include definitions of types of academic misconduct from CSU policies:

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