Academic Integrity and Class Preparation

By Peter Connor

The beginning of the semester is a great time to address the issue of academic integrity with your students. The murky part, of course, is communicating the message effectively.

Bill Taylor, a professor of Political Science at Oakton Community College in Illinois, did it by writing an open letter to his students, based upon ideas contained in the first draft of "The Fundamental Values of Academic Integrity," a project developed at Clemson University's Center for Academic Integrity.

The letter covers a lot of ground, out of which I have created a number of Teaching Tips that you will find indexed under TILT’s Related Tips in the right-hand column.

In the tip below—Section I of the letter—specific parallels are drawn between the requirements academic integrity imposes on both Taylor, and his students, regarding class preparation. As you can see, they are basically the same.

Section I: From Bill Taylor's "A Letter to My Students"

What Academic Integrity Requires of Me in This Area

With regard to coming prepared for class, the principles of academic integrity require that I come having done the things necessary to make the class a worthwhile educational experience for you.

This requires that I:

  • reread the text (even when I’ve written it myself),
  • clarify information I might not be clear about,
  • prepare the class with an eye toward what is current today (that is, not simply rely on past notes), and
  • plan the session so that it will make it worth your while to be there.

What Academic Integrity Requires of You in This Area

With regard to coming prepared for class, the principles of academic integrity suggest that you have a responsibility to yourself, to me, and to the other students to do the things necessary to put yourself in a position to make fruitful contributions to class discussion.

This will require you to:

  • read the text before coming to class,
  • clarify anything you’re unsure of (including looking up words you don’t understand),
  • formulate questions you might have so you can ask them in class, and
  • think about the issues raised in the directed reading guide.

Note: In other sections of this letter (see TILT’s Related Tips) Taylor describes the similarity of the responsibilities both he and his students have relative to class participation as well as to exams, written assignments, and grading.


Taylor, B. (n.d.). Integrity: Academic and Political - A Letter to My Students. In Academic Integrity Articles. Retrieved January 9, 2009, from the Clemson University Center for Academic Integrity Web site:

Copyright and Permissions:

This Teaching Tip was adapted from "A Letter to My Students," written by William M. Taylor: Political Science Professor—Oakton Community College in Des Plaines, IL.

NOTE: Taylor has granted permission for his letter to be used in any way that is consistent with promoting academic integrity (n.d., p.1).


Peter Connor - TILT Web Content Writer and Editor