Communicating Integrity in the Syllabus 

As mentioned here, faculty need to communicate about integrity to ensure the class understands (and buy into) shared standards. You can do this in your syllabus, in a separate document, in a presentation, or on a website. We do recommend, however, that you communicate in both written and oral form - this not only helps your non-native speakers but it helps all students who may need to hear the information multiple times.

The Policy on Integrity of Scholarship requires that professors inform students in writing "if there are any course-specific rules required by the Instructor for maintaining academic integrity." The rules that have to be written are those not common or the norm for all classes (e.g., you may not sit next to someone you know during an exam; your cell phone must be off your person and out of reach during an exam). See below for assistance on this particular statement.

However, we recommend that you do more that inform students of course-specific rules. We recommend you TALK to students about academic integrity - what it is, what it means to you, why it's important, and why it should be important to them. See more about this in the TritonEd AI Community.

In the meantime, consider at least doing one or more of the following in your syllabus, in a separate document, in a presentation, or on a website:

General statement on academic integrity

If you choose to adopt a generic statement about "academic integrity at UCSD," you can use and adapt the following statement from the Policy on Integrity of Scholarship:

"Integrity of scholarship is essential for an academic community. The University expects that both faculty and students will honor this principle and in so doing protect the validity of University intellectual work. For students, this means that all academic work will be done by the individual to whom it is assigned, without unauthorized aid of any kind."

If you just use this statement and nothing else (which we do NOT recommend), at least cite your source so students know that you didn't write this statement.

List of your commitments to uphold integrity

Upholding the values of academic integrity are just as much your responsibility.

We suggest you talk about what things you will do to uphold honesty, respect, responsibility, fairness, trustworthiness and courage. For example, will you cite all of your sources in lecture (honesty)? Will you return their graded assignments in a timely manner (responsibility)? Will you grade fairly according to the rubric that you give them ahead of time (fairness)? Will you address cheating when it occurs (courage)?

If you're interested in doing this, you can use this table as a template.

Explore our other webpages for more help on these things that you might want to talk about in the syllabus:

How you will respond to academic integrity violations

You should tell students how you will respond to suspected academic integrity violations because:

  • Awareness of costs prevents some students from cheating.
  • Perceived fairness improves class morale, especially for honest students.
  • You'll set classroom norms for behavior.

For example, you could say something like the following (although adapting it for your particular class rules/examples):

I am professionally and ethically responsible to report all possible integrity violations to the Academic Integrity Office. Integrity violations are not just blatant cheating (e.g., copying off another student during an exam), but what you might have thought of as "minor cheating" in high school, for example: copying other students' papers or homework; copying or using old papers/report; working with others on individual assignments; forgetting to cite material you took from an outside resource; turning in work completed in total or part by another.  The Policy on Integrity of Scholarship (academicintegrity.ucsd.edu) and this syllabus list some of the standards by which you are expected to complete your academic work, but your good ethical judgment (or asking me for advice) is also expected as we cannot list every behavior that is unethical or not in the spirit of academic integrity.

Those students found to have violated academic integrity will face administrative sanctions imposed by the University and academic sanctions imposed by me. See the University Sanctioning guidelines at http://academicintegrity.ucsd.edu/_files/Sanctioning-Guidelines.pdf. NOTE: these sanctions are not at my discretion. Your grade, the academic sanction, however, is at my discretion. And I have decided to give an F (a 0) on any assessment in which an academic integrity violation occurred - regardless of the extent of the violation. You copy one answer on a quiz, 0. You copying one sentence from the internet in a paper, 0. NOTE: Students who facilitate academic integrity violations (e.g., giving their paper to another student), are also violating academic integrity standards.

Students who become aware of their peers either facilitating academic misconduct or committing it should report their suspicions to me for investigation or tell the Academic Integrity Office.

Create an academic integrity pledge that students sign

You could also establish an academic integrity pledge that students read and sign.

We offer you this "I Excel with Integrity" pledge if you'd like to use it.

Or you could make up your own. For example:

"As a student enrolled in this class, I affirm the principle of academic integrity and commit to upholding integrity by completing all academic assignments in the manner expected, informing the instructor of suspected instances of academic misconduct by my peers, and fully engaging in the class and its related assignments for the purpose of learning."

If you choose to include a pledge like this, make sure it has meaning for students by discussing it with the class before you ask them to sign it.

Also, repeat that pledge on every assignment and exam - that is students have to write the pledge (preferably) and sign it on every work they send in for academic credit.

Download this Syllabus Checklist to evaluate your syllabus.