What is Academic Integrity?

academic integrity logo

Academic integrity is more than just obeying the rules. How you conduct yourself on campus says a lot about the type of person you are, which speaks to your personal integrity. At Brock, academic integrity refers to your acknowledgment of and respect for the academic principles and behaviours that support the University’s mission.

Information for students

It’s your responsibility to learn about academic integrity and what you can do to ensure your work is your own. Don’t cut corners or rely on others to do your work for you. Avoid committing academic misconduct and help to protect the reputation and value of your Brock degree.

Information for instructors

Faculty members, instructors and TAs have an important role when it comes to promoting academic integrity at Brock University. All faculty, instructors, TAs and staff need to work together to foster a climate of integrity. As an institution, we need to collaboratively adhere to policies and procedures for dealing fairly with students who have committed academic misconduct.

Cautionary (Academic Misconduct) Tales: How it Happens Every Day

Jen wrote a paper for her CLAS 1F90 class.  She started early and wrote carefully.  She cited every source, saved each draft separately, and even emailed herself copies along the way just to be safe. Despite all of Jen’s care and precautions, she was found guilty of academic misconduct because her “friend” had stolen a copy of her paper from her computer and submitted it herself. Did you know you’re responsible if your work gets stolen? Lock your computer–Protect your work and protect your reputation.

When Eric, a second-year student in CPCF, had an essay due and was pressed for time, he made a hasty decision. He would borrow his roommate’s essay. His roommate didn’t mind; he had finished the course in the fall and had already received a grade. Eric spent an hour changing a few paragraphs around and tweaking the intro. He was sure no one would notice or care. After all the instructor wasn’t even the same. When both he and his roommate were called in for a meeting with the Associate Dean, no one was more shocked than they were. Did you know that grades on previously earned credits can be changed when students are charged with academic misconduct? Think twice before copying others’ work. Think twice before lending out papers. Your reputation, and your grades, are at stake.

Jaspreet and Michael had been hanging out and having fun since the first day of O-Week. At the beginning of the term, no matter how late they were out the night before, they both dragged themselves out of bed to attend their early morning PSYC 1F90 lecture. As the term wore on, though, their motivation flagged and they started missing lectures, and, because the prof tracked participation through clicker questions, they started losing marks. Then they came up with a solution: they’d take turns attending lecture and the person whose turn it was would bring both clickers. Did you know that using someone else’s clicker is considered impersonation? Both Jaspreet and Michael ended up being charged with academic misconduct. Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking a little click is just a little favour. That click can have big consequences.

Dylan took HLSC 1P92 the previous year and failed the course because he didn’t put in enough time and effort. He registered to retake the course and figured it would be a breeze because he’d already done most of the work, he just needed to do it better. For the big paper at the end of the term, he saved a lot of time by using his paper from last year and adding to it. It seemed like common sense to him; it was his work, after all, and there was no point reinventing the wheel.

Dylan was wrong. In every course you’re expected to generate unique work. Repurposing work from other classes or from the same class taken at a different time constitutes academic misconduct.

Paul, Jasmine, Pardeep, and Mohammed are in the BBA program. They worked together on a group project earlier in the term and are now great friends. Since they’re in many of the same classes, they decided to meet as a group every Thursday. During their meetings, they discussed their assignments, worked through assignment questions and compared their notes and answers. When they were called in for a meeting with the Associate Dean, they were surprised and worried. Did you know that working with other students on individual assignments is considered inappropriate collaboration and academic misconduct?

Nancy and Lynn are in the Nursing program. In one class, they needed to write a summary of a research article. Neither Nancy nor Lynn had written a summary before and they weren’t sure how to do it. Nancy asked Lynn for advice on finding articles, so Lynn shared the keywords she used to search and the articles she found. Later, when Lynn was struggling with the methods section, Nancy explained what she put in hers. Although Lynn and Nancy did not read each other’s paper, the papers ended up being very similar, as did their academic misconduct charges.

Darma transferred to Brock and submitted her first essay without citing any sources. Her ideas came from her personal experience, from ideas discussed in lecture, and ideas she read in course texts. In her previous program at her previous school, she was expected to show her understanding of the content; referencing sources was not required. When Darma’s professor asked her to rewrite her paper and to cite her sources, Darma inserted references from her course texts without knowing exactly which source contributed to which idea, but she thought her professor wouldn’t notice. The professor did. Darma received a zero on the paper and a note on her transcript.

Yvonne’s first language is not English. Normally this isn’t a problem because many of her Economics courses involve mathematics. However, in one of her courses she needed to remember many terms and definitions. She was worried about her exam and decided to make a study guide. She didn’t plan on cheating, but her family was depending on her to get her degree, and she didn’t want to fail the course. On exam day she put the study guide in her pocket, but in the end, she didn’t even need it, didn’t even take it out of her pocket. She felt great about her performance. However, when handing her exam to her professor, the study guide fell out of her pocket and she was charged with academic misconduct. Yvonne would’ve passed the course if she’d trusted herself and the work she’d done. Instead she got a zero on the exam and had to retake the course the following year.