Academic Integrity and Academic Honesty

Saint Mary’s College is dedicated to intellectual inquiry and the personal and professional growth of its students. Academic integrity is foundational to the vibrant academic life and social structure of the College and represents the mutual engagement in learning between students and faculty members. Academic integrity is grounded in certain fundamental values which include truth, honesty, respect, responsibility, and fairness that form the basis for a vibrant academic culture. The highest standards of academic integrity are expected of all graduate students and faculty members in academic coursework and research activities. Activities that compromise truth gleaned through the advancement of learning and knowledge development undermine intellectual effort.

Academic integrity, in all its forms, is an explicit value of the College. Academic honesty is a form of academic integrity. Academic honesty can be best understood by the ethical standards guiding faculty in their academic work. Specifically an individual’s contributions, in terms of words and scholarly findings, are attributable to the individual scholar alone; no other individuals can honestly claim another’s ideas as their own. Furthermore, the integrity of scholarly knowledge rests on the accurate demonstration of the assumptions and reasoning that produced it. These standards are used as the implicit basis for teaching and learning in the College.

Responsibilities for Academic Honesty

Academic honesty consists of truth telling and truthful representations in all academic contexts. All members of the academic community have a responsibility to ensure that academic honesty is maintained.

Faculty responsibilities include:

  • Upholding the College’s principles of academic honesty.
  • Mitigating opportunities (where reasonable) for dishonesty,
  • Promulgating this policy to graduate students by placing it in the course syllabi.
  • Protecting students’ privacy , whether in confronting an individual suspected of dishonesty or receiving reports of dishonesty from others.
  • Communicating and sharing evidence of the dishonesty with the student.
  • Imposing an appropriate penalty as stated in the syllabus or as stated in the department handbook if dishonesty happens outside of class.
    • A student who has been found to commit an act of academic dishonesty in a program requirement that lies outside of a particular course, (e.g. comprehensive, thesis, project, or presentation), may fail this requirement. Each program will determine the way in which a student can address the successful completion of this requirement. Students will not be dismissed from their program of study unless they have more than one violation of academic honesty or a single violation of academic honesty that is so egregious as to warrant dismissal. Whether a single instance of academic honesty is raised to the level of the egregiousness will be determined by the Acting Dean of Graduate Studies and the Program Director.
  • Reporting instances of academic dishonesty to the designee of the Provost.

Student responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Refraining from violations of academic integrity.
  • Completing individual assignments with their own work.
  • Completing collaborative assignments by appropriate division of labor.
  • Completing internship, clinical or practicum assignments including time of service with their own work.
  • Refusing to participate in an act of academic dishonesty.
  • Notifying instructors of dishonesty that is observed.

Violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to: cheating on assignments or exams, fabrication of data, tampering, sabotaging another student’s work, plagiarism, falsification of records and official documents, unauthorized access to computerized academic or administrative records or systems, and aiding and/or facilitating any such activities. It is assumed that all work submitted by a student represents the student’s own ideas and work. Verbatim copying, paraphrasing, adapting or summarizing the work of another, regardless of the source — whether books, journals, periodicals, websites, or other forms of media—must be properly cited. Any representation of the work of another that is not properly referenced is considered to be plagiarism. Ignorance of what constitutes plagiarism is not a defense to an allegation of a violation of the academic integrity policy. Any act that involves misrepresentation regarding the student’s academic work or that abridges the rights of other students to fair academic competition is unacceptable.

Any context in which students neglect or actively decline to be fully honest in academic work is academic dishonesty. Similarly, failure to report observations of academic dishonesty is considered to constitute a violation of academic integrity. The medium in which full honesty is ignored—whether electronic, print or verbal (e.g., verbally claiming responsibility for another person’s academic work)—is immaterial. Neither is it important whether the academic work in question is required for a course or optional, a quiz or a test, a term paper or an in-class essay, graded or ungraded, etc. Neither does it matter whether the student benefits directly or at all from the dishonesty.

Professional Standards

Individual graduate programs at Saint Mary’s College may have additional, discipline-specific ethical guidelines as appropriate to the program. Please see the relevant program’s policies.