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What Is Academic Integrity, and How Can I Achieve It?

By University Staff

What Is Academic Integrity, and How Can I Achieve It?

UPDATED March 16, 2021

What exactly does it mean to have academic integrity? We may learn from a young age that cheating is unethical, but we often don’t learn what academic integrity truly means until we enter college.

Even though academic integrity may be a common concept for those moving through the academic ranks, a recent meta-study reported that an average of 70% of students in a university setting commit acts of academic dishonesty, and a “large percentage of those students did not consider their behaviors to be violations of academic integrity” (Burgason et al., 2019). 

As such, UAGC is continuously striving to build strong support systems between what students know about academic integrity, and what it realistically takes to achieve it. 

In this article, we will define academic integrity, outline common motivators for academic misconduct, and describe UAGC's efforts to ensure student success. We will also share ways to avoid instances of academic dishonesty, provide several resources that will help you stay on track, and properly cite all of our sources in a reference listing at the end.

What is Academic Integrity?

The UAGC Catalog defines academic integrity as “the ethical use of information, thoughts, and ideas from which we build original thought to contribute to the academic conversation” (UAGC, 2020).

The catalog goes on to outline original thought, academic voice, careful attribution, personal responsibility, and continual improvement as the core components required of UAGC students, faculty, and staff in order to achieve academic integrity.

Some Causes of Academic Dishonesty

There are a variety of reasons why someone may not adhere to the school’s policy of academic integrity. We all know that it can be difficult to stay on top of academics with stress from life, work, family, and social and political issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. When we as humans become stressed, it impacts our ability to make positive choices.

Particularly in their first few classes at UAGC, many students often struggle with time management. Faced with the aforementioned stressors in life as well as many others not listed, students often put off working on their assignments until the last minute, causing a time crunch. In situations such as these, the Academic Integrity department always recommends reaching out to instructors for a possible extension. Even turning in an original assignment a day late is better than getting a zero for being flagged for academic dishonesty.

In addition, many of our students are potentially vulnerable to academic dishonesty by not knowing the online scams out there, and not utilizing the UAGC resources at their disposal. Another recent study suggested that when students observe others using online cheating sites, they are more inclined to do so themselves (Rettinger & Kramer, 2009). 

The Internet and Online Scams

While technology casts a wider net in terms of providing valuable access to education, it can also potentially threaten one’s ability to maintain academic integrity. From sites that yield false or unverified search results, to those that sell unoriginal work outright, the internet is full of dangerous and deceptive challenges.

Many sites market themselves as “tutoring” sites when in fact, they are buying and selling other students’ work. “Modern contract cheating websites are the fronts for sophisticated, commercial operations that offer individually written assessment items for a fee” (Rowland et al., 2018).

Learn more about how to avoid scams by reading this article on deceptive online tutoring services.

How Does UAGC Support Academic Integrity Efforts?

Students are always encouraged to utilize the Originality Check option within Waypoint to review how much of their assignment matches other content. If you are struggling with understanding how to read and understand these originality reports, we encourage you to reach out to us and we can help!

Be sure to keep these UAGC Writing Center resources on hand:

How Can I Avoid Plagiarism and Academic Dishonesty?

For further reference, students can review and bookmark official university policies and definitions regarding academic integrity and academic dishonesty.

Additionally, students can learn about Common Forms of Plagiarism, refer to the Recognizing Plagiarism Tipsheet, and read our blog on the difference between paraphrasing and plagiarism

Administrators, faculty, and staff have high hopes that students will consider the complexities of academic integrity, keep these abundant resources in mind, and reach out for continued support as they navigate their studies at UAGC. We are here to help you!
Feel free to reach out to us at [email protected]

Best wishes and happy writing!

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References
Burgason, K.A., Sefiha, O., & Briggs, L.T. (2019). Cheating is in the Eye of the Beholder: an Evolving Understanding of Academic Misconduct. Innovative Higher Education, 44, 203-218.

Rettinger, D. A., & Kramer, Y. (2009). Situational and Personal Causes of Student Cheating. Research in Higher Education, 50(3), 293–313. https://doi-org.proxy-library.ashford.edu/10.1007/s11162-008-9116-5

Rowland, S., Slade, C., Wong, K.-S., & Whiting, B. (2018). “Just turn to us”: the persuasive features of contract cheating websites. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 43(4), 652–665. https://doi-org.proxy-library.ashford.edu/10.1080/02602938.2017.1391948

The University of Arizona Global Campus. (2020). University of Arizona Global Campus Catalog. Student Rights and Responsibilities. https://www.uagc.edu/catalog/student-rights-and-responsibilities#catalog11340


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