Academic Integrity

In an increasingly competitive job market, students view high course grades as critical to achieving their post-graduation goals (a view that is often justified), and this attitude drives some to cheat. For faculty, the challenges are to create an environment that minimizes the likelihood of cheating, to detect cheating when it occurs, and to deal firmly but fairly with those who choose to cheat.

One of the most important tasks for the faculty member is to establish clear and specific expectations around academic integrity and communicate them clearly to the students. There are several possible means to accomplish this. Here are some examples:

Adam Melvin and I have developed some video segments for my sophomore gateway material and energy balance class that give specific examples of appropriate and non-appropriate behaviors, based on the syllabus language. The videos are accessible at

  • Introduction – An overview of course expectations regarding academic integrity
  • What is Cheating – Some obvious and not-so-obvious examples of cheating behavior
  • Cheating on Individual Assignments – Authorized and unauthorized aid when two students work on a problem together
  • Cheating on Computer Assignments – Examples involving students working in the computer lab
  • Cheating in the Student Lounge – Examples involving groups of students working in the student lounge
  • Conclusion – Take home message to the students

Here is a form to  prohibit students from sharing copyrighted course content.

Here are some tips for preventing and detecting cheating on homework and exams.

Stanford University has developed a tool called MOSS for detecting software plagiarism.

Here are some scenarios, both academic and professional, which could be used to facilitate a discussion on ethical behavior.

Here are Tips for Teaching Assistants on office hours and grading.

Here is a Cover Sheet that students can attach to their assignments.  I suggest folding the papers and returning them so that the student’s name is on the front and their grade is on the back.

The NC State Office of Student Conduct offers excellent support resources for instructors; in particular, they have a helpful “script” on how to confront a student. In addition, the NC State Office of Faculty Development offers resources specifically related to plagiarism.