Creating an Academic Integrity Statement

Every tutorial or lab syllabus should include a section on Academic Integrity and your expectations for the class so that students know what to expect, and can’t claim later that they did not know. This should not be threatening, but it does need to be clear and explicit.

An effective statement will contain the following elements1:

  • A general statement about the importance of AI at U of T.
  • A personal statement explaining your commitment to academic honesty in your class.
  • A list of offences with a link to the Academic Code.
  • Clarification about particular offences that might be a particular risk in your course, e.g., collaboration.
  • Brief statement about how you will deal with concerns.
  • Link to campus resources to help students in need and reduce risk factors for cheating.
  • Invitation to come to you or the TA for clarification.
  • Invitation to report acts of academic misconduct they may observe (optional).

The following are examples of language you could use for each element, followed by samples of complete statements. Feel free to use or adapt any combination of the examples below to suit your own assignments.

AI Statements

  • Academic integrity is fundamental to learning and scholarship at the University of Toronto and beyond. Participating honestly, respectfully, responsibly, and fairly in this academic community ensures that the U of T degree that you earn will be valued as a true indication of your individual academic achievement, and will continue to receive the respect and recognition it deserves.
  • Academic integrity is central to this institution. Without honesty, a learning community has no substance or validity.
  • Academic honesty and responsibility are fundamental to good scholarship and learning. As members of this academic community, you have a responsibility to conduct yourself in accordance with these expectations
  • Academic honesty and ethical behaviour are necessary for the proliferation and communication of research and ideas.
  • Academic integrity is fundamental to learning and achieving course goals. The assignments in this course are designed to give you an opportunity to learn important skills and concepts over the course of your degree by making honest attempts through your own thinking, writing, and hard work.

Personal Statements

  • While I don’t expect to encounter instances of cheating in this class, I take academic integrity very seriously, and there are significant consequences if you are caught cheating or engaging in academic misconduct. All academic work in this course must adhere to the Code of Behavior on Academic Matters.
  • I am strongly committed to assigning grades based on my students’ honest efforts to demonstrate learning in this course. Academic dishonesty in any form will thus not be tolerated in my classes.
  • I am sympathetic to the many challenges today’s students face. Reasonable late penalties are given for assignments submitted after deadline in order to help you manage conflicting deadlines. Should you feel pressured to seek unauthorized assistance or plagiarize on work because of challenges you are facing, please speak to me or your college registrar for guidance. I will grant extensions on deadlines for documented illnesses.

Offences

Students are expected to know what constitutes AI: Familiarize yourself with the University of Toronto’s Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters. It is the rule book for academic behaviour at the U of T. Potential offences include, but are not limited to:

In papers and assignments:

  • Using someone else’s ideas or words without appropriate acknowledgement
  • Copying material word-for-word from a source (including lecture and study group notes) and not placing the words within quotation marks
  • Submitting your own work in more than one course without the permission of the instructor
  • Making up sources or facts
  • Including references to sources that you did not use
  • Obtaining or providing unauthorized assistance on any assignment including:
    • working in groups on assignments that are supposed to be individual work
    • having someone rewrite or add material to your work while “editing”
    • “crowdsourcing” ideas and text via a Facebook/online study group without attribution
  • Lending your work to a classmate who submits it as his/her own without your permission

On tests and exams:

  • Using or possessing any unauthorized aid, including a cell phone
  • Looking at someone else’s answers
  • Letting someone else look at your answers
  • Misrepresenting your identity
  • Submitting an altered test for re-grading

Misrepresentation:

  • Falsifying or altering any documentation required by the University, including doctor’s notes
  • Falsifying institutional documents or grades

Acts of academic dishonesty include:

  • cheating on tests and exams (bringing notes, looking at a neighbour’s paper, allowing someone to look at your paper)
  • copying material word-for-word and not acknowledging the source by placing the text within quotation marks, even with a citation
  • submitting work produced by someone else as though it was your own (a friend’s paper, work purchased from a custom essay site
  • work completed in a group that is not supposed to be group work.
  • submitting the same work, in part or in whole, for multiple courses
  • “editing” that results in a paper which is no longer entirely your own work.

For a complete list of offences, see section B of the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters.

In written work, all sources used must be correctly cited, and quoted, if material is copied directly. Exams and tests must be written without the use or possession of unauthorized aids, including notes and cellular phones. When working with friends, protect your work by not sharing or emailing your notes or assignments with others. You can help friends by discussing your ideas together and comparing your notes from lectures. For a complete list of offences, see section B of the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters.

Process

  • The University of Toronto treats cases of academic misconduct very seriously. All suspected cases of academic dishonesty will be investigated following the procedures outlined in the Code. The consequences for academic misconduct can be severe, including a failure in the course and a notation on your transcript.
  • In accordance with the University’s Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters, I will actively investigate any suspected cheating, plagiarism, misrepresentation or other dishonest practices. The consequences for academic misconduct can be severe, including a failure in the course and a notation on your transcript.
  • As a faculty member at the University, I am bound by the same Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters as you, and it is an offence for me to not report instances of academic misconduct. Please do not plead, beg, or ask me to overlook an offence, as I would be breaking the rules if I did so. It would not be fair to your fellow classmates, and it would not be fair to me.

Resources

  • If you have questions about appropriate research and citation methods, seek out additional information from me, or from other available campus resources like the U of T Writing Website. If you are experiencing personal challenges that are having an impact on your academic work, please speak to me or seek the advice of your college registrar. You may find other useful resources at http://www.artsci.utoronto.ca/osai/resources.
  • To do your best work, you may need to take advantage of some of the resources on St. George Campus.
  • You can find help for your assigned work by seeing me in office hours, speaking with your TA, or visiting the many resources available on campus.

Invitation to meet

If you have any questions about what is or is not permitted in this course, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Invitation to report

Students are usually reluctant to report incidents of academic dishonesty. As we are working together to preserve the fairness of this course, so I encourage you to let me know (anonymously, if necessary) if you observe behaviour that you feel might be unethical. . Your name will be held in confidence.

SAMPLE AI STATEMENTS

SAMPLE STATEMENTS ON SPECIFIC OFFENCES

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY CHECKLIST