Academic Integrity at UO

Academic Integrity at UO

The University of Oregon is home to a vibrant and diverse intellectual community. We are committed to introducing students to the work of cutting-edge scholars, researchers, and practitioners as well as to respecting students as scholars, researchers, and practitioners. 

Creating a strong culture of academic integrity at UO is a collective, university-wide project. Unfortunately, academic integrity is traditionally framed as a student conduct problem for instructors to solve, rather than a complex commitment to knowledge that we all share.

The pressure on instructors to deter student misconduct is very real, and supporting academic integrity cannot be any single instructor’s job. We are most likely to create a culture of academic integrity when we develop a shared understanding of what it is, how to support it, and what university resources we can draw on together.

The goal of this page is to support faculty and GEs by highlighting: 

Defining academic integrity and academic misconduct

There are cultural, institutional, disciplinary, and course-specific differences around how academic integrity and academic misconduct are characterized and defined. Academic integrity is defined by the International Center for Academic Integrity as “a commitment, even in the face of adversity, to six fundamental principles: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility and courage.” What academic integrity looks like enacted can be challenging for many students (and scholars) to identify clearly across discourse communities. As Tracy Breytag (2016) writes in her introduction to A Handbook of Academic Integrity, “Academic integrity is such a multifarious topic that authors around the globe report differing historical developments which have led to a variety of interpretations of it as a concept.”

The University of Oregon’s Student Conduct Code defines academic misconduct as cheating, fabrication, multiple submissions of work, unauthorized recording and/or use, and assisting another person in participating in academic misconduct.

It's important to acknowledge that students may not fully understand the range of behaviors that fit under this conduct code, and that instructor expectations may vary. This is particularly true around citation practices and around authorized versus unauthorized peer collaboration. Communicating openly with students in your classes about what constitutes academic integrity and academic misconduct is important, even as the university works to centrally communicate our commitment to academic integrity to students.

What UO students think about academic integrity, in their own words

UO duck mascot stands with arms raised in background and in foreground students arms raised

Starting in 2021, all incoming first-year and transfer students took an IntroDUCKtion module on academic integrity. Part of the module asked them to respond to the question "In your own words, please briefly share what academic integrity means to you, or why academic integrity matters to you." We read through thousands of thoughtful responses, and found eight common themes.

 

Click here for the most common themes in student responses
  1. Academic integrity is central to actually learning, and since they came to UO to learn, they were going to practice integrity.
  2. Academic integrity is a moral issue for many of them, and that it was important to them because it aligned with things like honesty, responsibility, fairness, or being worthy of trust (trust from peers and instructors). 
  3. Academic integrity is a component of self-respect and self-confidence.
  4. They wanted others to respect their work and cite them, and wanted to do the same for their peers (a number of students noted experiences they did not want to repeat where peers had used their work without permission in the past)
  5. They cared about and wanted to support accurate and reliable knowledge creation (since we build on and use each others' scholarship)
  6. Academic integrity felt essential for future success in their career
  7. Academic integrity could be an act of care for their classmates and the communities they want to work in
  8. They felt academic integrity was an issue of justice, particularly because of patterns of exclusion of or non-attribution of scholars who are Black, Indigenous, POC, LGBTQIA+ and women

Students are entering UO clearly thinking about and valuing academic integrity. We encourage instructors who are interested to read through some of the reflections students shared and gave permission to post--you can find a sample of several dozen student reflections on our website here, or you can access our Padlet to explore even more student responses.

Why students commit misconduct and how they can plan for integrity

Scholars writing about why students commit academic misconduct frequently cite students’ perception of their peers’ behaviors—particularly when the behaviors are breaches of integrity—as one of the most significant factors (Griebeler, 2019). Additional reasons for committing misconduct include confusion in practice around what constitutes misconduct, particularly around writing and plagiarism (Adam, 2016); not feeling like success is possible (due to a range of things, including pedagogical approaches and external stressors); and perceived opportunities to commit academic misconduct (Yu et al, 2018). 

We asked all students who went through IntroDUCKtion in 2021 "What campus resources will support you in acting for academic integrity at UO, especially when you are facing increased stress?" Our goal with the question was to support students in identifying campus resources and activating their self-efficacy. We read through many thoughtful student responses, and identified a handful of themes.

Click here for themes in student responses about resources they can access in support of their academic integrity
  1. The majority of students say they will contact their instructor with academic integrity questions or supports, and a significant percent of them say the instructor is the resource they would be most likely to ask, particularly during office hours
  2. About half of students named the Tutoring Academic Engagement Center as a campus resource they would access
  3. About 1/4 of students said they would seek support through Counseling Services (to decrease potential stress and anxiety while focused on academic work), and the same number identified the library and librarians as a supportive place and supportive experts to turn to
  4. Nearly 1/6 of students named their advisors as resources they would turn to
  5. Many students identified behaviors (like working out, talking with family or friends, finding a quiet place to study, or being careful to not overextend themselves) that would help them to work with integrity
  6. A significant number of students expressed concern about their own increased anxiety levels or what they saw as vulnerabilities or knowledge gaps 

We encourage instructors who are interested to read through some of the reflections students shared and gave permission to post--you can find a sample of several dozen student reflections on our website here.

What instructors can do to support academic integrity

Communicating with Students

Students are more likely to act with academic integrity when we define it; establish its relevance (in our course, discipline, and lives); give them opportunities to practice it; communicate that all students can succeed in the class (and de-emphasize competition); and outline the consequences for breaching it. While it can be challenging to find time for discussions and questions around integrity, we've collated research-informed practices that support students' academic integrity below.

We have also created a Canvas module to supplement that communication. A note that while you see two Canvas modules referenced on this page, they have different intended uses. The "Ducks Have Integrity" Canvas module linked in the green banner below is for instructors to use in individual classes. The "Ducks Have Academic Integrity IntroDUCKtion Module" is a centrally administered module all students engage with during orientation. While only the former is available for use in individual classes, we created both from from openly licensed materials and have set them as openly licensed (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0); please feel free to use language, ideas, or images from them in your own materials, as long as they are cited and also openly licensed.

Designing Assessments

This challenges of teaching and learning during a pandemic led many UO faculty and GEs to reimagine assessments (as well as the assignments that led up to them). The practices faculty and GEs have shifted toward were necessary in a remote context, but they are also research-informed practices that support learning and academic integrity across modalities.

Many instructors made changes to their assignments and assessments by 1) increasing use of scaffolding and sequencing, 2) shifting to alternative/authentic modes of assessment, 3) revising how exams are used in course design, and 4) modifying the questions and structure of exams in Canvas.

 

 

"Ducks Have Integrity" Canvas Module

One tool to communicate with students is the Canvas module linked below. The module is designed to support instructors in creating a culture of academic integrity. Students learn best when we develop a shared understanding of what it is, how to support it, and what university resources we can draw on together. 

Responding to academic misconduct when it occurs

While designing for academic integrity is crucial, students—like all people—will still commit behaviors that breach these standards. When faculty and GEs suspect or know that a student has violated the Student Conduct Code, they can find guidance on the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards’ (SCCS) Resources for Faculty page.  

The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards notes that “If you believe academic misconduct has occurred at any level, and regardless of the method of resolution, you must notify the SCCS.”  GEs leading labs, sections, studios, etc. that are part of a large course should consult with the lead course instructor when there is a suspected case of academic misconduct.

Instructors who are less familiar with the approach of SCCS should know that they “serve the important role of upholding the standards of the university community through the administration of an educational and student-centered conduct process. In this process, we educate students about self-accountability, social responsibility, and academic integrity...Sanctions are individually developed with the goal of promoting critical thinking, repairing potential harms, and assisting students to become productive, global citizens.”

Find out more about SCCS’s Standard Operating Procedures for Academic Misconduct Allegations and read their Addressing Academic Misconduct: Faculty Guide to understand how the Student Conduct Code may apply in your context and what the process may look like from reporting through resolution. Please feel free to contact the Student Conduct Coordinator, Ali Selman (alis@uoregon.edu), with questions.

UO resources to support academic integrity

A strong culture and practice of academic integrity is supported by university-wide coordination. One of the ways the Provost's Office is striving to create a stronger culture of academic integrity is through a partnership with IntroDUCKtion. Starting in fall 2021, all incoming first years and transfer students have taken the module "Ducks Have Academic Integrity," IntroDUCKtion module, which introduces students to the definition of, values of, and initial strategies for academic integrity. Response from students on this module has been overwhelmingly positive (we sought anonymous feedback from participants), and student reflections about why academic integrity matters and how they can plan for it are insightful and heartening. 

If you are interested in looking at the framing and information of the module to get a sense of what students may have seen, we encourage this! Please find it at our TEP Instructor Resources Community site.

Resources we encourage you to access now if they would support you include:

  • UO Libraries’ student-facing “Ducks Have Integrity: Academic Conduct at UO” module, now available on Canvas Commons for easy import into your own course. This module is adapted from the existing Exploring Academic Integrity in Your Research module in LibGuides, which is still available for those who do not wish to integrate it in Canvas but do want to point students towards it.
  • The Teaching Engagement Program, providing consultations about designing for academic integrity and addressing challenges that may exist at the assignment, course, or disciplinary levels.
  • The Student Conduct and Community Standards office for questions about UO’s Student Conduct Code, a situation-specific concern, and/or the process of reporting misconduct. Contact Student Conduct Coordinator Ali Selman (alis@uoregon.edu).
  • UO Online's excellent one-page "Academic Integrity Faculty Checklist."

 
TEP and UO Online appreciate the leadership and expertise of UO Libraries and the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards in their work around academic integrity. The student-facing modules listed here could not have been built without the expertise of and collaboration between UO Online, UO Libraries, SCCS, TEP, and those students who supplied feedback. We also deeply appreciate the continued work of instructors--your commitment to academic integrity in support student learning is clear, and your challenges and successes continue to inform the resources we hope to create. We will continue to support instructors and students as we strive for an even stronger culture of academic integrity at the University of Oregon.