Communicating for Academic Integrity

Communicating for Academic Integrity

The communication practices below have been instrumental for many faculty and graduate student instructors in supporting greater academic integrity in their classes.

Reflect on what we believe about students and why they engage in academic misconduct, as our beliefs influence the tone and substance of our communications with them. One framework that may support reflection is Dr. Yvette Alex-Assensoh's L.A.C.E. framework, which mirrors some of the principles of the International Center for Academic Integrity, and which can help us explore the broader context of what we want our relationship to students (and students’ relationships to one another and one another's scholarship) to be.  

Talk about academic integrity early and often, including defining it, describing concretely why it matters to you and to your discipline, and inviting students to reflect on why it matters to them. Reference integrity through the lens of UO’s Student Conduct Code and/or the code of ethics for your discipline (particularly if students are likely to work professionally in that discipline). We also recommend giving examples of meaningful academic integrity and the impact of academic misconduct in your discipline, and naming why it matters to you. Lastly, we strongly encourage asking students to reflect on why it matters to them (possibly in a space where they can hear their peers reflecting as well) 

Support students in being able to identify practices that have academic integrity and practices which breach that integrity, and welcome their questions. Even when students can accurately define academic misconduct, they frequently experience confusion around how to "do" academic integrity. Common areas of confusion include understanding and practicing appropriate citation in a given course and discipline, and confusion around the line between collaborating with peers in ways we might encourage and collaborating with peers in ways that might constitute academic misconduct. Katy Larkin, Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards, also encourages instructors to:  

  • “Clarify if and how students are permitted to collaborate with each other on coursework. 
  • For assignments and assessments, clearly outline what, if any, resources students are permitted to use. 
  • Specify whether students are permitted to record your class sessions.”  

As a number of studies indicate student desire for more practice with academic discourse that meets university standards of integrity, we also recommend integrating at least one discipline-specific activity around academic integrity into your class, and/or making UO Library’s excellent Exploring Academic Integrity tutorial a class assignment. Please feel free to contact TEP or your Subject Librarian for support in implementing.  

Tell students explicitly that you believe they can and will succeed with preparation (and make the path for that success transparent). Students are more likely to act with integrity if they believe that they can achieve their goal without cheating. Emphasizing the difficulty of an assessment and the failure rate is counterproductive for many students as a motivator for learning. In addition, structuring assignments with transparent design makes that path to success more visible.  

Deemphasize competition, which is one of the driving forces for academic dishonesty. While integrating competition into learning activities can be effective, there is little indication that competition in assessment performance enhances learning. 

Make consequences of academic misconduct practices clear, and let students know you file reports when suspected breaches of integrity occur. If you have questions about the process of reporting misconduct, or are seeking guidance about a particular situation, please contact the Student Conduct Coordinator at alis@uoregon.edu

In addition to the practices above, the Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards also recommended that, where possible, instructors: 

  • “Do what you can to reduce pressure and anxiety for your students – please read this Inside Higher Education article when you have time. 
  • Consider ways to get to know your students and for them to get to know you – partnership in the pursuit of learning, grounded in trust, is by any measure the most effective single mechanism to promote academic integrity. 
  • Refer students of concern to the Office of the Dean of Students for support.”