As faculty and advisers, you play a key role in reinforcing principles of academic integrity with students during their time at UW.
Emphasize that academic integrity is not just about following rules but is essential to their long-term development as ethical, trustworthy professionals in engineering. Consider framing academic integrity as part of your and your students’ commitment to fairness and accountability in the course, reminding students that cheating can harm both the perpetrator and their classmates.
- Include a statement on academic integrity in your course syllabus and encourage students to visit the College of Engineering's student-facing webpage on academic integrity and misconduct, which includes the College's Statement of Principles.
- Reference the syllabus statement on academic integrity at the start and end of key assignments and exams to remind students about the expectations for them. This can be as simple as adding a question requiring students to sign an academic integrity pledge. Research recommends pledge statements that are formal and detailed and that reference consequences of violation. Sample wording for syllabus statements and pledges are provided below.
- Provide specific examples that clearly outline academic standards in your course and clarify expectations for acceptable behavior on group work, collaboration, use of online sources and previous course materials, etc.
- Encourage students throughout the course to contact you or TAs if they have any questions about acceptable behavior when completing any assignments or exams in your course.
- Review more detailed tips to prevent academic misconduct from Community Standards and Student Conduct.
- During departmental orientations for newly placed and admitted students, review the College of Engineering Statement of Principles and any departmental academic policies.
In addition to these policy-oriented factors, consider teaching and learning factors that can affect academic integrity. Students may be less likely to cheat when they clearly understand instructor expectations, perceive assignments/tests to be fair measures of their learning, and do not perceive themselves to be in competition with each other over grades. The College's Office for the Advancement of Engineering Teaching & Learning offers consultation on this and any other engineering education topic.
Sample academic integrity statements
These statements are provided for instructors to use in their course. They can be copied and adapted as needed.
Sample syllabus language on course policy
Engineering is a profession demanding a high level of personal honesty, integrity and responsibility. Therefore, it is essential that engineering students, in fulfillment of their academic requirements and in preparation to enter the engineering profession, adhere to the College of Engineering Statement of Principles.
Any student in this course suspected of academic misconduct (e.g., cheating, plagiarism, or falsification) will be reported to the College of Engineering Dean’s Office and the University’s Office of Community Standards and Student Conduct to initiate the student conduct process. Any student found to have committed academic misconduct may receive a zero for their grade on the impacted academic work (e.g., assignments, project, or exams), and academic consequences, with the possibility of expulsion.
Sample assignment/Exam pledge
As a member of the University of Washington student body and in accordance with professional ethical standards in engineering and the College of Engineering Statement of Principles, I will not lie, cheat, or plagiarize in any endeavor related to my academic pursuits, nor will I tolerate that behavior in others. If I should fail to comply with this statement, I understand the consequences that can follow my actions include receiving a zero for my grade on an assignment or examination and academic consequences, with the possibility of expulsion.
When academic misconduct is suspected
Instructors who suspect academic misconduct are strongly encouraged to notify the student about the suspected misconduct and to allow the student to respond. Instructors should notify the student that they have the right to talk directly to the College's Dean’s Office if they do not want to interact directly with the instructor about the allegation.
If the instructor discusses the matter with the student and continues to suspect that the student engaged in academic misconduct, the instructor should report the matter to the College's Associate Dean for Academic Affairs using Community Standards and Student Conduct’s Report It online reporting tool. After referral, a conduct officer in the College Dean’s Office will oversee the student conduct process to determine if the student is responsible for academic misconduct and will contact the instructor once a decision is reached in the case.
Sanctions and grading
When a conduct report is submitted, the student’s grade for any examination or assignment that is suspected of academic misconduct should be withheld until the conduct officer informs the instructor about the decision in the case. The instructor should tell the student that a misconduct report has been filed and that their grade is being withheld until the misconduct case has been reviewed and decided.
If the instructor has not been notified about the decision in the case by the grade submission deadline for the term, an X (leaving a grade unreported) should be turned in for the course grade until a decision is made. When a decision is made, the instructor should submit a change of grade form to finalize the student’s course grade.
Community Standards and Student Conduct provides more information on their faculty webpage on conduct sanctions and grading.