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Academic Integrity and You: Graduate Edition


OSRR’s Mission

  • The mission of the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities (OSRR) is to promote responsibility and encourage honesty, integrity, and respect among Purdue students through education, compliance through behavioral standards, and support of individual rights. To sustain this mission, we are committed to:
    • Facilitate, with dignity, the resolution of concerns and disputes at the lowest level possible
    • Guide students towards a greater sense of personal responsibility and mature and ethical behavior that enhances the quality of the University and community environment
    • Provide educational experiences to assist students in making appropriate choices concerning behavior
    • Disseminate and interpret University regulations and standards to students, faculty, staff, parents, and the general community

Purdue Honor Pledge

“As a Boilermaker pursuing academic excellence, I pledge to be honest and true in all that I do. Accountable together—We Are Purdue.”

Purdue Honor Pledge Graphic

What is Academic Dishonesty?

  • Purdue prohibits “dishonesty in connection with any University activity. Cheating, plagiarism, or knowingly furnishing false information to the University are examples of dishonesty.”
  • Additionally, the University Senate has stipulated that “the commitment of acts of cheating, lying, and deceit in any of their diverse forms is dishonest and must not be tolerated. Moreover, knowingly to aid and abet, directly or indirectly, other parties in committing dishonest acts is in itself dishonest”

Why Does Academic Integrity Matter?

  • As a student, it is understood that learning is the most important goal, that we embrace ethical values and principles, and reject academic dishonesty in all of our learning endeavors.
  • When not addressed, academic misconduct:
    • Devalues the work of other individuals
    • Hurts the reputation of the university and the value of a Purdue University degree
  • At Purdue, all members of the community are responsible for upholding and promoting academic integrity.

Examples of Academic Dishonesty

In the Classroom:

  • Substituting on an exam for another student
  • Substituting in a course for another student
  • Giving or receiving answers by use of signals during an exam
  • Copying with or without the other person’s knowledge during an exam
  • Using unauthorized notes or electronic devices during a quiz or exam
  • Fabricating data
  • Signing in for attendance for someone who is not present
  • Using “iClickers” for students who are not present in class

Outside the Classroom:

  • Plagiarism—taking the words, thoughts, ideas, or concepts of another person and claiming them as your own
    • Using exact language of someone else without proper attribution
    • Using someone else’s ideas without acknowledgement
    • Submitting someone else’s work as your own
      • Online resources
      • Another student’s work (whether given to you or taken without permission)
      • Books, articles, and other written published work
  • Self-plagiarism-turning in a previously completed assignment for another assignment
  • Fabricating documents—both on assignments and documents to ask for extensions/excused absences
  • Unauthorized collaboration
    • Having someone help you complete an assignment
    • Working on an assignment as a group or with another person (whether in person or electronically/virtually) without permission
  • Fabricating research data
  • Accessing and altering grade records—whether online or on assignments returned to you
  • Using unauthorized resources to complete assignments
  • Padding items of a bibliography
  • Stealing class assignments from other students and submitting them as one’s own
  • Turning in a paper/project that has been purchased from a commercial research firm or obtained from the internet
  • Obtaining an unauthorized copy of a test in advance of its scheduled administration

Online Courses:

  • Unauthorized collaboration on exams
    • Working with another person(s) while completing your exam
    • Contacting (i.e. texting, calling, Facetime, GroupMe) another person(s) for help while completing an exam
  • Unauthorized use of materials and resources
    • Using notes, textbooks, and other resources to complete an exam or quiz when the exam or quiz is not in fact “open book”
    • Using unauthorized resources during an “open book” exam or quiz
    • Using the assistance of another person (friend, roommate, partner, family member, etc.) to complete assignments
    • Substituting on an exam or assignment for another student/asking another student to substitute for you
  • Failing to Use Appropriate Proctor
    • Not using an appropriate proctor or failing to utilize a required proctor at all to administer an exam completed offline
    • Not using required online proctor services to monitor online activity while completing exams or quizzes

Avoiding Academic Dishonesty

Tips to Avoid Engaging in Academic Dishonesty

  • Should there be any doubt, clarify with your instructor on how much collaboration, if any, is permitted or expected when working on projects or assignments with other students
  • Do not acquire previous papers, lab reports, exams, or assignments used in a course with the intention of copying parts of the material.
    • Consult with your instructor on how such materials may be used as general guides
  • Check with your instructor before turning in a paper or project you submitted in another course
  • When completing take-home or online exams, do not collaborate with another person(s) unless approved by the instructor whether student or non-student
  • If you are allowed to take materials into a testing site (whether in person or through online proctoring), make sure no notes or materials are exposed or accessible that could cause one to believe you are using unauthorized aids (crib sheets)
  • Do not share your current or former assignments, projects, or papers with other students to use as guides for their work.
  • Do not look around during an exam since it may appear you are trying to copy from others
  • Shield your answer sheet during an exam. If you feel someone is trying to copy from you, ask the proctor if you may move
  • Do not include sources in a bibliography or reference list if you have not used the sources in the preparation of the paper/assignment
  • Always properly cite material

Why Do People Engage in Academic Dishonesty?

  • Poor Time Management
    • Procrastination and saving assignments until the last minute
    • Not planning enough time to complete assignments or to study
  • Struggling with Course Material
    • Doing poorly in class
    • Struggling to understand material
    • Struggling to understand or complete assignments
  • Laziness/Disinterest
    • Viewing the class as a easy or a “blow off”
    • Not going to class regularly
  • Mental Health
    • Struggles with anxiety related to tests or completing assignments
    • Impacts on motivation or ability to complete things
    • Impacts on belief of abilities


  • Poor Time Management
    • Academic Success Center provides success coaching for students who are struggling with their time management, and also provide time management tools on their website
  • Struggling with Course Material
    • Utilizing course recommended resources (office hours, open labs, tutoring)
    • Utilizing campus resources like The Writing Lab, Peer Success Coaching, or the Disability Resource Center as appropriate
    • Forming study groups
  • Mental Health
    • Contact and meet with a mental health professional at CAPS or in the community
    • Meet with a Support Specialist in the Dean of Students
    • Develop self-care and support strategies that you use regularly

Conduct Process Overview In & Out of Classroom

What Happens if I’m Suspected of Academic Dishonesty?

  • Your instructor may contact you to inform you of their allegations and ask to meet with you to discuss what occurred
  • Your instructor has the right to assign you a grade in response to the allegations as they deem appropriate. This could include one or more of the following:
    • Failing the course
    • A reduction in final course grade
    • Failure on the assignment/exam in question
  • Your instructor may then report you to the Dean of Students and you may be subject to university disciplinary proceedings
  • Other consquences that may occur:
    • Dismissal from your program
    • Inability to continue research or work with a faculty member
    • Removal from employment or leadership positions

Types of Conduct Processes

  • There are two types of conduct conferences utilized by the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities:
    • Administrative Conduct Conference
      • Conducted before one or more members of the OSRR staff
      • More informal in nature, but designed to provide the student certain procedural safeguards
      • Suspension and expulsion are not possible outcomes
    • Community Standards Board Conduct Conference
      • Conducted before a board of panelists—mixture of students, staff, and faculty
      • Formal in nature
      • Suspension and expulsion are possible outcomes

Student Rights Throughout Process

  • Students and other concerned parties can read up on everything related to the process and rights on our website here.
  • Student rights in conduct proceedings include:
    • The right to be informed in writing of all charges
    • The right to be informed of the reported circumstances of the alleged violation
    • The right to witnesses and to be informed of witnesses
    • The right to an advisor
    • The right to respond to the charges
    • The right to remain silent and that silence will not be taken as an admission of responsibility
    • The right to a written letter of the conference findings and sanctions

Possible Outcomes

  • Students are found either Responsible or Not Responsible of violating each University Regulation they have been charged with.
  • If a student is found responsible, they can receive sanctions in two categories:
    • Primary Sanctions:
      • Written Warning, Disciplinary Probation, Probated Suspension, Suspension, and Expulsion
    • Secondary Sanctions (non-comprehensive list):
      • Integrity Seminar, Follow-Up Meetings, Reflective Writing Assignments, Restitution, Letter of Apology, Signing Recommitment Statements
  • If you have been previously reported to the Dean of Students for issues of academic integrity, the response from the university will appropriately reflect this. It is important to understand that as a graduate student, expectations of you in relation to academic integrity are higher than that of undergraduate students.

Addressing & Reporting Academic Dishonesty

Deterring Academic Dishonesty in Your Classroom

  • Clarify expectations regarding academic dishonesty in your syllabus
  • Define course and exam requirements
  • Provide equal access to study and course materials
  • Keep open dialogue with your students
  • Monitor assignment collection and pick-up
  • Utilize methods to make copying and other forms of cheating difficult:
    • Alternate test forms that are numbered
    • Have seating charts with staggered seating
    • Provide scratch paper
    • Do not permit cell phones, hats, water bottles, and other non-essential items often used for cheating
    • Have several proctors available to actively watch students
    • Utilize detection software like SafeAssign or MOSS
    • Look for patterns of similarity among student work

Tips for Graduate Assistants, Teaching Assistants & Course Graders

  • Carefully watch students for wandering eyes and other suspicious actions
  • Ask another instructor to verify/confirm your observations
  • Look for patterns and similarities among student work
  • Utilize detection software (i.e. SafeAssign, MOSS)
  • Look for changes in writing style
  • Grace in distinct colors like red or green
  • Ensure that academic integrity policies are clearly stated in the course syllabus

Responding to Academic Dishonesty in Your Classroom

  • Collect all of the facts—test materials, observations, software detection results, witness statements, etc.
  • Meet with the student in question
    • Openly explain your suspicions to the student and give them a chance to respond
  • If occurring during an exam, minimize the disruption in test environment-allow the student to finish the exam and confront them after
  • Determine appropriate grading response
    • Consult with course supervisor
  • Report incident to the Dean of Students

What Do I Do if I Suspect or Become Aware of Other Students Engaging in Academic Dishonesty?

What Should I Include in a Report?

  • As much detail as possible, including:
    • Student(s) of concerns names & PUID #s
    • Name(s) of witness(es) or other involved parties
    • Detailed description of what occurred
    • Any supporting documentation:
      • Pictures
      • Screenshots of text or group messages
      • E-mails
      • Syllabi
      • Student’s coursework of concern

Why Should I Report?

  • If it is not a mandated reporting incident, we cannot require you to report the incident to the university. We ask that you do so because it helps the university keep track of a student’s disciplinary history and behavioral concerns accurately. This allows our office to respond appropriately to each reported incident and hold students accountable as needed.
  • Remember: promoting academic integrity is the responsibility of the entire University community—including you whether you serve in a student or employee role!

Academic Integrity Resources

Ways to Get Involved:

“As a Boilermaker pursuing academic excellence, I pledge to be honest and true in all that I do. Accountable together—We are Purdue.”

Purdue University, Office of the Dean of Students, Helen B. Schleman Hall (formerly the Recitation Building), 2nd Floor, 656 Oval Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2086, Phone (765) 494-1747, Fax (765) 496-1550

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