Understanding the Academic Integrity Policy and Process Will Help You

With finals right around the corner — as well as looming deadlines for major papers and projects — now is a good time to review Penn State’s policy on academic integrity.

Penn State values academic integrity — scholarship free of fraud — and will take action against forms of academic dishonesty, which include:

  • cheating
  • plagiarism
  • fabrication of information or citations
  • facilitating acts of academic dishonesty by others
  • unauthorized prior possession of examinations
  • submitting the work of another person or work previously used without informing the instructor and securing written approval
  • tampering with the academic work of other students

Upholding Academic Integrity is an Educational Process

You might not always know that something you’re doing violates Penn State’s academic integrity policy. If an instructor consults with you about academic integrity, this can help you better understand expectations about academic scholarship and how to adhere to Penn State’s policies.

How Academic Integrity Violations Are Handled

Instructors file charges with the college that “owns” the course in question. Be sure to check the appropriate college website for specific information. If you’re not sure which college your course belongs to, visit the World Campus Academic Integrity page for links and contacts in each college.

Many colleges include an “instructions for students” section, which has valuable information for you to make sure you understand the process.

In general, the process is as follows:

  • If an instructor thinks academic misconduct has occurred, s/he will contact you to discuss concerns and possible sanctions for the misconduct. After this communication, s/he may notify you and the college responsible for the course of an intention to file an academic integrity charge.
  • Once you have been informed that academic misconduct is suspected, you may not drop the course during the adjudication process.
  • If a charge is filed, you have the option to accept or contest the charge. Ignoring the charge and not signing or returning the Academic Integrity Form by the deadline indicated is accepting the charge.
  • To contest the charge, you must indicate this on the Academic Integrity Form, sign and return it by the deadline specified and then follow instructions provided to you by the instructor and the college. You will then have an opportunity to share your side of the story, as well as an obligation to provide proof of authenticity of the work to the instructor and the college’s Academic Integrity committee.
  • The instructor, in consultation with the college, will decide on the appropriate sanction (i.e. docking a letter grade for the course, receiving a zero for the assignment, etc.).
  • The charge and sanction is then filed by the college with Penn State’s Office of Judicial Affairs.
  • If you are found not responsible for the alleged misconduct by the Academic Integrity committee, the Office of the University Registrar is notified that academic misconduct has not occurred in the course. You may drop or withdraw from the course at any time.

The academic integrity policy and processes are designed to uphold and maintain excellence in scholarship in the Penn State University community.  If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at www.worldcampus.psu.edu/Contact.shtml or wdresolution@outreach.psu.edu.