Promoting and Sustaining an Institutional Climate of Academic Integrity

Educational Policies Committee

This Academic Senate paper is in response to two resolutions from Fall 2005 concerning academic dishonesty. One resolution, 14.02, "Student Cheating," sought clarification on a System Office legal position that limits the ability of local faculty to fail a student for a single incident of academic dishonesty, and pending the result of clarification, to seek an appropriate Title 5 change. Resolution 14.01, "Student Academic Dishonesty and Grading," required the Academic Senate to investigate faculty legal and professional rights and obligations with regards to dealing with academic dishonesty, including options for grading, disciplinary action, definitions of academic dishonesty, a statement of best practices, and an explanation of student rights.

The paper discusses the need for a culture of academic integrity that enriches the educational experience of students and faculty and, indeed, all individuals associated with the college as employees or community members. The paper recommends that colleges involve all constituent groups, particularly student leaders, in developing and promoting polices and procedures supportive of a climate of academic integrity. Students have key responsibilities and protections provided by Title 5 51023.7 and have the potential to raise awareness throughout an institution concerning academic integrity. The paper includes examples of policies and procedures that have been adopted at several colleges. Central to all discussions of academic integrity is the importance of due process and the protection of student rights.

Suggestions for promoting a climate of academic integrity are provided, along with examples of policies applied to such issues as test taking, technology, distance education, Internet use, group work, and maintaining the integrity of graded assignments. Emphasis is placed on the roles of classroom faculty, library services, counseling, and the need to institute mandates for information competency as a means of creating and sustaining a culture of academic integrity.

The paper goes on to discuss the System Office's 1995 legal interpretation of faculty rights with regards to failing a student for an incident of academic dishonesty. Included in this section is a brief discussion of potential changes to Title 5 and a consideration of student rights under the law. The paper also provides examples from colleges of policies and procedures that support academic integrity, recommendations to local senates, faculty, and the State Academic Senate, and concludes with references and appendices.