UCI Office of Academic Integrity & Student Conduct

Academic Integrity

Section 1

Academic Integrity Information for Faculty/Staff

Instructor with Students in Classroom

Faculty Academic Misconduct Reporting Form

Academic Integrity and Grades

Discussing Academic Misconduct with a Student

Promoting Academic Integrity in the Classroom

Syllabus Language

Cheater Beaters

Request a Presentation

Contact Us

Reporting an Incident

The Academic Integrity Policy requires that the instructor reports incidents of academic misconduct to the Office of Academic Integrity & Student Conduct within thirty (30) instructional days of discovering the possible violation.

If an instructor suspects an incident of academic misconduct, they should first discuss the situation with the involved parties. If, following this discussion, the instructor believes that academic misconduct has occurred, they should then submit the Faculty Academic Misconduct Reporting FormOur office will conduct an investigation of the incident.  Please note that you may be contacted, should we need additional information.  Our office will send a Notification Letter to the student outlining the allegations and charges.  The student will then have ten (10) instructional days to schedule an optional administrative meeting with our office. We will send the student a decision letter once we have determined if the student is Responsible or Not Responsible.  If found Responsible, the student will then have ten (10) instructional days to appeal the decision. You will be notified of the outcome of our investigation via email after the appeal deadline has passed.  In the case of an appeal, you may be requested to serve as a witness.

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Academic Integrity and Grades

It is important to note that course and/or assignment grades are at the sole discretion of the instructor and are determined separately from this administrative process. 

The Academic Senate also recommends that all faculty include their individual policy about how academic misconduct may impact grading.

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Discussing Academic Misconduct with a Student

Meeting with a student to discuss a suspected violation of UCI's Academic Integrity Policy can be difficult. We recommend taking the following steps to make this meeting go as smoothly as possible:

Come Prepared

Review any evidence and information you have regarding the incident before meeting with the student so that you can be specific and clear when explaining your concerns about the situation. Also be aware that students have varying, sometimes emotional reactions during these meetings; you should continue to assess the situation fairly and be confident in following the guidelines of UCI's Academic Integrity Policy and Procedures.

Start with the Student's Perspective

Rather than opening the meeting with an accusation, first ask the student how they feel about their performance so far in the course, and ask if they have any concerns with the course. After hearing the student's perspective on their experience with the course, discuss your concerns about the disputed assignment or suspected academic misconduct.

Be Honest

Communicate your honest concerns and feelings about the student's suspected misconduct, and be straightforward with your plans for addressing the situation.

Addressing the Causes of Academic Misconduct

Students violate the Academic Integrity Policy for a variety of reasons. Here are some of the common reasons that students cite, as well as some suggestions and resources for addressing these issues when they arise.

The Student Feels Pressured for Time

Many students have poor time management skills and may resort to cheating or plagiarism when they do not leave themselves sufficient time to complete assignments. Instructors can help students to build better time management practices and counteract the temptation to plagiarize by:

  1. Setting deadlines for essay drafts and course readings, which helps students avoid procrastination,
  2. Changing the assignments each quarter, which prevents students from recycling other students' work from previous quarters, and
  3. Assigning clear and specific essay prompts, which prevents students from buying a pre-written essay from a paper mill.

The Student has Poor Study Habits

Related to the previous point, many students have also never mastered the skills for effective studying. Students at UCI often resort to "cramming" in the day or two before an exam, rather than steadily studying over the course of the quarter. Faculty and staff can promote good study habits by discussing the negative effects of "cramming" and sleep loss on students' performance and by directing students to resources, such as those provided by the Student Wellness & Health Promotion office and LARC's Academic Learning Skills workshops, to improve their study habits.

The Student Is Underprepared for the Rigor of the Course

Sometimes, students take courses that require knowledge or skills that the students have not yet mastered. In these situations, students often feel frustrated and may resort to dishonest means to complete the course. Instructors can reduce the risk of this happening by being clear about the course requirements and prerequisites, making themselves available to assist students in office hours, and by giving feedback on assignments.

The Student Misunderstands the Academic Integrity Requirements and Standards

Oftentimes, students who are caught plagiarizing or inappropriately collaborating state that they did not understand what was being asked of them in the course. Instructors can prevent these kinds of violations by clearly stating the course standards for academic integrity and the consequences for academic misconduct in the syllabus, discussing in class what is and is not allowed on assignments, and directing students to the Students: Promote Academic Integrity page of this website.

(The material in this section was adapted from UC San Diego's Academic Integrity website, the UC Berkeley Guide for Graduate Student Instructors, and from the Academic Honesty and Integrity Faculty Resources page of the University of Alaska Anchorage/Alaska Pacific University.)

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Promoting Academic Integrity in the Classroom

Exam Procedures

Faculty members have the ability to lessen opportunities to cheat by taking the following tips and suggestions into consideration.

Before the exam:

  • Use multiple versions of the exam.
  • For exams that involve calculations and variables, use variables other than "x," such as "z," "g," "q," "t," or "y."
  • Assign seats randomly, not alphabetically, and space students apart if possible. Keep a record of the assigned seating chart for the exam.
  • Count the number of exams before you begin the test.
  • Check students' IDs, verifying the student's identity against both the photo on the ID and the Photo Roster for the course. There have been instances of students using fake UCI IDs to impersonate another student and take an exam on their behalf.
  • Require students to place all unneeded items in their bags and place their bags where they don't have access to them.

During the exam:

  • Post a slide on the projector that describes your exam policy and the consequences for violating the policy (e.g., receiving a zero on the exam).
  • Do not permit any talking once the exam is handed out.
  • Have students sign a cover page stating that they understand the test policy.
  • Take the student's exams and notes if they leave for the restroom and hand them back when the student returns.
  • Walk around the room regularly and check for items (cell phones, notes, etc.) that students may have hidden in their lap or at their feet.
  • Do not allow students to line up to turn in their exams, as students may compare and change answers while in line. If many students begin to turn in their exams at the same time, ask the class to remain in their seats and have the test proctor(s) call the students up individually to turn in their exams.
  • Check student's IDs again when they turn in their exam, and verify that the information on the ID matches the information on the exam.

After the exam:

  • Count the exams to be sure that you ended with the same number of exams that you started with.
  • Pay attention to any dramatic jumps in a student's grade between exams. It is expected for students to improve their study habits and perform better in later exams, but particularly dramatic grade jumps may be the result of cheating, and they warrant a closer look at the student's exam and the exam(s) of the student(s) next to them.
  • If possible, keep copies of the quizzes and exams for at least a year in case the student's exam comes under question. Scan at least the front page.
  • Do not give original copies of exams back to the students. Allow students to look at their exams under supervision and allow them to take pictures with their phone if your course policy allows for it, but do not allow them to take the exams with them.

(The material from this section was adapted from a presentation by Don Williams, Director of Student Affairs in the UCI School of Physical Sciences.)

Syllabus Language

It is important that students understand the expectations of academic integrity that are specific to each course. Including a statement in your syllabus emphasizing the importance of academic integrity is a good way to promote a classroom culture that values academic integrity. The UCI Academic Senate recommends that instructors use the following text in their syllabus:

"Learning, research, and scholarship depend upon an environment of academic integrity and honesty. This environment can be maintained only when all participants recognize the importance of upholding the highest ethical standards. All student work, including quizzes, exams, reports, and papers must be the work of the individual receiving credit. Academic dishonesty includes, for example, cheating on examinations or any assignment, plagiarism of any kind (including improper citation of sources), having someone else take an examination or complete an assignment for you (or doing this for someone else), or any activity in which you represent someone else’s work as your own. Violations of academic integrity will be referred to the Office of Academic Integrity and Student Conduct. The impact on your grade will be determined by the individual instructor’s policies. Please familiarize yourself with UCI’s Academic Integrity Policy (https://aisc.uci.edu/policies/academic-integrity/index.php) and speak to your instructor if you have any questions about what is and is not allowed in this course."

The Academic Senate also recommends that all faculty include their individual policy about how academic misconduct may impact grading.

Cheater Defeaters 

Thanks to the generous support of the UCI Drama Department, the Cheater Defeaters are available during Orientation and throughout the year. 

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Request a Presentation

OAISC staff and our Peer Advisors are available to present Academic Integrity workshops and/or presentations. To request a workshop or presentation, please fill out the link here.

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