Academic Integrity

In an increasingly competitive job market, students view high course grades as critical to achieving their post-graduation goals (a view that is often justified), and this attitude drives some to cheat. For faculty, the challenges are to create an environment that minimizes the likelihood of cheating, to detect cheating when it occurs, and to deal firmly but fairly with those who choose to cheat.

One of the most important tasks for the faculty member is to establish clear and specific expectations around academic integrity and communicate them clearly to the students. There are several possible means to accomplish this. Here are some examples:

Adam Melvin and I have developed six video segments that are relevant for engineering and science classes that give specific examples of appropriate and non-appropriate behaviors. The videos are accessible at and include short features on:

  • Cheating on homework – online resources
  • Cheating on homework – peer resources
  • Cheating on homework – instructor resources
  • Cheating on computer problems
  • Cheating on reports and projects
  • Cheating on exams

Here is a form to  prohibit students from sharing copyrighted course content.

Here are some tips for preventing and detecting cheating on homework and exams.

Stanford University has developed a tool called MOSS for detecting software plagiarism.

Here are some scenarios, both academic and professional, which could be used to facilitate a discussion on ethical behavior.

Here are Tips for Teaching Assistants on office hours and grading.

Here is a Cover Sheet that students can attach to their assignments.  I suggest folding the papers and returning them in a rubber-banded bundle so that the student’s name is on the front and their grade is on the back.

The NC State Office of Student Conduct offers excellent support resources for instructors; in particular, they have a helpful “script” on how to confront a student. In addition, the NC State Office of Faculty Development offers resources specifically related to plagiarism.