Maintaining Academic Integrity
Every student at UTPA is expected to exercise independent thought and expression as he or she strives for academic achievement. Incorporated in the quest for intellectual growth are the expectations of honesty, originality in written and oral expression, a respect for the exchange of ideas, and acknowledgement and recognition of the abilities and contributions of others.
The following information is provided as a guide to assist students with a variety of academic integrity issues.
Daily Assignments and Homework
Presume the assignment requires individual, independent work. Group or study-buddy work should be clearly identified on the course syllabus. If in doubt, ask. Turn your materials in on time and in the proper format (hard copy, electronic, etc.). Retain confirmation of document delivery if submitted electronically.
Essays and Significant Class Paper
Begin your research as soon as the paper is assigned. Prepare several draft documents. Remember to give credit to source of the information. Ask the professor what style of citation they prefer (MLA, Chicago style, APA, etc.). Use quotation marks and proper footnotes where applicable, regardless of academic subject. Protect your work from others. Lock your computer if you step away. Avoid storing your information on someone else’s computer. They may not be as trustworthy as you think. Be certain to put your name or identifying number on your paper. Turn in your assignment on time and in the manner prescribed by your professor (hard copy, electronic, etc.). Save your drafts and research notes until the paper has received a final grade.
Leave all personal belongings at the front of the room – including cell phones (Turn them off or don’t bring them at all. Be respectful of your fellow students.). Present your Bronc Card for identification if requested. Remove your hat. Keep your eyes on your own paper during the exam, and protect your responses from inquisitive neighbors. Don’t even consider using unauthorized materials, writing on body parts or gesturing hand signals with classmates. Sharing exam information, questions or answers with other students is a form of academic dishonesty.
General Comments about Academic Dishonesty*
There is no generally accepted definition of academic dishonesty. However, there are elements of dishonesty that are readily identifiable:
Cheating – using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, or study aids in any academic exercise (examples: cheat sheets, copying, unauthorized collaboration). Fabrication – unauthorized falsification or invention of any information or citation in an academic exercise (examples: making up sources for the bibliography or faking the results of a laboratory assignment). Plagiarism – adoption or reproduction of ideas or words or statements of another person as one’s own without acknowledgement (examples: turning in a paper written by another person or buying a paper from a commercial source and failing to properly attribute quotations within a paper). Facilitating Academic Dishonesty – helping or attempting to help someone else engage in some form of academic dishonesty. Misrepresentation – providing false information to an instructor concerning an academic exercise (examples: giving a false excuse for missing a test or deadline, or falsely claiming to have submitted a paper). Sabotage – actions that prevent others from completing their work (examples: disturbing a lab experiment, removing materials from a reserved reading file).
An abundant supply of resources is available for students to consult. Whether it’s improving your writing style, combating a habit of copying text, learning to adequately express your personal opinions or thoughts, or just double-checking that you’ve given credit where credit is due, there are readily accessible writing and study aids available. We recommend the following:
Learning Assistance Center
The Learning Assistance Center is a great campus resource. In order to help students reach their goal of having a rewarding university experience, the Learning Assistance Center (LAC) will assist students in becoming independent learners through tutorials and study skills instruction.
The LAC offers Supplemental Instruction, specialized student support centers, workshops, and tutoring in:
- History and Political Science
- Social Sciences
University Writing Center
The University of Texas-Pan American Writing Center is a campus facility where students and faculty may find support and assistance with their writing needs. The Writing Center's purpose is to help writers gain skills to improve their writing and acquire confidence in their judgments about writing.
Writing Center tutors:
- Offer assistance at any stage of the writing process from brainstorming ideas to polishing and revising final drafts.
- Ask questions to prompt thinking and will offer suggestions for improving writing assignments.
- Assist the students in understanding the criteria of an assignment and offer feedback about how clearly the student communicates his ideas.
- Are not editors and do not proofread papers, but they will offer assistance in helping the student learn how to correct errors.
In addition, the Writing Center offers a weekend online writing service, Skype tutoring, and several resources for writers.
Professors are frequently overlooked in the resource category, but don’t be shy. Professors are generally glad to discuss your concerns over a paper topic or computer program. Check to see when they have office hours and schedule an appointment. Doing this will assure you that you have their undivided attention.
*Whitley, Jr., Bernard E. and Keith-Spiegel, Patricia. Academic Dishonesty An Educator’s Guide, Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2002.