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We know that the most common reasons individuals commit academic misconduct are due to poor time management, concern over abilities/grades, wanting to help friends, and personal/health issues. Since these are elements everyone will encounter during their time at Michigan (and life thereafter) it is important to plan ahead in order to avoid academic misconduct.

Whether you’re new to the University, or have been here for a while, here are some helpful tips when considering academic integrity:

Ask Questions: Always clarify what course or assignment expectations are in advance. When in doubt, ask. If you aren’t sure about something (Can you collaborate? How many sources should you have? What types of sources are acceptable?) ask your instructor or the graduate student instructor (GSI) for clarification. Remember not understanding or lacking clarity could lead to a violation of academic integrity and does not excuse a student from being responsible. It’s far easier to communicate and seek clarity when you’re unsure.  

Improve your Understanding: Consider the following cases adjudicated by the Office of Student Academic Affairs and what students could have done differently: Cheating, Unauthorized/Inappropriate Collaboration, Submitting Identical Work, Plagiarism, Falsifying and Misrepresenting Academic Materials or Documents, Contract Cheating, and Aiding in Academic Dishonesty. In addition, take some time to review our Student Rights document.

Be Honest with your Instructors: If you are struggling with time management or a personal issue and having trouble completing work on time, please talk to your instructor and be honest. While it may not seem like it, instructors and GSIs are people too. They lead lives just like the rest of us and can be quite understanding when individuals are experiencing difficulties. Talking with them may lead to suggestions on how to help. While lying or ignoring your struggles may mean you won’t get help for what the true issue is.

Cite Your Sources: This one seems fairly obvious, but you’d be surprised how often folks forget to go back and include citations when finishing their assignments. Give proper attribution to any source that you use. Whenever you get ideas or words from any source when writing a paper, cite that source. If you’re uncertain, cite.

Paraphrase Appropriately: Remember that paraphrasing means more than simply changing a word here or there. If the ideas you are discussing were not something you had knowledge of before completing the assignment or aren’t your own you’ll need to cite that source. If you are struggling with paraphrasing, reach out to your instructor or the Sweetland Center for Writing to ask for assistance.

Complete Your Own Work: The purpose of college is to learn the material. If you are copying someone else’s work you aren’t learning, which defeats the purpose. While it may seem “minor” to copy someone else’s homework assignment, the long term impact could impact your ability to be successful come exam time or in a future course.

Know when Collaboration is Okay: Don’t work with others unless your instructor explicitly states collaboration is permitted. If it isn’t clear how much collaboration is allowed and on what assignments, be sure to ask your instructor or GSI for clarification.

Don’t Falsify a Record: Altering or forging emails, transcripts, or other university documents/forms are serious offenses and can be easily uncovered. They also typically carry significant sanctions from the college beginning with suspension.

Speak Out: If you witness any violation of academic integrity, let your instructor or GSI know. Having these types of conversations gives everyone an opportunity to learn and grow from the experience. It’s also the best way to reduce the cultural perception that “everyone is cheating” and ensure that we continue to uphold the community standards.

Seek Out Support: As a community, we’re here to support one another. If you are dealing with personal issues, health concerns, or struggling to find a network of support consider the following Resources for Students.