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Why Is Academic Integrity Important?

The University of Michigan’s reputation as the “Leaders and the Best” is founded on integrity. Our community values it because it allows us to strengthen our trust in one another, promote a positive learning environment, increase our capacity to learn and grow, and prepare individuals for the ethical decisions they will need to make in the world around them.

But why should individual members value it?

Consider the following acronym “PRIME” which offers a few reasons to prioritize academic integrity:

Proficiency - Future employers, admissions committees, and recruiters seek ethical candidates to be a part of their communities. Colleagues who value and promote integrity are highly sought after because they can contribute to a community’s overall credibility and enhance its reputation. By prioritizing academic integrity, you are developing yourself as an honest candidate for a future position, capable of contributing to a community’s long-term success.

Respect - Academic misconduct harms both you and the entire academic community. Consider the professors, lecturers, and university staff that have exerted a substantial amount of time and effort to provide our community the opportunities to learn and grow. Cheating in any form devalues them and their work. It also gives you an unfair advantage over your peers who have worked honestly. This can lead to them feeling discouraged about their own efforts to succeed and create an unfair competition. Finally, cheating can undermine your own growth and development because at this point, you are not getting much out of your education since you’ve played the system to circumvent having to do your own work. This can lead to more long-term consequences as you find yourself underprepared in future prospects.

Intelligence - Being smart means being honest. Having integrity in the way you obtain knowledge and produce original work empowers you to achieve your maximum potential. Academic dishonesty, even if unnoticed or a small infraction, means you aren’t learning or engaging in an intellectual dialogue. It is always important to put in an honest effort and reap the benefits of that hard work.

Maturity - Considering the implications that your behavior has on both yourself and others is a sign of maturity that is critical for your development. When you make an honest choice you are showing that you not only have the ability to identify ethical issues, but that you also have the ability to prioritize the correct course of action. This demonstrates to yourself and to others that you have a strong ethical backbone and that you are a productive contributor to our community here at Michigan.

Esteem - You were admitted to the University of Michigan, a world-renowned research institution, because you have the requisite skills to handle the rigor of Michigan’s curriculum. You are an important member of our community whose ideas and beliefs add value to our institution. Doing your own work gives you satisfaction and pride in your ability to work hard and succeed, while showing respect and admiration for everyone within the community.