UCI Office of Academic Integrity & Student Conduct

Academic Integrity

Section 1

Academic Integrity Information for Faculty/Staff

Instructor with Students in Classroom

Academic Misconduct Reporting Form

Academic Integrity and Grades

Discussing Academic Misconduct with a Student

Promoting Academic Integrity in the Classroom

Syllabus Language

Turnitin - Interpretting and Refining Similarity Reports
Canvas Instructor Guide - Quiz Logs and Academic Integrity
Respondus Guide
Division of Teaching Excellence and Innovation (DTEI) - instructional design workshops and office hours
Generative AI For Teaching and Learning

Contract Cheating
Understanding Plagiarism

Integrity Logos/Images for Download

UCI Academic Senate Policy on Academic Integrity

Procedures for Resolution of Cases of Academic Integrity Policy Violations

Reporting an Incident

When an Instructor believes that a Student has violated the Academic Integrity Policy, the Instructor should report the incident within thirty instructional days of discovering the possible Academic Integrity Policy Violation.

In accordance with the UCI Academic Senate Procedures for Resolution of Academic Integrity Policy Violations - §II.The Reporting Phase:

When an Instructor has evidence that a Student has committed an Academic Integrity Policy Violation, the Instructor should meet with the Student to discuss the alleged Academic Integrity Policy Violation.

All cases of alleged Academic Integrity Policy Violations should be reported to the Office of Academic Integrity & Student Conduct (OAISC). Within thirty (30) instructional days of the confirmation of an Academic Integrity Policy Violation, the Instructor should notify OAISC by submitting an online OAISC Report Form.

The Report should include the following information: the Student's name, the Student's ID, the course name and number, the date of the incident, a description of the incident, and all documentation/information supporting the allegation, including but not limited to the Student's work of concern, course syllabus, assignment instructions, notes from meeting with Student, and any other information relevant.

UCI Academic Senate Policy, requires the use of preponderance of the evidence in determining whether there was an academic integrity policy violation justifying administrative sanctions. Therefore, documentation/information supporting the allegation is crucial to the processing of these reports. 

Our office will conduct a review of the matter.  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) business 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) business days to appeal the decision.

You will be notified of the outcome of our review 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

In accordance with the UCI Academic Senate Policy on Academic Integrity “The responsibility for maintaining the standards of academic integrity rests with two University authorities: the Instructor and the OAISC.”  As such it is the responsibility of OAISC to conduct the review an assign Administrative Sanctions if appropriate and the Instructor shall determine the Student’s grade in the course.

Instructors should create an environment in their classes where academic integrity is understood and supported. They should assign grades in a transparent and equitable manner. They should state in writing how graded assignments and exams will contribute to the final grade in the course. If any course-specific rules are required by the Instructor for maintaining academic integrity, the Instructor shall also inform students of these in writing. A reduction in a grade for an assignment or a course in response to academic dishonesty is not to be considered as a punishment, but instead responds to a failure by the student to fulfill one of the requirements of the course.

It is important to note that course and/or assignment grades are at the sole discretion of the instructor and are not determined by OAISC.

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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.

Please refer to ChatGPT FAQs for addtional information regarding the use of generative AI.

(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 how academic misconduct may impact grading.

Other language to consider:

Academic Integrity for Your Writing Class: The [Department Name] and its teachers assume that work submitted by students–all process work, drafts, low-stakes writing, final versions, and all other submissions–will be generated by the students themselves, working individually or in groups. This means that the following would be considered violations of academic integrity: 1) if a student has another person/entity do the writing of any substantive portion of an assignment for them, which includes hiring a person or a company to write essays and drafts and/or other assignments, research based or otherwise, and using artificial intelligence affordances like ChatGPT; 2) if a student submits the same work for more than one class without consulting with the instructors. 

Plagiarism: As you move through your writing classes here at UCI, your instructors will teach you how to use sources properly. If you’d like a primer on plagiarism, click on this link Understanding Plagiarism. Generally speaking, plagiarism is broad and multifaceted concept, which can be basically defined in the following way: a student submits a paper or other writing as their own that uses chains of words, sentences, paragraphs, and ideas from a pre-existing text that the student did not write and does not acknowledge or cite as a source.

Possible Outcomes for Plagiarism or Violations of Academic Integrity: Students who commit violations like these may find themselves subject to disciplinary action, which may result in the failure of an assignment or the course itself. In accordance with the UCI Academic Senate Policy on Academic Integrity, all Academic Integrity Policy Violations will be reported to the Office of Academic Integrity & Student Conduct (OAISC). As such it is the responsibility of OAISC to conduct the review and assign Administrative Sanctions as appropriate. Violations of academic integrity may affect a student's graduation and eligibility for honors.