Academic Integrity


Endorsed by Russell Composto, Associate Dean, Undergraduate Education, SEAS Diana Robertson, Vice Dean, Wharton Undergraduate Division Paul Sniegowski, Stephen A. Levin Family Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences Julie Sochalski, Associate Dean for Academic Programs, Penn Nursing Beth A. Winkelstein, Vice Provost for Education Gregory Callaghan, President, Graduate and Professional Student Assembly Carson Eckhard, Chair External, Student Committee on Undergraduate Education Natasha Menon, President, Undergraduate Assembly April 2020

The switch to remote instruction in the context of the pandemic creates vulnerabilities and opportunities associated with teaching and learning. All members of the Penn community are being challenged: faculty and staff hastily converting to virtual instruction and students coping with the loss of personal connection and in-person education. Difficult times require empathy, patience, and a renewed commitment to the following principles, many of which also have foundation in various University of Pennsylvania policies1:

For Students

1. I will be a respectful, professional online member of the course, who supports my classmates’ ability to participate and access course materials and who does not undermine the work of the instructor. This includes rejecting and not engaging in any form of device-enabled harassment or disruption.
2. I will respect principles of academic freedom for instructors and classmates and will maintain the privacy of the virtual classroom environment: I will not record, photograph, or share online interactions that involve classmates or any member of the teaching team. I will not enable anyone who is not enrolled in the course to participate in any activity that is associated with the course. Exceptions require the instructor’s written permission.
3. I will respect the intellectual property rights of the instructor by not making course materials accessible to anyone who is not enrolled in the course without the instructor’s written permission.
4. I will follow the rules set forth by the instructor that concern online, device-enabled, and in-person collaboration, discussion, and sharing.
5. I will complete assignments and examinations in a manner that respects the instructor’s guidance and the integrity of the instructor’s evaluation of my work.

For Faculty

1. I will pay careful attention to workload, scheduling policies, and time zones understanding that remote instruction in multiple courses can lead to unacceptable levels of competition for the
student’s time.
2. I will approach accommodation requests with trust, empathy and appropriate levels of flexibility, and will afford necessary accommodations to address disability needs.
3. I will promote classroom equity by taking steps to ensure that no student is disadvantaged because they have to work in a challenging environment or one that has limited resources and
internet connectivity.
4. I will promote fairness by taking into account health concerns and added caregiving responsibilities that are related to the pandemic.
5. I will make sure my students understand the rules and boundaries that I impose about submitted work even as I encourage collaborative learning.
6. I will do everything I can to make sure the entire teaching team is accessible to students through email, Zoom, Canvas, and other platforms as appropriate.
7. I will make sure that my teaching assistants and graders understand the above principles and that collectively we will work to uphold the Code of Academic Integrity and other Penn policies.

The Endorsers of this document are grateful to Cornell University for their willingness to allow us to use and revise their Spring 2020 document “Commitment To Academic Integrity, Equitable Instruction, Trust, And Respect”.

1 See the Code of Academic Integrity; the Code of Student Conduct; Sexual Misconduct Policy, Resource Offices and Complaint Procedures; Guidelines on Open Expression; the University’s Copyright policies; Guidelines for Addressing Academic Issues of Students with Disabilities; Policy on Acceptable Use of Electronic Resources; and Policy on Privacy in the Electronic Environment, among other relevant policies.

The fundamental purpose of the University as an academic community is the pursuit of knowledge. Essential to the success of this educational mission is a commitment to the principles of academic integrity. Academic work represents not only what we have learned about a subject but also how we have learned it.

Values and beliefs about academic integrity have been adopted by scholars so that others may trace our honorable footsteps, verify what we have learned, and build upon our work. Every member of the University community is responsible for upholding the highest standards of honesty at all times.

As members of the University community, students are also responsible for adhering to the principles and spirit of the Code of Academic Integrity. Penn believes strongly in the importance of academic integrity. Students who violate its precepts are subject to punishment through the judicial system. Ignorance of the rules is no excuse. If a student is unsure whether his or her action(s) constitute a violation of the Code of Academic Integrity, it is that student’s responsibility to consult with the instructor to clarify any ambiguity.

The best strategy for maintaining academic integrity is to avoid situations where academic dishonesty might occur. When in doubt, cite. There are many publications, such as the Chicago Manual of Style or the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (which has been placed in Rosengarten Reserve by the Honor Council), that provide information about methods of proper citation. Failure to acknowledge sources is plagiarism, regardless of intention.

  • Consult with instructors about assignments.
  • Plan to leave sufficient time to complete work.
  • Contact the Weingarten Center for help with time management and study strategies.

Center for Community Standards and Accountability