Skip to Content
Arts and Sciences Logo
Books on a bench.

Academic Integrity Policy


Academic Dishonesty includes cheating and plagiarism. It is unethical and, in the case of plagiarism, illegal. The Department of English will not tolerate any form of academic dishonesty. Infractions will result in failure on the assignment, or in the course, and possible suspension or expulsion from the University. So don't do it - it isn't worth it!

Cheating is the giving, receiving, taking, or purchasing of any information or written work not your own during exams or on any written assignments.

Plagiarism is the attempt to present another person's published or unpublished work (ideas and/or language) as your own. Plagiarism means copying the ideas and/or language of any source without acknowledging that source, without proper quotation of any language (even single words or short phrases) taken directly from that source, and without citation of all paraphrased as well as quoted ideas from that source. This includes copying from Internet sources.


Students found to be guilty of cheating or plagiarism the first time will receive a 0 (zero) for the assignment; the second time, automatic failure for the course; the third time, recommendation to the Dean for expulsion from the University.

Procedure professors will follow when they find evidence of plagiarism:

  1. Professors will submit students' papers to "SafeAssign" (in Blackboard) to identify instances of plagiarism. However, students should note that discovery of the original source is not necessary to validate a charge of plagiarism, which is based upon the professor's educated judgment and knowledge of his/her field, as well as knowledge of the student's previous work.
  2. Professors will determine whether the plagiarism is deliberate or unintentional. Unintentional plagiarism occurs when a student attempts to acknowledge, quote, and/or cite sources but does so inadequately or incorrectly. In this case the professor may give a "D" or an "F" on the assignment instead of a zero and may allow the student to rewrite the paper. This decision is up to the discretion of the professor, in consultation with other faculty members when necessary.
  3. Professors will meet with the student to explain the infraction and the appropriate penalty. If necessary this meeting will occur in the presence of the Director of First-Year Writing or the Chair of the Department of English. Students will be asked to produce all preparatory notes, outlines, and drafts of the paper, as well as to bring in the sources used, to validate that the paper is their own.
  4. In instances of cheating between students, distinction will be made between the "borrower" and the "lender" of the written work. The borrower will receive a 0 (zero) on the assignment, but the Professor will attempt to determine whether the lender is a deliberate cheater who knowingly gave his or her work to be copied, or a misguided student who leant a paper unaware that it would be copied (still wrong), or a completely innocent student whose paper was taken without his or her knowledge. In the first case, the lender will also receive a 0 (zero) on the assignment. Penalties in the other two instances will be determined.

Tips for avoiding unintentional plagiarism

Acknowledge: Any ideas, facts, or language taken from a source must be acknowledged. Acknowledge the work of others by providing a "Works Cited List" (bibliography) - but this alone is not sufficient. You must also cite (provide author's name and relevant page numbers in parentheses) all quoted language as well as all paraphrased ideas from your source.

Quote: Any language taken from your original source, even key words or short phrases, must be placed within quotation marks and quoted accurately. Reorganizing a sentence, substituting a synonym, or altering a word or two does not make it "okay" to use the language or ideas of others without quotation and citation.

Paraphrase: Paraphrasing means summarizing the source in your own words. Remember that paraphrased ideas must still be cited and acknowledged! Good paraphrasing is difficult and requires: 1) reading carefully enough to thoroughly digest ideas; 2) being careful not to paraphrase during the note-taking stage (use direct quotation in taking notes and paraphrase later in the draft stage); 3) not writing with the source work in front of you; and finally 4) proofreading carefully to make sure no language from the source has slipped in unintentionally.

Which citation method should students use?

The Department of English requires use of the Modern Language Association (MLA) method of parenthetical citation on all written work. Other departments may require another methodology, like the American Psychological Association (APA) Publication Manual or the Chicago method. While they are basically similar, there are slight variations in these formats. Students will learn MLA bibliography and citation format in ENGL 1201 and 1202, and they will be introduced to others which are represented in their grammar handbook, The Bedford Handbook. Students are responsible thereafter in all future courses for knowing which method their professors require, and students are responsible for consulting their grammar handbook in order to do it correctly.

Back to top