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Academic Integrity

In order to fulfill one’s human potential, it is necessary to be honest and honorable in each of life’s endeavors. The pursuit of academic excellence, therefore, must be conducted with the highest levels of honor, integrity, and civility. The community of JCC believes that all students have the right to be educated and fairly evaluated in an environment which promotes scholarly honesty in all aspects of academic endeavor.

A Letter from your faculty

Dear Student,

We don’t often mention it, but you (my student) and I (your prof) have a relationship. It starts out with money -- your tuition and my paycheck -- and empty names on a class roster or course schedule, but those things drop away and something else soon takes over. That something else is a relationship unique to education, but like other relationships it is based on trust.

Also, like other relationships, we follow rules that are largely unspoken. They govern such things as who controls the class (that would be me, mostly) and who deserves respect (we share that one) and who can break off this relationship (this one is yours, mostly). These rules suggest that I will manage discussions, set deadlines, define tasks, determine topics, and because you accept these unspoken rules, all this seems pretty much all right with you.  We trust each other to abide by these rules. I won’t change deadlines at the last minute or embarrass you in front of class, and you won’t shout greetings to your friends during lectures or insist that you grade yourself.

We also agree to not lie to each other, since our entire relationship becomes useless when it isn’t truthful, again as in life generally. For if I am not telling you the truth about my discipline, the facts and conclusions that make up the knowledge I’m responsible for, then why would you ever want to attend my class? On the other side, if I can’t be confident your tests and papers are truly yours, then why would I bother to care about your learning?

Caring about how you learn in my class is important to me. When you bomb a test, I wonder what went wrong and how to fix it. When you look confused in class, I change my approach to the topic. When your paper doesn’t work, I take time to wonder why and write to you about how the next paper can be better. But if I find you have cheated, it’s as if you have committed an academic violence, like a slap in the face or a petty theft. This crime is as much against the other students in the class as against me, and I wind up offended on their behalf as much as mine. The cheater breaks the trust, divides the relationship, and chooses to be an outcast, creating no small amount of distress for us all.

When the course ends, our relationship will likely begin to dwindle, though I will be there at your graduation and selfishly take some pride in seeing you accept your diploma from the president and walk the boards. Afterwards, even years later, I will probably remember things you have written or classes where you spoke. People lodge themselves in our memories for different reasons, not always predictably. Often, I remember those who worked the hardest; always I remember the plagiarists.

I wish you success here at JCC. This is what I, as a professor, build my professional life around.

Sincerely,
Your professor

Why is academic integrity important?
The college is an academic community whose mission is to promote learning through the acquisition, preservation, and transmission of knowledge. In order to achieve this goal, the college must create and maintain an atmosphere that promotes honesty and the free exchange of ideas, which is the essence of academic integrity. In this setting, all members of the institution have an obligation to uphold high intellectual and ethical standards which, in turn, help maintain the highest standards of academic excellence.

What is your responsibility as a student?
To establish this positive learning environment, students must recognize that their role in their education is active; you, as a student, are responsible for your learning. Specifically, it is your responsibility to protect your own work from inappropriate use by others, and to protect the work of other people by providing proper credit for their ideas. In addition, your behavior must exemplify academic honesty at all times, and you should encourage such behavior in others.

What are the most common forms of academic dishonesty?
Actions constituting violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Plagiarism: the use of another's words, ideas, data, or product without appropriate acknowledgment, such as copying another's work, presenting someone else's opinions and theories as your own, or working jointly on a project and then submitting it as your own. Unintentional plagiarism may occur when students are unaware of the proper methods to use in crediting sources. Whether intentional or not, plagiarism is a violation of the college’s standards of academic integrity; you are responsible for learning and following the rules for proper use of sources.
  • Cheating: the use or attempted use of unauthorized materials, information, or study aids; or an act of deceit by which a student attempts to misrepresent academic skills or knowledge; unauthorized copying from or collaboration with another person.
  • Fabrication: intentional misrepresentation or invention of any information, such as falsifying research, inventing or exaggerating data, or listing incorrect or fictitious references.
  • Collusion: assisting another to commit an act of academic dishonesty, such as paying or bribing someone to acquire a test or assignment, taking a test or doing an assignment for someone else, or allowing someone to do these things for your own benefit.

 

The following websites provide examples of certain types of academic dishonesty, and offer suggestions on how to avoid engaging in academic dishonesty:

How has the World Wide Web affected academic integrity?
As the web becomes an increasingly popular source of information for students, new opportunities have been created for plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty. Principles of honesty and the expectation that others will be credited for their work apply to information accessed from the web, just as from other sources. Students need to be especially careful to follow guidelines for academic integrity when using materials whose source is the web.

How does the college handle accusations that a student has violated standards of academic integrity?
JCC's Constitution of the Student Body describes the college’s expectations regarding academic integrity in more detail, and outlines the procedures for handling violations of this policy as well as penalties which may be imposed on those found guilty of academic dishonesty. Students found guilty of academic dishonesty are subject to a wide range of penalties depending on the severity of the violation. Note, however, that each violation is treated as a serious breach of the college’s expectations for students and will be treated as such. 

Can I get assistance in learning how to properly cite sources?
Yes! There are two primary styles for citing sources. Consult your instructor to determine the style you need to follow. These web-based resources can assist you in maintaining the highest level of academic integrity:

Where can I get a little face-to-face help?

  • With my research? 
  • With paraphrasing a source? 
  • With citing sources in MLA Style or APA Style?

Get personal assistance from librarians in our libraries and tutors in our learning assistance centers.

At the Cattaraugus County Campus:

  • 716.376.7517 - The Cattaraugus Campus Library in the Library & Liberal Arts Center
  • 716.376.7516 - The Learning Assistance & Computer Center in the Technology Center

At the Jamestown Campus:

  • 716.338.1008 - The Hultquist Library
  • 716.338.1017 - Main Street

Walk-ins welcome!

Some information above excerpted/adapted from Jamestown Community College Constitution of the Student Body and Portland Community College Academic Integrity Policy.