In the Classroom

It’s easy to assume that everyone in academia shares the same values and principles when it comes to academic integrity in the classroom.  No one enters graduate school thinking that they would plagiarize, cheat, or falsify data.  Yet students and faculty often find themselves in difficult situations that they may not be able to resolve by themselves.

Virginia Tech has several honor codes and academic policies that help reduce  ambiguities, set standards that may guide student and faculty actions in the classroom, and delineate a course of action should infractions happen.

The Graduate Honor Code requires that all graduate students exercise honesty and ethical behavior in all their academic pursuits at Virginia Tech, whether these undertakings pertain to study, course work, research, extension, or teaching. The code defines four types of violations:

  • Cheating: giving or receiving of any unauthorized aid, assistance, or unfair advantage in any form of academic work.
  • Plagiarism: a specific form of cheating; the copying of the language, structure, idea, and/or thoughts of another and claiming or attempting to imply that it is one’s own original work. It also includes the omitting of quotation marks when references are copied directly, improper paraphrasing
  • Falsification: forgery, fabrication or misrepresentation, orally, in writing, or via electronic media, any circumstance relevant to academic work, credentials, official records or documents, or data.
  • Academic sabotage: purposeful vandalism directed against any academic endeavor or equipment.

To see / hear translations of the Graduate Honor Code, see below:

GHS ExplanationsEnglish: PowerPoint

Spanish: PowerPoint

Chinese: PowerPoint

German: PowerPoint

Another resource to teach students about academic integrity is through activities, such as this student-created One-Act Play.

The Faculty Handbook and the  undergraduate course catalog and academic policies outline instruction-related expectations and standards.

  • Grading: All grades are to be based on established grading criteria and not on personal conduct or opinions unrelated to academic standards. A student may not do extra work to raise his/her grade. Instructors are expected to adhere to principles of professionalism, fairness, and clear communication when assigning grades. This includes consistent treatment of all students in the class; clear evaluation criteria; timely return of graded work to the student; sufficient performance feedback; and attention to fair and reasonable measures of course content and student performance.
  • Reporting suspected violations:  It is the obligation of all members of the academic community to report alleged violations of the Undergraduate or Graduate Honor Code.
  • Student-instructor relationships
  • Faculty-authored course materials

For a list of courses that address ethics and academic integrity as a part of their content, please see this list: Ethics_Courses_VT.

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