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Majors & Degrees

Academic Integrity

What is academic integrity?

Having integrity means doing the right thing, even when no one is looking. It means upholding the academic honesty policies set forth by the Dakota State University and the South Dakota Board of Regents.

It means doing your own work even if your friend offers you help on a take-home exam. It means writing your own papers and properly citing your resources. It means taking an online quiz without the help from your textbooks or friends, if the quiz is supposed to be taken that way. Also, it could mean reporting someone you suspect has cheated on an exam or other assignment.

Having integrity means believing in the principles and standards of our DSU community and making sure your behavior is consistent with those principles and standards.

What is an example of academic honesty?

“Academic Honesty” means doing all your academic work without plagiarism, cheating, lying, tampering, stealing, receiving unauthorized or illegitimate assistance from any other person, or using any source of information that is not common knowledge or approved.

Why is academic integrity important?

Having academic integrity is important for several reasons. First, having academic integrity means that others can trust you. The people who you live and learn with know they can rely on you to act honestly and to do what you say you will do. When people know that you believe in doing the right thing, and that your behavior is consistent with that belief, they trust you.

Additionally, trust is one of the key characteristics of a successful leader. Successful leaders develop good reputations by being honest, fair, and trustworthy, for example. Individuals who are successful in business understand the benefits of acting with integrity.

Our world is based on our ability to trust each other. Therefore, developing good ethical habits now, while you are in college, will help you as you enter the workplace and face ethical issues that undoubtedly will happen at some point in your lifetime.

Second, having academic integrity is important because it provides value to your degree. Employers prefer to hire graduates whom they believe to have high personal integrity. They would rather invest in developing the human capital of someone who will be a positive influence on the organization and on someone whom they can trust to carry out the company’s mission.

Finally, having academic integrity is important because it can offer you peace of mind knowing that you believe in doing the right thing, and always try to act consistently with those beliefs. Acting with integrity can reduce a lot of unnecessary stress in your life, making you happier, healthier, and more productive.

Note: academic honesty violations are kept as part of your academic record. Records may be requested by federal agencies seeking background checks for employment.

Helpful Hints to Maintain Academic Integrity

  1. Participate in your course: Your education at Dakota State is based largely on class participation, an opportunity to learn from faculty who are experts in their fields. Your faculty will often make important announcements, including revised due dates, hints for exam preparation, and new assignments during class time or in your online course shell.
  2. Clarify instructions: Ask your faculty to clarify any instructions before you begin working on an assignment. Once you understand the parameters, it will be easier for you to plan your work and stay on schedule. Your faculty would rather you ask then guess!
  3. Plan ahead: Get yourself on the right track at the start of each semester by noting all your due dates for papers, assignments, and exams on one calendar. Keep yourself on a consistent study schedule throughout the semester and try to keep ahead of your work. Planning allows you to invest maximum effort with a minimum amount of stress. If you need help getting started, reach out to DSU-AdvisingCenter@dsu.edu
  4. Know where to go for assistance. Familiarize yourself with campus resources available to assist you in studying, writing papers, and preparing for exams. Such resources include Trojan Tutoring, the Writing Center, the Library, your advisor, and your faculty. You can use TrojanConnect to schedule meetings in advance of your due dates!
  5. Follow Instructions: Guidelines for completing assignments are carefully considered by your faculty members. You are less likely to create suspicion about the originality of your work if you follow their instructions to the letter. This includes any instructions given during an exam. If you are unsure, ask!
  6. Do your own work: Unless given explicit permission from your faculty or teaching assistant, your best bet is to always do your own work and turn in your own assignments. It doesn’t mean you can seek assistance from friends on homework, papers, or exam prep but it does mean you can’t turn in other's work as your own.
  7. Sit apart from others during your exams and follow exact instructions during online exams: You will be less likely to exchange glances or look at another’s work if you keep several seats between you and a neighbor. You will also be less likely to be called into question with an online exam if you follow all the rules set in advance by your faculty.
  8. Know whose words or ideas you’re using: When preparing a paper, take careful notes from books, articles, websites and journals. You need to make sure you have page numbers, authors’ full names, publication dates, journal titles, and more. If you are using websites, you still need all of this information and the website! Place quotations marks around any content you use as a source’s words or ideas. Use all proper footnotes (or endnotes) and create your sources document as you go. It is never okay to turn in someone else’s work as your own! You can check your paper in free services like Grammarly and get citation help from great online resources as well.
  9. Know your options: If your lab experiment goes poorly, if you have a family emergency, if you are uncertain what steps to take if you have three exams on the same day, talk it over with your faculty member or advisor right away. They are much more likely to offer solutions, such as extensions or incompletes, if you discuss with them BEFORE the assignment or test is due. You will not gain these same flexible options if you choose a careless or dishonest route to just getting the work done.
  10. THINK: Think about why you are at Dakota State University. Think about why you are enrolled in the course. Think about the value of your education; about studying, reading, and writing; and about being proud of the work you are completing and turning in with your name on.

Bonus: Think about your faculty members, they are truly dedicated and committed to teaching you the content you need to be successful. They will know when you are turning in copied code, a friend’s paper from a different term, a duplicate discussion post. Be true to yourself, respect yourself and your faculty!

South Dakota Board have established expectations of student behavior including acts of Academic Misconduct or Dishonesty. You can read SDBOR Policy 3.4.1 Student Code of Conduct policies specific to Acts of Academic Misconduct and Dishonesty (2.1).

Student Code of Conduct

Dakota State University Definitions for Academic Misconduct can be found in the catalog under university policies.

Academic Integrity/Misconduct

Resources for Faculty

DSU Faculty can find the Academic Integrity Disposition form in the ITS knowledge base.

Academic Integrity Disposition Form