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Academic Integrity Policy

Category Academic
Type Policy
Approved by Senate, 24 June 2015
Date Policy Took Effect 1 August 2015
Last Approved Revision
Sponsor Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)
Responsible Officer Manager, Policy and Compliance, Academic Services
Review Date 24 June 2017

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to:

•    affirm the University’s commitment to academic integrity
•    affirm that, in relation to students, the University has a responsibility to educate students with regards to academic integrity
•    define the expectations and responsibilities of the University, staff and students as regards the fostering of academic integrity

Organisational Scope

This policy applies to all staff and students of the University.

Definitions

Academic Integrity    The basis for ethical decision-making and behaviour in an academic context. This is reflected in norms of acceptable academic practice and is informed by the values of honesty, trust, responsibility, fairness, respect and courage.

Academic Misconduct    Actions which intentionally or unintentionally are contrary to the values and practices associated with academic integrity.

Text-matching software    Computer software which detects similarities between text in a submitted document and pre-existing documents (e.g. published articles).  This can be used to detect plagiarism and/or incorrect referencing.

Policy Content

1.   General Principles

(a)    Academic integrity is the basis for ethical decision-making and behaviour in an academic context.  It is reflected in norms of acceptable academic practice and is informed by the following values:
•    Honesty in learning, teaching, research and service
•    Trust to support the free exchange of ideas
•    Responsibility for personal actions
•    Fairness including transparent expectations, standards and practices
•    Respect for diverse opinions
•    Courage to translate values into action

(b)    Academic endeavours at the University of Otago are built upon an essential commitment to academic integrity. Staff and students are expected to engage in teaching, learning, research and related service activities in a manner consistent with the values of academic integrity and the accepted practices of the academic tradition within which the University of Otago operates.

(c)    The University of Otago affirms that instilling academic integrity is an integral part of a university education.  The University recognises that students entering tertiary study begin with varying levels of understanding of academic integrity and is committed to ensuring that students are given educational opportunities to understand the practices associated with academic integrity and to learn to embody those practices in their academic work. 

(d)    The University of Otago treats academic misconduct by staff or students seriously; there are separate processes and procedures for dealing with allegations of academic misconduct:
•    The Student Academic Misconduct Procedures
•    The Procedure for Dealing with Allegations of Misconduct in Research
•    Human Resources processes as appropriate.

2.   University, Staff And Student Responsibilities

The fostering and maintenance of a culture of academic integrity at the University of Otago relies upon the actions and commitment of staff and students, as per the following responsibilities.

(b)     It is the responsibility of the University to:
i.    establish and enact policies and procedures relating to academic integrity
ii.    ensure equitable and consistent application of such policies and procedures
iii.    provide relevant learning support for students, including tutorials and Student Learning Centre workshops on academic integrity, discipline-specific academic literacy modules and formative feedback on work submitted
iv.    maintain easily accessible information on academic integrity for staff and students on a centralised web page (Academic Integrity @ Otago)
v.    make available to staff appropriate tools (including text-matching software) to assist in the detection of academic misconduct
vi.    assist staff in the resolution of suspected academic misconduct
vii.    maintain records of established cases of academic misconduct in a Student Academic Misconduct Register.

(c)     It is the responsibility of academic staff to:
i.    teach and conduct research and scholarship according to ethical standards
ii.    promote and inform students about academic integrity through the inclusion of clear guidelines on University policy in course outlines
iii.    teach students ethical learning, research and scholarship practices
iv.    clearly communicate to students the assessment methods and expectations relating to academic integrity
v.    design assessment tasks with attention to reducing the potential for academic misconduct (e.g. avoid using the same assignment repeatedly across semesters or years)
vi.    inform students of the use of text-matching software used to analyse assessments in order to deter academic misconduct.

(d)     It is the responsibility of the students to:
i.    engage proactively with learning about and demonstrating academic integrity as an essential component of their university studies
ii.    use their knowledge of academic integrity and acceptable academic practice in completing and submitting assessment
iii.    seek additional assistance if in doubt about assessment expectations and academic integrity.

(e)    In addition to these core responsibilities, specified members of staff are delegated with procedural responsibilities in the investigation of suspected academic misconduct.

Acknowledgement

This policy is based on best practice principles developed by the Australian Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT)-commissioned Exemplary Academic Integrity Project (EAIP). The University of Otago has adopted and adapted policy language with the explicit permission of the University of Sydney, the University of Auckland, the University of Canberra, the University of South Australia, Newcastle University, Griffith University, Flinders University and La Trobe University in the development of this policy. The International Centre for Academic Integrity definition of academic integrity has been adopted for this policy.

Related Policies, Procedures and Forms

Contact for Further Information

If you have any queries regarding the content of this policy or need further clarification, contact the Manager, Student Administration on david.cross@otago.ac.nz