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Academic Integrity Information and Resources for SAU Students: SAU Academic Integrity Policy

A guide for faculty, staff, and students on how to promote practices leading to academic integrity campus wide.

St. Ambrose University Academic Integrity Policy Preface

In accordance with its mission to enable “students to develop intellectually, spiritually, ethically, socially, artistically, and physically to enrich their own lives and the lives of others,” In its mission statement, the university seeks to “teach, learn, and work in a climate of mutual respect, honesty, and integrity where excellence and academic freedom are cherished.” All members of the community are called upon to uphold the standards of academic integrity and to avoid academic dishonesty of any kind. By accepting employment at the university or by accepting admission to St. Ambrose; faculty, staff, and students affirm and support the principle of honesty in their endeavours on behalf of the institution. Each member of the St. Ambrose community is responsible for acting with integrity.

Forms of Academic Misconduct

Academic misconduct is any attempt to gain unearned advantage involving coursework or records. Forms of misconduct include, but are not limited to the following:


Plagiarism is the intentional or unintentional use of another’s words or ideas without crediting the source. Examples include but are not limited to the following:

  • Receiving credit on group assignments without contributing fairly.
  • Submitting another’s paper or assignment, in whole or in part, as if it were your own. 
  • Using exact phrases, sentences, or paragraphs from a source without quotation marks and/or proper citation.
  • Paraphrasing another’s work or using information (verbal or visual), opinions, or concepts from a source without proper citation or acknowledgement.
  •  Borrowing phrases from a source without using quotation marks, substituting synonyms for the author's language while keeping to the same general language framework and meaning as found in the original.

Falsification or Fabrication

Falsification or fabrication is intentionally altering or creating data in an academic exercise or record. Examples include but are not limited to the following:

  • Inventing research or lab results.
  • Counterfeiting a record of a practicum experience.
  • Sabotaging another student’s work such as a lab report.
  • Fabricating an excuse (e.g., an illness or accident) to justify a delay in submission of an exam or assignment.
  • Inventing a citation, altering a grade on an assignment or academic record, unauthorized altering of a returned test or paper before seeking re-grading, or impersonating another student.

Unauthorized Assistance

Unauthorized assistance is the use of any source of information not authorized by the instructor. Examples include but are not limited to the following:

  • Collaboration on completing assignments or tests without the authorization of the instructor or outside the limits designated by the instructor.
  • Allowing another, such as a tutor or fellow student, to complete or significantly revise a paper or assignment.
  • Using materials such as textbooks, notes, or formula lists during a test without the professor's permission.
  • Copying from another student's test or homework and/or allowing another student to copy from your test or homework.


Complicity is assisting another person in committing an act of academic dishonesty. Examples include but are not limited to the following:

  • Writing or procuring an assignment for another student.
  • Taking an exam for another student. 
  • Changing an academic record for another student.
  • Supplying another student or students with unauthorized copies of an exam, or exam questions or answers, or lying to students, faculty or administration on behalf of another student.

Improper use of Technology

Improper use of Technology is the dishonest or deceptive use of any technological device such as a computer, smart-phone, or tablet to receive or attempt to receive or aid another to receive credit for academic work, or any improvement in evaluation of academic performance. Examples include but are not limited to the following:

  • Using a device such as a computer, smart-phone, smart-watch, or tablet to store or receive answers to assignments or tests.
  • Having someone else log-in as you to complete an online assignment or exam.
  • Logging-in as someone else to complete an online assignment or exam.

Abuse of Academic Materials

Abuse of academic materials is intentionally destroying, stealing, or making such materials inaccessible. Examples include but are not limited to the following:

  • Hiding or removing library resources so other students do not have access to them.
  • Destroying files or other materials needed in academic work.
  • Stealing notes, assignments or exams from students or instructors.
  • Infecting university computers with malware or viruses.

Multiple Submission

Multiple submission is the use of the same work in more than one course without prior permission of the instructor. Examples include but are not limited to the following:

  • Submitting the same paper, assignment or presentation, in whole or in part, to satisfy course requirements in more than one class.

Approved by EPC 3/6/18

Procedures and Potential Consequences for Academic Misconduct

Procedures for Alleged Academic Misconduct

An instructor who has evidence or suspects an act of academic misconduct has taken place is responsible for acting in accordance with the St. Ambrose University Academic Integrity Policy. In addition, others, including students, who have reason to believe a violation has taken place, should notify the instructor verbally or in writing. The names of those supplying information other than the instructor will be held in confidence.

The following steps will be taken by the instructor:

  • An instructor will discuss the allegation with the student and determine an appropriate sanction for the course, if deemed necessary.
  • Depending on the severity of the violation (see “Potential Consequences of Academic Misconduct”), the instructor, will send a completed incident report with any supporting documentation to the Registrar.

The incident report will be reviewed by the Board of Studies Chair. In the case of violations that are not considered to be severe (see Potential Consequences of Academic Misconduct), a violation letter will be sent to the student and they will be asked to meet with the Director of Reading and Study Skills. The student may either accept the action or may request a formal hearing before the Board of Studies committee.

In the event of a repeat violation or if the Board of Studies Chair suspects organized cheating or severe acts of academic dishonesty, the investigation will be pursued by the Board of Studies committee. The Registrar will notify the student(s) of the specific allegations of academic misconduct and when a formal hearing with the committee will occur. The Board of Studies committee will determine which additional sanctions will be enforced (see Potential Consequences of Academic Misconduct); its ruling may be appealed to the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs.  All incident reports of academic misconduct will be reported and kept on file in the Office of the Registrar.

Potential Consequences of Academic Misconduct

All cases of academic misconduct (or suspected academic misconduct) will result in a meeting between the instructor and the student where the instructor will explain to the student how the observed behavior might be a violation of the University’s Academic Integrity Policy and give the student an opportunity to provide an explanation. At this meeting, the instructor will also explain what behaviors were expected and appropriate for that assignment, and how the student’s behavior violated these expected behaviors. Potential consequences for academic misconduct are at the discretion of the instructor and will depend on the severity of the violation.

Consequences for a minor violation might include: having the student redo an assignment or giving the student a reduced grade for an assignment (potentially including “F” or zero). Examples of minor violations include but are not limited to:

  • Paraphrasing another’s work without proper citation in parts of a written assignment.
  • Allowing another student to significantly revise a paper or assignment (without authorization from the instructor).
  • Fabricating an excuse to justify a delay in submission of an assignment.
  • Receiving credit on a group assignment without contributing fairly.

In these cases, after hearing the student’s explanation, an instructor might decide that this violation does not warrant the submission of an incident report to the Office of the Registrar.

Consequences for a major violation might include: giving the student a grade of “F” or zero on the assignment or exam, or giving the student a grade of “F” for the entire course. If the instructor determines that a major violation has occurred, the instructor will also submit an incident report, including any documentation and the action taken to the Office of the Registrar (see Procedures for Alleged Academic Misconduct). Examples of major violations include but are not limited to:

  • Copying from another student’s test.
  • Using a smart-phone to receive answers to a test.
  • Submitting another’s paper or assignment, in whole or in part, as if it were your own.
  • Inventing results for a lab report.

Cases of severe or repeated violations will automatically be evaluated by the Board of Studies committee (see Procedures for Alleged Academic Misconduct) and may result in loss of academic honors, probation, suspension, or expulsion. A student’s grade can be changed, even after a course has been completed.

Examples of severe violations that would be considered by the Board of Studies include but are not limited to:

  • Distributing stolen exams.
  • Selling papers to other students.
  • Downloading entire papers from the internet

Approved by EPC 3/6/18