Individuals who commit plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic fraud poison the mutual respect and trust that are essential to the life of a university. They also rob themselves of the fundamental purposes of education— to continually stretch their intellectual curiosity, knowledge, and abilities beyond what they believe are their limits.

Plagiarism and Cheating

Plagiarism and cheating are forms of academic fraud that disrupt the educational atmosphere and devalue the educational process.

Students must assume responsibility for the content and integrity of their work, whether in the form of examinations, lab research, written reports, or creative products. A wide array of behavior falls under the umbrella of academic fraud. Students perpetrate academic fraud if, for example, they:

  • represent the work of someone else as their own;
  • fabricate data in support of laboratory or field work;
  • forge a signature on student records, documents, or student identification cards;
  • provide or obtain unauthorized assistance in examinations or other academic work;
  • take credit for group work without appropriately contributing to the team effort; or
  • download and submit work from electronic databases without proper citation.

If you believe a student has cheated, plagiarized, or otherwise committed academic fraud, report it to your department chair, who can refer you to relevant policies. All course syllabi should include a statement of departmental and college consequences for academic dishonesty. You should point this out to students before they submit major assignments. TAs should report to their faculty supervisors. Seek advice before accusing a student of academic fraud. Grade reductions and other disciplinary action also may be warranted, including suspension from the student’s college or expulsion from the University

The dictionary definition of plagiarism begins with the words “To steal…” In essence, plagiarism occurs when one person represents the language, ideas, or thoughts of another person as their own. Although this may seem straightforward, identifying and dealing with plagiarism can present a number of thorny issues.

In addition to using the online plagiarism detection service TurnItin, which is integrated with ICON, instructors can tap into a number of useful campus resources to help prevent, identify, and deal with plagiarism: the OTLT Center for Teaching, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Education Literature Program, Hanson Center for Technical Communication, the UI Writing Center, and University Libraries.


You have an ethical responsibility and, under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), a legal obligation to maintain the confidentiality of student information, including grades. So, for instance, you should not talk about a student’s grades, progress in the course, or behavior in class to or in front of another student or even to another instructor unless the instructor is acting in the student’s educational interest and has a demonstrated need to know.

Grades linked to any identifying information, including randomly generated ID numbers, cannot be posted without students’ written consent. ICON enables an instructor to confidentially communicate grades to students online. Even something as seemingly benign as putting final notebooks in a box outside your office door for students to pick up is a breach of confidentiality.