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What are academic integrity and academic honesty? As a student, how do I ensure I am meeting Webster University’s policies?

Academic integrity and academic honesty are complex and often confusing issues.

  • At its core, the concept of academic integrity ensures that, as a student, you are taking responsibility and being held accountable for your own education. This means that through your coursework you are providing a demonstration of, and not what someone else has already learned. Academic integrity also ensures Webster’s reputation reflects the high quality learning experiences we offer and the value of the degree you and all other Webster alumni receive is well-respected.

  • Academic honesty is engaging in specific behaviors which uphold the University’s standards of academic integrity - or goes against them in the case of academic dishonesty.

    • There are many types of academic dishonesty, including but not limited to plagiarism, cheating, misrepresentation, fraud, bribery, or even assisting others in forms of academic dishonesty.

What is plagiarism?

  • Essentially, plagiarism is utilizing the words or ideas of others, and using them as your own. For more information about plagiarism, view Webster University’s student guide to plagiarism.

  • Plagiarism has many different forms, including but not limited to:

    • missing or inaccurate citations of works referenced
    • paraphrasing another’s work without providing appropriate citations
    • submitting answers you did not reach own your own, perhaps found in the solutions manual for your text, an instructor's edition of the text or through a web search

  • A little known twist on plagiarism is self-plagiarism. This is reusing words and ideas you have previously used in other works and assignments, representing them as newly created work. Should you ever want to reuse assignments, papers or other works you have submitted for prior courses, be sure to check with your instructor before doing so. If your instructor approves your use of previously written materials, be certain to provide appropriate citations these items.

What are the consequences for not adhering to Webster’s academic honesty policies?

  • Webster takes the integrity of the institution and academic honesty very seriously.

  • Consequences vary depending upon the nature and severity of the offense but, ultimately, you may also be subject to dismissal from the University and held to all applicable standards of the law. This is not a risk we recommend you take!

  • If any form of academic dishonesty occurs within a course, specific outcomes may be determined at the instructor’s discretion. You may see a grade reduction, be assigned a failing grade, or be administratively removed from the course.

  • Students who engage in plagiarism may be required to complete a plagiarism prevention course, helping you to better understand what plagiarism is and how to avoid it.

How can I avoid academic dishonesty?

  • Avoiding academic dishonesty begins with understanding what it is and why it is important for you to take your own education seriously. Why undertake the expense of a degree if you do not actually want to learn the material?

  • It is also important to take the time to read over information such as this which helps you to be aware of potential pitfalls - if you have made it this far, you’ve taken at least one step in the right direction!

  • For written works, the following resources are particularly helpful and provide different levels and types of information, depending upon what you need:
  • Lastly, remember that acquiring knowledge is a process which takes time. You will be presented with many opportunities to take an easy route, but in order for true learning to occur, you must be willing to challenge yourself. You might not always be successful, but there are plenty of resources available to help you improve.  Here are just a few:

    • Library - free and easy access to a variety of electronic databases ensures you have the research material you need
    • Online Writing Center - writing coaches help you through every stage of the writing process, from developing it to putting on the final touches
    • Academic Resource Center - provides academic support, tutoring and assistance to students who receive academic accommodations

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