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Framework for Academic Integrity


Adapted from the Lancaster University Dealing with Plagiarism by Students on Taught Programmes – Institutional Framework, and the Griffith University Institutional Framework for Promoting Academic Integrity among Students, with their permission.

1. Background

Australian Catholic University, through its Mission and all its activities, is committed to principles of ethical behaviour and integrity among its staff and students, and these principles underpin all aspects of learning and teaching, research and service.  The University values a culture of honesty and mutual trust, and expects all members of the University to respect and uphold these values at all times and in all their activities.

This document provides a University-wide framework for promoting the core values of academic integrity among students.  It reflects the values in the University’s Mission Statement and sits within and relates to a policy framework which includes the Academic Regulations, Academic Honesty Policy, Assessment Policy, Assessment Procedures and the Examination Policy and Examination Procedures.

2. Application

This Framework applies to –

  1. all undergraduate and postgraduate units offered by ACU, including coursework and thesis/dissertation units completed as part of an honours or research degree, professional experience units and off-shore units;
  2. students undertaking such units;
  3. academic and professional staff of or contracted by the University, with responsibility for the design, delivery and/or assessment of such units.

3. Principles

Academic integrity is integral to the context of true academic discourse, where learning, the assessment of student progress and academic quality are pursued without compromise. Consequently, the University is committed to –

  1. defending the academic credibility and reputation of the University;
  2. protecting the standard of its awards;
  3. ensuring that students receive due credit for the work they submit for assessment;
  4. advising its students of the need for academic integrity, and providing them with guidance on best practice in support of their learning;
  5. educating students about the importance of intellectual property and its relevance in relation to their own work and that of others.

4. Definitions

Terms used in this Framework have the definition set out in the Academic Honesty Policy.

5. Promoting academic integrity

The University’s strategies for promoting academic integrity include –

  1. institutional commitment: implementation of a University-wide framework for academic integrity across all academic areas;
  2. educative processes: the implementation of educative programs pertaining to academic integrity including the education of students and the professional development of staff;
  3. effective and equitable procedures: the ongoing development and review of systems and processes to promote academic integrity and to detect and deal equitably with any student against whom a breach of academic integrity is alleged.

6. Institutional commitment

The University’s commitment to academic integrity is supported by –

  1. promotion of core values: the University explicitly communicates the positive value placed on academic integrity through this Framework and states why academic integrity (in teaching and research) is valued;
  2. transparency and dissemination: this Framework and relevant policies and procedures are widely publicised within the University, to all staff and students;
  3. infrastructure support:
    1. the University implements and maintains policies, processes and systems that assist in the achievement of best practice in relation to the pursuit of academic integrity;
    2. a university-wide academic integrity website is maintained; this website will define and promote best practice and provide resources for staff and students;
    3. where deemed appropriate by Faculties, discipline-specific academic integrity websites are maintained.

7. Education of students

7.1 Students will have access to and will be encouraged to use self-help programs, including –

  1. online resources designed to enhance students’ understanding of academic integrity and how to avoid its breach; and
  2. an online training program in the use of text matching software to assist them to comply with the principles and practice of academic integrity.

7.2 The University will maintain a website on academic integrity which will define and promote best practice and provide resources for staff and students; Faculty-specific websites may also be developed. The website(s) will be promoted to all students during Orientation Week and during the study period.

7.3 Each Faculty and School will implement mechanisms to assist students to understand good practice in academic writing in the relevant discipline.

7.4 Study skills support will be made available to students, particularly support designed to promote good practice in academic writing and resources and/or support students who are experiencing difficulties with, for example, English language or academic literacy1.

8. Rights and responsibilities

Supplementary to the above general principles, the following express rights and responsibilities exist.

8.1 Responsibilities of Faculties

8.1.1 Each Faculty will –

  1. develop strategies to promote principles and practice of academic integrity among all students;
  2. ensure the implementation of this Infrastructure for Academic Integrity, the Academic Integrity Policy and Procedures for Dealing with Alleged Breaches of Academic Honesty;
  3. establish and maintain appropriate procedures to oversee and monitor School and Faculty implementation of University policy, and Faculty and School procedures on academic integrity.

8.1.2 Once per year, each Faculty will prepare a report to the Faculty Board on –

  1. School strategies for promoting academic integrity;
  2. the number of cases of academic dishonesty which have been handled in the relevant reporting period; and
  3. the manner in which breaches of academic integrity have been dealt with by Schools within the Faculty.

8.1.3 A report from each Faculty Board will be submitted to Academic Board annually.

8.2. Responsibilities of Schools

Each School will –

  1. ensure that the Unit Outline includes information on this Framework and advice to students regarding the style guide and referencing/citation system required in the discipline and/or for different assessment tasks;
  2. ensure that all academic staff are aware of the need to introduce and reinforce student understanding of academic integrity and the professional and academic skills required at all course levels;
  3. ensure that all academic staff are aware of, and provide advice to students regarding, the available sources of assistance for students seeking to develop their skills in academic writing and, in particular, preparation and presentation of assignments and other assessment tasks;
  4. incorporate material into first year courses that will assist students to understand the meaning and practical application of academic integrity;
  5. ensure that relevant School publications (printed and electronic) include statements which:
    1. make it clear that plagiarism, collusion, recycling and other forms of academic dishonesty are unacceptable;
    2. provide clear guidelines outlining what constitutes legitimate co-operation and collaboration, where it is encouraged and where it is prohibited;
    3. provide clear guidelines on groupwork, especially concerning assessment and division of tasks among group members and monitoring of groupwork by academic staff, to ensure fair assessment;
  6. implement appropriate security practices for submission and return of assessment tasks; and
  7. maintain a register of warnings issued regarding academic dishonesty and cases of breach of academic integrity.

8.3. Responsibilities of academic staff

Academic staff will –

  1. ensure that they are familiar with current University, Faculty and School policies and procedures with respect to academic integrity, and apply them consistently;
  2. design their assessment schedule in accordance with the Assessment Policy and Guidelines on Student Workload;
  3. clearly explain in Unit Outlines the style guide and referencing/citation system required in the discipline and/or for different assessment tasks;
  4. discuss with students (at an early stage, and particularly during the first few weeks of each study period) the importance of academic integrity and how to avoid its breach;
  5. provide appropriate conditions for groupwork and make clear to students the distinction between groupwork, levels of legitimate co-operation and collaboration, and requirements for individual work;
  6. be aware of and responsive to different cultural backgrounds of students, especially in relation to the use of the work of others and to academic literacy and writing skills; and
  7. provide students with early notification and fair warning if they believe any individual or group may be at risk of breaching academic integrity standards.

8.4. Rights of students

Students have a right to:

  1. have access to University, Faculty and School websites, policies, procedures and relevant resources relating to academic integrity;
  2. be provided with the style guide and referencing/citation system required in each discipline and/or for different assessment tasks;
  3. be provided with clear information on assessment requirements in each Unit Outline, especially concerning aspects involving individual and/or collective assessment;
  4. be provided with clear guidelines relating to all aspects of groupwork, its operation, monitoring and assessment;
  5. be provided with clear guidelines on the level of co-operation and collaboration permitted within each assessment component;
  6. expect consistent application of the academic framework, policies, procedures and practices at University, Faculty and School levels;
  7. receive early notification or fair warning in any case in which a member of staff believes a student or group of students may be at risk of breaching the University’s standards of academic integrity; and
  8. participate in appropriate learning experiences which are offered in order to improve their academic literacy and competence in academic writing and study skills2, understanding of the requirements of group work, and development of personal attributes, in particular, ethical behaviour.

8.5. Responsibilities of students

Students have a responsibility to –

  1. become familiar with University regulations, course rules and associated written procedures, which govern the status and conduct of students within the University and to conduct themselves in a manner which is consistent with those documents;
  2. understand and act in accordance with the University’s published principles of academic integrity in the preparation, conduct and submission of assessment tasks;
  3. seek clarification, if necessary, to ensure they clearly understand assessment conditions and requirements, and appropriate writing, referencing and assessment practice in their units and course(s);
  4. submit only work which is their own, or which properly acknowledges the thoughts, ideas, findings and/or work of others; for example:
    1. state clearly in the appropriate form where they found any material on which they have based their work, using the referencing system described in the Unit Outline;
    2. acknowledge the people whose thoughts, ideas, experimental works, conclusions, drawings, designs, data, computer programs or other creative work they have extracted, developed or summarised, even if they put these into their own words, data or designs;
    3. avoid excessive copying of passages or works of another author, even where the source is acknowledged.  The student should use another form of words to show that the student has thought about the material and understood it, but state clearly where they found the ideas;
  5. seek assistance from appropriate sources to remedy any identified deficiencies in their academic skills;
  6. ensure academic integrity is maintained when sharing work with others for any reason;
  7. retain materials which would demonstrate evidence of their authorship of assessable work (eg record of library borrowings, addresses of internet sites accessed, notes compiled, drafts of an assessment task);
  8. complete assessment cover sheets or online declarations for all non-examination assessment tasks; this includes certification that the work is the student’s own and that all cited works have been acknowledged and referenced.  Where assessments are to be submitted electronically, students are required to complete the electronic declaration of originality3 at the start of the study period.

9. Professional development of staff

9.1 This Framework and resources to assist in promoting academic integrity to students and dealing with any instances of its breach will be addressed in professional development programs for staff.  In particular staff will be supported in pursuit of best practice in the setting of assignments in such a way that plagiarism becomes more difficult to commit.

9.2 The University will provide training in the use of its licensed software for plagiarism detection, the introduction of which is designed to promote academic integrity among students and assist staff in detecting instances of possible plagiarism.

10. Procedures

10.1 The University will establish, regularly review and publish its procedures for the use of text-matching4 and other relevant software.

10.2 The University will regularly review and publish relevant policies and procedures to ensure that they provide equity for all students (those against whom an allegation is made and other students pursuing their studies in conformity with academic integrity) and efficient and timely processes for resolution of allegations of breach of academic integrity.

11. Quality assurance

The University Learning and Teaching Committee monitors the quality and integrity of student assessment.

Related Policies and Procedures
Academic Honesty Policy
Academic Honesty Procedures
Academic Regulations
Assessment Policy
Assessment Procedures
Examination Policy and Procedures - Staff
Examination Policy and Procedures - Students
Intellectual Property Policy
Language and Literacy Policy
Policy on Falsification of Documents – Students
Principles for Moderation of Assessment
Research and Professional Doctorate Degree Regulations
Statute 10 Student Conduct and Discipline
Student Appeals Policy

1 Embedding Academic Literacy into First Year Units of Study Guide; Academic Referencing, Writing and Referencing, eWriting Support Modules
2 Academic Referencing, Writing and Referencing, eWriting Support Modules
3 This will be found on LEO.
4 Turnitin