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Ten Principles of Academic Integrity for Faculty

Ten Principles of Academic Integrity for Faculty

By Gary Pavela,  Donald L. McCabe,* and DeForest McDuff

This 2017 edition of the Ten Principles replaces the 2004 version published in Change Magazine. In addition to new content in the text of the Principles, extensive notes and commentary provide guidance on tested strategies to enhance student learning. Researchers or commentators cited include:

Cathy N. Davidson; Carol Dweck; Ken Bain; Charles Lipson; Dan Ariely; E.O. Wilson; Norman Eng; James M. Lang; Donald McCabe; George D. Kuh; Robert Sapolsky: Stanley Fish; Michael Bishop; Bill Taylor: Richard Feynman; Sidney Hook; Mark Edmundson; Ernest L. Boyer; Drew Faust; Alexander Astin; and Derek Bok.

We also invite viewing and commenting at our Ten Principles Facebook Page.     

Scroll down for biographical information about the authors.

Click each “Principle” link below for pertinent notes in the text (identified by small letters in brackets).


[1] Affirm academic integrity as a core institutional value.

Academic integrity is grounded upon reverence [a] for truth-seeking and truth-telling. While the ultimate definition of truth exceeds our grasp, the process of truth-seeking [b] depends upon a shared commitment to honesty and trust in academic work [c]. Every faculty member has an ethical and professional responsibility to be a guardian of this tradition and to exhibit it in their own teaching and research [d].

[2] Provide clear expectations for academic integrity and assess how well students understand them.

Faculty members should state academic integrity expectations in advance, including the nature and scope of impermissible collaboration [a] and risks of “contract cheating” [b]. A relevant syllabus statement will have greater impact if it includes the instructor’s personal expectations for academic integrity [c] and how  those expectations enhance student learning [d]. Efforts should be made to ensure that students read and understand the syllabus statement and have an opportunity to discuss it [e].

[3] Reduce opportunities and temptations to engage in academic dishonesty.

Faculty members can reduce academic dishonesty by being mindful of temptations [a] students could foreseeably face. Students should not be encouraged to engage in acts of academic dishonesty by uninformative or needlessly tedious instruction or assignments [b], inadequate classroom management, or poor examination security [c].

[4] Respond to academic dishonesty when it occurs.

Students observe how faculty members behave and what values they embrace [a]. Faculty members who ignore or trivialize academic dishonesty send the message that the core values of academic life aren’t worth enforcing. Students then run the risk of developing harmful habits that can lead to far more serious consequences later [b]. Prompt and equitable enforcement of academic integrity policies does not have to be unduly punitive. Sanctions for most first offenses should have an educational emphasis [c].

[5] Know your students and encourage their capacity for learning, self-management, and trust.

Effective teachers ask students what they hope to achieve in the course [a] and relate those objectives to stated learning outcomes [b]. The process of eliciting this information should be broadened to give students opportunities to identify their reasons for going to college; how they think college can prepare them for the future [c]; the values, habits, and ways of thinking they hope to strengthen or develop [d]; and obstacles they face in doing so. A variety of student aims and aspirations can be expected when these questions are answered (useful knowledge in itself), but patterns in student responses also enable instructors to create more relevant and engaging course content [e]; more effective pedagogies [f], and strategies to help students develop skills in self-management [g] .

“Knowing your students” necessarily entails giving them an opportunity to know you. There are many collateral benefits from this result, but the most important is group formation (teachers and students working together) [h] in growing bonds of trust. Partnership in the pursuit of learning, grounded in trust, is by any measure the most effective single mechanism to promote academic integrity.

[6] Develop creative forms of assessment that enhance student learning.

Faculty members should develop forms of assessment that require frequent and active student engagement, creative thought, and opportunities to learn from mistakes [a]. “Assessment” does not necessarily entail giving a grade, and may include exercises in both self-assessment and “team” or “peer” assessment [b]. The educational aim in most forms of assessment should be evaluation and enhancement of learning — “not a means to rank, but a way to communicate with students” [c]. When faculty members assess student learning they’re also being given an opportunity to assess the effectiveness of their own teaching.

[7] Affirm the role of teachers as guides and mentors.

Faculty members are uniquely situated to influence students’ knowledge and decision-making for a lifetime [a]. From the days of Plato’s Academy, [b] teaching was seen as encompassing relationships of trust grounded in the pursuit of truth. Teachers will find that their greatest impact on students–including inspiring a commitment to academic integrity–comes in the context of personal connection and mutual respect [c].  

[8] Foster a lifelong commitment to the pursuit of knowledge.

Most faculty members became teachers and researchers because they love to learn. One job of a teacher is to demonstrate that learning can be a deeply engaging  experience [a], especially when it entails finding creative ways to explore interesting, important, and challenging questions [b]. By modeling lifelong learning, faculty members can help students develop cognitive skills and adaptation strategies that last a lifetime [c].

[9] Recognize that promoting and protecting academic integrity is a collaborative endeavor involving shared leadership by students, faculty members and administrators.

Students in many renowned European universities had a significant role in campus governance [a]. Adapting and using those traditions–recognized today as a foundation for student academic freedom [b]–can enhance student development, foster a shared sense of values, and allow faculty members and administrators to gain insight from student perspectives [c].

Faculty members are equally instrumental in protecting and promoting academic integrity [d].  Their role in this regard expands beyond the classroom and has been affirmed by faculty inclusion in “modified” honor codes nationwide [e]. The beneficial impact of faculty engagement is magnified by participation on academic integrity review panels, policy oversight committees, and regular collaboration with colleagues in the development of teaching strategies to enhance learning and reduce academic dishonesty [f].

College administrators are also essential to protecting and promoting academic integrity. They should be constant learners themselves on relevant technological and social developments; student perspectives and conduct; patterns of enrollment (including needs of international students) [g]; strategies for creative campus-wide academic integrity programming; and implementation of policies that foster fair and timely review of academic integrity allegations [h].

[10]  Align the aims of your academic integrity program as a foundation for other core values, including student self-management, inclusiveness, community responsibility, fundamental fairness, and intellectual virtues associated with successful scholarship.

Colleges teach values through the rules they establish [a]. The word “integrity” (encompassing “honesty” and “trustworthiness”) should not be relegated to any single set of campus regulations. An academic integrity policy deeply ingrained in campus life–enriched by active student leadership [b] and grounded in fundamental fairness [c]–will be a forum for helping to define the ethical and educational mission of the institution [d]. Academic integrity also protects and exemplifies traits of good scholarship, including a truth-seeking orientation, honesty, self-insight, civility, and long-term thinking. These intellectual virtues are essential to the academic enterprise and should be made explicit in academic integrity programming.


* Don McCabe (1944-2016) and Gary Pavela co-authored all prior versions of the Ten Principles.

About the Authors

Gary Pavela is a past President of the International Center for Academic Integrity and a co-founder with Don McCabe and DeForest McDuff of the Academic Integrity Seminar (www.integrityseminar.org). Gary was an administrator and Honors College faculty member at the University of Maryland at College Park for over 25 years. During that time he developed Maryland’s Code of Academic Integrity (a modified honor code) and was voted the University’s “Outstanding Faculty Educator” by the Maryland Parents’ Association (2006). Gary is a “Fellow” of the National Association of College and University Attorneys and writes frequently on law and policy issues in higher education. He has served on the Board of the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University. Gary can be reached at garypavela@integrityseminar.org

Don McCabe (1944-2016) was Professor of Management & Global Business at Rutgers University. A leading researcher on academic integrity and ethical decision making, he surveyed over 165,000 students at more than 160 colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada. His work has been published widely in business, education, and sociology journals; and he was the founding president of the International Center for Academic Integrity. Don was an invaluable partner in the design and development of the Academic Integrity Seminar, starting with an instrumental meeting in Princeton, New Jersey in 2007. Both he and AIS co-founder Gary Pavela became well-known advocates for the development of “modified honor codes” nationwide.

DeForest McDuff is a co-founder with Gary Pavela and Don McCabe of the Academic Integrity Seminar (www.integrityseminar.org), a company dedicated to improving academic integrity and student ethical development at colleges and universities nationwide. He has coordinated the seminar at dozens of schools across the country and has tutored thousands of students on issues of academic integrity. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University, where he won the Towbes Teaching Prize for outstanding undergraduate teaching. DeForest currently lives in Boston with his wife and four children. DeForest can be reached at DeForest@integrityseminar.org