Every University of Florida student is subject to the following Honor Pledge:
We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to hold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honesty and integrity by abiding by the Student Honor Code. On all work submitted for credit by Students at the University of Florida, the following pledge is either required or implied: “On my honor, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid in doing this assignment.”
Integrity is a core principle that underpins our academic community. Faculty and students have a responsibility to uphold the highest ethical standards of academic conduct. The University of Florida (UF) has a code of conduct that promotes “individual and social responsibility.” Students agree to adhere to the Student Honor Code [PDF] when they become members of the UF community.
UF’s Honor Pledge as quoted above and related policies provide a foundation for teachers to share and discuss with students. Educating students on the importance of honesty in their work, as well as the consequences of a breach is vital to their success at UF and beyond. This resource library section provides tips and strategies to help foster a quality learning environment and promote honesty.
- Include the text of the UF Honor Pledge in your syllabus.
- Use the statement, “On my honor, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid in doing this assignment,” as a true/false question at the start of each quiz or exam.
- Discuss how academic honesty applies to each assignment and explain why it is important (see the Academic Integrity Discussion Checklist below).
Discuss Professional Ethics
Including the UF Honor Pledge as part of a course syllabus and at the start of quizzes or exams is a good start, but even more important is talking about it. James Lang, author of Cheating Lessons: Learning from academic dishonesty (2013) suggests:
First, what reduces cheating on an honor code campus is not the code itself, but the dialogue about academic honesty that the code inspires. In other words, codes provide multiple opportunities for an institution to speak to students about academic honesty and multiple ways to engage them in that dialogue. (p.172)
Academic Integrity Discussion Checklist:
- Why is it important for students to do their own work in your course?
- Provide examples of work that counts as cheating.
- Describe the difference between cooperative learning activities and cheating.
- May students use work created for another class in your course?
- What is the importance of original work in the discipline?
- What sources of aid are available and appropriate?
- How can students avoid inadvertent plagiarism?
- What are the consequences of cheating in your course?
Building a module, activity, or quiz focused on academic honesty can help your students understand what constitutes plagiarism in your course. Dr. Oliver Grundman, Clinical Associate Professor in the College of Pharmacy, shares the “Academic Integrity Module” he uses in all his courses to help his students better comprehend the expectations in his courses. By entering your UFID you can experience the module from the students’ perspective and view the feedback provided to students as they answer the included scenario-based questions. Dr. Grundman explains that the module has helped reduce academic dishonesty and plagiarism in all his classes.
Student Voices on Plagiarism
Some students may not have had the opportunity to write a paper before coming to UF. It is important to include written guidance as well as discuss how to appropriately reference other works. Students appreciate explicit instructions on how to write the paper, how it will be graded, and how to avoid plagiarism. In the following comments, students describe how useful and important it was to learn how to avoid plagiarism and properly cite work.
Learning proper MLA and APA style and citations will be extremely helpful for future courses and professional growth. I am now more aware of what is considered plagiarism and how I can avoid it at all costs.
I learned how to avoid plagiarism and apply ethical skills when speaking. I also learned about the basis of communication in different levels such as formal and informal and how a relationship is constructed.
I learned how to read scientific journal papers, how to identify plagiarism and most importantly, how to write in a scientific manner because of the writing assignments assigned in class.
Refer to the other sections of this guide for help with:
- Academic Integrity & Course Design
- Academic Misconduct Process
- Contact the Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution staff with questions.
- Request help with course and/or assessment design from the Center for Teaching Excellence.
- Lang, J. M. (2013). Cheating Lessons: Learning from academic dishonesty. Harvard University Press.