Historical Background

In March 1965, the Senate Council approved a policy statement on the subject of academic integrity. It was there declared, in language that is as true and vital today as then, that:

 The University of Pittsburgh seeks excellence in the discovery and dissemination of knowledge. Excellence in scholarship cannot be achieved in situations which are contaminated by dishonest practices. All members of the University community are obligated to adhere strictly to the highest standards of integrity in study, research, instruction, and evaluation.

It is presumed that those who instruct and administer observe such standards of integrity. Administrators and senior faculty members are presumed further to encourage these standards among their junior colleagues. Students are presumed to accept the concept of academic integrity and to seek to live by it but they may need continuing clarification of the concept and guidance in its observance. Particularly, students need the assurance that those who work honestly will not suffer thereby in comparisons with the dishonest. Those who cannot or will not adopt the concept and practices of academic honesty do not belong within the University.

These principles are reaffirmed.

In February 1974, the Senate Committee on Tenure and Academic Freedom reported to the Senate Council, recommending a general statement on academic integrity as follows:

The integrity of the academic process requires fair and impartial evaluation on the part of faculty, and honest academic conduct on the part of students. To this end, students are expected to conduct themselves at a high level of responsibility in the fulfillment of the course of their study. It is the corresponding responsibility of faculty to make clear to students those standards by which students will be evaluated, and the resources permissible for use by students during the course of their study and evaluation. The educational process is perceived as a joint faculty-student enterprise which will perforce involve professional judgment by faculty and may involve--without penalty--reasoned exception by students to the data or views offered by faculty.

Consistent with these considerations (and without limiting their scope and application in their entirety to the academic programs of the University), faculty and students are directed to observe the following guidelines:

1. Faculty should meet and students should attend their classes when scheduled; faculty should be available at reasonable times for appointments with students and both parties should keep such appointments; faculty and students should make appropriate preparations for classes and other meetings; students should submit their assignments in a timely manner; and faculty should perform their grading duties in a timely manner.

2. The general content of a course or other academic program should be described with reasonable accuracy in catalogues or other written documents available to students. The content, objectives of and standards for evaluation (including the importance to be assigned various factors in academic evaluation) in a course should be described by the faculty member at the first or second class meeting, preferably in a written hand-out.

3. Integrity of the academic process requires that credit be given where credit is due. Accordingly, it is unethical to present, as one's own work the ideas, representations, or words of another, or to permit another to present one's own work without customary and proper acknowledgement of sources. The limits of permissible assistance available to students during a course or an academic evaluation should be determined by the faculty member and described with reasonable particularity at the first or second class meeting, or well in advance of an evaluation, so as to allow for adequate student preparation within the permissible limits.

4. All academic evaluations should be based upon good-faith professional judgment, in accordance with applicable standards; factors such as race, color, religion, sex, national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, and activities outside the classroom that are unrelated may not be considered in matters of academic evaluation, academic assignments, or classroom procedures, nor shall reasoned views expressed by students during the course adversely prejudice any student.

5. University records, which shall contain only information reasonably related to educational purposes, shall be considered a matter of privacy not to be released except with student consent, or as may be permitted by law; provided, that any student shall be permitted to review his or her own personal record, except for its confidential contents (such as the recorded comments of counseling personnel).

6. The faculty of each academic unit shall establish rules implementing these principles, and procedures pertaining to the investigation and redress of grievances.

The above Guidelines cannot be fulfilled in the University of Pittsburgh as a whole unless they are fulfilled in each and every academic unit. University-wide Guidelines of implementation as outlined in the above six points are accordingly appropriate as an expression of a common understanding and dedication. These principles are presented in some detail in the two model codes of this statement, which deal with student and faculty responsibilities, respectively. Each academic unit is required to adopt regulations conforming to these documents. The development of exact procedures remains sufficiently flexible to provide proper discretion on the part of the individual faculty; however, such procedures must be designed to assure fair and orderly review of particular cases and should adhere closely to the language of the attached codes.

 The dean of each academic unit will be responsible for furnishing to the Provost the regulations and procedures adopted by the faculty and any amendments. The codes of each academic unit will be reviewed to insure reasonable conformity with the principles and procedures of the attached model codes. The dean shall also assure that all full-time and part-time students and faculty are informed about the existence and availability of the applicable regulations and procedures.

In cases that involve a student registered in one academic unit, but in which the faculty member involved holds his or her appointment in another academic unit, the jurisdiction shall be held by the academic unit which offered the course (usually the academic unit in which the faculty member is appointed). Remedial action benefiting the student must be approved by the dean of the academic unit in which the course is offered. However, in offenses involving academic integrity, only the dean of the academic unit in which the student is matriculated can suspend or dismiss the student from the University. In cases that cross academic unit boundaries, consultation between the appropriate administrative officers  may be appropriate.


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