It’s time to have that chat about academic integrity. You might remember doing the Academic Integrity Module when you first started studying, but the University of Auckland has made some important policy changes you should be aware of.
The university recently renewed their Student Academic Conduct statute. The purpose of the new statute is to ensure the University is transparent, fair and appropriately applying their processes for addressing breaches of academic integrity.
The Auckland University Students Association (AUSA) has encouraged students to read and familiarise themselves with the statute. It is essential for students to be aware of the university’s expectations. Minor or major breaches of the statute can result in significant consequences, such as a grade reduction or a zero grade, a fine of up to $1000, suspension or even expulsion depending on the severity of the breach.
Craccum talked to the Acting AUSA President Emma Rogers about the changes that have been made and what students need to be aware of when it comes to academic conduct.
Rogers and other AUSA executives formed the Academic Integrity Working Group to review the university’s current processes to detect and prevent issues of academic misconduct.
The Student Academic Conduct statute was renewed in July 2020 for the first time since 2012, and Rogers says it was well overdue for a renewal.
“We wanted to make sure the statute is as up to date as possible and that these processes are clearly communicated to students.”
So what is a breach of academic conduct? Rogers says this can be anything from submitting work that is not your own, copying or directly paraphrasing from sources you haven’t referenced, or contract cheating.
The statute is important for students because it outlines what it is expected of you when handing in coursework or taking tests and exams.
“It basically outlines exactly what to do and what not to do when it comes to academic integrity,”
Rogers says the statute is also important to understand if students are caught in a situation where they have breached academic integrity, so they know what the process is for dealing with misconduct.
Most notably, a new classification has been introduced called poor academic practice. Undergraduate or postgraduate students in their first two semesters of studying will not have an official breach recorded on their transcript if they reference incorrectly or do not reference, if it was not a deliberate attempt of plagiarism. Instead, this might result in a mark deduction or request for resubmission.
This is the lowest level of academic misconduct and applies only to coursework, not tests or exams.
Rogers says AUSA was pleased to see this classification introduced.
“AUSA executives sitting on disciplinary committees saw a lot of cases where students had not referenced properly whether they knew that or not.”
The AUSA looked into what needed to be put in the updated statue and gave feedback to the university.
“They were really responsive to what would be helpful for students going forward, but there could be more work done to emphasise the values of academic integrity and making it known why we are proud to be UOA students,” said Rogers.
She also confirmed there is work being done behind the scenes to make sure the Academic Integrity module is up to date and completed by students.
“We hope to see Academic Integrity values incorporated into the classroom, maybe giving points for doing the module in your first week of classes.”
When it comes to online learning and assessment, the AUSA is hoping to see an increased focus on academic integrity whether we remain online or return to in person learning and assessment.
Rogers calls for students to take it upon themselves to learn about what academic integrity means and to complete the module as soon as possible.
“There is an opportunity for students to display the values associated with academic integrity, and to brush up on referencing, especially as this has become more necessary for online assessment.”
She says the AUSA’s main goal for academic integrity is to make sure there is active prevention and addression of academic integrity and that there are good systems in place to follow up on this.
“I think it’s really important to make sure that the university is taking an active stance with the academic integrity and the online learning environment and that the honesty declaration students agree to before submitting online tests and exams is upholded.”
So if you haven’t done the Academic Integrity Module, seriously get onto that! It’s best to know the rules now before it’s too late. And don’t be that person who does it in their last semester before graduating, you know who you are!
You can read the full statute here