Academic Integrity is critical to the mission of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a research institution with high academic standards and rigor. All members of the University community play a role in fostering an environment in which student learning is achieved in a fair, just, and honest way.
Faculty and instructional staff set the tone in their classrooms by communicating clear expectations to their students and educating them on the consequences of engaging in academic misconduct while referring to campus resources.
Students are expected to uphold the core values of academic integrity which include honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility. These core values, combined with finding one’s purpose and passion and applying them in and out of classroom learning, produce students who become extraordinary citizens. This unique path of opportunities, created by each student, is commonly known as the Wisconsin Experience and impacts our campus community and beyond in significant and positive ways.
The value of a University of Wisconsin-Madison degree depends on the commitment of our academic community to promote high levels of personal honesty and respect for the intellectual property of others.
Academic Misconduct Process
The University of Wisconsin-Madison takes academic misconduct allegations very seriously. If an instructor suspects a student has engaged in academic misconduct, then the instructor will contact the student and ask him/her to explain their work.
If the instructor still believes academic misconduct occurred after meeting with the student, he/she will determine the consequences, known as sanctions. One or multiple sanctions may be imposed.
Types of sanctions include an oral reprimand up to expulsion. If the sanction affects any grade, the student will then be notified in writing, typically by email, of the instructor’s decision.
The Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards (OSCCS) is also informed and will contact the student about his/her rights and any additional sanctions.
Repeated acts of academic misconduct or extreme circumstances may result in more serious actions such as probation, suspension, or expulsion. A detailed flowchart outlining the process can be found here.
Academic misconduct is governed by state law, UWS Chapter 14 (PDF)
Misconduct includes the following, but is not limited to this list:
- Seeks to claim credit for the work or efforts of another without authorization or citation (plagiarism)
- Uses unauthorized materials or fabricated data in any academic exercise (using notes for a closed-book online exam)
- Forges or falsifies academic documents or records (having a friend sign you in for attendance when you’re absent)
- Intentionally impedes or damages the academic work of others (tampering with another student’s experiment)
- Engages in conduct aimed at making false representation of a student’s academic performance (altering test answers and submitting the test for regrading)
- Assists other students in any of these acts
Information for Students
Understanding what you are responsible for as a student is the first step to avoiding academic misconduct. There are many resources on campus and online that can help you make sure you are acting with academic integrity.
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Why should I know about academic misconduct?
As a UW-Madison student, it is your responsibility to be informed about what constitutes academic misconduct, how to avoid it and what happens if you decide to engage in it. Academic misconduct is established by the state of Wisconsin for all UW System schools as detailed in UWS Chapter 14 (PDF). Examples of academic misconduct include (but are not limited to):
- Plagiarism (turning in work of another person and not giving them credit)
- Having a friend answer your clicker questions when you are absent
- Stealing an exam or course materials
- Copying another student’s homework
- Cheating on an exam (copying from another student, using unauthorized material)
- Working on an assignment with others when you are supposed to do so independently
How do I avoid academic misconduct?
- Know how to cite sources in a paper, lab report or other assignments
- Use the Writing Center for help with citations. They are experts in APA, MLA and other citation styles.
- Avoid copying and pasting directly into your paper from the internet
- Understand the expectations and limitations when working in groups (i.e., Is collaboration allowed on the project and the written paper, or only the project and your written paper should be done alone)
- If you aren’t sure if something is allowed, ask your instructor
- Check out our Student Resources page
What happens if I engage in academic misconduct?
The University of Wisconsin-Madison takes academic misconduct allegations very seriously. Your instructor will contact you if he/she believes you have engaged in academic misconduct and ask you to explain your work. If the instructor still believes you engaged in such an act after meeting with you, he/she will decide on the consequences, known as sanctions. One or multiple sanctions may be imposed. Types of sanctions include a verbal reprimand up to expulsion. If the sanction affects your grade, you will then be notified in writing, typically by email, of the instructor’s decision. The Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards (OSCCS) is also informed and will contact you about your rights and any additional sanctions.
Repeated acts of academic misconduct or extreme circumstances may result in more serious actions such as probation, suspension, or expulsion.
What should I do if I suspect a classmate is cheating?
As a member of the UW-Madison community, it is your responsibility to help uphold the integrity of the university. If you suspect a classmate is cheating or committing another type of academic dishonesty, notify your instructor, professor, or teaching assistant. Remember that it is not your responsibility to investigate this. It is the job of the instructor to determine if misconduct occurred. All you need to do is report what you heard or saw.
Talking about suspected misconduct is difficult, especially if it involves someone you know. Your academic advisor can be a great resource to help you if you need to talk to someone about your situation. The Dean of Students Office also has a drop-in staff member available.