Avoiding and Preventing Cheating
The University of Alberta places a very high value on academic integrity. Our Code of Student Behaviour
(COSB) outlines what students are prohibited from doing and provides the rationale for those rules,
noting that the value of our degree depends upon the integrity of the teaching and learning process,
including the “honesty and soundness of the evaluation process.” (COSB §30.1). Without stringent
standards for academic integrity, the evaluation process becomes flawed and, ultimately, unreliable,
diminishing the value of the degree for everyone.
As straightforward as the concept of academic integrity might seem, it may carry different meanings for
different people. Specific definitions may vary from institution to institution, adding to the confusion for
students who have attended other universities. International students may find Canadian cultural
assumptions or customs associated with proper writing and citation bewildering. Students may not bother
to read the COSB because they assume they already know what it says. This is a dangerous assumption
that can lead to an inadvertent rule violation.
The COSB also lists possible sanctions for violations. A wide range of sanctions is available to decision
makers; the Dean may impose sanctions ranging from a written reprimand to grade reduction, a failure in
the course and a notation on your transcript, while the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and the
University Appeal Board may impose suspension and expulsion. In nearly every case, academic
dishonesty is damaging to your academic record.
Students are expected to engage in the highest level of honesty in their work. It is possible, however, to
violate academic integrity even if you believed you were being honest. Each year, students who did not
intend to deceive are charged under the COSB because they were careless. Be aware, the onus is on
students to understand the University of Alberta’s expectations regarding academic integrity. Not
knowing is not an excuse.