Academic Integrity at Western - Links and Resources

Western University provides campus resources to support faculty members and graduate teaching assistants to ensure the academic integrity of all of our programs. In this section you will find a list of resources that will be useful for you to employ in the classroom. This includes university policies on academic integrity and academic sanctions and links to other resources that may be helpful to enhancing the academic integrity of your courses. Western has taken a proactive stance on improving academic integrity through our membership in the Center for Academic Integrity and through conducting research on this topic in 2003.

What is academic integrity?

The Center for Academic Integrity (CAI) defines academic integrity as "a commitment, even inthe face of adversity, to five fundamental values: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility. From these values flow principles of behavior that enable academic communities to translate ideals to action" (CAI, Fundamental Values Project, 1999).

Resources for graduate teaching assistants

Western Code of Conduct

Academic Policies

Scholastic discipline
This describes Western’s definition of plagiarism and other forms of misconduct. Further information on the scholastic discipline policy for undergraduates can be found in the Academic Calendar.

The current Senate Policy on Medical Excuse Slips
Was replaced (as of September 1, 2008) by the Senate Policy on Accommodation for Medical Illness for Undergraduate Students. The largest change to the existing policy is that a UWO Student Medical Certificate (SMC) ( will be required when a student is seeking academic accommodation. This documentation should be obtained at the time of the initial consultation with the physician or walk-in clinic.

Plagiarism checking software
In 2001 Western University adopted plagiarism checking software to assist faculty with detecting essay plagiarism. Currently Western utilizes to check for plagiarism. Over 600 instructors have used Turnitin in their courses since 2001.

Cheating analysis with Scan Exam II
The answer sheets (Scantrons) used for most multiple choice exams are processed by a program called Scan Exam II, which includes Answer Choice Match Analysis to assist with the investigation of cheating. The number of answer matches between any pair of exam papers can be compared with the expected number of answer matches. The program does not prove cheating took place, but it does alert the instructor to that possibility.

Research on academic integrity
The Center for Academic Integrity at Clemson University provides a wide variety of resources to faculty members and assists universities with conducting research on this topic. Western has been a member of the center since 2002.

Cheating and plagiarism
This 2006 presentation by Debra Dawson, Director of the Teaching Support Centre, describes how Turnitin works including what sources it checks and potential benefits of using this internet plagiarism checking software.

Handling cheating and cheaters: an informed approach 
Article from Reflections by Frances Bauer, Ombuds Office (November 2000).

Faculty and department websites related to academic integrity
Each faculty/department acts individually when it comes to general education and awareness of Academic Integrity issues on campus. Many departments provide additional information beyond the definition outlined in the Academic Calendar in order to clarify the definition within their discipline-specific context to ensure that undergraduate students have a clear understanding of academic misconduct. Some examples are provided below:

  1. Computer Science Departmental Policy on Academic Offences
  2. Media, Information and Technoculture: Plagiarism, Collaboration and Recycling of Assignments

Senate policy on scholastic discipline:
Flowchart summary of procedures for course-related offences for faculties with department structure: