Academic Integrity

Western University provides campus resources to support faculty members and graduate teaching assistants to ensure the academic integrity of all of our programs. On this page you will find a list of resources that will be useful for you to employ in the classroom. This includes a tutorial on academic integrity that can be added as a OWL module to your courses, 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 in the 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 Faculty and Graduate Teaching Assistants

Western's Academic Integrity Tutorial

This tutorial is a OWL module designed to help students learn about issues of academic integrity. This module may be easily added to any course on campus.

Western's Academic Integrity Module - Graduate Students

Effective January 2013, all incoming graduate students are required to complete the SGPS Academic Integrity module in order to progress beyond the first term of their degree.

This short module is designed to provide you with the necessary knowledge and resources to abide by academic principles during your graduate career and to help combat scholastic offenses. When finished with the course, students are required to complete a 10-question test designed to evaluate their knowledge of academic integrity. Students have an unlimited amount of opportunities to pass the module, and failure to do so will prevent the student from progressing beyond the first term of their degree.

Eligible students can access the module in the Graduate Student Web Services Portal. The majority of the module's learning materials are also posted on the Office of the Ombudsperson's webpage.

Please note that this module is different from the undergraduate Academic Integrity Tutorial from Sakai. You will find useful information on how to appropriately reference graphs and data; cite research papers and credit the work of researchers in collaborative studies.

Western's Senate Academic Policies and Sanctions

The University Secretariat website describes the Scholastic Discipline policies and Academic Sanctions related to academic misconduct. It includes information on policies,discipline and accomodations for both undergraduate and graduate students.

Plagiarism Checking Software

In 2001 Western University adopted plagiarism checking software to assist faculty with detecting essay plagiarism.

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. Examples and details about the statistical criteria Scan Exam II uses are available at

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.
  • From Misconduct to Integrity in Teaching and Learning: Five Levers for Change (PDF)
    Keynote presentation by Julia Christensen Hughes, Director of Teaching Support Services, University of Guelph at the 2005 Annual Conference of the Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education held at Western University on May 29, 2005. This presentation discusses the results of the research she conducted with Dr. Donald McCabe on academic integrity at 15 Canadian universities.
  • Cheating and Plagiarism (PDF)
    Presentation by Debra Dawson, Director of the Teaching Support Centre in 2006 on the 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/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:

Department of Philosophy Undergraduate Procedures and Guidelines

Computer Science Departmental Policy on Scholastic Offences

Senate Policy on Scholastic Discipline:

Flowchart summary of procedures for course-related offences for faculties with and without department structure (pdf)

Resources for Undergraduate Students

  • These short tutorials provided by Western Libraries assists students in avoiding plagarism.
  • The Student Success Centre provides information about Academic Integrity at Summer Academic Orientation (SAO) to students and parents.

Links to other sites with information on academic integrity

Case Studies

Please see the University Ombudsperson's series of Annual Reports for examples of the different issues that undergraduate and graduate students may confront. These annual reports also offer suggestions to faculty to help ensure that students are informed about issues related to academic integrity.

Academic Integrity Tutorial
Western's Academic Integrity Tutorial (AIT) is an OWL module designed to help students learn about issues of academic integrity.
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