Statement of the Department of Psychology to its Students (Majors and Minors) on the Importance of Academic Integrity
Integrity matters. It is the bedrock upon which research, academic, and personal accomplishments must be based. Without integrity, claims of discovery, achievement, or skills are empty and trust is not possible. The very value of a Lehman College degree is diminished every time a student advances their degree (or helps someone else advance theirs) by violating the academic integrity policy. Students who get ahead through dishonest means put honest students at an unfair disadvantage – making it harder for honest students to succeed and making the degree less worthwhile if employers or graduate schools have contact with students whose honest skill set does not match what their official record would imply. Therefore, as you begin on your path to earning your major or minor in Psychology, it is important that you understand what constitutes plagiarism and cheating when writing papers and taking exams. You certainly would not want to engage in any behaviors that could reflect badly on your reputation, and/or impede your academic and career goals. To help with this endeavor, the Psychology Department has put together this information on academic integrity. Below you will find a summary of the minimum required sanctions that will be brought to bear on anyone violating the policy as well as a list of safeguards you can expect faculty to take to help maintain proper behavior.
All psychology students should consult the Psychology Department’s statement on academic integrity (below) and/or Lehman College’s statement on academic integrity for a more detailed discussion. In keeping with the College’s policies, the Department of Psychology will not tolerate activities that constitute cheating, plagiarizing, obtaining an unfair advantage, or falsifying documents or official records. Please note: you are responsible for adhering to policies discussed even when you were not present in class.
Definitions and examples of academic dishonesty
Cheating is the unauthorized use or attempted use of material, information, notes, study aids, devices or communication during an academic exercise. Some examples of cheating include:
- Copying from another student during an examination or allowing another to copy your work.
- Unauthorized collaboration on a take-home assignment or examination.
- Using notes during a closed book examination.
- Taking an examination for another student, or asking or allowing another student to take an examination for you.
- Changing a graded exam and returning it for more credit. Submitting substantial portions of the same paper to more than one course without consulting with each instructor.
- Preparing answers or writing notes in a blue book (exam booklet) before an examination.
- Allowing others to research and write assigned papers or do assigned projects, including using commercial term paper services. Giving assistance to acts of academic misconduct/dishonesty.
- Fabricating data (in whole or in part).
- Falsifying data (in whole or in part).
- Submitting someone else's work as your own.
- Unauthorized use during an examination of any electronic devices such as phones, computers or other technologies to retrieve or send information.
Plagiarism is the act of presenting another person's ideas, research or writings as your own. Some examples of plagiarism include:
- Copying another person's actual words or images without the use of quotation marks and footnotes attributing the words to their source.
- Presenting another person's ideas or theories in your own words without acknowledging the source.
- Internet plagiarism, including submitting downloaded term papers or parts of term papers, paraphrasing or copying information from the internet without citing the source, or "copying & pasting" from various sources without proper attribution.
- Failing to acknowledge collaborators on homework and laboratory assignments.
Obtaining Unfair Advantage is any action taken by a student that gives that student an unfair advantage in his/her academic work over another student, or an action taken in which a student attempts to gain an unfair advantage in his or her academic work over another student. Some examples of obtaining unfair advantage include:
- Stealing, reproducing, circulating or otherwise gaining advance access to examination materials.
- Depriving other students of access to library materials by stealing, destroying, defacing, or concealing them.
- Retaining, using or circulating examination materials which clearly indicate that they should be returned at the end of the exam.
- Intentionally obstructing or interfering with another student's work.
Falsification of Records and Official Documents. Examples of such falsification include:
- Falsifying information (such as grades) on an official academic record.
- Forging signatures of authorization.
- Falsifying information on an official document such as a grade report, letter of permission, drop/add form, ID card or other college document.
When a faculty member discovers an act which appears to have violated any aspect of the academic integrity policy, where feasible, s/he will inform the student of their suspicions and review the facts with the student. If a faculty member remains convinced that a breach of academic integrity has occurred, he/she will levy an academic penalty. The faculty member, at their discretion, may either assign a failing grade on the assignment in question, a reduced grade for the course as whole, or a failing grade on the course as a whole. It is important to note that violations of academic integrity on optional or extra credit work can also result in a reduced or failing grade for the course as a whole. Students should also be aware that violating the academic integrity policy will severely limit their chances of being able to obtain supportive letters of recommendation for internships, jobs, or graduate school.
The faculty member is also required to file a report of the event with the College’s Academic Integrity Officer in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs. These reports become part of the student’s record. In addition to the faculty member’s academic penalty in the course, the college may levy additional disciplinary penalties including suspension or even expulsion in any of the following situations if: a second report is filed with the college (or was filed at previously attended CUNY campus); a student commits a very substantial violation of academic integrity; or a student attempts to drop a course to avoid academic penalties. The disciplinary penalties levied by the college are beyond the jurisdiction of the Psychology Department faculty.
Safeguards to ensure integrity and fairness for all students
Some examples include:
- In addition to studying the College Bulletin descriptions, students should consider attending one of the ACE Tutoring Center’s workshops on how to properly cite information and avoid inadvertent plagiarism and/or take an online tutorial, such as is provided by Indiana University to help students identify plagiarism. In addition to a set of tutorials, this website has a certification test you can take.
- Before exams begin, students are expected to completely turn off and remove from their view all phones, smart devices (such as watches), and other electronic devices not expressly permitted by the faculty member in charge.
- Students should talk to their professor ahead of time if they are concerned about an emergency call during a testing situation. It might be possible for the student to leave their phone on vibrate with the faculty member in charge, though this is at the faculty member’s discretion.
- Students should be sure to use rest rooms, if needed, before exams begin. Once a student leaves the room for any reason, the faculty member is within her or his rights to confiscate the exam and refuse to allow the student to finish.
- If you think you might need water, tissues, etc. during your exam, please bring them.
- During exams, all notes must be securely removed from view and desks should be cleared of everything except the exam booklets and answer sheets.
- In an effort to proctor exams properly, faculty may, from time to time, ask students to remove hats, and may inspect bottles, dictionaries, or other gear.
- Students who are permitted to make up a missed exam should expect to have to find a mutually agreed time that is at the faculty member’s convenience, but outside the class hour, so that they can be seated in an area where the faculty member can properly proctor them.
- Faculty, at any point before or during an exam, may ask one or more students to change their seats to a different location of the faculty member’s choosing, or may ask students to reorient how they are sitting.
o It is important to understand that such a request is not an accusation of wrongdoing. Faculty will make these requests if they are having difficulty proctoring the exam properly. Cooperation with these requests is expected. A student who refuses to comply may have their exam confiscated and be prevented from completing the exam.
- Faculty have the right to deny entry to a student who arrives to an exam so late that other students have already left.
- When reviewing exams where faculty intend to collect and keep the question booklet, students may not make notes, take pictures, or record questions in any way. If a professor asks students to put away their notes, laptops, cell phones or other items before allowing students to review their exams, it is expected that students will do so.
In keeping with College policy, students who admit to the charge of a violation of academic integrity may nevertheless challenge a faculty member’s academic sanction through the grade appeal process outlined in the College Bulletin. A student who denies a charge of having committed academic dishonesty altogether may, as described in the bulletin, appeal their case to a Student-Faculty Disciplinary Committee, which will also make final decisions about the application of any disciplinary sanctions, such as suspension or expulsion.