Academic Integrity in the Global Classroom

Five Essential Tips for Success

Georgetown University is undeniably a global university. With over 2,500 international students and 500 international professors, researchers and staff, our international character is a source of immense pride. With this pride comes a responsibility to recognize the diversity our international students bring to the classroom and create an atmosphere of respect and transparency that will ensure the success of all students.

Please click on the headings for more information on each topic.

Western citation practices are not universal. Nevertheless, Georgetown’s standards prevail for all students at this University.

a) Language and cultural barriers may make it difficult for international students to understand the University policy.

b) Cultural norms inform what is considered: “common knowledge.

c) While cheating is wrong in all cultures, the role of collaboration differs from culture to culture.

d) Students respond best to guidance from their professors as the ultimate classroom authority. Seek to educate and clarify whenever possible.

e) Articulate academic integrity expectations both verbally and in writing (syllabus and instructions for assignments).

f) Clearly communicate and enforce Georgetown’s Standards of Conduct. While not better or worse than those in other cultures, the Honor Council rules are enforced in the Georgetown classroom.

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Students want to meet professor expectations and be successful in the classroom.

a) Students may make mistakes.  Point out small breaches of academic integrity.  Teachable moments ensure that students understand consequences.

b) Reiterate academic honesty expectations prior to exams and research paper deadlines.

c) Identify resources to combat stress:  Library, CAPS, ARC, Writing Center, Meditation classes, Yates, LEP, Campus Ministry

Honor System

Lauinger Library: Information for Graduate Students, RefWorks, and AskUs.

CAPS Counseling Center

Writing Center

Campus Ministry

Language Exchange Program

d) Address the pressure to cheat directly. 

e) Encourage students to submit draft papers to identify errors in citations and paraphrasing, and to use all resources available including software like turnitin.com. 

f) Encourage students to clarify understanding through in-class questions, one-to-one meetings during office hours, email messages to professors, and TA sessions.  The concept of asking for feedback on draft papers or understanding how to use office hours may be unclear in certain cultures.

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Students may require written guidelines and positive examples.  Professors should articulate acceptable and unacceptable behaviors and consequences.

a) Clearly outline academic expectations.  List specific examples of prohibited practices:  e.g., re-using papers or portions of their own papers from other classes without permission, buying papers, exams, discussing take home exam questions, speaking with colleagues during an exam – especially in home country language, failing to use citations, etc.

b) Identify and discourage non-authoritative websites (e.g., Wikipedia) and reinforce that all website information must be cited.

c) Identify unacceptable citation styles.

d) Offer examples of good paraphrase vs. quotation.

e) Clarify when tutoring is considered cheating.

f) Provide guidelines for collaborative and other group work.

g) Outline the components of a good draft paper, and whether complete footnotes are expected (when submitting for credit or instructor review).

h) Direct students to the Academic Resource Center for basic research strategies, note-taking tips, file organization.  Identify library resources.

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Create an integrated classroom so Georgetown practices become the norm. 

a) Assign students to work groups that reflect the diversity of the classroom to ensure international students interact with Americans.   American students help enforce academic integrity standards.

b) Small group discussions build confidence in English language skills. Even students with high TOEFL scores need a period of adjustment before engaging in classroom discussions.

c) Stakes are high in the classroom – especially when a professor asks questions from a podium.  Student who interact in a lower stakes environment adjust more easily to U.S. classroom expectations. 

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Creating an inclusive, welcoming classroom may help avoid academic integrity violations.

a) Body language may be hard to read:  Confusion, contentment, distress may present differently for international students. Silence may mean respect or focused concentration instead of boredom or disengagement.

b) Students may need time to think and prepare their responses.  International students may  need  an additional 5-10 seconds to respond to a question.  American students generally respond within one second. 

c) References to American pop culture, humor, puns, and sarcasm may inadvertently exclude non-U.S. students.

d) Some students may not be accustomed to dialogue in the classroom. Others may be new to sharing opinions in class – even in their own language.  Students who are uncomfortable may feel alienated from the community and may be more likely to violate the Georgetown Honor System and its standards of academic integrity.

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https://honorcouncil.georgetown.edu/system/policies/standards-of-conduct

Without regard to motive, student conduct that is academically dishonest, evidences a lack of academic integrity or trustworthiness, or unfairly impinges upon the intellectual rights and privileges of others is prohibited. A non-exhaustive list of prohibited conduct includes:

A. Cheating on Exams and Other Assignments

Cheating is the use or attempted use of unauthorized materials, information, study aids, or unauthorized collaboration on in-class examinations, take-home examinations, or other academic exercises. It is the responsibility of the student to consult with the professor concerning what constitutes permissible collaboration. Cheating or assisting another student to cheat in connection with an examination or assignment is academic fraud.

B. Committing Plagiarism

Plagiarism, in any of its forms, and whether intentional or unintentional, violates standards of academic integrity. Plagiarism is the act of passing off as one’s own the ideas or writings of another (see "What is Plagiarism?"). While different academic disciplines have different modes for attributing credit, all recognize and value the contributions of individuals to the general corpus of knowledge and expertise. Students are responsible for educating themselves as to the proper mode of attributing credit in any course or field. Faculty may use various methods to assess the originality of students' work. For example, faculty may submit a student's work to electronic search engines, including Turnitin.com, a service to which the Honor Council and the Provost subscribe. Note that plagiarism can be said to have occurred without any affirmative showing that a student’s use of another’s work was intentional.

C. Using False Citations

False citation is academic fraud. False citation is the attribution of intellectual property to an incorrect or fabricated source with the intention to deceive. False attribution seriously undermines the integrity of the academic enterprise by severing a chain of ideas which should be traceable link by link.

D. Submitting Work for Multiple Purposes

Students are not permitted to submit their own work (in identical or similar form) for multiple purposes without the prior and explicit approval of all faculty members to whom the work will be submitted. This includes work first produced in connection with classes at either Georgetown or other institutions attended by the student.

E. Submitting False Data

The submission of false data is academic fraud. False data are data that have been fabricated, altered, or contrived in such a way as to be deliberately misleading.

F. Falsifying Academic Documentation

Any attempt to forge or alter academic documentation (including transcripts, letters of recommendation, certificates of enrollment or good standing, registration forms, and medical certification of absence) concerning oneself or others is academic fraud.

G. Abuse of Library Privileges

All attempts to deprive others of equal access to library materials constitute a violation of academic integrity. This includes the sequestering of library materials for the use of an individual or group; a willful or repeated failure to respond to recall notices; and the removal or attempts to remove library materials from any University library without authorization. Defacing, theft, or destruction of books and articles or other library materials that serve to deprive others of equal access to these materials also constitutes a violation of academic integrity.

H. Abuse of Shared Electronic Media

Malicious actions that deprive others of equal access to shared electronic media used for academic purposes constitute a violation of the Honor System. This includes efforts that result in the damage or sabotage of campus computer systems.