Academic integrity is a vital ethical commitment of the UMBC community. The Faculty Senate affirmed the importance of our values and practices at its February 2001 meeting by adopting the Statement of Values for Student Academic Integrity at UMBC (see below). This statement is consistent with the Faculty Senate’s adoption of the Student Academic Conduct Policy in November, 2010. UMBC undergraduate students approved an Undergraduate Honor Statement in a student referendum in spring, 2004. The Honors Task Force Report and subsequent conversations in the 2000-2001 year reinforced our shared commitment to uphold high ethical standards amid new challenges and technologies. As a member institution of the International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI), UMBC is part of an international consortium sharing best practices and ongoing efforts to maintain traditional values in a dynamically changing academic environment. Faculty and students are encouraged to consider such principles as outlined by ICAI colleague Dr. Bill Taylor in A Letter to My Students.
UMBC Statement of Values for Academic Integrity
In February 2001, the Faculty Senate affirmed the importance of our values and practices by adopting the Statement of Values for Academic Integrity that is placed on most course syllabi:
Academic integrity is an important value at UMBC. By enrolling in this course, each student assumes the responsibilities of an active participant in UMBC’s scholarly community in which everyone’s academic work and behavior are held to the highest standards of honesty. Cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, and helping others to commit these acts are all forms of academic dishonesty, and they are wrong. Academic misconduct could result in disciplinary action that may include, but is not limited to, suspension or dismissal.
The purposes of higher education are the learning students and faculty undertake, the knowledge and thinking skills developed, and the enhancement of personal qualities that enable students to be strong contributing members of society. In a competitive world, it is essential that all members of the UMBC community uphold a standard that places integrity of each student’s honestly earned achievements above higher grades or easier work dishonestly sought.
Undergraduate Honor Statement
All members of the UMBC community are expected to make a commitment to academic honesty in their own actions and with others. To this end, UMBC undergraduate students also adopted the following Undergraduate Honor Statement as it describes the high standards to which everyone in the community will be held:
I hereby assume the responsibilities of an engaged member in a scholarly and civic community in which academic work and behavior are held to the highest standards of honesty. It is my active participation that affirms these principles and gives them true meaning as well as value in my education. I realize that by committing acts of dishonesty I hurt myself and place an indelible mark on the reputation of UMBC. Therefore, I will not cheat, fabricate materials, plagiarize, or help another to undertake such acts of academic dishonesty, nor will I protect those who engage in acts of academic dishonesty.
President Hrabowski on Integrity:
“I often say to students that character has everything to do with who a person is, not only when others are watching, but even more important, when no one is watching. I also frequently quote former California Congresswoman Helen Gahagan Douglas, a strong advocate for human rights and justice in the mid-1900s, who said that ‘Character isn’t inherited — it’s built thought by thought, action by action.’ Through our thoughts and actions, and by the choices we make each day in the classroom, on the campus, and in our lives, we either strengthen or weaken our character.”
Provost Rous on Integrity:
“As members of our scholarly community, it is incumbent upon all of us to maintain, support and nurture an academic environment in which ideas and information can be exchanged freely. In conferring credentials, recognizing competencies, and awarding degrees, we must certify accomplishments that are known to be genuine and truly reflective of the work of the individual to which the honor is conferred.
In order to do this, our university expects each member of our community to engage in learning and scholarship in a manner that is thorough and consistent with regard to the standards of one’s discipline and respectful of the contributions of others, including differing or opposing points of view. Reliance on this core principle also allows us to engage in meaningful discussion and dialog about complex and novel ethical situations. Beyond this, in order to maintain UMBC’s stature and reputation we must have full confidence that each one of us has conducted themselves in accordance with these values. The alignment of these values and our actions in a scholarly community is the definition of academic integrity which represents the standard we are accountable for, not only in our individual actions but also for the actions of groups of which we are a part. I look forward to engaging with you in the support of academic integrity at UMBC.”