Academic Honesty Policies

A College is a community of learners whose relationship relies on trust. Honesty is necessary for functioning of the Augsburg College community and dishonesty is, therefore, abhorred and prohibited.

One example of how trust is destroyed by a particular form of dishonesty is found in plagiarism and its effects. In its 1990 “Statement of Plagiarism,” the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) Committee B on Professional Ethics notes that one form of academic dishonesty, plagiarism, “is theft of a special kind [in which] a fraud is committed upon the audience that believes those ideas and words originated with the deceiver. Plagiarism is not limited to the academic community but has, perhaps, its most pernicious effect in that setting. It is the antithesis of the honest labor that characterizes true scholarship and without which mutual trust and respect among scholars is impossible.”

It is, of course, necessary that academic dishonesty be defined so that all concerned will know their responsibilities. The following guidelines are intended to help define academic honesty policies and describe the process involved in assuring adherence to these policies.

These policies and definitions are included in the Augsburg College Student Guide and the Augsburg College Faculty Handbook. Faculty members are encouraged to call attention to the policy in their syllabi and introductions to their courses and to note in their syllabi any specific concerns, additions, or penalties particular to their courses. Nevertheless, it remains the responsibility of students to have read and understood these definitions and policies. Students who do not understand these definitions and policies should seek assistance from their professors or the Offices of the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the College or Vice President of Student Affairs.

Section I: Definitions


Plagiarism is probably the most common and obvious form of academic dishonesty. Plagiarism is defined in the Student’s Book of College English by Squire and Chitwood (Encino, California: Glencoe Publishing Co., 1975) as follows:

Plagiarism is the use of facts, opinions, and language taken from another writer without acknowledgment. In its most sordid form, plagiarism is outright theft or cheating; a person has another person write the paper or simply steal a magazine article or section of a book and pretend to have produced a piece of original [work]. Far more common is plagiarism in dribs and drabs; a sentence here and there, a paragraph here and there. Unfortunately, small-time theft is still theft, and small-time plagiarism is still plagiarism. For your own safety and self-respect, remember the following rules – not guidelines, rules:

  • The language in your paper [or oral presentation] must either be your own or a direct quote from the original author.
  • Changing a few words or phrases from another writer’s work is not enough to make the writing ‘your own.’  Remember Rule 1.  The writing is either your own or the other person’s; there are no in-betweens.
  • Footnotes acknowledge that the fact or opinion expressed comes from another writer. If the language comes from another writer, quotation marks are necessary in addition to footnote. Other methods of indicating use of a direct quotation, such as indentation, are acceptable if they are commonly recognized.
  • A writer may not avoid a charge of plagiarism simply because the work from which material has been used is included in a citation somewhere in the writing. Each occurrence of the use of another person’s work must be cited.

Other Forms of Academic Dishonesty include the following:

  • Using external assistance in the completion of course assignments and examinations unless such assistance has been specifically authorized by the instructor. Such activities as the use of “crib sheets” or “cheat sheets,” looking at another student’s answers during a test, and bringing examination books with notes or answers already written in them are forbidden. Assistance requiring authorization might include but is not limited to use of technology (e.g., a calculator, or internet), use of books or notes during an examination, using professionally prepared materials, or having another person make specific suggestions for changes and corrections on an assignment. It is, for example, acceptable for a reader to suggest that a paragraph is unclear or needs more detail; it is unacceptable to offer specific rewording or details for inclusion. Use of official College tutors or the Writing Lab for assistance is not ruled out by this section unless specifically forbidden by the instructor.
  • Handing in material for course assignments that has been, in large part, used to meet requirements in other courses without gaining previous permission by the instructor.
  • Presenting as one’s own work what has been done wholly or in part by another person or a professional service without gaining the previous permission of the instructor. This prohibition includes but is not limited to allowing another person to conduct research or select written materials that will be used to complete an assignment, using a paper or assignment prepared by another student as an assignment in a previous course, or purchasing professionally prepared papers that may be handed in as purchased or used as the basis of a rewritten paper.
  • Failing to acknowledge that work which has not been assigned as collaborative work has been done with the inappropriate help of others. The prohibition is not intended to discourage legitimate cooperative or collaborative work. Nevertheless, legitimate collaboration must be distinguished from illegitimate collaboration. Unless the professor has instructed otherwise, it is dishonest to work with others on a single assignment that will be multiplied and turned in separately as if it were the work of each individual alone. All who cooperated on a project should be identified. Students need not be concerned about work that is assigned to be done collaboratively and follows the specific instructions of the professor.
  • Fabricating research in the completion of assignments. This prohibition includes but is not limited to entirely or partial fabricating scientific research results or inventing information or citations for use in completing assignments.
  • Interfering with the work of another student. It constitutes academic dishonesty to hinder the work of another student by stealing, destroying, changing, or otherwise interfering with their accomplishment of academic assignments. This prohibition involves but is not limited to such things as stealing or mutilating library materials or other academic resources.
  • Knowingly assisting another student to engage in academic dishonesty itself constitutes a form of academic dishonesty.  Assisting in academic dishonesty includes but is not limited to such things as permitting another student to complete an assignment where such assistance is not authorized by the instructor, giving another access to a completed assignment which that student will submit as her or his own work, allowing another student to copy during an examination, and/or offering information to another student during an examination.

Section II: Sanctions and Procedures

  • At the beginning of each course, professors will spend some class time explaining any areas of the Augsburg College Academic Honesty Policy which have particular relevance to a specific application in the course or the policy will be detailed in the syllabus.   It is assumed that students know and understand the Academic Honesty Policy.   If you have questions, it is your responsibility to get information from the faculty member.  Professors may or may not have you sign a statement acknowledging your understanding of the statement at one or more times during the term.  The statement reads: “I have read and understand the policies of Augsburg College regarding academic honesty. I understand how they apply to this course, and I pledge myself to abide by the policies and work to create an atmosphere of academic integrity on the campus.”
  • Even the first occurrence of academic dishonesty by a student may result in a severe penalty, but normally a student’s previous record will be considered by the faculty member in determining the appropriate penalty. The definitions above rather than any consideration of the student’s intentions will be the determining factor in a judgment of academic dishonesty. Intention may be considered in determining the penalty.
  • A faculty member who makes a determination of academic dishonesty shall meet privately with the student involved to discuss the charge and the penalty. This meeting is intended to give the student the opportunity to understand the reason for the determination and to learn from the experience. It is also intended to give the professor the opportunity to gain information that may be useful in understanding the student’s behavior and in deciding upon the penalty. In the event that such behavior occurs after the completion of classes (e.g., a term paper handed in near the end of classes), the professor may notify the student in writing.
  • Penalties imposed by the professor may include a “zero” or failing grade on the assignment or examination which involved the dishonesty, other academic penalties as outlined in the syllabus for the course or other statement of policies distributed by the professor, forced withdrawal from the course, or failure in the course.
  • The faculty member shall inform the Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs in writing of a determination of academic dishonesty. This report shall include the name of the student involved; a brief description of the event, including supporting documentation, such as a research paper with plagiarized passages; and a description of the penalty. This material will be kept on file in the Dean’s Office under the student’s name. Faculty members, in the process of determining a penalty for an occurrence of academic dishonesty, should contact the Dean’s Office for information on previous occurrences.
  • A single serious infringement of academic honesty or recurrent incidents of dishonesty may result in temporary or permanent dismissal from the College or withholding of the degree. Such penalties will be determined by the Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs/Dean of Arts and Sciences in consultation with the faculty member(s) involved and the Dean of Students.

Section III: Appeals

A student who thinks that a determination of academic dishonesty has been made incorrectly or that a penalty has been too severe may appeal the decision or the penalty through the regular grievance process described in the Student Guide.

Approved by: Executive Committee of the Board of Regents July 20, 1992 Updated by Augsburg College Faculty, May 1993.