Academic integrity is an important issue at the University of Waterloo and beyond. The pages in this section provide important reports and forms, as well as additional information on what is being done in our own community and around the world.
Reports on Academic Integrity
The report below provides additional information about the problem of academic integrity and the University of Waterloo's stance on Academic Integrity.
Report on the Findings of the 2012 Academic Integrity Survey
The Office of Academic Integrity (OAI), in collaboration with Dr. Don McCabe of Rutgers University, conducted a survey on academic integrity at the University of Waterloo in October 2012. The survey asked students (undergraduate and graduate), faculty, and teaching assistants (TAs) questions regarding integrity specific to their experiences at the University of Waterloo.
The results of the 2012 survey were compared with those from a similar survey conducted in 2006 to determine what aspects of academic integrity at the University of Waterloo had improved or required further investigation/action. The product of that analysis, "Report on the Findings of the 2012 Academic Integrity Survey", was published by the OAI in June 2013.
- Quantitative data
- Qualitative data
- Conclusions and recommendations
- The vast majority of respondents agreed that the provided examples were instances of moderate or severe academic misconduct.
- However, only 33% of undergraduates rated unauthorized collaboration ("working with others when asked for individual work") as moderate or severe cheating.
- A much higher percentage of graduate students rated each example as moderate or severe.
- A higher number of graduate students admit to violating academic integrity more than once.
- With the exception of unauthorized collaboration, faculty report a decrease in the number of reports of repeated academic misconduct.
- In general, there is a divide between students and faculty regarding the severity of penalties, student and faculty support of policies, and effectiveness of policies.
- The majority of undergraduate students ranked the severity of penalties as either strong or very strong. Conversely, the majority of graduate students, faculty, and TAs did not.
- Faculty responses illustrate a possible need to revise policies to increase effectiveness.
- Similar to the 2006 results, students and faculty are divided in their assessment of cheating and preventative measures at the University of Waterloo.
- Fewer graduate students agree that cheating is a serious problem on campus, that faculty regularly change exams, and that students should monitor each other's integrity.
- Overall increase in how often instructors discuss plagiarism, unauthorized collaboration, citation, falsification, and fabrication.
- Vast majority of students reported being informed of the University of Waterloo's academic integrity policies.
Written comments from students, TAs, and faculty members identified three main themes regarding academic integrity at the University of Waterloo:
- Student evaluation methods in courses. Many respondents want to see improvement in evaluation methods to inhibit cheating.
- Reporting process for cases of academic misconduct. Many respondents recommend revising the process for reporting suspected cases of academic misconduct.
- Academic integrity education for students, TAs, and faculty. Many respondents feel that the University of Waterloo should develop more educational and/or training opportunities focused on academic integrity.
Secondary trends identified in the report:
- Many respondents attributed instances of cheating to the perceived culture of overachievement and competition at the University of Waterloo, and to large class sizes.
- Some faculty recommend an honour code or reward system for students who demonstrate high levels of academic integrity. Conversely, students do not believe that it is feasible.
- Students, TAs, and faculty made frequent and positive comments regarding the use of Turnitin.
The majority of student and faculty responses indicate that few opinions have changed from 2006 to 2012. Therefore, there is significant room for improvement in how academic integrity is presented and enforced at the University of Waterloo.
Three recommendations made in this report are:
- Re-evaluate the process for reporting cases of academic misconduct.
- Re-examine student evaluation methods in courses.
- Provide academic integrity education.
The forms below not only provide information on the University of Waterloo policy to students but also require them to take responsibility for their actions by "signing off" on their work.
The forms require Adobe Acrobat to view.
Does your course have specific requirements?
The forms listed here have been reviewed by the Secretariat.
Instructors wishing to provide their own version may do so.
Please contact us with your suggestions.
The International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI)
The International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI), located at Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina (United States of America), provides a forum for sharing best practices and strategies on Academic Integrity (AI).
Hundreds of member institutions, including the University of Waterloo, benefit from the collective experience of their sister institutions. The ICAI offers research, workshops, conferences, policies, and guidance in assessing and implementing AI strategies.
Other Post-Secondary Institutions in Ontario
Beginning in June 2008, bi-annual meetings have been held with representatives from Ontario post-secondary institutions. This group is the Academic Integrity Council of Ontario (AICO), which is affiliated with OACV and the Council of Ontario Universities (COU). Prevention is always preferable to punitive action. Our common goal is to educate our students on why academic integrity - and integrity in general - is critical in developing life-long skills and good citizenship.
If you have information you would like to share with your colleagues in other institutions, contact our office and we can assist you. While policies on AI issues may vary somewhat, the links below demonstrate that Ontario universities take the issue very seriously.