Cheaters never win at ‘Nova

Katherine Roth

Villanova prides itself on academic integrity, which is at the heart of the University’s mission statement and its reputation among other institutions of higher education. Academic integrity means honesty about the sources of ideas and language and the refusal to cheat on tests, plagiarize papers or falsify data. For Villanova to be recognized as a university with high morals, students and faculty must carefully distinguish between their own ideas and ideas that may have been borrowed in the research process. All forms of academic dishonesty and misconduct are intolerable, especially at Villanova, which promotes Augustinian values of truth, unity and love. Luckily, little cheating occurs on campus. “Most of the academic integrity cases that we see involve plagiarism rather than cheating,” says John Immerwahr, chair of the Board of Academic Integrity and associate vice president for Academic Affairs. “The typical case involves a freshman student who is having a lot of problems with time management, panics because an ACS paper is due the next day and uses Web sources. We have very few reported cheating cases.”But what happens if you do engage in academic misconduct? The penalty for the first violation of the code is an F for the course or, at the discretion of the instructor, a less severe penalty such as an F for the assignment. Students who break the academic integrity policy are also required to complete an academic integrity educational program, which is supervised by the dean of the student’s college. “This is pretty typical for schools such as Villanova,” Immerwahr says. “We rarely have a second offense, but when we do, the student is at risk of being expelled with a permanent indication on the transcript.” Students who are unsure if they are violating the Academic Code of Integrity should ask their instructor for clarification, or they may add a written explanation to their paper explaining clearly what they have done. It is better to be safe than sorry. Students accused of academic dishonesty are first approached by the faculty member reporting the offense, who reviews the situation with them. They have the opportunity to present their side of the story to the instructor. If they believe that they are not guilty of the academic integrity infraction, there is an appeal system in place. For further information, visit Immerwahr offers his own strategy for avoiding academic misconduct.”One of the best success strategies for any college student is to attend every class, sit in the front of the room, take great notes and review those notes after every class,” he says. “Most of the academic problems that I see are related to poor class attendance and poor time management.”