What is Academic Integrity?

"We, the members of the student body of Luther College, believe that one of the basic functions of an institution dedicated to the Christian faith and engaged in higher education is the development of academic integrity and responsibility".

—Preamble to the Luther College Honor Code 

All academic work is based on the understanding that everyone engaged in academic discourse, in research, and in teaching is truthful, diligent, and respectful of the work of others.

Without this, no academic community can flourish. Academic integrity is the moral code that builds trust between scholars.

Academic integrity not only applies to research and the generating of new knowledge, it applies to all aspects of teaching and learning. Class assignments and tests are tools to help students learn; grades show if and how students achieve learning goals. Therefore, all work for which students receive grades should result from the student’s own effort and understanding. 

Why does academic integrity matter?


Academic integrity is a matter of fairness. Every time a violation goes unreported, students who took the easy way out are rewarded for their behavior.

Changed Expectations

Although not every test is graded on a curve and cheating might not directly affect your grade, a dishonest student indirectly influences the expectations of a teacher for future tests, which might make it more difficult for you and future students to be evaluated fairly.

Value of Your Degree

Dishonest students might also devalue the grade and degree you earn because they do not have the same skills and knowledge that you have, but can claim the same credentials. Caring for academic integrity, therefore, is caring for the integrity and the value of the grades and the degree you rightfully earn.

Moral Integrity

Cheating, as well as ignoring the dishonest student’s behavior, creates bad habits and fosters a culture of looking the other way. If cheaters always get away with it and even are rewarded for their fraudulent behavior, they will come to a point where they no longer think about what they are doing. This reaches far beyond your time in college and could be a problem for you if this person is your lawyer, your accountant, or the CEO of the company in which you are invested.

What are violations of academic integrity?

Violations of academic integrity come in many shapes and forms. Sometimes, academic integrity is violated deliberately, in order to get an unfair advantage. But there are also cases of honest mistakes and misunderstandings. Most people think of plagiarism and cheating when they think of academic dishonesty. But academic integrity goes beyond this and includes all aspects of academic life. Consider the following examples of possible violations:

  • Cheating during a test
  • Helping others to cheat
  • Not reporting someone who cheated
  • Signing someone else’s name on an attendance sheet
  • Using unauthorized materials for an assignment
  • Receiving information about a test from someone who already took it earlier
  • Copying something from the Internet without acknowledgement
  • Summarizing someone else’s ideas without revealing the source
  • Faking an illness or making false claims in order to take a test at a different time
  • Intimidating someone to prevent them from reporting (which is also a violation of the Student Code of Conduct)

The Honor Code describes academic dishonesty as "any action or inaction of a student or a group of students which might create an unfair or undeserved academic advantage, which is intended to deceive students or faculty, or which a reasonable person would consider dishonest academic behavior." (Luther College Honor Code, 1.2)

Luther College
Luther College