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Faculty's Guide to Academic Integrity at The University of Oklahoma

OU's Academic Integrity Code gives students, via the student Integrity Council, responsibility for the integrity of their own academic community. But our faculty set the tone and establish the ground rules for your particular students. Most students want to do the right thing. Please help them by leaving no doubt that integrity really matters in your class!

It is a professional obligation of faculty to expect integrity in their students and to report integrity violations when they occur. Suggestions for fostering an atmosphere of integrity:

  • Articulate a clear and personal syllabus statement about integrity. Provide guidance on special topics relevant to your class such as the limits of collaboration, expectations for group projects, plagiarism, etc. It is also helpful to include a link to our website, as well as the Student's Guide to Academic Integrity.

  • Invite us to speak to your students. Presentations range from 20-50 minutes, can be arranged for anytime during the semester, and can focus on any specific issues that you find important (i.e. how to get involved, plagiarism, etc.).

  • Test your students’ knowledge of the “Student’s Guide to Academic Integrity at OU”. Prepared quiz questions are available upon request.

  • Use an integrity pledge -- either the official one or your own -- as cover sheets for papers and homework. Occasionally reminding students about why you use an integrity pledge before each assignment will keep this practice from becoming too routine.

  • Craft tests and assignments that discourage cheating. For example, provide different versions of the same exam in larger classes (varying the order of questions or multiple-choice answers). Do not give identical assignments or examinations from year to year.

  • Clarify expectations -- for yourself and your students -- regarding assignments that might especially invite copying or collaboration. If you assign an exercise such as an online quiz that has a high potential for cheating, do you genuinely intend to permit completion strategies (like copying or collaboration) that would ordinarily count as misconduct? If so, say so. Simply remaining silent while setting a low point value to minimize the advantage of cheating can send the message that a little cheating is OK.

  • Know how to use the reports available in Canvas. Writing assignments submitted on Canvas can automatically generate a Turnitin report that highlights text taken from the Internet or other sources. Further information about Turnitin at OU (PDF) is available.

  • Be vigilant during tests and while grading assignments. Additional test proctoring may be available upon request. Conversely, if you want to experiment with a proctor-free, honor-system approach, please let us know your impressions. The Integrity Code does permit students to report integrity violations on their own.

  • Report all integrity violations using the Academic Misconduct Reporting Form.

  • Be familiar with the resources available to students and faculty through the Office of Academic Integrity Programs (OAIP).

In Class

Here is a sample syllabus statement you could use in creating a statement for your course:

Cheating is strictly prohibited at the University of Oklahoma because it devalues the degree you are working hard to get. As a member of the OU community it is your responsibility to protect your educational investment by knowing and following the rules. For specific definitions on what constitutes cheating, review the Student’s Guide to Academic Integrity.

To be successful in this class, all work on exams and quizzes must be yours and yours alone. You may not receive outside help. On examinations and quizzes you will never be permitted to use your notes, textbooks, calculators, or any other study aids. Should you see someone else engaging in this behavior, I encourage you to report it to myself or directly to the Office of Academic Integrity Programs. That student is devaluing not only their degree, but yours, too. Be aware that it is my professional obligation to report academic misconduct, which I will not hesitate to do. Sanctions for academic misconduct can include expulsion from the University and an F in this course, so don’t cheat. It’s simply not worth it.

We encourage all professors to personalize their statements. The following bullet points may be helpful in making a unique statement:

  • Make the statement personal to you as a professor and a professional in your field, i.e. "I don’t like cheating, and it is important to have integrity as medical professionals because people are trusting us with their lives."

  • Emphasize misconduct will be reported and inform them of possible grade penalties and institutional sanctions.

Sample Pledge:

"On my honor, I affirm that I have neither given nor received inappropriate aid in the completion of this exercise."

Download the Integrity Pledge as a PDF

As an instructor you may certainly inquire into suspicious circumstances on your own. If you witness misconduct in an in-class exercise such as a test, your own recollection will certainly count as evidence in a hearing. If you receive a paper that sounds suspiciously familiar or is uncharacteristic for the student, you may investigate by asking the student, for example, to explain the ideas in the paper.

If the scope of the appropriate inquiry is larger or less well-defined -- for example where misconduct may involve numerous students, computer hacking, or other issues beyond the typical case -- assistance from the OAIP is available. Instructors may request assistance by contacting the OAIP. The investigation will ordinarily be conducted by Integrity Council students assisted by the OAIP. The OAIP and investigators will remain in contact with the instructor throughout the investigation.

In rare cases, an instructor may conclude on the basis of substantial evidence that the security of a test or other class assignment has been seriously compromised without being able to identify any or all of the specific violations that may have resulted. In those cases, the professor, working with their department and the OAIP, retains the authority and obligation to cancel the assignment and recalculate the point values of other work, assign substitute work, or both, provided that such action applies to the entire class.

When such action is appropriate, any reduction in a student’s grade from such cancellation, substitution, or recalculation does not constitute a grade penalty.

For the OAIP to request data and/or the removal of assignment/exam solutions from Chegg, Quizlet, etc., please fill out this form and upload the appropriate documents.

Although the OAIP will submit a request, we cannot guarantee the data and/or the removal of material from the website.

It can be challenging to answer this question, as it depends on the time of semester and recommended grade penalty associated with the report of misconduct.

For questions related to a student withdrawing from class while an academic misconduct report is pending, please contact

Integrity Violations & Reporting

According to the Integrity Code, an integrity violation is "any act that improperly affects the evaluation of a student's academic performance or achievement." The Student's Guide to Academic Integrity lists specifics: cheating on examinations with cellphones, notes, or neighbors; plagiarism, improper collaboration on assignments intended for individual completion, etc.

"Unintentional" acts -- for example, inadvertent plagiarism -- are still violations if the student should have understood the act to be misconduct. Such cases can result in a mandatory educational consequence.

You may set your own consequences for violating classroom or assignment rules, but a violation will count as misconduct only if it improperly affects the evaluation of the student's academic performance or achievement.

Questions instructors sometimes ask:

  • "Why should an instructor even worry about students who cheat? Isn't the failure to learn a penalty in itself?"

  • "If I do choose to address integrity violations, don't I have the authority and discretion to handle such incidents on my own?"

  • "If I do report an integrity violation, how do I know that the university will back me up?"

  • "If I report, how do I know that a report over a small incident will not spin out of control and ruin a student's career forever?"

Reporting helps your colleagues, the other students in the class, and even the student who is reported. Academic integrity is not just a detail of classroom management: it's a fundamental concern for the entire OU community, students and faculty alike. Both faculty and students can report integrity violations, but reporting is part of the faculty member's professional obligation. Failure to report ignores this obligation and is unfair to students who earn their grades honestly. A student who made a bad choice can also benefit from the integrity awareness or plagiarism awareness courses we can require – but only if the incident is reported. Reporting ensures that the student will receive due process and that your response will not be questioned as unjust or unfounded. Reporting does not result in a one-size-fits-all approach: OU's system seeks to be responsive to faculty and student needs. A minor incident that needs no institutional response can be reported as an admonition, or warning only. Reporting all incidents ensures that later violations in your class, or your colleagues', will not be mischaracterized as a first offense. Conversely, "handling" an incident oneself without reporting it amounts to sweeping that incident under the rug.

The academic misconduct reporting form is available through Maxient. All reports will be handled by the OAIP.

To complete the report, it will be very helpful to include whatever documents are relevant to support or explain it, e.g. plagiarized paper, report, confiscated or photographed cheat notes, exam, Scantron sheet, altered document, etc. Please also include a course syllabus which specifies how much of the final course grade the assignment in question is worth. It is also helpful to include any communications the instructor has had with the student. If the academic misconduct was witnessed by another party (i.e. a teacher’s assistant, another student, etc.) those names should be included in the report as well.

Procedurally, a violation report results in formal notice to the student from the OAIP, followed by procedures to ensure due process as explained below. Administratively, a violation report permits the full range of appropriate consequences. An admission or finding of responsibility permits you to assign any grade penalty you deem appropriate, up to an F in the course, and the student will receive an appropriate institutional consequence as well. The institutional consequence can include remedial options -- for example a plagiarism awareness class or the integrity class -- or disciplinary options such as suspension, or both.

Unlike a full violation, an admonition is simply a warning. Procedurally, an admonition is merely your report of the incident and the fact that the student has been warned. There will be nothing to investigate or adjudicate unless the student elects to contest the matter. Administratively, the admonition does permit a limited grade penalty (up to zero on the assignment) and creates a record of the incident in case a future incident occurs, but it forecloses any other institutional consequence. It leads to no institutional penalty or remedy. It is not reportable outside the university as an incident of misconduct. Admonitions are not disclosed or considered in determining eligibility for scholarships, membership in honorary societies, or graduation with honors. Thus, admonitions are appropriate only for minor offenses involving either a limited moment of panic or genuine confusion regarding the rules. Admonitions are certainly not automatically appropriate for every first time offense, and are not appropriate for most semester-long activities (e.g. term papers) or graduate work such as theses or comprehensive examinations. A student should ordinarily not receive more than one admonition. You may inquire about a student's prior admonitions by contacting the OAIP.

If you do intend to report an incident as an admonition, please take the time to talk to the student yourself. We will send the student a followup email to ensure appropriate notice, but the "teachable moment" remains up to you. When required by fairness and consistency with past cases, a reported admonition that falls outside institutional norms may be converted to a full violation by the OAIP in consultation with you.

As with full violation reports, reporting admonitions creates a paper trail to establish that you followed the institution's procedures, that any resulting penalty was administered appropriately, and that the student has now gotten one "second chance.”

OU's integrity system aims to minimize procedural complication and adversarial confrontation while maintaining standards of fairness and due process. Once you file the report, you will be copied on most correspondence, but please feel free to address questions or check the status of the report with the OAIP.

Once a report is filed: Notice to the student will come from the OAIP by email, typically a few days after the report is received. The student will be given a deadline for contacting the OAIP. A required meeting then occurs with the OAIP. At that meeting, the student chooses whether to accept responsibility for the incident as reported or request an investigation. If the student accepts responsibility, you will be notified to assign the grade penalty.

The Academic Integrity Code provides students with rights in this process when denying the alleged misconduct. These rights include an investigation of the alleged misconduct as well as allow students to request their case be heard by a hearing panel. If the student requests an investigation, it will be conducted by student Integrity Council members with assistance from the OAIP. Once the investigation is complete, if the investigators determine that sufficient evidence exists that the case should be reviewed by a Hearing Panel, the student has the opportunity to review the investigator's decision and at that point can either accept responsibility or request a Hearing. 

Hearings are an opportunity for a panel to review the facts of the case, question relevant witnesses, and make a final determination of responsibility. Reporters are asked to attend the hearing to answer any questions the panel may have regarding the nature of the report and allegation(s). As the reporter of the incident, you will be responsible for supplying your recollections and impressions to the investigators and the hearing panel, but you are not the prosecutor. At the hearing stage, we rely on a lay "board of inquiry" model rather than the adversarial model common to civil and criminal courts. Within a few days of the hearing you will be notified of the outcome, as will the student. If the student is found responsible, you will be notified to assign the grade penalty.

While the matter is pending: There is no prohibition on discussing the incident with the student either before or after you file a report. Faculty vary on whether they wish to have such discussions, and the OAIP will always give the student the full relevant details of the report. (As noted above, please do discuss with the student any incident reported as an admonition.)

Students are entitled to a presumption of innocence: The student should be able to continue attending class while the matter is pending, although if the grade penalty upon a finding of responsibility will be an F, you may certainly tell the student. If the semester ends while the matter is still pending, you should report the final grade as "N". "N" is a temporary, neutral grade that will need to be changed once the matter is concluded. 

In all stages of the investigation and hearing, Integrity Council students have real responsibility. In all capacities, the Integrity Council is trained and supervised by the OAIP.

For more detailed procedures on reporting and investigations, please see the Reporting and Investigation Procedures (PDF).

For more detailed information related to the hearing, please see What to Expect in an Academic Misconduct Hearing (PDF).


I have submitted a report to the Office of Academic Integrity Programs due to [specific concern]. [It would be beneficial to provide a brief explanation to contextualize the report (explanation of what concerns/events led to filing the report, reiteration of assignment/exam rules and expectations, etc.).]

(For an Admonition) I have a professional obligation to report this incident to the Office of Academic Integrity Programs. I have reported this incident as an admonition, which is a warning, and you will receive official correspondence from the office. If you have questions, you can reach out to the office at An admonition can be accompanied by a grade penalty.

(For a Full Violation) I have a professional obligation to report this incident to the Office of Academic Integrity Programs. I have reported this incident as a violation, which means you will receive official correspondence from the office and will need to respond promptly. If you have questions, you can reach out to the office at You will not receive a grade for the assignment(s) in question, and your final grade in the course will be recorded as an "N" until the matter is resolved.

If you want to learn more about academic integrity at OU, you can visit and navigate to the "Students" page.

We understand that after filing a report new information may come to light which causes you to reconsider the report. We are generally willing to discuss withdrawing a report IF the notice letter has not already been sent to the reported student(s). After the notice has been sent, students are able to engage in our process to contest the reported misconduct. 

If a student decides to schedule a meeting and contest a report, your support in contesting the charges would likely result in a prompt dismissal.


Level of intent, weight of the assignment, student classification (freshman v. senior) and the student's response after the incident are among the factors taken into account. Your decision on the grade penalty is also important to this decision. There is a fuller discussion of institutional penalties, recordkeeping, and expungement in the How Penalties are Assigned (PDF) document.

Instructors are responsible for determining the grade penalty. As noted above, this penalty cannot be imposed until the student is found responsible for violating the Academic Integrity Code -- either by accepting responsibility, being found responsible by a hearing panel, or failing to respond by the stated deadline(s) in the process.

For an admonition: the penalty may not exceed a zero on the assignment.

For a full violation: the penalty may be up to an F in the course. An F may be assigned even if the student has withdrawn from the course. In addition, you may offer the student a reasonable amount of additional, remedial work to be completed in order to avoid a grade penalty.


For questions or assistance with grade changes, please contact our Office ( or Academic Records (

Our timeline for responding to new reports changes slightly depending on the time of the semester. We do not send out notice emails during the week of finals, and due to the shortened work week following finals week in December we generally do not send out any new cases until after the winter break. This means that any reports filed on or after the Friday before final's week will typically not be sent until the week after finals (in May) or the first week in January (in December).

If it would be prudent to notify the reported student prior to grades being due/the winter break, please let us know so we can determine how best to address the matter. If you would like to notify the student, there is some general language provided in the Faculty's Guide, or we can assist you in crafting a message.

We know that final grades are due shortly after finals week, so:

  • If you filed a report as an admonition...
    • ...and the recommended grade penalty will not affect the letter grade the student will receive (e.g., if the student will receive an "A" regardless of the grade penalty), please go ahead and impose the recommended grade penalty and report the final grade accordingly.
    • ...and the recommended grade penalty will affect the letter grade the student will receive (e.g., if the grade penalty will drop the student from an "A" to a "B"), please use "N" as a placeholder for the student's final grade. 
  • If you filed a report as a full violation, please use "N" as a placeholder for the student's final grade.

If a reported student reaches out to you about their grade, please tell them that a report has been filed and they can expect to hear from the Office of Academic Integrity Programs (in December, they can expect to hear from the office after the winter break), at which time we will work with them to determine next steps.

Artificial Intelligence

At this point in time, it is our understanding that there is no established Artificial Intelligence (AI) detection software. The available AI detectors have demonstrated extremely high rates of returning false positives (identifying information as AI-generated when that is not the case).

We can certainly accept cases in which the improper use of AI is of concern, but we rely on you to clarify exactly how the assignment in question departs from the expected response so that information can be conveyed to the student when they meet with our office.

  • Was the work significantly different from work the student(s) had submitted previously, or significantly different from what other students submitted/you would expect from a student in your course? 
  • Are there points in the assignment where content is significantly more advanced or general/vague than you would expect? 
  • Are links/references correctly related to the assignment content?

If you would like to discuss your concerns regarding a student submission prior to filing a report, please contact us.

The Office of Academic Integrity Programs has developed some short, educational resources which we hope can be useful for both faculty and students when determining how to use artificial intelligence (AI) ethically in higher education. These documents were created using Piktochart and ChatGPT!

Artificial Intelligence in Higher Education - Black and White

Artificial Intelligence in Higher Education - Full Color

Getting Involved on Campus

  • Volunteer to serve on academic misconduct hearing panels. To be added to this volunteer list, please contact us. All panel members receive a thirty-minute training session before serving on their first hearing panel.

  • Consider service on the academic integrity oversight committee that advises the OAIP.

  • When Integrity Council announces events or its membership drive, please encourage your students to attend or apply!