Faculty: CU's Standards of Academic Integrity

Dear Faculty Member:

This document is designed for students to understand some of the most frequent sources of Honor Code violations. As a faculty member, you can help to avoid some of these violations by discussing these examples in class, clearly communicating your expectations on your syllabus, and setting the expectations at the beginning of the semester with reminders throughout. As you know, there are some international cultural differences in academic practices, and this handout offers some particular pointers to assist international students in understanding U.S. and CU Boulder policies.

What defines academic integrity at CU Boulder?

All of these expectations are very strictly enforced. For more info, see Student Information.

Understanding permitted resources

Be sure to know what resources your faculty member allows you to use to complete homework and assignments. The expectation is that you complete your assignments by yourself. You are responsible for the work you submit. It is generally not allowed to use a solutions manual from a text (on-line or in print or other on-line problem-solving software) to help you complete homework assignments.

Individual ownership of ideas and words

Individual ownership of ideas. Academic rules and copyright laws support an individual’s ownership of his/her ideas. Therefore, whenever you mention someone else’s ideas or research, you must carefully document the quote - who stated it and where the information was found - in order to avoid plagiarism. This expectation applies equally to homework and informal class work as well as more formal research. Appropriate citation is required (author, source, page number), and specific citation formats may vary, depending upon your major. Plagiarism is a concern in any format – written papers, blogs, etc.

International students: Academic rules and copyright laws vary from country to country. Be sure to know what is expected since you are studying in the U.S.

Individual ownership of words. Similarly, academic integrity rules and laws protect the words a person used to express something. Be sure you know how to paraphrase (state in your own words) correctly and accurately. Work to expand your vocabulary and use of grammar so that you can use your own words to rephrase something someone else said. Faculty can determine if students submit work which reflects a sophistication and depth of knowledge beyond that which has been demonstrated in other work in the class.

Students are expected to express their own opinions on material learned or discussed. This is considered a way to show that you read and understood a text.

International students: Memorizing the material, repeating the text exactly, and always agreeing with the faculty member or other students generally are not expected classroom behaviors in the U.S.

-Individual learning and evaluation. In general, at CU Boulder, students are expected to learn independently and complete homework individually. Sometimes group work is allowed or required, but there are often restrictions on what can be done together and what must be done separately. If a faculty member assigns work to be completed individually, this means no discussion of ideas or even the topic is allowed. In any case, submitting group work when individual work is requested is wrong. Faculty will take notice if there is too much similarity in what is turned in by two or more people, or for example if the lines in computing programming code match up too closely, or the homework solutions look too similar.

International students: This individual learning model may be different than in other countries, where it may be expected that students will study in groups and help each other learn.

Avoiding cheating

-Helping or not preventing another student from copying your test responses is considered just as wrong as copying someone else’s test. Examples of cheating on exams might include: a guilty party copying from an innocent person; two or more students “collaborating” to share information while the exam is going on, with or without other innocent students witnessing the action; utilizing an unauthorized “cheat sheet” or electronic device during the exam; or cheating on an off-site makeup exam.

If you study with other students before an exam, it is best not to sit near each other during the exam so it doesn’t look like you copied if some of your answers are similar. Faculty members and students may suspect that students who are often seen together in groups could be cheating.

Graduate education

Graduate education may, because of its highly collaborative nature, present areas of concern about academic integrity that do not neatly fit within the categories described above. Any faculty member or graduate student who feels that there may be a violation of academic integrity should consult with the Graduate School for guidance about the best path of action to follow.


Failure to abide by these policies as part of the CU Boulder Honor Code may result in but not be limited to the following sanctions or actions:

  • Reporting through the Honor Code process, which may result in sanctions such as mandated participation in Honors Code seminars in ethnics and integrity, Honor code writing seminar, community service, or other activities. Fees may also be assessed.
  • A low or failing grade may be assigned by the faculty member.
  • Possible loss of scholarship, repayment of a scholarship, possible loss of financial aid, other institutional support in the form of TA, RA or GA appointments which are dependent on maintaining satisfactory academic progress.
  • Removal (suspension) from the University for one or more semesters.
  • In the case of an international student, the student may lose his or her visa status and may have to return to his or her home country.


Resources to assist students and faculty in writing and citation include:

  • The Program for Writing and Rhetoric
  • Purdue Owl
  • Plagairism.org
  • Writers Help Handbook: (Bedford /St. Martin’s on-line handbook) An on-line handbook available to students for either a 2 year or a 4 year subscription. Students may buy it on-line or via the CU Bookstore. Some CU Boulder students may be eligible for a scholarship for this resource.
  • RIOT – a CU-Boulder on-line tutorial on research and citation available to students enrolled in PWR first year courses (PWR 1100, PWR 1150, and PWR 1250). RIOT v.2 is available on Desire2Learn (D2L)
  • Zotero- a research assistant that stores your citations and cites them for you.


  • Complete individually assigned assignments by yourself.
  • Avoid plagiarism by citing references with author and source in homework assignments, informal class work, and more formal research.
  • Expand your own vocabulary


  • Use a solutions manual from a text (on-line or in print) to assist with homework assignments.
  • Use on-line problem-solving software
  • Plagiarize by avoiding appropriate citation in written papers, blogs, etc.