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Academic Integrity Pledge and Related Initiatives

Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015

Santa Clara University is implementing an Academic Integrity pledge as part of an effort to enhance its long-time commitment to integrity of all kinds – and to academic integrity in particular.  The pledge, to be affirmed by students, was designed to deepen the understanding of and commitment to honesty and academic integrity throughout the various communities in which students participate.  

The Academic Integrity Pledge states:

"I am committed to being a person of integrity. I pledge, as a member of the Santa Clara University community, to abide by and uphold the standards of academic integrity contained in the Student Conduct Code."

The Pledge was initially proposed by Santa Clara students after they conducted extensive research on honor pledges at other colleges and universities. The Academic Integrity Pledge was approved in 2014 through the University governance processes after discussions with faculty, staff, and students, culminating in a recommendation to the Provost by the Academic Affairs University Policy Committee.  The pledge has been incorporated in the Student Conduct Code in the Student Handbook, and will be affirmed by students in signing ceremonies in Residential Learning Communities and other locations.

Faculty are encouraged to incorporate the pledge into syllabi, exams, and class discussions. 

Piloting the Pledge

During 2014-15, 35 faculty and approximately 1500 students participated in pilot project involving the use of the academic integrity pledge in classrooms and on syllabi. Assessment of the pilot resulted in several notable findings including the following:

  • Use of the pledge “created new opportunities for student reflection and support for developing a stronger culture of academic integrity.”
  • Faculty members play a very important role in developing and reinforcing a culture of academic integrity.

The assessment report is forthcoming.

Other current initiatives related to Academic Integrity include the following:

  • Enhancing Education about Academic Integrity: An informal working group led by Jennifer Nutefall, University Librarian, is collaborating with the Office of Student Life in reviewing and/or creating tutorials or online modules designed to reduce plagiarism and to educate students and faculty about appropriate and inappropriate collaborations. Faculty and students will be invited to pilot these tutorials in the coming months.
  • Reviewing the University’s Adjudication and Appeal Process: A task force appointed by the University Coordinating Committee will be reviewing and updating the University’s procedures for adjudication and appeals related to allegations of violation of academic integrity. Task force members include: 
    • Matthew Duncan - Associate Dean for Student Life
    • Tyler Krueger, Law Student
    • Hohyun Lee - Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering 
    • Kathleen (Cookie) Ridolfi - Professor, Law School
    • Austin Smith - Chief Justice of Student Court, Associated Student Government
    • Manuel Velasquez - Charles J. Dirksen Professor Business Ethics, Management
  • Receiving and Investigating Reports of Violations:  The Office of Student Life (OSL) continues to encourage faculty to report violations of academic integrity. The OSL investigates reports of violations and recommends non-academic sanctions. Assistant Deans Jeffrey Baerwald and Lester Deanes, can be contacted with questions. The University’s current Academic Integrity policy and a flowchart summarizing the process of reporting, investigation, sanction, and appeal, is available here: Academic Integrity Policy and Protocol (PDF)