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Academic Integrity

Academic integrity means that students, professors, and staff, all strive to do honest, authentic work at the university. Acting with integrity ensures that the University of Winnipeg provides a meaningful and fair learning environment for all members of the university community. 

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About Academic Integrity and Misconduct

Students, Faculty, and Staff at the University of Winnipeg will work together to create an honest and positive learning environment. All members of the University community will act with integrity in pursuing their goals. This means following the Fundamental Values of Academic Integrity [PDF Download]: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility, and courage, and Principles of Indigenous Academic Integrity: relationality, reciprocity, and respect.

If a person at the University violates one or more of these values, they risk committing academic misconduct. The University Academic Misconduct Policy [PDF Download] identifies seven categories of misconduct:

1. Plagiarism

Copying another person's work, in whole or in part, without crediting the source through appropriate citation and referencing. 

  • How do I avoid plagiarism? Keep track of every source of information you might use when completing your assignment; Cite and reference all ideas you used from these sources; Never copy and paste sections of text from sources without attributing that text to the source.

2. Cheating 

Any attempt to gain an unfair advantage on an exam, test, assignment, or evaluation.

  • How do I avoid cheating? Study for your tests and exams, and seek out help if you are having trouble understanding the course content; Never look at another student's test or exam; Never consult textbooks, notes, websites, or other sources of information during a test or exam, unless specifically allowed by your instructor.

3. Improper research/academic practices

Fabricating, falsifying, or misrepresenting the results of research, among other things.

  • How do I avoid doing improper research? Don't invent information for your research paper; Don't cite or reference non-existent sources, or sources you have never consulted; Don't intentionally misrepresent the content of a source; Don't include the names of co-authors on your work unless they contributed to the work; Don't allow your name to be included as co-author of something you did not contribute to.

4. Obstruction of academic activities

Interfering with the research or coursework of another to disrupt their work or gain an unfair advantage.

  • How do I avoid obstruction? Focus on your own work and learning, rather than the work of others; Don't be competitive with other students; Never sabotage the efforts of others; Don't do anything that makes your classmates' academic lives more difficult.

5. Impersonation

Pretending to be another person (or allowing another to impersonate you) in attending class or completing assignments, tests, or other evaluations.

  • How do I avoid impersonation? Never attend class or take tests or exams for another student; Don't sign an attendance sheet for another student; Never present another student's identification as though it's your own; Don't share your login information for WebAdvisor, Nexus, or any University related accounts; Don't ask another student to do any of that on your behalf.

6. Falsification or unauthorized modification of records

Providing false information to be included in academic records, including false documentation, or any attempt to improperly alter these records.

  • How do I avoid falsification? Don't lie to your instructors about life events in order to get extensions or other accommodations; Never present fake or altered documents to your instructors or university staff; Never try to change your grade, either manually or digitally.

7. Aiding and abetting academic misconduct

Knowingly assisting another person in any of the above.

  • How do I avoid aiding and abetting? Don't share your coursework with other students, either current or from previous semesters; Don't post your coursework online (including papers, tests, exams, computer code, or other formats); Don't allow another student to see your exam answers; Never complete an assignment or write a paper for another student; Never help another student to cheat in any way.


The consequences for academic misconduct vary depending on the specific situation, but any act of academic misconduct may result in a penalty and a note in a student's academic records.

Resources for Students and Instructors

In addition to the UWinnipeg Academic Misconduct Policy [PDF Download], students and instructors may find the following resources helpful in understanding and avoiding academic misconduct:

Frequently Asked Questions

For Students
I don't have much time left to complete my assignment and I'm worried that it won't be very good. What should I do?

This is possibly the most common situation where students commit academic misconduct. It's tempting to find one or two sources on the Internet and copy/paste them into your assignment. Not only is this very sloppy writing, it also qualifies as plagiarism, which is a form of academic misconduct. Plagiarism is usually easy to detect, and professors can find those sources online as easily as you can, so if you do this you'll very likely raise suspicions of academic misconduct.

Rather than plagiarizing online sources, you may want to contact the Library to get help gathering and citing quality academic sources. The library even has a short guide for your situation, the Procrastinator's Handbook of Library Research [PDF Download]. No shame, just helpful tips for completing your research paper on a tight timeline.

If you truly don't feel like you have enough time to do your best work, you should contact your professor and explain your situation. Your professor may grant you an extension, especially if they know that you are engaged and interested in the class. The sooner you contact them the better, so try not to leave it too close to the deadline.

I have experienced something in my personal life that has disrupted my ability to do my coursework. What should I do?

Life is full of difficulties, big and small. If you have experienced something that makes it difficult to do your best work in your courses, you should begin by talking to your professors. They may be able to adjust expectations so that you can comfortably complete your work, even under tough circumstances. Academic Advising may also be able to provide you with advice in this situation. If you feel like you need additional supports, Counselling Services offers a range of counselling options. If you need to speak with a counsellor immediately, please call Klinic's 24-hour Crisis Phone Line at 204.786.8686.

I did really well in a difficult class. Should I share my assignment answers online to help future students?

You are still responsible for making good decisions about course materials, even after you are finished taking a class. You should never share questions or answers to tests or assignments, or share your essays or research papers with anyone. This includes sharing with friends or family members, as well as sharing anonymously online. If a future student submits an assignment similar to yours, you may also suffer consequences for aiding and abetting academic misconduct.

English is not my first language. Should I get writing help from my friend who is more proficient in English?

In this case, you need to be very careful about getting help from your friend. There are two things to think about here:

  1. your professors would much rather you submit an imperfect essay that you wrote yourself than something that was mostly written by someone else, no matter how much better the writing is.
  2. often, professors will suspect an essay of plagiarism if the quality and tone of the writing changes part way through. So, if some parts of your essay are perfectly written and others are not, you might be suspected of plagiarism.

So, in general, it's better to write the essay yourself and not rely on help from your friend. That said, the Writing Centre is a great place to get help from writing tutors. These tutors can assist you in a way that will improve your writing, without committing plagiarism.

My friend/roommate/family member took the same course last year. Can I use their notes and assignments to help me?

This is another situation where you need to be very careful. It can be tempting to use your friend/roommate/family member's notes and assignments, especially if the assignments are the same this year as they were last year. But if you submit assignments that are very similar to theirs, you may be suspected of academic misconduct. There may also be consequences for your friend/roommate/family member, as they may be accused of aiding and abetting academic misconduct. 

My friend/roommate/family member and I are taking the same course. Can we work together on assignments to save time?

Unless your professor has asked you to work in groups, you must do the assignments alone. If you and your friend/roommate/family member submit very similar assignments, you may raise suspicion of academic misconduct. This type of misconduct is called unauthorized collaboration because you worked together when you should have worked alone.

On a somewhat related note, it's advisable for you and your friend/roommate/family member to consider sitting apart from one another during class, especially during any in-class tests or exams. This is not only so you're not tempted to copy one another's work, but also to ensure you're not distracted by, or a distraction to, the other person.

My professor is concerned with one of my assignments and has suggested I may have committed academic misconduct. What should I do now?

This can be a very stressful experience, but it's important to remain calm. Your professor will contact you through your Webmail account to schedule a time to meet and discuss their concerns. Here's some advice for that meeting:

  • You may wish to contact the UWSA Vice-President - Student Affairs for advice.
  • Before the meeting, try to remember as much as possible about the assignment and how you completed it. Write some notes if there are a lot of details to remember. If you have previous drafts of your assignment, bring a copy with you to the meeting.
  • Arrive on time for the meeting.
  • Listen to your professor's concerns and answer their questions.
  • Be honest with them, this is a marker of integrity. 
  • If you did commit academic misconduct, either intentionally or accidentally, now is the time to admit to your mistake. If you communicate honestly with your professor, they may decide to make this a "teachable moment" and allow you to improve and resubmit the assignment, or find some other way for you to demonstrate that you've learned from the experience.
  • Provide as much detail as possible, so that you and the professor both understand what happened.
  • If there's anything about the situation that you still don't understand, ask your professor to clarify.
  • If your professor decides to report your case to the Departmental Review Committee (DRC) or the Academic Review Committee (ARC), and you have not yet contacted the UWSA, you should do so now to get guidance on the next steps in the process.
For Instructors
I suspect one of my students of academic misconduct. What do I do now?

The Senate Academic Misconduct Procedures [PDF Download] require you to notify the student (via their Webmail address) within 2 days of the time you suspect misconduct. You must give the student the opportunity to meet with you to discuss your concerns within 5 working days of notifying them. You have a further 5 working days to determine whether to resolve the concerns within the course (by a "teachable moment", resubmission, or some other remedy) or to report the case to your Departmental Review Committee (or Academic Review Committee, in PACE).

A few things to note:

  • Even if you decide not to approach the situation as a teachable moment, you must still give the student to opportunity to meet with you to review your concerns. This is an essential fist step in the process.
  • You may not reduce a student's grade on the suspected assignment, or penalize the student in any other way, on the basis of your suspicions.
  • Even if the student admits to misconduct, you can't penalize the student solely on the basis of the misconduct. You can ask the student to resubmit with corrections, or to complete another assignment for evaluation, but instructors can't penalize students for academic misconduct; only the Senate Academic Standards and Misconduct Committee can make that decision.
  • In your communications with the student or in your report (which is also shared with the student), you may not declare that the student has committed academic misconduct, or has cheated or plagiarized. You may, of course, describe your suspicions or concerns, but avoid the use of any language that suggests the case has already been adjudicated and decided. 
  • If you report the case to the DRC/ARC, you will not submit a grade for the student until the case has been decided by the Senate Academic Standards and Misconduct Committee. You should review the entire assignment but a grade will not be determined until the case is resolved.
What is a "teachable moment" and how do I use this approach with my students?

You may decide to resolve your concerns with the student directly, rather than escalate the case to the DRC/ARC and SASMC. This approach is often referred to as a teachable moment. In this case, you determine how the student can demonstrate their learning, either by resubmitting the original assignment with corrections or completing another assignment of your choosing.

Teachable moments are particularly useful when:

  • The student has misunderstood expectations regarding academic integrity.
  • The student has committed academic misconduct accidentally or without malicious intent.
  • The student has committed a relatively minor infraction.
  • The student has experienced a difficult life event that has disrupted their ability to complete their work.
  • The student has expressed sincere remorse and should, in your estimation, be given a second chance.
  • The student would benefit more from additional learning and wellness support than through punishment.

It's important to note that, while teachable moments generally produce better outcomes for instructors, students, and the University at large, it is at the discretion of the instructor whether or not to pursue this approach. Very serious or egregious cases must absolutely be referred to the DRC/ARC and SASMC for a decision.

How can I best design my course to promote academic integrity in my students?

Wonderful! Thank you for approaching it this way. At least some portion of the responsibility for academic misconduct falls on the strains students experience in the learning environment. Strains can present in any number of ways related to: a student's confidence in their own abilities, the real or perceived difficulty of the course, the interpersonal dynamic between the student and their instructor, an overly competitive attitude about academic performance in themselves and others, pressures as a result of high-stakes assessments in a course, or pressures as a result of "must pass" courses in a program, among many other factors in the learning environment.

Here's some advice:

  • discuss academic integrity with your students throughout your course, or at least near the start of the semester. You may want to create some class rules or an honour code with your students. Make sure you listen to your students and include their ideas in the code.
  • promote a classroom environment that encourages students to ask you questions, either during class or during office hours. Plan ample time for questions.
  • reply as promptly as possible to students' emails or other communications.
  • alter your assignments each semester, so students can't use previous year's work.
  • design your course with a large number of smaller assessments, so students never have a lot riding on any single paper or test.
  • check in with your students throughout the semester and encourage them to talk about their research and writing process. Focus attention on process rather than outcomes.
  • similarly, try to grade to some extent on the intensity of the student's effort rather than solely on the quality of their work. Students who feel they receive the same (or worse yet, random) grades no matter how much work they do may feel demotivated in future assignments. 
  • don't promote a spirit of competition amongst your students. In fact, discourage this attitude.
  • don't place too much emphasis on the difficulty of the course or highlight how many students struggle or fail. Your students should believe in their ability to succeed.
  • try to cultivate a generally friendly environment in your class. Don't place unnecessary pressure on students and don't allow students to pressure one another. Encourage discussion and debate, but always ensure those involved are being respectful.
  • make sure your students are aware of the various academic supports available to them, including yourself as their instructor and your teaching assistants, as well as tutoring options for your department, the Writing Centre, the Library, Academic Advising, Accessibility Services, Counseling Services, and others.
I have found my course materials on a homework help site, such as Chegg or Course Hero. How do I get it removed?

Homework help sites usually have takedown request forms you can complete.

For other services, try searching for "[service name] takedown request" to see what processes exist, if any.

I'm worried that my students will use artificial intelligence tools, like ChatGPT, to write their assignments. How can I prevent this from happening?

There are few ways you can prevent the misuse of artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT:

  • discuss the ethical and unethical uses of ChatGPT with your class. Agree on guidelines for the ethical use of artificial intelligence with your students.
  • model appropriate uses of ChatGPT for brainstorming and generating ideas. Demonstrate how text generated by ChatGPT can be verified or refuted using academic sources.
  • check that your assessments can't be easily answered by ChatGPT.
  • design your writing assignments around particular texts, themes, or narratives that are not part of ChatGPTs training materials. 
  • design research assignments that require students to generate and critique text from ChatGPT using concepts from the course and academic sources.
  • consider replacing written assessments with alternatives, such as oral presentations, videos, or podcasts. 
  • ask students to use version history, or save separate draft files of their work, so they can demonstrate their writing and editing process.
  • if you suspect that a student has submitted work written by AI, it may be tempting run it through one of the many available AI-detectors. However, this is not recommended for two main reasons: 1) AI-detectors are prone to false negatives and false positives, making them an ineffective means to determine the authenticity of the text; and 2) students have not given their permission for their work to be submitted to these services.
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