THE VIRGINIA TECH UNDERGRADUATE HONOR CODE

The Virginia Tech Undergraduate Honor Code is the University policy that defines the expected standards of conduct in academic affairs. All students, upon admission to this university, pledge to abide by this Code, which applies to all assignments, examinations, and other academic exercises. This manual is designed to introduce the Honor Code, define and discuss the possible sanctions for academic misconduct, provide information about reporting suspected instances of misconduct, and review the procedures for resolving cases through the Office of Undergraduate Academic Integrity.

The Director of the Office of Undergraduate Academic Integrity assumes oversight of the Undergraduate Honor Code and reports directly to the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Academic Affairs or an administrator with a similar title and responsibilities. The Director of the Office of Undergraduate Academic Integrity shall maintain a title that is consistent with the titles of other direct reports to the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Academic Affairs. To ensure the success of the promotion of Academic Integrity, the university is committed to ensuring the success of the Office of Undergraduate Academic Integrity through providing the appropriate staffing, budget, and office space for this high profile office.  

I. INTRODUCTION

The Virginia Tech Undergraduate Honor Code (Policy 6335) embodies a spirit of mutual trust and intellectual honesty that is central to the very nature of the university, and represents the highest possible expression of shared values among the members of the university community.

The fundamental beliefs and ideals underlying and reflected in the Honor Code are

  • That trust in a person is a positive force in making that person worthy of trust,
  • That every student has the right to an academic environment free from the injustices caused by any form of intellectual dishonesty and
  • That the honesty and integrity of all members of the university community contribute to its academic and intellectual vitality.

Ethical and honorable conduct in academic and research pursuits is critical to these beliefs and ideals.  Given this understanding, the functions of the Undergraduate Honor System are

  • To communicate to the University community the meaning and importance of intellectual honesty;
  • To articulate and support the interests of the community in maintaining the highest standards of conduct in academic affairs;
  • To cultivate a culture of honor and integrity through proactive and preventive educational programs; and
  • To identify, sanction, and educate those who fail to live up to the stated expectations of the university community with regard to these standards.

I. A. COMMUNITY RESPONSIBILITY                                                                        

Academic misconduct is a corrosive force in the academic life of a university, jeopardizing the quality of education and depreciating the genuine achievements of others. Actively deterring academic misconduct is, without reservation, the responsibility of all members of the Virginia Tech community. Apathy or acquiescence in the presence of academic misconduct is not a neutral act – failure to confront and deter such behavior will reinforce, perpetuate, and enlarge the scope of such misconduct.2

I. A. 1. Student Responsibility

Virginia Tech students are expected to uphold and to encourage other students to abide by the Honor Code. A primary responsibility of Virginia Tech students is to refrain from any form of violation of the Honor Code. Students are responsible for authenticating any work on assignments or scholarly projects submitted to an instructor or for publication and, if asked, should be able to produce proof that the submission is indeed the work of that student. Students should keep appropriate records at all times, as the inability to authenticate one’s work if asked to do so will be considered sufficient grounds to initiate an investigation of academic misconduct.

If a student participating in group work engages in academic misconduct, all members of that group could be held responsible for the misconduct if it is shown that the group members assisted in the misconduct and/or were aware of it without reporting it to the instructor. It is the responsibility of each group member to document who contributes each part of the project and to know what activities group members are engaging in to get the material they provide.

I. A. 2. Faculty and Staff Responsibility

Faculty and staff also share in the responsibility to promote academic integrity and to report acts that violate the Honor Code. All instructors (including instructors of on-line courses) are expected to take proactive steps to promote academic integrity in the classroom, including (but not limited to) adding the Honor Code statement and other appropriate language to their syllabi. Instructors are encouraged to describe prohibited behavior and the consequences of such activity, as well as to openly discuss academic integrity with students in their courses early and throughout the semester. Additionally, faculty members are expected to adhere to the policy pertaining to the reporting and adjudication of violations of the Honor Code. Initiating formal procedures is a necessary and obligatory component of this shared responsibility.