3 Core Focuses for Managing Academic Integrity Issues

Cheating has always been an issue that higher ed administrators have had to deal with, but in today’s digital age, the problem has arguably gotten even trickier to manage. Students with mobile devices are now able to quickly snap pictures of exams or text their friends the answers the second a professor looks away. Forget the days of suspecting that a student has plagiarized a paper and busting them by finding phrases from the paper on Google; now, the internet has resources where students can go so far as to pay someone else to write an original paper or dissertation for them.

Academic integrity issues cause problems for everyone involved. The student has deprived themselves and possibly others of actually learning the subject matter, and administrators are left with the fallout of having to investigate the matter, deliver an appropriate sanction and prevent other students from trying the same thing.

Follow these steps to enhance your strategy for preventing and dealing with conduct issues concerning academic integrity.

1.) Provide Professors with the Necessary Training Tools

The first step to dealing with matters of cheating and plagiarism is to make sure the educators at your institution have the knowledge they need to identify and prevent these issues.

Make sure you provide professors with a resource library where they can easily access informational tools that will help them better understand steps for prevention, such as requiring that all mobile devices are put in a bin at the front of the class before an exam or recognizing when a student turns in a paper that is clearly above their previously demonstrated writing abilities.

2.) Deal with Cases Quickly and Efficiently

One of the easiest ways to encourage other students to cheat or plagiarize is to earn a reputation within your student conduct office of being inefficient at swiftly taking action in these cases.

Your office needs a tool that can easily guide the whole team through the process of handling a report of academic integrity, from the initial stages all the way to delivering a sanction. In order for this to happen, you all need a way to quickly access pertinent information and the ability to quickly perform your individual case management responsibilities as part of a smooth workflow.

3.) Deliver Sanctions Appropriately and Consistently

In the same vein as handling cases with speed and efficiency is consistently delivering sanctions that are appropriate and in proportion to the offense. This, too, requires a tool that puts your entire team on the same page about the status of an academic integrity case and what the sanction options are. It’s also helpful if this tool shows historical data and reports on which sanctions have been delivered for similar offenses in the past so that your office can remain consistent in your follow-up actions.


Advocate by Symplicity is a tool trusted by schools like Duke University, Boston University, Towson University and more to guide their student conduct teams through the process of preventing and dealing with issues of academic integrity. Schedule a conversation with our team today to learn more.

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