Academic Integrity

In the February edition of Edubytes, we dive into concepts around academic integrity, with a spotlight on new developments and resources at UBC. Our guest editors are Ainsley Rouse, PhD, Senior Manager Academic Integrity, Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic; and Jaclyn J Stewart, PhD, Associate Dean Academic, Faculty of Science and Co-Chair, Academic Integrity Working Group.


What is Academic Integrity?

Academic integrity is a commitment to upholding the values of respect, integrity, and accountability in academic coursework. It is distinguished from the responsible conduct of research (also called scholarly integrity), which pertains to work intended for publication. Institutional support for academic integrity is essential for undergraduate and graduate students, but also for instructors who have the opportunity to teach students about an institution’s standards for academic integrity and to create a classroom environment conducive to upholding its values.


Academic Integrity Project at UBC

UBC’s Academic Integrity Project was launched to develop a coordinated institutional response to a topic that is at once timely and timeless. For many instructors, the pandemic brought new challenges, and for some, increased attention to enforcing academic integrity in remote environments. Widespread emergency remote instruction brought to light many long-standing issues around contract cheating, file sharing, and collusion. Building on the foundation created by Dr. Laurie McNeill in “Our Cheating Hearts” (TLEF, 2017-2020)—a project that developed awareness and resources for instructors to explicitly incorporate academic integrity instruction into their courses—the university’s initiative continues to work towards shifting the conversation from a punitive approach to academic misconduct, to an educative one.

In February 2021, a UBC Academic Integrity Working Group was formed, made up of administrators, faculty, staff and students. In March 2021, an Academic Integrity Senior Manager was appointed to focus on approaches to academic misconduct in the Faculties and to develop further institutional initiatives. Highlights of the past year include: UBC’s first Academic Integrity Week last October, with a keynote lecture by Dr. Sarah Elaine Eaton; and the launch of the McCabe-ICAI survey, a cyclical benchmarking instrument to evaluate our work on promoting a culture of academic integrity at UBC. Central support for academic integrity will continue, through the creation of an Academic Integrity Hub in the Provost’s Office. This will include staff positions focussed on facilitating academic integrity support and projects (pilot phase, 2022-2024).


Current Trends in Academic Integrity

Current approaches to academic integrity at peer institutions and in scholarship have inspired a bespoke institutional response. The following core concepts are gaining momentum at UBC:

  • Building a culture of academic integrity: This premise refers to the adoption of a clear approach to academic integrity and the existence of resources to support it. At UBC, this means widespread awareness of academic integrity and overt actions toward upholding the values of respect, integrity, and accountability. This culture is fostered through supports for students and instructors and initiatives that engage our entire community. UBC’s new academic integrity website has a vital role in sustained culture-building across the university.
  • Academic integrity as a shared value: This reinforces the idea that faculty, staff, and students all play a part in upholding academic integrity. This means moving beyond the idea of academic integrity as the student’s sole responsibility, towards an approach that gives faculty members an active role. Resources for academic integrity in teaching and learning illustrate the roles instructors and students play and the dialogue between them.
  • Adopting an educative approach: This refers to committing to education around academic integrity as a preventative measure and implementing a remedial response to breaches where appropriate. Education as an approach to prevent misconduct includes discipline-specific and detailed syllabus statements on academic integrity as well as course and assessment designs that are authentic and reward integrity. Moving beyond the assumption that students already know about academic integrity is the idea that it should be taught in every course—and ideally, included as a specific course learning outcome.


UBC’s Academic Integrity website: a new vision for academic integrity at UBC

UBC’s new academic integrity website brings the above concepts to life and provides an anchor for future initiatives around this topic. It moves beyond the strict dichotomy between academic integrity (“good”) and academic misconduct (“bad”), to an approach that values educating students about these concepts and why they matter — both as a preventative measure and as a response to academic misconduct. The website will also serve as a central information source for the academic misconduct process and provides resources in this area. A holistic approach is well-suited to address this multi-faceted topic at UBC, and the website is a starting point to bring together the resources that the community needs. We invite students, faculty and staff to share feedback on current material and thoughts for future development.


Academic Integrity links


UBC’s Academic Integrity website: (

The central source for information and resources on academic integrity and academic misconduct at UBC, with information for students and faculty.


Busting Some Myths related to Restorative Justice and Restorative Practice

Restorative practices and restorative justice have been gaining ground as a response to academic misconduct. This blog entry from the International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI) addresses myths connected to their purpose and aims.


The Cheat Sheet Newsletter

Cheating has seen increased media attention over the past years. This free newsletter on academic integrity and cheating provides an overview of international news stories on the topic.


Academic Integrity: Urgent and Emerging Topics Series

This discussion series from the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning, University of Calgary brings together scholars and practitioners in the field of academic integrity from across the country. Upcoming topics include “Visual plagiarism, what is it and what can we do about it?” (March 25, 2022). Past webinars have addressed topics including legislative options for contract cheating in Canada, the connection between academic integrity and quality assurance, and creating a culture of equity in academic integrity.


The Score on Academic Integrity

The Score podcast discusses academic integrity and cheating and is hosted by education journalist Kathryn Baron. In this episode (#3), Dr. Tricia Bertram Gallant shares her top strategies for creating a culture of academic integrity from her perspective as the director of the Academic Integrity Office at the University of California, San Diego.

Enjoyed reading about academic integrity? Learn about other topics we covered in the February 2022 edition by reading the complete Edubytes newsletter. To view past issues, visit the Edubytes archive.

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