Why Academic Integrity Matters

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Why Academic Integrity Matters We live in a culture where "the bottom-line" tends to receive undue emphasis, often to the exclusion of other values. People want to know how their company will profit, or "what's in it for them," and generally think in material terms -- such as money and power -- when using this approach. Although there are practical "material" reasons why it's important for students to be honest in their academic endeavors (see below), they turn out to be of less significance. The most important reason that each of us should strive to be a person of integrity is that all human relationships, and therefore the very fabric of society, is based on our ability to trust one another -- and this, in turn, is based on honesty. Think about it: whether in personal relationships, or at work, how much do (or can) we trust people who aren't honest with us? And how much of a relationship can we have with someone we don't trust? It all boils down to honesty. It is therefore no coincidence that the words "honor" and "honesty" share the same root, nor that cultures throughout history and world-wide have prized honor so highly. Another important value that operates independently of the "bottom line" is fairness . When students cheat, they gain a short-term advantage over other students, and that's not fair. It's not fair to have a cheat-sheet when others are relying on memory; it's not fair to submit the writing of a published author when other students are submitting their own writing; and it's not fair to collaborate with someone else on a homework assignment when other students are following the professor's instructions and working on their own. Let's also be clear about our mission here at UC Davis, which is -- first and foremost -- education. Dishonest academic conduct undermines the learning process in multiple ways: it stunts the

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