Academic Integrity

Emphasis on scholarship

Seattle Pacific University seeks to inspire in each of its students a sincere appreciation for genuine scholarly work and an earnest desire to study. The faculty Curriculum Committee has immediate jurisdiction over all questions pertaining to scholarship and is responsible to the faculty for maintenance of university standards.


A breach of academic integrity occurs when a student receives academic benefits he or she did not earn through his or her own work, by cheating or by plagiarism. In its more blatant forms, academic dishonesty includes the following:

  • Copying another individual’s work on an exam.
  • Preparing for an exam by using test questions from a stolen exam.
  • Bringing concealed answers to an exam.
  • Turning in another person’s work as one’s own.
  • Committing plagiarism (i.e., copying portions of another individual’s words from a published or electronic source without acknowledging that source).

It is not dishonest to discuss possible answers to an exam question as part of a study group, to discuss ideas for a paper with other members of the class, or to ask a friend to read a draft of a paper for suggestions to improve it, unless the professor has prohibited these activities.  

It is not dishonest to summarize, paraphrase, or quote the words of others in a paper, presentation, or other academic work so long as the student acknowledges the sources with appropriate citations.

Expectations and procedures

Expectations regarding academic integrity are outlined here in the Undergraduate Catalog. Additional expectations may be defined in the class syllabus and/or department policy handbooks.

Both students and the professor in each class are obligated to report and prevent cheating, plagiarism, and other academic misconduct. In the event that the instructor suspects academic misconduct or that such conduct is reported, the instructor will adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. Prior to a formal meeting, the instructor will gather information from the student or others to determine any issues in question.
  2. If the instructor verifies that an act of academic dishonesty has occurred, the instructor must make a reasonable attempt to hold a conference with the student to discuss the misconduct. At this time, the instructor will explain the procedures for adjudicating the case.
    1. In the event that the student fails to respond in a timely manner to the professor’s request for a conference, the case may be turned over to the department chair or school dean for action.
  3. The department chair or dean must be notified of the incident for the purpose of information and guidance. The chair or dean must notify the provost regarding the incident to determine any history of like activity and unusual circumstances.
    1. The provost must notify the dean of students for community life for any proposed action in addition to the faculty member’s action. (This action will be undertaken as a separate procedure from the instructor’s meeting and decision.)
  4. If, following the conference, the instructor (or the chair or dean, in the case of 2.1 above) is convinced that the student violated the academic integrity policy, appropriate action will be initiated. The penalty imposed will be commensurate with the seriousness of the offense. Such penalties may range from loss of credit for the work in question to loss of credit for the entire course.
    1. Flagrant dishonesty, violations of academic integrity associated with a criminal act (e.g., breaking into a building or office), and/or with concerted group effort immediately will be referred to the chief judicial officer and/or dean of student life for disciplinary action.
  5. This decision(s) will be reported in writing to the student and the chair/dean. A copy of the decision(s) will be sent to the provost. The provost and the school dean will decide whether documentation of the incident and decision will be included in the student judicial record in the Office of Student Life.
  6. If the student appeals any decision, the appeal will move through the process as outlined in “Academic Appeals” and the “Appeal Process.” A copy of all decisions, including appeals, will be sent to the Office of the Provost and/or the Office of Student Life as determined by the provost and dean.