Academic Dishonesty Definition

What is Academic Dishonesty?

Ashford University students will pursue learning with rigorous academic integrity. Ashford University defines academic dishonesty as deceitful and/or deceptive attempts to fulfill academic requirements.

While plagiarism is the most common form of academic dishonesty, cheating or furnishing fabricated or false information to Ashford University officials and/or faculty (such as lying to effect a grade change) are also acts of academic dishonesty prohibited by Student Community Standards.

The academic community of the University believes that one of the goals of an institution of higher learning is to strengthen academic integrity and responsibility among its members. To this end, the University, throughout its history, has emphasized the importance of sound judgment and a personal sense of responsibility in each student. All members of the academic community are expected to abide by the highest standards of academic integrity.

As part of the University's policy on academic integrity it is expected that students will not submit an assignment that is an exact copy of work previously submitted in another course at any institution. The University understands that work within a discipline is interconnected and expects students, when writing about similar topics, to enhance and refine the content of an assignment as they progress through their program of study. It is not acceptable to resubmit the exact same copy of work previously submitted without enhancing or refining the concepts contained in the assignment. Submitting an exact copy of work, or any portion of work, previously submitted in another course may adversely affect one's grade and/or be considered a violation of the Student Community Standard of Integrity.

Academic dishonesty is a serious offense at the University because it undermines the bonds of trust and personal responsibility between and among students and faculty, weakens the credibility of the academic enterprise, and defrauds those who believe in the value and integrity of the degree. Ashford University will consider the cumulative record of any student with respect to academic integrity violations, regardless of the student's current academic program or status. For example, violations of the Academic Integrity policy while an undergraduate, but not discovered until the student is enrolled in an Ashford graduate program, will be addressed during the student's graduate program. This may result in sanctions, a change in the student's eligibility status for his or her graduate enrollment, and/or impact retroactively on the student's fulfillment of all undergraduate program requirements.

Intentionally using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, or study aids in any academic exercise (e.g., test, essay, etc.).

Intentional and unauthorized falsification or invention of any information or citation in an academic exercise.

Facilitating Academic Dishonesty
Intentionally or knowingly helping or attempting to help another student commit a violation of academic integrity.

Plagiarizing denies the student the opportunity to develop as an ethical and conscientious human being. Plagiarism is defined as representing the words or ideas of another as one's own in any academic exercise, including draft assignments that are submitted and graded as a part of the curriculum. Plagiarism occurs when a student deliberately uses the ideas, language, or other material (that is not common knowledge) without acknowledging the original source. The use of materials, including printed or online texts, as well as the work of others, can be considered plagiarism when presented as one's own work.

Acts of plagiarism include, but are not limited to:

  • Copying text from printed materials, which include books, magazines, encyclopedias, newspapers, online sources, etc., without proper citation;
  • The modification of text with the intent of changing phrases, changing words, or interspacing the student's work into the plagiarized work;
  • "Copy and paste" plagiarism, which involves copying and pasting materials from Internet sources and presenting them as one's original work;
  • The use of another student's work, even if the student has the permission of the other student. The use of another's work constitutes an act of collusion, which constitutes an act of plagiarism;
  • The use of materials purchased from the Internet or elsewhere;
  • Recycling a previously-submitted assignment for a current course, but representing the assignment as original work; or
  • Paraphrasing or summarizing another's work without giving appropriate credit.

The following exceptions to variations on recycling are allowed by Ashford:

  • If a student wishes to repurpose work from a past course for a current course (for example, using work from PSY 202 in PSY 301), that student may do so only if all of the following criteria are satisfied:
    • Instructor permission is granted. Not all instructors grant this permission.
    • The student emails the current instructor a copy of the originally submitted student work that they wish to repurpose prior to submitting an assignment that contains the recycled material. This submission includes the start date of the course where the material was originally used. The instructor may then provide written approval of the re-submission.
    • The reused material is properly attributed in terms of “self-citing” in the submitted document.
    • The student substantially enhances and refines what was submitted previously.
  • A student may resubmit, without penalty, classwork from a previous unsuccessful attempt at a course in a second or subsequent attempt at the same course if University credit has not previously been earned in the course. An unsuccessful attempt is defined as failing the course, earning a grade of W or N/A, failing to meet the grade necessary to satisfy a general education competency, or failing to meet the grade for the course required by your degree program.
    • The student must inform the current course instructor of this reuse of content prior to submission of the reused material.

For additional resources related to the Recycling Policy, please reference the Recycling Policy and Resource Document

What are the Consequences of Academic Dishonesty?

A student who commits an act of academic dishonesty may face disciplinary action, including but not limited to: failure to receive credit on an academic exercise, course failure, and/or dismissal from the University. Ashford University may also extend its jurisdiction to misconduct that occurs prior to, but not reported until after the graduation of the offending student. There is no statute of limitations for violations of the Academic Integrity policy.

Instructors or other University staff may report instances of academic dishonesty to the Academic Integrity Department (online modality) or the College Dean (Clinton-campus modality), or designee; the student will receive a notice informing him or her of the offense, as well as any resulting disciplinary action(s). Academic Integrity violations are adjudicated by the Academic Integrity Administrators (online) and by the College Dean (Clinton Campus).

If it is determined that a student is found responsible for violating the Academic Dishonesty policy and a singular violation is egregious, or there are multiple instances of academic dishonesty violations, the student issue will be referred to the Student Affairs department to review for the possibility of sanctioning up to and including removal from the University.

The student may be asked to meet for either an Informal Hearing or a Formal Hearing (Student Community Standards Committee). Student Affairs will not reconsider the issue of student responsibility as determined by the Academic Integrity Department (online modality) or the College Dean (Clinton Campus modality), but will only determine appropriate sanctions to be applied.

For more information on academic dishonesty, please refer to the Ashford Academic Catalog.