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Departmental Statement on Academic Integrity

Why is academic integrity important?

All education is a cooperative enterprise between teachers and students. This cooperation works well only when there is trust and mutual respect between everyone involved. One of our main aims as a department is to help students become knowledgeable and sophisticated learners, able to think and work both independently and in concert with their peers. Representing another person's work as your own in any form (plagiarism or "cheating"), and providing or receiving unauthorized assistance on assignments (collusion) are lapses of academic integrity because they subvert the learning process and show a fundamental lack of respect for the educational enterprise.

How does this apply to our courses?

You will encounter a variety of types of assignments and examination formats in mathematics and computer science courses. For instance, many problem sets in mathematics classes and laboratory assignments in computer science courses are individual assignments. While some faculty members may allow or even encourage discussion among students during work on problem sets, it is the expectation that the solutions submitted by each student will be that student's own work, written up in that student's own words. When consultation with other students or sources other than the textbook occurs, students should identify their co-workers, and/or cite their sources as they would for other writing assignments. Some courses also make use of collaborative assignments; part of the evaluation in that case may be a rating of each individual's contribution to the group effort. Some advanced classes may use take-home examinations, in which case the ground rules will usually allow no collaboration or consultation. In many computer science classes, programming projects are strictly individual assignments; the ground rules do not allow any collaboration or consultation here either.

What are the responsibilities of faculty?

It is the responsibility of faculty in the department to lay out the guidelines to be followed for specific assignments in their classes as clearly and fully as possible, and to offer clarification and advice concerning those guidelines as needed as students work on those assignments. The Department of Mathematics and Computer Science upholds the College's policy on academic honesty. We advise all students taking mathematics or computer science courses to read the statement in the current College catalog carefully and to familiarize themselves with the procedures which may be applied when infractions are determined to have occurred.

What are the responsibilities of students?

A student's main responsibility is to follow the guidelines laid down by the instructor of the course. If there is some point about the expectations for an assignment that is not clear, the student is responsible for seeking clarification. If such clarification is not immediately available, students should err on the side of caution and follow the strictest possible interpretation of the guidelines they have been given. It is also a student's responsibility to protect his/her own work to prevent unauthorized use of exam papers, problem solutions, computer accounts and files, scratch paper, and any other materials used in carrying out an assignment. We expect students to have the integrity to say "no" to requests for assistance from other students when offering that assistance would violate the guidelines for an assignment.