Promoting integrity through teaching

There are several ways you, as an instructor, can guide your students toward acting with integrity.

Give your students an opportunity to discuss academic integrity

Giving students the opportunity to ask questions and comment on academic integrity and academic misconduct will help them to incorporate academic ethics into their daily scholarly activities.

To help instructors prepare for these discussions, use this customizable classroom resource (Academic Integrity – Classroom Resource) to ask questions, provide definitions and examples of various types of academic misconduct, and direct students to campus resources.

Additional discussion resources:

State the academic integrity policy on your syllabus

Below, you will find examples of statements you may use on your course outlines. Check with your faculty, school or department for statements tailored to courses in your teaching area.

Option 1: General Statement

Students should acquaint themselves with the University’s Student Discipline Bylaw and related Procedures on academic dishonesty (see Section 2.2.1) found in the Academic Calendar. Ignorance of the regulations and policies regarding academic integrity is not a valid excuse for violating them.

Option 2: Faculty of Science Academic Integrity Statement

State your expectations clearly

Students are less likely to cheat in courses with clear expectations (Brent and Atkisson, 2011). Discuss how the University of Manitoba’s definitions of academic integrity and academic misconduct apply to the assessments in your course.
Ask students to sign a contract stating that they have read and understand the University of Manitoba’s Student Discipline Bylaw.

The Faculty of Science has a good example of an honesty statement: 

Faculty of Science Academic Integrity Statement

Establish a personal connection with your students

Students are less likely to cheat when they have a positive connection with their instructors (Whitley and Keith-Spiegel, 2002). This connection can take many forms, including being available during posted office hours, responding to emails and encouraging students to ask questions during classes.

Be explicit about possible consequences for academic misconduct

Tell students that the consequences for academic misconduct can range from failure on an assessment, failure in the course, to suspension or expulsion. For more information about disciplinary actions, please visit the UM academic Integrity page.

Promoting integrity through assessment

Evaluating your assignments provides an opportunity for feedback that will help guide students to act with integrity.

Provide frequent, low-stakes assignments, tests and/or exams

Reduced risk of academic failure also reduces the risk that students will cheat (Lang, 2013). Courses that grade on the curve and/or are necessary for entrance to a professional program have higher instances of cheating because students view grades as more essential than opportunities for learning.

When the consequence for a poor outcome is high, the likelihood of academic misconduct increases (Lang, 2013; Whitley & Keith-Spiegel, 2002). In some cases, the addition of too many formal assessments is not reasonable because this unnecessarily increases your workload and the workload of your students. Only add additional assessments that make sense for your teaching and learning situation.

Ensure that your assessments are valid and reasonable

High course-load demands combined with many students’ limited academic self-efficacy contribute to cheating (Lang, 2013; Whitley & Keith-Spiegel, 2002).

First-year students who are learning new academic skills along with new content may be tempted to cheat if they determine the expectations are unrealistic. Students may also rationalize cheating if their understanding is that the instructor’s intention is to fail as many students as possible.

Incorporate questions or problems related to academic integrity in your assessments

Provide access to course materials. An easy way to do this is through UM Learn.

Experiment with various assessment methods

Consider designing a problem-based learning (PBL) assignment. Genareo and Lyons (2015) describe six steps for planning and preparing assessments that fit the PBL approach. Read about this approach and to find links to other valuable PBL resources.

Ayelet Haimson Lushkov, an assistant professor of classics at the University of Texas, asked her students to give presentations. Her students experimented with various presentation styles in order to generate meaningful discussion and promote learning. Read about Lushkov’s experience here.

John Boyer, an instructor at Virginia Tech, has developed a method of assessment that he describes as flipping the syllabus. This assessment method encourages mastery and point accumulation (as opposed to minimizing point losses) in weekly points opportunity in order to demonstrate knowledge acquisition. He describes the “Flipped Syllabus” technique in this presentation.

Invite a Reference Librarian from the University of Manitoba Libraries or a specialist from the Academic Learning Centre to give a presentation on working with sources. The Academic Learning Centre has also prepared several handouts that are available for download that university teachers may print and distribute to their students.


Brent, E., & Atkisson, C. (2011). Accounting for cheating: An evolving theory and emergent themes. Research in Higher Education52(6), 640–658.

Gonyea, B., Anderson, P., Paine, C., Anson, C., & Carolina, N. (2009). Using results from the Consortium on the Study of Writing in College.

Lang, J. M. (2013). Cheating lessons: Learning from academic dishonesty. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Whitley, B. E. J., & Keith-Spiegel, P. (2002). Academic dishonesty: An educator’s guide. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

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