Academic Integrity

This Academic Integrity Policy is an expression of the desire of the Fuller community to make clear the shared expectations that enable us to operate as a community embodying mutual trust in pursuing our academic tasks. It is rooted, first of all, in the conviction that the God whom we serve, the God who is Truth, calls us to truthfulness in the presence of the One from whom nothing can be hidden; and second, in the conviction that as brothers and sisters in Christ, we are called both to treat one another with integrity and to expect integrity from one another. We consider it crucial to our life together to establish a common understanding of the shape academic integrity should have among us.

Fuller Theological Seminary seeks to promote both intellectual and moral growth. Thus, our commitment to seek to be beyond reproach in our academic work, as well as in the rest of our behavior, goes beyond adherence to institutional rules or even maintenance of interpersonal relationships and becomes a matter of the formation of Christian character. Keeping that commitment expresses our endeavor to be who we say we are not only as people of faith, but also as those called to moral leadership. Genuine spirituality takes on concrete shape in godly behavior. Failure to represent oneself and one's work truthfully undermines one's character and trustworthiness, and it eventually destroys trusting relationships in the community.

Therefore, we as faculty and students alike commit to honesty in all aspects of our work. We seek to establish a community which values serious intellectual engagement ("loving God with the mind") and personal faithfulness more highly than various measures of "success" such as grades, degrees, or publications. We bear a joint obligation to one another both in and outside of the classroom. Faculty are responsible for modeling in their lectures and publications the same standards for use of oral and written sources that they expect of students in students' oral and written work, just as they are responsible for manifesting the attitudes of openness that they ask for from students. We further count it vital not only to seek to maintain the highest standards of integrity ourselves, but also to protect the integrity of the whole community by actively refusing to tolerate or ignore dishonesty on the part of others.

It is, then, in the interest of promoting common understanding, mutual confidence, fairness, and clear expectations that we set down the following commitments and procedures, in the context of the larger purpose of helping to shape a more faithful Christian community.

Commitments. The following commitments are to be understood as constituting essential guidelines, but not an exhaustive list of the forms academic integrity must take among us. These commitments underlie but do not supersede professional standards to which one may also be subject. In every instance where professional standards are more specific or rigorous than those specified here, the standards demanded by one's professional calling or degree program shall apply.

Academic integrity requires that as faculty,

  • we will develop and use forms of assessment that are relevant to, and consistent with, the stated goals of a course;
  • we will provide clear guidelines about acceptable collaboration; and in instances when collaboration is encouraged or required, we will spell out clearly how work is to be prepared for submission and on what basis grades will be assigned;
  • we will clearly spell out our expectations for how students should acknowledge receiving suggestions on content and style of papers, including the use of editorial assistance;
  • we will clearly spell out course policies on use of previous examinations for preparation for current examinations;
  • we will carefully acknowledge our dependence on the ideas of others, including those of our students, in publications, and as appropriate in lectures and in materials distributed in class;
  • we will evaluate work on its academic merit, not on the basis of the student's agreement or disagreement with the teacher's point of view;
  • we will give students feedback on assignments and will not assign grades without providing comments on papers and essay examinations;
  • we will return papers in a timely manner;
  • we will follow accepted standards in the construction and grading of examinations;
  • we will challenge academic dishonesty when it occurs;
  • we will seek to assure consistency in applying these standards by consulting with colleagues as we deal with questions and issues about academic integrity within our professional work;
  • we will faithfully adhere to academic policies of the institution, including those related to criteria for granting incompletes and to deadlines for accepting work.

Academic integrity requires that as students,

  • we will produce all the work assigned in every course as our individual work, unless collaboration is required or expressly permitted by the instructor;
  • we will obtain prior permission from the professor or professors involved in order to submit the same work in more than one course or to use work (in whole or in part) submitted in another course;
  • we will avoid all forms of plagiarism;
  • we will not submit as our own work papers obtained from another person (with or without that person's knowledge) or from other sources such as term paper companies or the Internet;
  • we will give credit for all the major sources of our ideas, whether written or oral, formal or informal, published or unpublished;
  • we will rigorously follow accepted standards of citation for quoting directly or indirectly from published or unpublished sources;
  • we will not report work as completed that has not actually been done;
  • we will consult with the professor prior to the completion of assigned work if we have any question about what constitutes dishonesty or inappropriate collaboration;
  • we will faithfully adhere to academic policies of the institution, including those related to criteria for requesting incompletes and to deadlines for submitting work;
  • we will not seek unfair academic advantage over other students by misrepresenting our life circumstances in order to obtain extensions of deadlines;
  • we will not, in take-home or in-class examinations,
    • copy from the examination papers of other students;
    • allow other students to copy our work on exams;
    • read, without the instructor's consent, previous examinations or a copy of examination questions prior to taking the examination;
    • use materials such as notes or books, including dictionaries, without the express permission of the instructor;
    • have another student take an examination for us;
    • seek or accept unpermitted aid in take-home exams;
    • seek or accept information about the content or style of exams other than what is provided to the entire class by the instructor;
  • we will not put pressure on a professor, before or after the grading process, to base grades on criteria other than academic standards.

Commitment to supporting and developing a community ethos of honesty requires of the whole Fuller community that,

  • we will not make written assignments available to students for copying;
  • we will not give unpermitted aid on take-home examinations;
  • we will not make unauthorized copies of examinations available to students;
  • we will report known violations of these standards of academic integrity to the faculty of the course involved.


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