Academic Honesty

(developed by the PSC Faculty Senate)

A. Why is academic honesty important?

  1. Academic honesty is vital to the whole Prairie State College community. Our reputation and our self-respect as a college depend on our commitment to academic honesty. All students, faculty, and staff participate in this commitment. Academic dishonesty undermines both our reputation and our shared goals as a college community.
  2. Academic honesty is vital to your work as a student. The credit, certificate, and/or degree that you earn must reflect the work that you do. If you commit an act of academic dishonesty, you will always know that your grade, certificate, and/or degree wasn't honestly earned. In addition, academic dishonesty is a very serious offense that could have damaging consequences for you as a student and later in life, ranging from a lowered grade on one assignment to suspension from the college. For this reason, instructors may report cases of academic dishonesty to his/her Division Dean.

B. What do I have to do to be academically honest?

  1. Academic honesty means that:
    1. Any work you hand in with your name on it is your own work.
    2. If you have used any outside sources, whether written sources or help from another person in writing your assignment, you must cite them. Your professor may or may not require specific forms for citation of sources, but it is never honest to omit this step.
  2. In order to practice academic honesty, it is important to:
    1. Make sure you understand what is expected for each assignment.
    2. Ask your professor when you don’t understand.

C. How can I avoid academic dishonesty?

The Number One way to avoid academic dishonesty is by understanding what it is. All students are expected to have read and understood the PSC Academic and Student Codes of Conduct (printed in the Prairie Planner, the PSC Catalog, and online at under Board Policies). You are responsible for understanding what is and is not honest college work.

The two main kinds of academic dishonesty are the following:

  1. Plagiarism means handing in any work as your own which contains any part that is not your own and not properly cited. It includes any copying or paraphrasing of others' words or ideas, whether another student's, or printed or internet sources, without clearly and accurately identifying it and its source.
  2. Cheating means using any source not permitted on a particular assignment or test. Sources might include someone else's test or help, or printed, photographed, or written material when not permitted. Cheating also includes knowingly furnishing any false information (such as data or sources) to fulfill an assignment or helping someone else to cheat.

Too much help can lead to academic dishonesty. It is okay, and sometimes very useful, to study and discuss assignments with your classmates, and to help each other edit and improve your work. It is also useful to work with a tutor to improve your work. However, you have received too much help on an assignment when another person has:

  1. written or revised your homework for you rather than with you, or rather than helping you to do it yourself
  2. corrected your mistakes for you, rather than discussing them with you
  3. lent you their homework for you to copy