Academic Catalog

Academic Integrity

Emphasis on Scholarship

Seattle Pacific University seeks to inspire in each of its students a sincere appreciation for genuine scholarly work and an earnest desire to study. The faculty Curriculum Committee has immediate jurisdiction over all questions pertaining to scholarship and is responsible to the faculty for maintenance of university standards.


A breach of academic integrity occurs when students receive academic benefits they did not earn through their own work. In its more blatant forms, academic dishonesty includes but is not limited to:

  • Copying another individual’s work on an exam.
  • Preparing for an exam by using test questions from a stolen exam.
  • Bringing concealed answers to an exam.
  • Turning in another person’s work as their own.
  • Committing plagiarism; that is, copying portions of another’s words from a published or electronic source without acknowledging that source.

It is not dishonest to discuss possible answers to an exam question as part of a study group, to discuss ideas for a paper with other members of the class, or to ask a friend to read a draft of a paper for suggestions to improve it, unless the professor has prohibited these activities.  

It is not dishonest to summarize, paraphrase, or quote the words of others in a paper, presentation, or other academic work so long as the student acknowledges the sources with appropriate citations.

Guidelines and Penalties for Academic Dishonesty

The penalties for breaches of academic integrity shall be clearly spelled out in a course syllabus; they may range from no credit for the work in question to no credit for the course. Both the students and the instructor have obligations to report and to prevent cheating, plagiarism or other academic misconduct. If the instructor suspects academic dishonesty, the following guidelines apply:

  1. The instructor arranges a conference with the student to discuss the incident.
  2. If, following the conference, the instructor is convinced that the student violated academic integrity; the instructor may propose appropriate action. If the student accepts such action as appropriate, both student and instructor will verify this in writing and no further penalty will be necessary.
  3. If agreement is not reached between the instructor and the student, the instructor may propose a grade penalty against the student by notifying the appropriate school dean in writing with supporting evidence. The penalty imposed will be commensurate with the degree of offense, from loss of credit for the work involved in the infraction to loss of credit for the entire course, such penalty to be determined in consultation with the school dean.
    1. The notification, supporting evidence, and the school dean’s written concurrence with the penalty will be sent to the Chief Academic Officer (CAO) for inclusion in the student’s personal file.
    2. Based on a review of records, if this is determined to be a first offense it will remain in the files of the Chief Academic Officer.
    3. If the CAO receives a second notification of a violation of academic integrity the CAO will notify the Vice President for Student Life, at which time a violation of academic integrity becomes part of a student’s permanent file. The student may appeal this action by following the process outlined under “appeals of student academic complaints.”
  4. If the act of dishonesty is associated with a criminal act (e.g. breaking into a faculty office) or with concerted group effort (all or part of a class), such cases will be immediately referred to the Vice President for Student Life.