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Academic Integrity


We are committed as an institution to ethical practice in teaching, scholarship, and service. We practice academic honesty in our oral and written scholarship. This means that we take care to appropriately acknowledge the contributions of others to our work. This policy defines and provides examples of academic integrity and plagiarism, while also outlining the related disciplinary processes.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is essential to our mission, allowing students, researchers, faculty, and staff the freedom to build new ideas, knowledge, and creative works while respecting and acknowledging the work of others. It involves a commitment to honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility in all aspects of your education.

By contrast, academic dishonesty is the misrepresentation of individual efforts, whether in writing, audio-visual representation, or oral presentation. Cheating on quizzes, exams, or assignments, such as surreptitiously copying others’ answers during a quiz or illicitly receiving the questions for an exam ahead of time are widely understood examples of academic dishonesty. Issues of plagiarism, such as failure to cite or acknowledge a source, removal of a true author’s name, or submitting work generated by artificial intelligence and claiming it as one’s own original work are also specific examples of academic dishonesty subject to university disciplinary action.

Basically, plagiarism is lying; claiming someone or something else’s ideas, words, or information as your own without acknowledgment or citation. It can be the simple quotation of a sentence or two without quotation marks and without a citation, footnote, endnote or inclusive note to indicate the true author. In the most serious cases, plagiarism uses, reproduces, rearranges or simply restates a significant fraction of an entire work written by someone or something else and then claiming it as original work.

Why is Honesty a Moral Obligation?

We honor others by giving credit to their good work. Expectations within the U.S. academic community and Biola University assume the production of new and original knowledge, discoveries of new facts, or new ways of looking at previously known facts. Analysis of data expressed in written form must be attributed to the source of the analysis. Laws in civilized societies protect individual expression as the property of the original author.

In addition to being a violation of academic integrity, plagiarism—either by verbatim copying or paraphrasing without citation or attribution—is an infringement of most nations’ copyright laws. Repeating words or thoughts of other people and claiming that those precise words are original to you is an example of lying.

The basic Judeo-Christian ethical mandate begins with “thou shalt not steal” (Exodus 20:15). Plagiarism is, first and foremost, an act of theft and fraud. To claim others’ work as your own without acknowledgment or citation is an example of academic fraud, misrepresentation and theft. Given that definitions of acceptable and unacceptable practices may vary from culture to culture or even broader backgrounds and experiences, it is important for students to understand and observe the expectations of the U.S. academic community (and Biola University) regarding plagiarism.

What Must You Do To Uphold Standards of Academic Integrity

Always put others’ words in quotation marks and cite your source(s). You must also give citations when using ideas or words, even if paraphrased into your own words, if they came from someone or something else. The “work of someone else” includes: original ideas, strategies, outlines, research, art, graphics, information obtained through generative AI computer programs, music, media examples, and other creative expression. Unpublished source materials such as class lectures or notes, handouts, speeches, other students’ or faculty’s papers, or material from a research service must also be cited to avoid plagiarism. Faculty members who use student assistants for research and writing are required to acknowledge the contribution of the student worker in the citation portion of a faculty member’s academic work.

All students and faculty should be educated in appropriate forms of paraphrase and citation. Cosmetic changes in another work without citation is still plagiarism. Avoid single-word substitutions (e.g. “less” for “fewer”), reversing the order of a sentence, or merely using an ellipsis mark. You do not have to cite “common knowledge” facts. That Abraham Lincoln was the U.S. President during the Civil War is common knowledge; that Abraham Lincoln suffered from severe depression and migraine headaches may require a citation to support the claim.

Purchasing a previously written or provided research paper from an online computer service and submitting it as your own work is morally reprehensible and constitutes plagiarism. Any time you use information from any source, you must provide a citation, acknowledgment, and/or attribution of the original source.

As Christians, we hold ourselves to a high standard of excellence by taking responsibility for all of our written work and, in the process, learn to craft arguments, write skilfully about ideas, demonstrate our own knowledge, think critically and more.

Examples of Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism may include but are not limited to:

  • While taking exams, tests, quizzes, using answers or responses knowingly obtained from someone else, rather than the sole effort of the individual student.
  • Seeking to gain an advantage in an exam by obtaining advanced access to particular questions or advance copies of a professor’s exam.
  • Making a public presentation (e.g., speech, lecture, sermon) where elements of the presentation are misrepresented as original thought or work.
  • Having someone else write a paper for you and turning it in as your own work, or writing a paper for someone else.
  • Submitting as your own work papers, articles, book chapters, reports formerly written by other students, graduate students working with a faculty member or purchased from commercial services.
  • Using published materials word for word, without citation or quotation marks, as all or part of work submitted as your own. (This category also includes media examples covered in a separate paragraph.)
  • Close, deliberate paraphrase of another’s work, published or unpublished, without acknowledgement.
  • Turning in a paper previously written for another course (unless approved by the instructor), or one paper for two current courses, without permission of both instructors.
  • Deliberately using false citations to give the appearance of acknowledgement and research.
  • Referencing internet websites without citation or paraphrase.
  • Using generative AI (ChatGPT, MidJourney, etc.) without citation, reference, acknowledgement, or in violation of standards set by academic departments.

Plagiarism in Media and Artistic Expression

It is Biola University’s policy that no copyrighted material may be included in media productions without the written permission of the copyright owner. This pertains to any media production produced by Biola, its students, staff or faculty. Copyrighted material is any material created by someone else that has not come into the public domain, whether or not there is a copyright notice. It is the responsibility of the one producing the media to ascertain if the material is in the public domain, or else to receive written permission.

Some copyright issues can be complex. A Beethoven sonata is in public domain because of its age, but a recording of it is copyrighted. The Grand Canyon is not copyrighted, but a picture of it may be.

Performance or exhibition of copyrighted materials falls under different laws than inclusion of material in media productions. In general, copyrighted materials may be shown or viewed in classrooms without violating the law, under the provision of “Fair Use”. However, performance rights need to be cleared for material presented in public venues, especially those for which admission is charged.

Quotes or summarization of material from media productions when cited in scholarly papers should be cited in the same way any other material would be.

Use of Generative AI Technology

Generative AI such as ChatGPT, Elicit, or other text, graphic, video, or audio generators produce information from the work and words of other people. In light of this, before students use generative AI, even for brainstorming ideas, they need to determine whether or not their instructors allow its use in their courses. Depending on their instructors' response, if and when students consult the generative AI technology, they must explicitly state how the information they obtained from it is being used. 

All Biola instructors have full discretion to allow or disallow the use of generative AI, as with any other technology, in their courses. If allowed, any use of generative AI must be done in a manner consistent with the expectations and requirements of the course and the broader academic discipline.

Some instructors may choose to walk their students through the benefits and pitfalls of using generative AI. In those contexts, students must disclose the use of the tools according to the instructions given by the instructor. If your instructor has not given specific instructions about the use of generative AI, you have a responsibility to the honest crafting of your ideas and disclosure of all sources and tools used, including ANY use of generative AI technology. 

Even if the use of generative artificial intelligence such as ChatGPT, Elicit, or other text, graphic, video, or audio generators is expressly allowed by your instructor, using this technology without acknowledgement, citation, or attribution is plagiarism.

Detection of Plagiarism

Biola University authorizes individual professors and students to use any computer search mechanisms to validate and verify examples of plagiarism, prior to disciplinary action. Detection may also include verification of duplicated student work, current or previous.

Disciplinary Results From Plagiarism or Academic Dishonesty

Unfamiliarity regarding appropriate paraphrase and citation is not an excuse for misrepresentation of original work. Individual professors may determine whether an isolated instance of plagiarism was due to faulty citation skills or misrepresentation with intent. In the case of deficient citation skills, the professor may allow a student to correct the citation in an assignment revision. Misrepresentation with intent is a significant violation of academic integrity.

Disciplinary action resulting from dishonesty in a minor class assignment (e.g. test, short reaction paper, quiz, etc.) will range from a score of zero for the assignment to a failing grade for the entire course. Disciplinary action resulting from dishonesty or plagiarism of a major assignment (e.g. examination, prominent writing submission, term paper, term project, etc.) will consist of immediate grade of “F” for the course. Individual departments or programs within the university may hold additional requirements for academic dishonesty (e.g., including dismissal from the program).

If a professor discovers evidence of plagiarism or academic dishonesty, they should confront the student with the seriousness of the charge, communicate the disciplinary action related to the assignment or course grade, and report the infraction to be documented on the student’s academic record.

For undergraduate programs, the faculty member shall provide a written report via an alert through the university’s early alert system. The Office of the Registrar will receive the alert and shall place a copy of the report within the student's academic record. Following a first instance of plagiarism, undergraduate students will be required to complete an Academic Integrity Module in Canvas within two weeks of the report, which is distributed and graded by the division of Student Success. This module helps students develop their own credible voice and avoid practices which could jeopardize their integrity and studies. At the receipt of a second report on the same student, the Office of the Registrar will notify the associate provost for further disciplinary action. Repeated instances (2 or 3) of academic dishonesty will result in academic probation or dismissal from the university.

For graduate programs, the faculty member will notify and work with the program director and the school dean to address any issues of academic dishonesty. In addition, the program director (or a designated department staff member) shall provide a written report, including any disciplinary action, via an alert through the university’s early alert system. The Office of the Registrar will receive the alert and shall place a copy of the report within the student's academic record.

Students may appeal academic decisions that they believe are unfair or erroneous through the academic appeals process as specified in the Student Handbook.