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Academic Integrity

Faculty Recommendations

University College at Southern New Hampshire University holds its students to high ethical and intellectual standards.  SNHU expects that all aspects of a student’s educational path are conducted with the highest degree of honesty, accountability for one’s own work and respect for the intellectual property of others. Violations of these academic standards will result in sanctions.

Instructors should: 

  • Familiarize themselves with the Academic Integrity Policy This link opens in a new window.
  • Clearly note the university’s stance on academic integrity in their syllabi.
  • Explain their own expectations regarding academic integrity as it applies to their courses to students.
  • Make clear to students in their courses the: 
    • Distinction between group and individual assignments
    • Method of citation required
    • Policies relevant to help students maintain academic integrity
  • Clarify misperceptions or confusion if students have questions about what constitutes academic dishonesty.
  • Encourage students to utilize academic support resources in the learning center This link opens in a new window and library.
  • Investigate and report any violation of the policy that comes to their attention. 

For additional questions around academic integrity please reach out as follows:

  • For UC policy related questions, email
  • For additional information on how to approach academic integrity conversations, please reach out to your school leadership noted on this page.

How to Talk to Students

We encourage you to report incidents of academic dishonesty as the university is seeking to learn more about the circumstances that compel students to cheat. This will help us create better resources for students to make better choices.

The following are some helpful tools adapted from the University of California at San Diego (2020) for talking to a student about their alleged offense. These conversation starters are clear, compassionate and candid:

  1. Start the conversation by asking the student a question. This way, the student can tell his or her story rather than hearing your interpretation first. Examples:
    • “Why don't we start by you telling me how you're feeling about the class/this assignment?”
    • “What was your process for studying/completing the assignment?”
    • “Are you satisfied with your learning/progress in the course?”
  2. After listening to the student's story, express your concerns about the assignment or work in question. Example: "I'm concerned because the information I have suggests that you may have _________________. Is that an accurate assessment? Why not?"
  3. Consider taking up psychologist Carl Pickhardt’s (2009) talking points to assist the student in understanding the seriousness of academic dishonesty:
    • Cheating weakens the value of the student’s education.
    • Cheating reduces the value of SNHU as a university and their classmates’ SNHU degrees.
    • Cheating one's way through school can encourage cheating one's way through life.
    • Cheating can be seen as an admission that one doesn’t have the will or capacity it takes to meet a performance demand or challenge by dealing with it honestly and directly through their own efforts.
    • Cheating creates ignorance.
    • Cheating creates jeopardy. Cheaters have to live with the fear of being found out, caught and punished.
  4. Tell the student the sanction you're planning to administer. For first-time, less egregious violations, this could include:
    • Using the occasion to educate the student about standards of academic honesty if the faculty member determines that the violation was an unintentional mistake rather than a purposeful act of dishonesty. The faculty member may require the student to correct the original assignment or submit a substitute assignment.
    • Assigning a lower or failing grade for the assignment, or a failing grade for the course for violations that are an intentional act of dishonesty. (See sanctioning guide in the Academic Honesty Policy.)


Pickhardt, C.E. (2009, July 27). Why adolescents cheat in school and what to do. Psychology Today. This link opens in a new window

Regents of the University of California. (2020). Talking to a student suspected of cheating. This link opens in a new window

What Happens When Reporting Students

I have a concern about an assignment that has been submitted. What are my next steps?

Prior to starting your class:

When you find an assignment that is concerning:

  • File a report with the Office of Community Standards, via the Public Incident Report Form This link opens in a new window.
  • Attach any pertinent documentation or email communication to the form when submitting it.
  • Your academic dean and Community Standards staff will review the report and documentation to determine if the student has a pattern of academic violations.
  • Schedule a hearing with the student to discuss your concerns and understand their perspective.
  • Following the hearing, share any findings of responsibility and sanctions with your academic dean, who will communicate that message to the student.

What do I do before and after a hearing with the student?

  • Continue to work with your student.
  • As the instructor, you remain your student’s best point of contact regarding:
    • Grading
    • Assignment expectations
    • Proper citation of sources
    • Improving writing to avoid future academic integrity concerns