Academic Integrity

In his work, The Brothers of Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky notes that, “The main thing is that you stop telling lies to yourself. The one who lies to himself and believes his own lies comes to a point where he can distinguish no truth either within himself or around him, and thus enters into a state of disrespect towards himself and others. Respecting no one, he loves no one, and to amuse and divert himself in the absence of love, he gives himself up to his passions and to vulgar delights and becomes a complete animal in his vices, and all of it from perpetual lying to other people and to himself.” This quote sums up the importance of integrity not only in the academic field, but also in life in general.

The Center for Academic Integrity gives five important features of academic integrity. The five values are honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility. Dishonest behavior such as cheating, fraud, theft and lying are discouraged at all costs. A person cannot be a successful leader without having integrity. Leadership begins at an early age and develops as the person continues to grow. As a student in MSU, I have three goals, which I hope to accomplish by the time I am through with my education. I want to acquire more knowledge and become a successful businessperson. I can only achieve this by working hard and putting more effort n my studies. I want to develop the necessary skills needed for my future in the corporate world. This is important because not everything can be learnt in the confines of a classroom.

Being an international student, I want to understand the American culture and lifestyle. When I came to the states, I got a huge culture shock because it was my first time to venture out of my home country. I was able to interact with people from different cultures when I arrived here and this opened my eyes to many possibilities. Through interacting with people, I was able to learn that people are different and they understand things differently. This is important because it is in line with my future goals. I want to open up businesses in many parts of the world and this will require doing business with an open mind.

Academic integrity is one of the determinants of integrity in later life. Some students do not consider cheating to be of any importance, especially if they are doing so to their advantage. Cheating is one of the ways through which trust between individuals is broken. When a person discovers that he or she has been lied to, that person will be slow to trust the other again. Though cheating might begin in academic institutions, the trend develops into a habit and a person who was used to cheating will find it difficult to stop even when he or she is through with education. The habit continues in his later life and he will use the same dishonest methods to conduct business. When a student cheats, it shows lack of respect to the lecturer or instructor and lack of respect to himself.

One of the most serious problems in academic institutions is plagiarism. It happens when a student fails to cite the sources of information. The seriousness of this problem cannot be overlooked. The student passes the work as his own when he fails to cite sources and therefore in this case, plagiarism is a form of stealing. Students should be careful to recognize the work others and give them credit when it is due. The problem may persist later in life where a person will present another person’s work as his own. This will cause conflict and tension in the work place, and may even cause serious problems such as punishment and embarrassment, or lead to the person being fired. As Dostoevsky notes, one may become used to lying that, at a certain point, the person cannot tell the difference between the lies he has told and the truth.

Academic dishonesty denies one the chance to learn the value of working hard and the sweetness of success. My understanding of ethical behavior has changed as I continue to undertake this course. I no longer take other people’s work lightly and I make sure that I give them credit where it is due. This was especially the case in the first semester as I was doing a term paper. I desperately wanted to pass the paper and I had a lot of work to do. Because of poor time management, I did not have enough time to finish my work before the deadline. I had forgotten to cite some sources and the instructor took the arguments I had presented to be my own. Later, the instructor found out that I got the information from the internet and this put me into a lot of trouble with the instructor and the administration. After learning the importance of honesty and that, it is the basis of trust, I convinced the instructor to let me do the term paper again and I am glad that our relationship has changed to that of trust. I have now learnt to manage my time properly and I usually finish my work before the deadline. Since then I have had no more plagiarism problems.

The university prohibits plagiarism because it is a form of cheating. It aims to develop individuals that are well molded to handle public life and in line with this, it encourages all the students to work hard. I agree with the university’s sentiments concerning plagiarism. A student should be careful to cite all the sources that he has used. I am glad because the lecturers give the students a nice example of this by citing their colleagues’ work. In addition to crediting and acknowledging the author, citing sources also enables the lecturer to know where the student got the information. Internet sources are not always credible and one cannot tell whether the one who wrote them is qualified. This gives the lecturer a chance to correct the students and direct them to worthy and credible sources. The university is therefore right in setting high standards where citing sources is concerned. Integrity is a vital component because it leads a person to respect himself and respect those who are around him.


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