Academic integrity is the commitment to and demonstration of honest and moral behavior in an academic setting (writingcenter.unc.edu). Therefore, individuals practicing academic integrity is crucial because it displays high standards that protect and uphold your reputation, reflects well in different environments (i.e. professional programs, colleges/universities, potential work settings, etc.) and being major contributors to the welfare of society. In simpler terms, your personal morals and values echo your character and trustworthiness. For example, students who practice academic integrity will work diligently to complete given assignments, pass their quizzes and exams, or earn their degrees in a fair and truthful way by putting in the necessary hours of studying and finishing their assignments. This brings me to my next point about academic misconduct/dishonesty.
Academic misconduct is any action or attempted action that may result in creating an unfair academic advantage for oneself or an unfair academic advantage or disadvantage for any other member or members of the academic community (sa.berkeley.edu). Examples of academic misconduct would be, but are not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, falsification/fabrication/alteration of information and data, etc. When a student exhibits academic dishonesty, his or her integrity is compromised. Therefore, the morals and values of the individual are diminished. This lack of credibility then can trail you and potentially impact your professional and/or future goals. For example, a student having a difficult time gaining acceptance into a graduate/post-baccalaureate program and/or needing a favor by a higher academic authority, but is denied the service, due to displaying some type of academic dishonesty during his or her undergraduate career. As stated, this can cause great detriment to an individual’s future plans because of one faulty decision they made. With that being said, this example does not revolve exclusively around academics, but also in a professional workplace setting as well.
Examples of professional workplace misconduct would be, but are not limited to, lying, cheating, stealing, fraud, using unauthorized materials, etc (www.researchgate.net). When an individual exhibits some level of misconduct in a professional workplace setting, he or she are setting themselves up for failure. They are putting themselves at risk for job termination or even worse repercussions depending on the severity level of dishonesty. Workplace dishonesty correlates with academic misconduct/dishonesty because nobody wants a doctor who cheated to get his or her medical degree to perform a life or death surgery on them or a bad engineer to build bridges that involves humans crossing it. Both examples, but are not limited to, exemplify the dangers and liability issues that fall behind this, especially involving human beings. Therefore, it is crucial to demonstrate honesty, both academically and professionally, because whether or not you are in charge of peoples’ lives, working towards your aspirations, or simply needing a favor, your character based on your morals, values and work ethic will resonate off of you to the world. It is important to remember that you are, undeniably, an influence on the welfare of humanity. So, when you are not practicing academic integrity, like you should, you are not only doing yourself a dishonest service, but you are being a poor contributor to the wellbeing of society, in which your actions are being perceived by the world around you.