The ASUC in conjunction with the Graduate Assembly, the Academic Senate, and the L&S Deans have developed a UC Berkeley Honor Code to support an environment of academic integrity and respect on campus. While the statement of the Honor Code itself is brief, it is an affirmation of our highest ideals as Golden Bears:
“As a member of the UC Berkeley community, I act with honesty, integrity, and respect for others.”
We have come together for this effort not because we think the campus faces some sort of integrity crisis, or because we have detected signs of a worrisome trend. Rather, we share a belief that we, as a campus community, can do better and that we have an obligation as the nation’s preeminent public university to assume a leadership role in this area. We recognize that the digital age, and the ease with which it fosters both collaboration and cutting corners, poses new challenges and questions when it comes to definitions, policies and practices. We believe that together we can evolve, refine and improve our approach to values that lie at the very core of who we are as a university.
The purpose of the Honor Code is to enhance awareness of the need for the highest possible levels of integrity and respect on campus, both within and outside the academic context. We hope and believe that the code will catalyze a series of ongoing conversations about our principles and practices. Together, through engagement, we can create a consistent message and ethos in our classrooms, labs, departments, and throughout the academic enterprise, to ensure that the core values of academic integrity and honesty are being embraced by both students and faculty.
Frequently Asked Questions:
2. Why now?
3. Whose idea is it for UC Berkeley to have an Honor Code?
4. How is the Honor Code related to the existing Code of Student Conduct?
5. Does the Honor Code change the process of dealing with conduct violations?
6. Does the Honor Code apply only to students?
7. How will members of the campus community learn about the existence of the Honor Code?
8. Does the Honor Code require faculty to change anything about the way they currently teach classes?
9. Does collaboration between students in studying for exams and completing homework assignments violate the Honor Code?
10. Does the Honor Code impact the proctoring of exams?
11. Does the Honor Code impact other aspects of the administration and taking of exams?
12. Are there statements on exams that students sign agreeing to the Honor Code? If so, are such statements required?
13. How does the Honor Code impact the education and work of Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs)?
14. How will the impact of the Honor Code on the campus community be monitored?
The Honor Code brings the important notions of honesty, integrity, and respect to the fore, making them a more overt part of campus life. The Honor Code provides an entry point for easy discussion of these qualities in diverse forums: classrooms, laboratories, athletics, clubs, residences, etc. At UC Berkeley we aspire to promote these qualities, important to both our campus and society at large, in every way possible.
The Honor Code is not a response to a specific event or set of events. However, if we, as a campus, believe in excellence and embrace our leadership role in higher education, then we will not be satisfied with the status quo; we wish to go further. The issues, challenges, and opportunities related to honesty and integrity require constant vigilance, engagement, and conversation. The internet age has made plagiarism and certain other forms of academic misconduct easier. Research studies suggest that promoting standards of integrity and honesty can reduce instances of academic misconduct. The Honor Code promotes these standards and contributes to strengthening a campus-wide culture of integrity.
The Honor Code was developed through a process of discussion between the ASUC, the Graduate Assembly, the Academic Senate, and the Deans of the College of Letters and Science. The ASUC has taken the lead in supporting and implementing the Honor Code.
The Honor Code is independent of the Code of Student Conduct and other comprehensive guidelines related to conduct that apply to faculty and staff. The Code of Student Conduct covers a wide spectrum of unacceptable behaviors, and also lays out the procedures for dealing with violations. The focus of the Honor Code at UC Berkeley is on education and awareness, not enforcement.
The Honor Code applies to the UC Berkeley community in its entirety. The notions of honesty, integrity, and respect are already deeply embedded in the culture at UC Berkeley. They are stated, for example, in UC Berkeley's Principles of Community. All members of the campus community are encouraged to become familiar with the Honor Code and to bring it into their places of work on campus.
Incoming undergraduate and graduate students beginning with Fall semester 2013 will indicate that they agree with the Honor Code when they accept an offer of admission to UC Berkeley. The Honor Code will be discussed in orientation sessions for new students and new faculty, and in training sessions for Graduate Student Instructors. Informational messages and pointers to resources (such as this website) will be distributed to the entire campus community.
8. does the honor code require faculty to change anything about the way they currently teach classes?
The Honor Code does not require any changes in the way classes are taught. However, the Honor Code provides an entry point for enhanced instruction related to issues of academic integrity. This is expected to have a positive impact on the quality of instruction. Suggested material addressing the Honor Code for inclusion in course syllabi is available in the resources section of this website. The Honor Code provides a framework for consistent discussion of academic integrity in all classes and across many different departments and programs.
9. does collaboration between students in studying for exams and completing homework assignments violate the honor code?
Clarification as to exactly which kinds of collaboration on assignments are acceptable and even encouraged, and which kinds are not acceptable, is important in classes. The Honor Code provides an entry point for ensuring these distinctions are clear.
Again, the Honor Code provides an entry point for talking about the importance of honesty in the examination process. Taking a few moments to discuss honesty before an exam is administered may contribute to less cheating, especially subtle forms of cheating, such as glancing at a fellow student's answers to check one's own.
12. are there statements on exams that students sign agreeing to the honor code? if so, are such statements required?
Faculty may choose to include statements about honesty on exams and homework. Some faculty members have already been doing this for years. A suggested statement for inclusion on exams (or on homework) is available in the resources section of this website. Such statements are not required, but if employed and discussed may serve as a reminder to acting with integrity during the exam process.
The GSI training program includes a comprehensive introduction to issues related to academic integrity and how to incorporate teaching about this into the classroom. The Honor Code provides an entry point for GSIs to discuss these issues proactively and whenever appropriate.