Academic Integrity Policy

Section: II. INST- 190
Approved By: Dr. Ivan Harrell, 07/27/23
Initial Adoption: 07/27/23


The purpose of Tacoma Community College’s Academic Integrity Policy is to provide guidance and shared language for the TCC community related to expectations of academic standards. Academic integrity ensures our students will gain the necessary knowledge and skills critical for their future academic, professional and personal endeavors. This aligns with our college’s values of community, responsibility, integrity, equity, diversity, inclusion, agility, and excellence. This policy is administered and overseen by the Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs.

To Whom Does This Policy Apply

All members of the academic community including students, staff, faculty, and administrators.


Standards for Student Conduct- Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 132V-121-060

Administrative Procedure for Academic Dishonesty (WAC) 132V-121-060

Course Syllabus Policy- Section: II. INST-112


We acknowledge that the following definitions reflect Western, dominant, normative academic standards. As part of the college’s antiracist work, we are committed to considering and are mindful of diverse perspectives and experiences that may not align with these traditional, western interpretations. This will be considered as alleged violations of this policy are addressed.

Academic Integrity:

As one of the five Core Values held by Tacoma Community College, Integrity includes the practice of inclusion, honesty, transparency, fairness, compassion and follow-through in all that we do. Academic Integrity is a shared commitment between faculty, staff, administration, and students to uphold this fundamental value of the institution while maintaining accessibility standards. The following are examples of violations of academic integrity:


Plagiarism is one of the most common violations of academic integrity. It is the intentional act of incorporating someone else's words, ideas, images, data, or other works without giving attribution to the original author or source. Key to the definition and recognition of plagiarism is that it is intentional (examples: applying text or other media to course assignments without accurate citation to the original author or source; or purchasing and submitting papers from an online source). Expectations related to conventions of documentation and attribution may vary among discipline, courses, and individual classes. Self-plagiarism is also a violation of academic integrity where a student submits their own material to more than one course or assignment without disclosure or without obtaining permission from the instructor(s) first.

  1. Misuse of Sources vs. Plagiarism: An important distinction It is important to make the distinction between, and recognize instances of, misuse of sources versus plagiarism. As above, plagiarism is the intentional use of the work of others, presented as one’s own. Misuse of sources must not be conflated with plagiarism. Students who misuse sources do so as a result of a variety of factors including cultural perspective; misunderstanding of their role in research-based-writing; lack of prior consistency, support, or practice; or lack of confidence. Examples of misuse of sources include an overreliance on source text in their own work, including “patch” writing (when paraphrasing falls too close to the original words of a source); or failure to cite correctly or appropriately. Misuse of sources must be treated as an instructional opportunity rather than as a violation of academic integrity. Please see the Council of Writing Program Administrators statement on best practices regarding plagiarism and misuse of sources.

Cheating is an intentional disregard of instructions to gain unearned advantage during a formal academic assessment or activity. Examples of cheating may include but are not limited to continuing to write after the exam time has ended; submitting work performed by others; promoting the work of another source or individual as your own; allowing another person to copy your work; or using unauthorized materials to assist your work (such as generative artificial intelligence (AI)). Additionally, helping another student or receiving unapproved help from another person on tests, quizzes, assignments, or exams, and projects without the instructor's express permission may also be considered cheating.

Enabling a breach of academic integrity:

Knowingly or negligently engaging in behavior that assists another student in a violation of academic integrity.

Alteration of grading or testing conditions:

Compromising grades and/or a testing environment, or specific testing conditions, to create access to an unfair advantage to oneself and/or others is prohibited. Examples include tampering with grades; taking part in obtaining or disturbing any part of an exam prior to the scheduled testing time; falsification of documentation or information submitted to the college; or selling or giving away test answers and changing or altering a grade on a test or in a gradebook.

Unauthorized use of materials or content:

Compromising grades and/or a testing environment, or specific testing conditions, to create access to an unfair advantage to oneself and/or others is prohibited. Examples include tampering with grades; taking part in obtaining or disturbing any part of an exam prior to the scheduled testing time; falsification of documentation or information submitted to the college; or selling or giving away test answers and changing or altering a grade on a test or in a gradebook.

Fabrication and falsification:

Fabrication or falsification of results or research data. Using fabricated data, information, or unauthorized materials for a class assignment or exam. Falsification includes providing documentation that falsely represents actions and experiences. For example, providing false documentation of having attended an event in order to get extra credit, or providing false documentation of completion of service learning, clinical, or other field experience.

Failure to adhere to academic or professional standards:

Failing to adhere to the ethical standards applicable to a particular profession, clinical or internship site, which the student has agreed to abide by as part of their course of studies. For example, NSPE Code of Ethics for Engineers states the expectation that individuals will "Hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public". Similarly, submitting falsified clinical logs or forging a clinical site contacts signature or knowingly are also examples that violate professional and ethical standards of a clinical site.


Intentionally withholding information, destroying the work of another student, or damaging course materials so as to create an academic disadvantage for another individual.

Generative Artificial Intelligence:

References to Artificial Intelligence (AI) in this policy refer to Generative Artificial Intelligence. Generative AI (gAI) refers to artificial intelligence that can generate novel content built from existing content including text, audio files, or images. Academic Integrity must acknowledge the continued growth and sophistication of artificial intelligence (AI), specifically generative artificial intelligence. Students (and other members of our campus community) are using gAI, recreationally, academically, and professionally, from Microsoft 365 Copilot, DALL-E to ChatGPT. Generative AI is not going away, nor is our students’, or our, use of it. Currently, as a campus, we have yet to fully understand the implications of gAI in student work, and in the context of academic integrity. It is not as simple as developing an academic integrity policy about it, or worse, against it. We are likely going to have to rethink our goals for our students, and the kinds of work we assign them to meet those goals, to both leverage gAI as a tool of learning and creativity, and to reduce their reliance on it in favor of continuing skill development as writers, and as users and producers of information. Creating a culture of academic integrity, as a feature of instruction, as an opportunity for equity and inclusion, and as a dynamic response to a dynamic world requires a sea change that each of us has a responsibility to contribute to and promote.


Academic Standards
  1. Academics standards for a specific degree or certificate shall be developed collaboratively by department or program faculty and the division dean responsible for the degree. The Curriculum Committee shall provide oversight, subject to approval by the College’s Vice President for Academic Affairs.
  2. Academic standards particular to a specific course shall be established by the course’s instructor and shall be set forth in a course syllabus.
  3. Each instructor shall provide their students with a copy of a course syllabus. The course syllabus shall include at a minimum:
    1. the instructor’s expectations and requirements regarding class attendance and performance, including grading policy
    2. class hours, instructor’s contact information, and office hours
    3. books and other required materials
    4. procedures for testing and evaluating student work
    5. the academic standards for the degree or certificate program which the course is offered
    6. a list of the conduct that demonstrates a violation of academic integrity
    7. a link to the current Academic Integrity Policy and clearly stated consequences related to any alleged violation of academic integrity. Consequences may vary among disciplines, courses and individual classes and should align with the College’s mission and values.
  4. Final grades are awarded based on the instructor’s assessment of a student’s performance as outlined in the syllabus. Instructors are responsible for explaining grading criteria for individual activities through assignment directions and/or rubrics. The instructor’s assessment of a student’s performance shall not be arbitrary, capricious, or biased.
Academic Integrity
  1. All members of the academic community shall act ethically and with personal responsibility to uphold the College’s Core Value of Integrity – the practice of inclusion, honesty, transparency, compassion, fairness, trust, and follow-through in everything we do.
  2. All members of the academic community shall refrain from engaging in violations of academic integrity as defined above.
  3. All members of the academic community shall demonstrate respect for diverse perspectives and experiences and approach differences in a manner that demonstrates civility and courtesy and does not cause harm to others.
  4. All members of the academic community shall behave in a manner that does not disturb, distract, or otherwise interfere with the academic environment.
  5. Professors shall provide syllabi that clearly state individual expectations, policies, practices, and requirements related to academic integrity. Consequences may
    differ among professors, but the core values and expectations of academic integrity remain the same across the institution.
  6. Professors shall provide clear guidelines for all assignments, assessments, and course expectations, and will evaluate all student work in a timely, equitable, and transparent manner.
  7. Students have the responsibility to understand and adhere to the policies, requirements, and expectations for each course in which they are enrolled.
  8. Students are responsible for learning the conventions of documentation and acknowledgment of sources appropriate to the expectations of the course.
  9. While academic sanctions for acts that violate The College’s Academic Integrity Policy may vary with the situation and the individual instructor, alleged violations of academic integrity shall be handled in a manner that reflects The College’s commitment to impartial, consistent, and equitable implementation of policies.
  10. Professors may pursue sanctions outlined in the syllabus or the College’s Administrative Procedures for Academic Dishonesty for instances that violate The College’s Academic Integrity policy.


Violations of Academic Integrity are subject to the procedures outlined in the College’s Administrative Procedure for Academic Dishonesty. All students have the right to due process as outlined in this procedure and may access support in this process through the Office of Student Affairs.