As students at the American University of Nigeria (AUN), we understand academy integrity as being honest with one's academic tasks. It involves consciously promoting the value in the learning community through awareness drives. The American University of Nigeria has different ways of sensitizing students about academic integrity.

At the beginning of each semester, during orientation week, new students spend time with student volunteers who help them prepare mentally for the expectations of college life. They speak about writing across the curriculum, mandatory writing classes and the written components in each discipline. The new students learn that in a liberal arts institution like ours, communication is essential and that transitioning from high school to university comes with expectations. One is sustaining a culture of academic integrity on and off campus.

During orientation week, the Office of Judicial Affairs meets with new students and explains the Academic Integrity Code, while the Writing Center has a session to promote the related tutorials. When classes begin each semester, the Writing Center also makes presentations in the First Year Experience (FYE) classes to build self-confidence, independent reading, note-taking, and academic writing skills. School-wide policies also encourage students to do the right thing at all times. In addition, student services like the Honor Society, Math Center and Writing Center hold tutorials to support learning during and after school hours. Learning is a process, and the road to mastery means taking small steps to build mastery of requisite skills.

Other measures that promote integrity are course policies discussed with instructors and the support provided by the library staff. Events like the International Day of Action for Academic Integrity also enhance individual and collective efforts as students collaborate with peers globally to exchange ideas which work or discuss measures to strengthen academic integrity on their campuses. These interfaces are an excellent opportunity to promote best practices in academia.

In the digital era, students often face temptations when they have assignments to turn in—these temptations range from contract cheating sites to using free versions of generative AI tools that can churn out responses in seconds. However, while the debate on the accuracy of plagiarism detection tools still rages, the responsible conduct promoted on campus is a good check against adopting academic habits which suppress a student's agency in developing an assignment. Academic misconduct often occurs because of lack of self-confidence, fear of failing, procrastination, poor time management, limited research and undeveloped citation skills. However, adherence to school or departmental policies and participation in tutorials that build communication and academic writing skills can go a long way toward ensuring that students choose the better option when they have assignments.

The International Center for Academic Integrity lists six principles, the fundamental values, associated with academic integrity. They are honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility, and courage. Together, they help us remember not to take undue advantage of others and to maintain trust in a healthy environment that sustains honest and responsible learning.

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Note: This blog post was authored by students. ICAI takes pride in highlighting student voices as students are a key stakeholder in higher education and the promotion of academic integrity. ICAI does not endorse or advocate for any position or statement made.