Contents
Cal Poly Pomona

Professional and Academic Integrity

Ethics and Professional Integrity for Civil Engineers

Much of the work that civil engineers do has a direct impact on public health and safety. This is why all states in the US, as well as most other countries, have licensing laws for civil engineers. The public entrusts us to do our work in a way that is technically competent, as well as with the highest standards of professional ethics and integrity. Would you want to drive over a bridge designed by an engineer with questionable professional ethics or integrity?

The American Society of Civil Engineers has published a code of ethics for civil engineers. This code provides much more detail on what it means to have professional integrity.

Academic Integrity at Cal Poly Pomona

Integrity also is very important in academia. The Cal Poly University Catalog contains the following discussion of academic integrity:

The University is committed to maintaining academic integrity throughout the university community. Academic dishonesty is a serious offense that can diminish the quality of scholarship, the academic environment, the academic reputation, and the quality of a Cal Poly Pomona degree. The following policy is intended to define clearly academic dishonesty at Cal Poly Pomona and to state the responsibility of students, faculty and administrators relating to this subject.

All forms of academic dishonesty at Cal Poly Pomona are a violation of university policy and will be considered a serious offense. Academic dishonesty includes but is not limited to:

a. Plagiarism—Plagiarism is intentionally or knowingly presenting words, ideas or work of others as one’s own work. Plagiarism includes copying homework, copying lab reports, copying computer programs, using a work or portion of a work written or created by another but not crediting the source, using one’s own work completed in a previous class for credit in another class without permission, paraphrasing another’s work without giving credit, and borrowing or using ideas without giving credit.

b. Cheating During Exams—Exam cheating includes unauthorized “crib sheets,” copying from another, looking at another student’s exam, opening books when not authorized, obtaining advance copies of exams, and having an exam regraded after making changes. Exam cheating includes exams given during classes, final exams and standardized tests such as the Graduating Writing Test and Math Diagnostic Test.

c. Use of Unauthorized Study Aids—This includes utilization of other’s computer programs or solutions, copying a copyrighted computer program without permission, using old lab reports, having others perform one’s share of lab work, and using any material prohibited by the instructor.

d. Falsifying any University Document—This includes falsifying signatures on university forms, such as Add-Drop and Withdrawal forms, forging another student’s signature and falsifying prerequisite requirements.

The responsibility of all students is to be informed of what constitutes academic dishonesty and to follow the policy. Cal Poly Pomona students who come from various international educational systems and wish to understand better the expectations of the American educational system are encouraged to speak with an international student advisor in the International Center.

A student who is aware of another student’s academic dishonesty is encouraged to report the instance to the instructor of the class, the test administrator, or the head of the department within which the course is offered. A student who is reported by the instructor to the Director of Judicial Affairs will receive a letter with this accusation.

The responsibility of the faculty, instructors or test administrators is to clarify their positions on academic dishonesty to their classes early in each class. The instructor is encouraged to report each instance of academic dishonesty to the Director of Judicial Affairs. In addition to reporting each instance, each instructor shall address the problem in the narrow context of the individual class. Any form of academic dishonesty in class could result in a failing grade for the assignment related to the instance or in a failing grade for the class.

The responsibility of the administration is to address the cases of academic dishonesty from the disciplinary standpoint. Each case that is referred to the administration will be reviewed by the Office of Judicial Affairs and an appropriate action will be taken. As a reasonable norm for an average magnitude offense, a student’s first instance of academic dishonesty should result in a probation period with the student’s name placed temporarily on file for academic dishonesty and the student will be informed of this. The second report should result in the student being suspended from the University for the quarter and the following quarter, with the student’s name placed permanently on file for academic dishonesty. The third instance should result in the end of a student’s career at Cal Poly Pomona. The administration has the responsibility to ensure that the systemwide guidelines regarding student discipline are met in Cal Poly Pomona’s attempt to ensure academic integrity.

Academic Integrity in the Civil Engineering Department

Because of the dual nature of professional integrity in civil engineering practice and academic integrity in the university, the Civil Engineering Department at Cal Poly Pomona is serious about enforcing the university's academic integrity policies.

Penalties for a first violation depend on the nature of the offense, and typically consist of an F in the course. Penalties for subsequent violations are greater, and can include dismissal from the university, ineligibility to enroll in any other CSU campus, and a permanent annotation on the student's transcript.

If you are uncertain about the integrity aspects of any situation, or the proper course of action, please consult with your academic advisor.

Additional Resources

Academic Integrity video, presented by Dave Johnson, Director of Judicial Affairs

ASCE Ethics Resources