Core elements of exemplary academic integrity policy in Australian higher education
This paper reports on one important aspect of the preliminary findings from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) project, Academic integrity standards: Aligning policy and practice in Australian universities (Bretag et al., 2010) Our project aims to identify approaches to the complex issues of academic integrity, and then to build on these approaches to develop exemplars for adaptation across the higher education sector. Based on analysis of publicly available online academic integrity policies at each of the 39 Australian universities, we have identified five core elements of exemplary academic integrity policy. These have been grouped under the headings, Access, Approach, Responsibility, Detail and Support, with no element given priority over another. In this paper we compare the five core elements identified in our research with best practice guidelines recommended by the Higher Education Academy (HEA) in the UK. We conclude that an exemplar policy needs to provide an upfront, consistent message, reiterated throughout the entire policy, which indicates a systemic and sustained commitment to the values of academic integrity and the practices that ensure it. Whereas the HEA created two discrete resources, the key aim and challenge of this project will be to develop exemplars that demonstrate a strong alignment between policy and practice.