Five Pillars of Academic Integrity

Published: April 2014

Academic integrity is the basis of the university’s goal to enable an exchange of ideas and develop new knowledge, and it requires that individual scholars work with and trust one another. Avoiding academically dishonest behavior (plagiarism, fabrication, and falsification) is often cited as the way to promote academic integrity. But when the focus is on negative behaviors—where integrity is absent—conversations about integrity are centered on suspicion rather than trust, respect, and growth.

The International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI) has identified five pillars of academic integrity to generate positive conversations about integrity.

Pillar 1

Honesty is sincerity. All other pillars of academic integrity have some basis in honesty. Honest individuals take stock of individual abilities and represent their effort fairly.

Pillar 2

Trust in other people and in your community eases working relationships. Trust is established in a system where all members are doing their best work, where structures and policies are fair and all will be treated fairly.

Pillar 3

Fairness goes hand in hand with trust. Every individual should believe that they will be treated fairly and judged by the same standard as all others in the community. For example, you can trust that your professors will evaluate all work fairly and not favor one person over another. The best work comes out of a fair system.

Pillar 4

Respect allows for individual points of view and opinions to be shared. Students show respect by “listening to other points of view, being prepared,…meeting… deadlines, and performing to the best of their ability.” (Fundamental Values 8) Instructors show respect by listening to students’ ideas and “providing full and honest feedback.”

Pillar 5

Responsibility means acknowledging your agency and accountability in daily actions and in your work. Everyone is personally invested in performing their work with integrity and encourages others to act with integrity too. Academic integrity starts with individuals and positively influences the entire community.


The International Center for Academic Integrity (October 1999). The Fundamental Values of Academic Integrity.


Image by Miguel Saavedra |

Join the dialogue this Fall during Integrity Week,
September 8–12, 2014.