Academic Catalog

Academic Integrity Policy

The Academic Integrity Policy is built upon the concepts of honesty, truth, fairness, respect, and responsibility. These concepts in the context of academic integrity are well presented in The Fundamental Values of Academic Integrity published through The International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI) at Clemson University. The following is an excerpt from The Fundamental Values of Academic Integrity, which serves as the basis for all academic policy considerations at Aspen University.

An academic community of integrity:

  • Advances the quest for truth and knowledge by requiring intellectual and personal honesty in learning, teaching, research, and service;
  • Fosters a climate of mutual trust, encourages the free exchange of ideas, and enables all to reach their highest potential;
  • Establishes clear standards, practices, and procedures and expects fairness in the interactions of students, faculty, and administrators;
  • Recognizes the critical significance of honor and respect for a wide range of opinions and ideas in the participatory nature of the learning process; and
  • Upholds personal responsibility and accountability that depends upon action in the face of wrongdoing.

Personal Honesty

An academic community of integrity advances the quest for truth and knowledge by requiring intellectual and personal honesty in learning, teaching, research, and service. Honesty is the foundation of teaching, learning, research, and service and the prerequisite for full realization of trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility. Academic policies uniformly deplore cheating, lying, fraud, theft, plagiarism and other dishonest behaviors that jeopardize the rights and welfare of the community and diminish the worth of academic degrees. Honesty begins with oneself and extends to others. In the quest for knowledge, students and faculty alike must be honest with themselves and with each other, whether in the classroom, laboratory, or library, or on the playing field. Cultivating honesty lays the foundation for lifelong integrity, developing in each of us the courage and insight to make difficult choices and accept responsibility for actions and their consequences, even at personal cost.

Mutual Trust

People respond to consistent honesty with trust. Trust is also promoted by faculty who set clear guidelines for assignments and for evaluating student work; by students who prepare work that is honest and thoughtful; and by schools that set clear and consistent academic standards and that support honest and impartial research. Only with trust can we believe in the research of others and move forward with new work. Only with trust can we collaborate with individuals, sharing information and ideas without fear that work will be stolen, careers stunted, or reputations diminished. Only with trust can academic communities believe in the social value and meaning of an institution’s scholarship and degrees.


Fair and accurate evaluation is essential in the educational process. The important components of fairness are predictability, clear expectations, and a consistent and just response to dishonesty. Faculty members, students and administration all have the right to expect fair treatment from one another and their colleagues. All academic constituencies have a role in ensuring fairness. A lapse by one member of the community does not excuse misconduct by another.

Honor and Respect

To be most rewarding, teaching and learning demand active engagement and mutual respect. Students and faculty must respect themselves and each other as individuals, not just as a means to an end. They must also respect themselves and each other for extending their boundaries of knowledge, testing new skills, building upon success, and learning from failure. Through attendance, attention, listening to multiple viewpoints, being prepared, contributing to discussions, meeting deadlines, performing to the best of one’s ability, taking others’ ideas seriously, providing full and honest feedback, valuing aspirations and goals, recognizing each other as individuals, and acknowledging intellectual contributions through proper recognition, the interdependence of the values that constitute academic integrity becomes apparent. Honor and respect involve fair and honest treatment, all of which is critical for a community of trust.

Responsibility and Accountability

Every member of an academic community–each student, faculty member, and administrator–is responsible for upholding the integrity of the community. Shared responsibility and accountability distribute the power to effect change, help overcome apathy, and stimulate personal investment in upholding academic integrity standards. Being responsible means taking action against wrongdoing, despite peer pressure, fear, loyalty, or compassion. At a minimum, individuals must take responsibility for their own honesty and must discourage and seek to prevent misconduct by others. Whatever the circumstances, members of an academic community must not tolerate or ignore dishonesty on the part of others.

Aspen University is committed to fostering a spirit of honesty and integrity. All members of the Aspen University community including students, prospective students, instructors, staff, and the administration are responsible for following Aspen University’s Academic Integrity Policy. A violation of the policy deemed to be academic misconduct will not be tolerated, even if the act of academic misconduct remains undiscovered until after credits have been awarded or a degree has been conferred. In all cases of academic misconduct, the violating party will be subject to sanctions based on available information, including, but not restricted to, admission credentials, coursework, research, theses, dissertations, or other work products. Sanctions may be imposed up to and including; dismissal from the University, or revocation of credit or degree.

Distance learning programs require a higher level of self-monitoring with regard to academic integrity. Aspen University depends on the accuracy and the integrity of all records submitted by students or prospective students. All work submitted by a student must represent original work produced by that student for that course. All sources used in a work must be documented through acceptable references and citations and the extent to which the sources have been used must be apparent to the reader. False information on an application, an act to intentionally mislead or misinform a member of the Aspen University community, or submission of work that is written or produced by another as his or her own are considered cause for dismissal from the University.

Proctored Assessments

Aspen University’s policy on proctored assessments is paramount to maintaining academic integrity, a core value that underpins the very foundation of our institution. The purpose of this policy is to ensure the integrity and credibility of select assessments conducted within the online learning environment. Proctored assessments provide a standardized testing environment that mirrors the rigor and fairness of traditional, in-person examinations. Proctored assessments can occur in multiple formats. With the advent of digital technology and the growth of online education, proctored assessments have expanded to include online or remote proctoring. This method uses webcams, microphones, and Aspen’s faculty to authenticate student identity during an online video exam. The goal of proctored assessments, whether in-person or online, is to uphold academic integrity by ensuring that all students are assessed under equitable and controlled conditions, thereby accurately reflecting their knowledge and abilities.

By taking a proctored assessment, students are agreeing to abide by both this Academic Integrity Policy and the requirements outlined in the assignment instructions. Any violation of academic integrity during proctored assessments is addressed, following Aspen University’s Code of Conduct policy.

Proctored assessments evaluate a student's mastery of course and program learning outcomes. These assessments include, but are not limited to, program-specific signature assignments and mid-term and final examinations. Proctored assessments are part of an integrated approach to evaluating students' overall knowledge of the program's learning goals and are administered at strategic points during a student's program. The number of proctored assessments and their placement in the curriculum is determined at the program level.

Students are made aware of the proctored assessment requirements through course descriptions, syllabi, and course instructors. Aspen University is committed to providing equitable access to all students. Students with documented disabilities may request accommodations for proctored assessments, facilitated following the Office of Accessibility and applicable university policies. 

Proctoring student assessments is an essential faculty role that ensures the integrity and fairness of the evaluation process. Faculty check students’ government-issued photo IDs to ensure enrolled students are taking the assessments and report any incidents of academic dishonesty according to Aspen University policies. Additional information on the faculty role during proctored assessments is found in the Faculty Handbook.