Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines ethics as the discipline describing the good and the bad concerning moral duty and obligation. On the other hand, the Cambridge English Dictionary defines integrity as being honest with strong morals principles without changing whatsoever. The HuffPost defines integrity as a concept of consistency of the values, actions, principles, measures, expectations, methods, and outcomes. These definitions present the same concept shared by the two terms, that is, “moral principle.” Therefore, ethics can be understood as the moral principles governing the behavior of a person or people within a particular society.
On the other hand, integrity means being morally upright or clinging to self-consistent standards. In academics, ethics means doing the right thing at the right time to deliver the right outcome that is original to oneself.
This covers a large range of actions taken by both students and teachers in carrying out their duties. For example, ethics reminds students to study their course texts and read academic articles to gain the right and sufficient knowledge of what they study.
Reading at the right time saves students from the last minute stress during examination periods, which may force a student to copy the work of their colleagues and present it as their work. The act of copying other people’s work without recognizing them is known as plagiarism, an evil act that is legally punishable. Ethics reminds students to be students, meaning, students should direct much of their efforts in their academic work to succeed rather than dilly-dallying and later copying other people’s work.
It means that when you are a student, you must have time to do all that is expected of a student to attain both moral and academic success. Such moral expectations include studying, attending lecture sessions, doing assignments and submitting them on time, doing the continuous assessment tests, completing projects on time, as well as the final examinations. This is the ethical principle expected of every student.
On the other hand, academic integrity means a commitment to five main values in academics including honesty, respect, trust, fairness, and responsibility according to the International Center for Academic Integrity. Integrity reminds students to continue doing the right thing even if all others are doing the opposite. Integrity makes a student say no to such vices as cheating in exams, fabrications, misrepresentations, conspiracy, collusion, disruptive behavior, improper use of the computers, and plagiarism. Academic integrity helps students to avoid rogue ideas and actions such as getting a copy of the test paper before the test is administered and distributing it out to other students either freely or for money and altering grades on a computer, grade book, or assignment. When students routinely demonstrate a lack of academic integrity, the school may lose trust with the public thereby leading to very low enrollments of students and the unlikelihood for employers to give opportunities of employment to students graduating from the school.
This is because they do not trust if the school can help students develop crucial skills and knowledge that is chiefly needed in the work market. In addition to that, the value for degrees obtained from the university is considered of low quality. Hence, the institution loses ground thereby it is deemed to collapse due to lack of support from the government, parents, and the job market. Finally, academic dishonesty can cause great academic unrest for the school since everyone does not trust what they do. The school may end up producing very low-quality graduates who will lack employment opportunities in the job market (Milton, 2015). The school definitely, will be closed down having failed to discharge its duty to the people. In conclusion, ethics and integrity are core principles in academics that cannot be compromised at any expense. When students routinely demonstrate a lack of academic integrity, the host institution may suffer various consequences such as the production of low-quality degrees, bad reputation, and even a close down. Ethics and integrity, therefore, play a very significant role in academic excellence and should be promoted at all costs.