Academic Honesty

In coming to the University of Chicago, you have become a part of an academic community. You need to both understand and internalize the values and ethics of our community. The College captures this well, in its policy on Academic Integrity & Student Conduct:

All members of the University of Chicago belong to a tradition dedicated to the pursuit and cultivation of learning. A few simple principles – academic honesty, mutual respect and civility, personal responsibility – lie at the heart of our intellectual community. Each of us – students, faculty and staff – is pledged to live up to these standards and to support each others’ efforts in this regard. We take these values seriously...

The University's formal policy on Academic Honesty and Plagiarism:

It is contrary to justice, academic integrity, and to the spirit of intellectual inquiry to submit another’s statements or ideas of work as one's own. To do so is plagiarism or cheating, offenses punishable under the University's disciplinary system. Because these offenses undercut the distinctive moral and intellectual character of the University, we take them very seriously.

Proper acknowledgment of another's ideas, whether by direct quotation or paraphrase, is expected. In particular, if any written or electronic source is consulted and material is used from that source, directly or indirectly, the source should be identified by author, title, and page number, or by website and date accessed. Any doubts about what constitutes “use” should be addressed to the instructor.

We believe that student interactions are an important and useful means to mastery of the material. We recommend that you discuss the material in this class with other students, and that includes the homework assignments. So what is the boundary between acceptable collaboration and academic misconduct? First, while it is acceptable to discuss homework, it is not acceptable to turn in someone else's work as your own. When the time comes to write down your answer, you should write it down yourself, from your own memory. Moreover, you should cite any material discussions, or written sources, e.g.,

    -- I discussed the algorithm used in this exercise with Jim Smith.

But let us add a cautionary note. The University's policy says less than it should regarding the culpability of those who facilitate misconduct, or know of misconduct by others but do not report it. An all too common case has been where one student has decided to “help” another student by giving them a copy of their assignment, only to have that other student copy it (perhaps with minimal modifications) and turn it in. In such cases, we view both students as culpable, and pursue disciplinary sanctions against both.

For the student collaborations, it can be a slippery slope that leads from sanctioned collaboration to outright misconduct. But for all the slipperiness, there is a clear line: present only your ideas as yours, and attribute all others.

If you have any questions about what is or is not proper academic conduct, please ask us.

Passing homework or lab code files back and forth is almost invariably dangerous, and is likely to result in plagiarism concerns. Don't do it!


If you have a disability accommodation, please provide me with a copy of your accommodation determination letter from the Student Disability Services as soon as possible.


The University of Chicago is committed to diversity and rigorous inquiry that arises from multiple perspectives. We concur with this commitment and also believe that we have the highest quality interactions and can creatively solve more problems when we recognize and share our diversity. We expect to maintain a productive learning environment based on open communication, mutual respect, and non-discrimination. We view the diversity that students bring to this class as a resource, strength and benefit. It is our intent to present materials and activities that are respectful of diversity: gender, sexuality, disability, generational status, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, race, religious background, and immigration status. Any suggestions for promoting a positive and open environment will be appreciated and given serious consideration. Please let us know your preferred name and gender pronouns.

Lecture Attendance

We do not explicitly include lecture attendance as an explicit grading criteria. But diligent attendance at lectures is essential to mastery of the material, and our willingness to extend ourselves (e.g., to invest time in a student through office hours, etc.) is strongly tied to our perception of the effort being put out by the student. In particular, absent extenuating circumstances, we're not going to use office hours to repeat a lecture.

We'll also note that, based on current University of Chicago tuition, fees, room and board, and other costs, you're probably paying about $72K per year to take 10-ish classes that meet 30-ish times each, in other words, about $240/class. You should find this sobering. We do.