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Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is an expected behavior of all students. Academic dishonesty may include, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, fabrication, and knowingly assisting others in an act of academic dishonesty. Students who engage in academic dishonesty in any form, even as a first offense, place themselves in jeopardy of receiving a failing grade for the assignment or course, as well as dismissal from the nursing program and University. In accordance with the university policy, no penalty shall be imposed until the student has been informed of the charge, has been informed of the evidence on which it is based, and has been given an opportunity to respond.  Policies and procedures governing academic dishonesty can be found in the Student Rights and Responsibilities section of the University Bulletin. Cheating on an examination, quiz, or any other assignment will be a basis for dismissal from the program. Visit the Academic Integrity Web Page.

Plagiarism, as defined in the University Bulletin, is the intentional reproduction of another person’s ideas, words, or statements without acknowledgment. Students must give credit when using the works of others and are expected to properly reference the use of: 1) direct quotes; 2) another person’s ideas or opinions; or 3) any borrowed statistics, facts, or other materials. Failure to properly give credit to others’ work is a form of academic dishonesty (University Bulletin, Student Rights and Responsibilities).

Online Exams
Dates and times for online exams have been clearly identified in the course syllabus and calendar. Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Safari (Mac users) are the recommended internet browsers for use with Blackboard. Students should use one of these browsers for online exams and take a practice exam within the course prior to an actual examination. It is the student’s responsibility to become familiar with all online Platforms used in the program. There are no adjustments of exam scores based on computer concerns. It is the student’s responsibility to have a reliable internet connection and computer for examinations. Remote exam proctoring may be required in courses with online exams.

Students must take the exam at the designated time.
It is the student’s responsibility to notify faculty prior to the exam. Failure to notify the faculty prior to the exam start can result in a “0” grade on the exam or quiz. If an unforeseen circumstance occurs, such as a medical or personal emergency, faculty may require proctored or alternate forms for examination. Alternative exams may include short answer, essay, and alternative question formats. Students may be asked to provide supporting documentation of said non-elective circumstance.

All online exams are closed-book unless otherwise designated. Downloading, copying, or printing any exam or part of an exam is considered academic dishonesty and will result in disciplinary action. An oral review of frequently missed concepts may be provided with the exception of final semester exams. The purpose of the review is to clarify concepts evaluated in testing. Students will be informed of the length of time allowed for the exam and the time when the exam will be available. It is the student’s responsibility to adjust their schedule to take exams during the scheduled time. Assignments and exams will be graded as originally submitted.

Proctored Exams

Courses in the MSN and Post MSN Certificate programs may require proctored exams.  Information concerning exam proctoring software requirements may be found under Exam Proctoring and Techinical Support/System Requirements at:

Student Assignments

Student papers/assignments may be displayed as student examples for course files and accreditation purposes. Student work used for any other purpose will require permission from the student(s) prior to faculty use. Sharing assignments, exams information, and graded work is considered academic dishonesty. This includes social media sites such as Facebook. If postings to social media sites are identified, an academic integrity violation will be charged.   

Technology Proficiency

Competency in the use of the computer to access information, communicate by E-mail, use Excel, Microsoft Word and Power Point is a requirement of the MSN program. It is to your advantage to have your own computer, modem, and access to the Internet.  All graduate courses have distance education components which require reliable Internet communication.  Specific information regarding operating systems and software can be accessed through the USI Online Learning's website:

Professional Behavior

Professional behavior is an expectation online, in the classroom, and in the clinical environment with faculty, patients, and clinical preceptors and their staff.  The Professional Behavioral Agreement Statements (Appendix D) are expectations for all students and are to be signed and uploaded through Castle Branch. Unprofessionalism may result in formal disciplinary action. 

Preparation for Online Exams and Board Certification

After completing NURS 617, NURS 622, and NURS 618, NP and CNS students are required to complete the "3-P Diagnostic Exam" during fall semester of the first clinical course. Nationally normed ‘predictor exams’ for nurse practitioner specialties, including Post MSN Certificate students, will be required in the final semester of the program. Self-remediation is an expectation for poor performance on the 3-P exam or certification predictor exams in order to improve clinical performance and promote certification pass rates.

Change of Name/Address/Phone

Changes in local and/or permanent addresses, telephone number, and change in name are to be reported immediately to both the University Registrar's Office and the Nursing Programs. A Change of Name form (paper or Internet) must be submitted to the USI Registrar's Office.

Statistics Proficiency

As a graduate student, you are expected to competently read and analyze nursing research and scholarly literature, and interpret the statistical data. In order to facilitate your successful progression through the graduate program, it is highly recommended that you hone your statistical knowledge prior to taking N602: Evidenced Based Practice for Advanced Nursing.

Writing Proficiency

Minimal level expectation for written academic assignments includes use of the seventh edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA) style format, expression of a logical flow of ideas, and proper grammar, spelling and sentence structure (APA, 2020). The APA manual has information regarding content and organization of a manuscript, expression of ideas, as well as information about editorial style and manuscript preparation. All written academic assignments must be typed and properly referenced. The American Psychological Association (APA) publication guidelines are used in the Nursing Program. The manual is available for purchase at the USI Bookstore.

Assignments such as case studies and health assessments may have a specialized format specified by the instructor. Handwritten assignments may also be specified by the instructor.