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Once a person has decided that they want to join the ranks of academia with the vision of bettering themselves and entering the professional world, the steps that they take while pursuing this vision become the code by which their future is built. The actions that are taken and the ideals which are formed during this academic tenure will often determine just how influential and respected a person can become in society, as well as the ethical code that they follow.

The philosophy of ethics can be broken down into three categories; personal ethics, professional ethics and academic ethics. Personal ethics are the basic principles and values that oversee how we get along with each other. Society has dictated that good ethics include those which impact our experiences in a positive manner when interacting with others either in a social or business manner. Anything that is negative would not be considered as socially acceptable.

Professional ethics are the personal and business behavior, values and guiding principles which have been established by organizations in order to help guide their members and help them perform their job functions according to the organization’s ethical principles.

Academic ethics are the personal behaviors of an academic community to present work that is truly their own. Plagiarism, cheating, or following the regulations are all offenses which can compromise the integrity of the facility and diminishes the academic spirit of the college experience.

The official plagiarism policy of Kaplan University can be defined as “All work done for the completion of a course must be your original work with appropriate citations or acknowledgements for any sources utilized in the completion of any coursework, project, or assignment. This includes, but is not limited to, discussion boards, computer programs, marketing plans, PowerPoint presentations, papers, and other assignments, including drafts and final versions. (Kaplan University, 2014).”

The Kaplan plagiarism policy then goes on to further identify the offenses which make up plagiarism as those which include, but are not limited to the usage of ideas, words and/or other works from their authors without their consent or credit, the purchase of a paper off of the internet for the purpose of using it as the original work of the submitter, and the submission of any paper, whole or in part, as your own – even though you did not do the actual work.

According to Lobanov-Rostovsky’s definition of plagiarism in Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities, (2009), “Plagiarism is traditionally viewed as a form of theft, with an emphasis on the unearned benefits – educational, financial, or professional – that the plagiarist gains by appropriating the intellectual work of another.” The paper goes on to claim that this idea of what plagiarism is simply means that none of our ideas or thoughts are actually our own, but are a regurgitation of compilations of preexisting knowledge.

The act of committing plagiarism is a very serious offense which has equally serious consequences. If it has been determined by the University that such an offense has taken place, then one of three consequences will occur. These consequences, as defined by the Kaplan Integrity Policy, are: first offense – failure of the assignment, second offense – failure of the class and, third offense – expulsion from the University (Kaplan University, 2014).

The plagiarism charges are subsequently recorded in the Kaplan University database and stay there permanently. Should a student continue to commit plagiarism, the charges will accumulate and upon the third offense, the student will be permanently dismissed from the University.

To avoid these consequences, the University has given students guidelines that they can use to follow so they can avoid committing any action which could be deemed plagiarism. Some of these ways include the Q & A Center, Live Tutoring, and various workshops, either live or recorded, the Kaplan University Writing Center (KUWC). These resources can be found inside the Academic Support Center at Kaplan University.

Personal choice is always the first recourse to becoming known as an ethical person, both in academia and in professional institutions. It is first within the academic institution where students develop their moral and ethical standards which they then take with them into their professional careers. It is up to them to then maintain a high level of honesty and integrity and their actions both within and without these careers. To do otherwise would cause others to question the policies of the institution involved.

The profession that a person chooses, where they choose to practice said profession, the actions that they take, and how they choose to practice this profession are all personal choices that are made by the individual. These personal choices have been consciously made because of the path that the student took during their academic career. It is these conscious choices which become that person’s code of ethics and is influenced by their ethical identity (Romani & Szkudlarek, 2014).

The case of the shooting of 18 year old Michael Brown in St. Louis, Missouri brings the problems behind personal choice and ethics to light. Officer Wilson had to make his own split second decision when faced with a young man who, some witnesses stated, was charging him. Since the conclusion of the Grand Jury trial, and the subsequent acquittal of the officer, there have been many different opinions raised across the country of the ethics of Officer Wilson and the St. Louis police department. The decision to shoot was simply a personal choice that Wilson made in the face of whatever peril he perceived at the time of the incident (Cassell, 2014).

If ever faced with any type of ethical question, the main thing to do in order to maintain personal ethics that conform to the expected ethics is to both fall back on the ethics taught to you during your academic and professional career. Stay up to date on what the ethics state and simply comply with the laws and rules of the day.

It is the actions and ideals which make up a person’s ethical code during his academic career that will have a lasting impact on how he or she will be viewed in the professional world. Cheating, stealing another person’s ideas, prevaricating or acting in a socially inacceptable manner will all subject an individual to untold scrutiny and negative consequences. Thus, it is by following the ideals and ethics that were exemplified during the academic career, that one can ensure themselves a positive future ahead.


Cassell, P. (December 08, 2014). The overlooked audiotape of the Michael Brown shooting. The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/12/08/the-overlooked-audiotape-of-the-michael-brown-shooting/

Kaplan University. (2014). Kaplan University’s Policy on Plagiarism. Academic Support Center. Retrieved from https://kucampus.kaplan.edu/MyStudies/AcademicSupportCenter/WritingCenter/WritingReferenceLibrary/ResearchCitationAndPlagiarism/KaplanUniversitysPlagiarismPolicy.aspx

Lobanov-Rostovsky, S. (2009). The Death of the Plagiarist. Angelaki: Journal Of The Theoretical Humanities, 14(1), 29-39. doi:10.1080/09697250903006435

Romani, L., & Szkudlarek, B. (2014). The Struggles of the Interculturalists: Professional Ethical Identity and Early Stages of Codes of Ethics Development. Journal Of Business Ethics, 119(2), 173-191. doi:10.1007/s10551-012-1610-1

Source by Michelle Hoffmann


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