Academic Culture

Academic culture in Canada might be different to what you are accustomed to at home. At the University of Lethbridge, students are expected to take an active and accountable role in their education. It is your responsibility to regularly attend all of your classes, complete all of your homework and assignments by the due date, and pay attention in class.

The University of Lethbridge emphasizes the value of a liberal, well-rounded education. We encourage critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration. It is normal to ask your professor questions and contribute your own ideas to discussions; sometimes a portion of your grade will be assessed based on classroom participation. You may be required to work with other students on projects, and you and the other students will be expected to contribute equally to the group assignment.

The atmosphere in your classroom will generally be relaxed and casual. It is acceptable to speak informally to your professor. Some professors will even allow you to eat in class or invite you to call them by their first name. Many professors will allow you to use laptops and tablets for note-taking, but use of electronic devices should be limited to course-related activities; you should not use your laptop or tablet to browse social media or work on unrelated assignments. Using your phone in class is inconsiderate to your professor.

If you are struggling to understand a concept or part of the course materials, you are encouraged to ask questions or arrange a time to meet with your professor—all of our professors at the University of Lethbridge have drop-in office hours so that they are available to help you.

Here are some general tips to help you study successfully and responsibly:

  • Read your syllabus (course outline) thoroughly and always make sure you keep a copy somewhere you can easily refer back to it
  • Make note of all important assignment due dates and test dates and keep track of them on a calendar
  • Always attend your classes and complete the required readings in advance of the class
  • Introduce yourself to at least one person in your class and exchange contact information, so you can ask to see their notes if you are absent due to sickness
  • Don’t procrastinate. Make sure you know how much time it will take you to complete a project or assignment, and start it early enough that you will have sufficient time to complete it properly
  • Become familiar with the tools and services available to you at the University of Lethbridge, such as the Writing Centre, the Student Success Centre, and the Library
  • Visit an Academic Advisor once per semester

At the University of Lethbridge, we pride ourselves on fostering an environment of tolerance, open-mindedness, and mutual respect where all members of the academic community may express their thoughts, beliefs, and opinions freely without fear of discrimination. We support diversity and equal opportunity, and we encourage intellectual exchange, creativity, and originality in our students and staff. We ask that you contribute to maintaining and promoting this culture by respecting the thoughts and beliefs of others, even if they contradict your own. Civil discussion and debate is welcome; however berating or harassing other students is unacceptable.

Additionally, please be considerate when using the buildings, grounds, facilities and equipment of the University of Lethbridge. For more details, see University of Lethbridge Principles of Student Citizenship.

Most scholarly literature, including articles that you may be required to read or papers that you may be required to write, must adhere to certain standard format requirements. The language will be formal and emphasis is placed on the correctness of grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Academic papers typically consist of a central thesis and supporting arguments.

Different disciplines will use different citation methods. “Citation” refers to giving proper credit to the author or originator of an idea or words that are not your own. Ask your professor which citation method he or she would prefer you to use. You can find a guide about the various citation methods here.

At the University of Lethbridge, we value the Academic Integrity of our staff and students and take academic offences seriously. Academic offenses include (but are not limited to) cheating, duplication, plagiarism, distributing or receiving confidential academic materials, and misrepresentation. Penalties for academic offenses include additional work, grade reduction in or rejection of the assignment, grade reduction in the course, a grade of ‘F’ in the course, or in extreme cases, suspension or expulsion. Please take care to carefully read and review the Student Discipline Policy. If you have any questions about what constitutes an academic offense or the potential ramifications, consult an Academic Advisor.


No student shall represent the words, ideas, images or data of another person as his or her own. This regulation will affect any academic assignment or other component of any course or program of study, whether the plagiarized material constitutes a part or the entirety of the work submitted (University of Lethbridge Student Discipline Policy.).

The way plagiarism is defined in Canada and at the University of Lethbridge may be unfamiliar to you.  It may be that you've never encountered the concept before.  It may be that it is defined or regarded differently in your culture.  To help you understand what plagiarism means at the University of Lethbridge, and how to avoid it, we recommend taking this free, non-credit Moodle course

The University of Lethbridge uses the plagiarism detection service Depending on your instructor, you may be asked to submit an electronic copy of written assignments to this website.