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DBH 9100 Culminating Project

DBH 9100 Culminating Project

Reuse and Recycling of Previous Work

Culminate means to arrive at the final stage; to be at the point of highest development; to end.  

There's a reason this course is known as Culminating Project and that's because it is meant to be the crowning achievement of your experiences at Cummings.   Everything you have done at Cummings has led to this one final project that will build upon your previous knowledge while making a new and important contribution to the field of behavioral health. 

It is part of the expectation that your work in this Culminating Project will expand upon what you have already done.  When referring to your previous work, there is a right way to do that and there's the way that can be considered plagiarism.

First, let's be clear on our terminology:

At Cummings, your culminating project often builds upon the work of previous courses.   Please be aware of the following:

  • Recycling of work starts with a conversation with the instructor, well in advance of the assigned due date.
  • Recycling is decided on a case-by-case basis.  There is no standard policy for recycling of materials.
  • The student should expect to submit a copy of the work she or he wishes to recycle, with a specific plan  explained to the instructor. 
  • Because recycling involves reusing previously submitted work, its use will be evaluated under the "fair use" doctrine.  Use should be limited to only what is necessary to establish background. The new use should be considered transformative, which means it must contain substantive changes from the original and it breaks new ground on the ideas of the original work.
  • The instructor may limit the student to a percentage of the original work or may delineate specific sections that can be expanded upon in the new writing.
  • Approval is at the instructor's discretion, and is subject to any and all restrictions the instructor puts in place.
  • If approval is received, it is for a single incident of use and should not be considered a precedent.  All subsequent recycling must go through the same approval process.
  • The student must cite his original work properly to avoid the charge of self-plagiarism.  Please see page 44 in the Course Catalog for more information.

BOTTOM LINE:  Students should adhere to the spirit of ethical writing.  Although there are situations where recycling of one's own text is acceptable, it is a practice that in general should be avoided -- unless it is done in a manner consistent with scholarly conventions (quoting, paraphrasing, and citing of the source.)

Source:  iThenticate. (2011).  The ethics of self-plagiarism  [PDF document].   Retrieved from