Academic Integrity

Documenting Cases of Academic Dishonesty

When a faculty member discovers an act of academic dishonesty (as defined in The Student Code of Conduct) they should follow the directions given below. Faculty members may not impose sanctions without going through this University approved process, as we need to ensure each student receives due process. Additionally, by filing all reports of academic dishonesty with the Office of Student Conduct we can ensure additional follow-up for repeat offenders. Please note that this process applies to both undergraduate and graduate students, as well as all students enrolled in distance education courses or other online courses. This process supersedes all other policies and procedures within departments and programs.

Directions For Faculty Members

  1. Complete the Form. When a faculty member discovers an act of academic dishonesty, they should use the Academic Integrity Form included at the bottom of this page in order to document the alleged violation. To complete the form, please follow the steps below.
    1. Date: The date that you became aware of the incident of academic dishonesty. Within two (2) working days of this date you need to notify the student of the allegations against them.
    2. Student:  Please include the student's name and Banner ID.
    3. Charge: Refer to The Student Code of Conduct Student Conduct Standards (Article III. 1.) for all specific policies regarding Academic Dishonesty. (Found on this website.) Please choose the policy that best describes the alleged incident. And then include a brief statement of what occurred. For example:
      1. “Article III. 1. (b). Student used cell phone during exam.”
      2. “Article III. 1. (a) Student plagiarized material on paper.”
      3. “Article III. 1. (l) Student assisted another student in cheating.”
  2. Write a Statement. With the Academic Integrity Form you should submit a statement detailing the charge. This statement should include the following information:
    1. Time you became aware of the incident.
    2. How you came to the conclusion that academic dishonesty had occurred.
    3. Names and contact information of possible witnesses.
    4. Description of any evidence or documentation that you submit with the form.
    5. Rationale for choosing the sanction.
    6. Is this class online or in a classroom setting?
    7. Did the student respond to the email requesting an Academic Integrity Conference within the allotted number of days? If not, attach a copy of email that was sent.
    8. Did the student show up for the Academic Integrity Conference?
  3. Choose a Sanction. The purpose of a sanction is twofold. First, it deters the student from committing future violations. Second, it can help educate the student about academic integrity. The choice of sanction should be based solely on the current allegations against the student, and should not take into account any previous violations or unaddressed allegations with the same instructor or another instructor.
    1. You may choose more than one sanction. If you are unclear which sanction(s) best fit the allegations against the student, you can also consult with the Associate Director for Student Conduct in the Office of Student Conduct.
    2. On the form please use the space provided to briefly (one sentence or two) describe the sanction. You are free to choose the sanction you deem appropriate, but the following guide may assist you in choosing an appropriate sanction. You are encouraged to follow the guidelines below as the Student Academic Grievance Subcommittee will use these guidelines when determining whether a sanction is appropriate in cases that reach a hearing. 

Sanctioning Guide

Warning: A warning is appropriate in situations where some of the following criteria are met. A warning is never appropriate when the incident involves a final exam, a senior's project, or a graduate thesis or dissertation.

  • The act was done in the “heat of the moment”.
  • The act was not premeditated.
  • The student is repentant.
  • The act involves a smaller assignment.
  • The instance can serve as a learning opportunity.
  • There is not reason to believe the student will engage in academic dishonesty again.

 

Grade penalty: You have two options for a grade penalty. You can choose to lower the grade on an assignment related to the incident or you can choose an overall grade penalty for the course. A grade penalty is appropriate when the faculty member believes that one or more of these criteria are met:

  • The act was premeditated.
  • The act was related to a larger assignment, such as an exam.
  • The act was related to a final exam.
  • The student is unrepentant.

 

To determine the appropriate grade penalty the faculty member should consider:

  • The importance of the exam or assignment involved. Cheating on an assignment that counts more towards a final grade could be considered worse that cheating on a smaller assignment. 
  • How much could the student potentially have benefited if not caught?
  • What was the level of intent? A student may simply have shown negligence or recklessness.
  • What was the level of knowledge? If a student let another student borrow an assignment, is it reasonable to assume that the student would have known that the assignment would have been copied?
  • What was the level of premeditation?
  • Did the student directly violate a policy set out in the syllabus?

 

Requesting additional action from the Student Academic Grievance Subcommittee:
If you believe that the student should face suspension or expulsion, you have to choose this option. This is the appropriate option when:

  • The incident has damaged the reputation of the University
  • When the incident involves several members of the university community.
  • When the incident involves a senior project, Master's thesis, or dissertation.

 

Other: You may also impose other sanctions. This would be appropriate if the student is repentant and you see an opportunity to educate the student about the incident in a way that will be impactful for that individual. Additionally, if the alleged academic dishonesty occurred outside of the course, this may also be an appropriate sanction. In choosing another sanction option, please be sure to select a due date for this sanction, and include that date on the Academic Integrity Form.

You should not choose this option as a means to humiliate or denigrate the student. 

Potential examples of other sanctions may include:

  • Require that the student write an essay about the importance of academic integrity.
  • Require the student to redo the assignment, exam, or quiz.
  • Require that the student complete extra work for the course.

 

Meeting with the Student

  1. Once you have completed the first part of the Academic Integrity Form and collected all supporting documentation, you need to invite the student to a meeting to discuss the allegations (called an Academic Integrity Conference). The student must be notified of the allegations within two (2) working days of the discovery of the incident, and the Academic Integrity Conference must occur within seven (7) working days of the notification mentioned above. Ideally the meeting should occur in person, however, the meeting can be conducted via email, programs like Skype, video conference, or over the phone.
  2. At the meeting you should confront the student with the allegations, including presenting evidence of the allegations. Listen to the student's perspective on the incident to determine if the allegations hold.
    1. If you believe that the allegations do hold, present the Academic Integrity Form to the student. (In cases where the meeting is conducted virtually or via phone, the form should be emailed or faxed to the student.) There are two separate lines for the student to sign; by signing the first line they accept the charges against them, and by signing the second line they accept the sanctions that you have chosen for them.
      1. If they sign both lines, then the case is complete. The form (and all supporting documentation) is forwarded for appropriate signatures (chairperson and Dean) and then the case is recorded with the Office of Student Conduct.
      2. If they decline to sign either line, then the form (and all supporting documentation) is forwarded for appropriate signatures (chairperson and Dean) and the case is forwarded to the Office of Student Conduct in order to set up a hearing with the Academic Grievance Subcommittee.
        1. Note that the student has up to three (3) working days to sign and return the Academic Integrity Form.
        2. In a case where the student accepts the charges but declines the sanctions, you may choose to change the sanctions if you feel it's in the best interest of the case.
        3. Please note that if the case moves to a hearing, the committee may choose to lower, maintain, or increase the sanctions that you have recommended.
        4. In order to ensure due process, the student should never be pressured to sign the Academic Integrity Form. If the student has any concerns about signing the form, you should encourage them to decline to sign the form so that the case can be heard before the committee. Remember that even this process is a learning opportunity for the student!
    2. If you do not believe that the allegations hold after speaking with the student, then you can dismiss the charges at that time.
  3. At any time if the student returns to you to discuss the incident, you may choose to alter the charges or sanctions of your own volition. If the student approaches you after having initially refused to sign the form, but they now admit to the charges, please submit a new (signed) Academic Integrity Form to the Office of Student Conduct. This new form will negate the first (unsigned) form.
  4. As explained above, your chairperson and dean will be aware of the case and will have an opportunity to review documents related to the case. They have the option to submit a statement in support of you or the student. Therefore, please consider having a personal conversation with your chairperson and/or dean about the case.

Information for Chairpersons and Deans

The Academic Integrity Form will be forwarded to you with the appropriate documentation. You are encouraged to review the documents and possibly initiate a conversation with the faculty member involved. You have the option of submitting a statement with your signature. This statement could explain your support for the faculty member or student. You also have the option to submit supporting documentation you deem relevant.