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Academic Integrity

Policy and Procedures

The pursuit of knowledge can proceed only when scholars take responsibility and receive credit for their work. Recognition of individual contributions to knowledge and of the intellectual property of others builds trust within the University and encourages the sharing of ideas that is essential to scholarship. Similarly, the educational process requires that individuals present their own ideas and insights for evaluation, critique, and eventual reformulation. Presentation of others' work as one's own is not only intellectual dishonesty, but it also undermines the educational process.

Standards

Academic integrity is violated by any dishonest act which is committed in an academic context including, but not restricted to the following:

Cheating is the fraudulent or dishonest presentation of work. Cheating includes but is not limited to:

  • the use or attempted use of unauthorized aids in examinations or other academic exercises submitted for evaluation;
  • fabrication, falsification, or misrepresentation of data, results, sources for papers or reports, or in clinical practice, as in reporting experiments, measurements, statistical analyses, tests, or other studies never performed; manipulating or altering data or other manifestations of research to achieve a desired result; selective reporting, including the deliberate suppression of conflicting or unwanted data;
  • falsification of papers, official records, or reports;
  • copying from another student's work;
  • actions that destroy or alter the work of another student;
  • unauthorized cooperation in completing assignments or during an examination;
  • the use of purchased essays or term papers, or of purchased preparatory research for such papers;
  • submission of the same written work in more than one course without prior written approval from the instructors involved;
  • dishonesty in requests for make-up exams, for extensions of deadlines for submitting papers, and in any other matter relating to a course.

Plagiarism is the act of taking the words, ideas, data, illustrations, or statements of another person or source, and presenting them as one's own. Each student is responsible for learning and using proper methods of paraphrasing and footnoting, quotation, and other forms of citation, to ensure that the original author, speaker, illustrator, or source of the material used is clearly acknowledged.

Other breaches of academic integrity include:

  • the misrepresentation of one's own or another's identity for academic purposes;
  • the misrepresentation of material facts or circumstances in relation to examinations, papers, or other evaluative activities;
  • the sale of papers, essays, or research for fraudulent use;
  • the alteration or falsification of official University records;
  • the unauthorized use of University academic facilities or equipment, including computer accounts and files;
  • the unauthorized recording, sale, purchase, or use of academic lectures, academic computer software, or other instructional materials;
  • the expropriation or abuse of ideas and preliminary data obtained during the process of editorial or peer review of work submitted to journals, or in proposals for funding by agency panels or by internal University committees;
  • the expropriation and/or inappropriate dissemination of personally-identifying human subject data;
  • the unauthorized removal, mutilation, or deliberate concealment of materials in University libraries, media, or academic resource centers.

Collusion is defined as assistance or an attempt to assist another student in an act of academic dishonesty. Collusion is distinct from collaborative learning, which may be a valuable component of students' scholarly development. Acceptable levels of collaboration vary in different courses, and students are expected to consult with their instructor if they are uncertain whether their cooperative activities are acceptable.

Promoting Academic Integrity: Roles of Community Members

Student Roles in Maintaining Academic Integrity

Students have a responsibility to maintain high standards of academic integrity in their own work, and thereby to maintain the integrity of their degree. It is their responsibility to be familiar with, and understand, the University policy on academic integrity.

Students who become aware of a violation of academic integrity by a fellow student should respond in one of the following ways:

  • Students may discuss their concerns with the student whom they suspect of a violation. Direct contact by another student may be the best means of resolving the problem. Repeated demonstration of student concern for academic integrity will in the long run build a peer-regulated community.
  • If the incident is a major violation or part of a repeated pattern of violations, students should bring their concerns to the attention of the instructor or to the appropriate department chairperson or associate dean. Suspected violations by students reported to members of the faculty or to an associate dean will be handled according to the procedures set forth below.

Students who have serious concern that a faculty member is not living up to his or her responsibility to safeguard and promote academic integrity should speak with the faculty member directly, or should bring their concern to the attention of the department chairperson or associate dean.

Faculty Roles in Fostering Academic Integrity

Faculty members should provide students with a positive environment for learning and intellectual growth and, by their words and actions, promote conditions that foster academic integrity.

Faculty should be concerned about the impact of their behavior on students. Students are sensitive to messages communicated in informal discussions and in casual faculty remarks about personal decisions and value judgments. Students are perhaps most sensitive to how responsibly faculty members fulfill their obligations to them in the careful preparation of classes, in the serious evaluation of student achievement, and in their genuine interest in and availability to students.

Faculty should promote academic integrity in the following specific ways:

  • At the beginning of each course, instructors should discuss academic integrity in order to promote an ongoing dialogue about academic integrity and to set the tone and establish guidelines for academic integrity within the context of the course, e.g., the extent to which collaborative work is appropriate. Where relevant, instructors should discuss why, when, and how students must cite sources in their written work.
  • Instructors should provide students with a written syllabus that states course requirements and, when available, examination dates and times.
  • Instructors are encouraged to prepare new examinations and assignments where appropriate each semester in order to ensure that no student obtains an unfair advantage over his or her classmates by reviewing exams or assignments from prior semesters. If previous examinations are available to some students, faculty members should insure that all students in the course have similar access. Course examinations should be designed to minimize the possibility of cheating, and course paper assignments should be designed to minimize the possibility of plagiarism.
  • Proctors should be present at all examinations, including the final examination, and should provide students with an environment that encourages honesty and prevents dishonesty.
  • Faculty should be careful to respect students' intellectual property and the confidentiality of student academic information.
  • Assignment of grades, which is the sole responsibility of the instructor, should be awarded in a manner fair to all students.

Academic Deans

Academic deans have overall responsibility for academic integrity within their schools. In particular, deans' responsibilities include the following:

  • promoting an environment where academic integrity is a priority for both students and faculty,
  • ensuring that students who are honest are not placed at an unfair disadvantage, and
  • establishing procedures to adjudicate charges of academic dishonesty and to protect the rights of all parties.

Procedures

In each school a Committee on Academic Integrity with both faculty and student members is to be constituted annually.

When a faculty member determines that a student's work violates the standards of academic integrity, that faculty member should discuss the violation with the student. If the faculty member decides to impose a grading penalty, a letter of notification describing the incident and the grading penalty is to be sent to the student's class dean.

On receipt of such a notification the class dean will notify the student of the allegation and the grading penalty imposed by the faculty member. The student will be given an opportunity to respond to the faculty member's notification in writing. While a case is pending, the student may not withdraw from or change status in the course.

Each reported violation of the standards of academic integrity will be reviewed by the Committee on Academic Integrity of the student's school. In cases involving students from more than one school, or students in joint or dual degree programs, the Committees on Academic Integrity of the pertinent schools will cooperate in their review.

A board chosen by the chairperson of the Committee on Academic Integrity from the full Committee will be assigned to each case, with one of the faculty members as chairperson of the review board. The associate dean will serve as a non-voting administrative resource, and will maintain the Committee's record of notifications and relevant materials.

The faculty member bringing the accusation and the student will be notified that the case is under review by the Academic Integrity Committee. The student will be given an opportunity to respond to the faculty member's notification letter in writing. The board at its discretion may interview any individual with knowledge pertinent to the case.

The board will decide a case by simple majority vote, and the associate dean will convey to the faculty member and the student the board's findings as to responsibility and recommended sanctions. The associate dean will compile a complete file of each case, to be kept confidential in the Dean's office. Files on students found not responsible will be destroyed.

Penalties for students found responsible for violations will depend upon the seriousness and circumstances of the violation, the degree of premeditation involved, and the student's previous record of violations. The committee may simply affirm the faculty member's penalty and issue the student a "warning," which will be kept in a confidential file in the Dean's Office until the student graduates and will not be reportable to professional schools or outside agencies; or it may recommend a different grading penalty and/or impose additional administrative penalties. Such penalties may include university probation, suspension, or expulsion, all of which become part of a student's academic record and are reportable to graduate/professional schools and outside agencies.

Appeal of the board's decision may be made by written request to the Dean of the school not later than ten days following notice of the board's decision, and the Dean's decision will be final.