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Woods College of Advancing Studies

Academic Integrity

woods college of advancing studies

The pursuit of knowledge proceeds 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 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:

  • 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 late registrations, 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.

Collaboration at acceptable levels varies in different courses. Students are expected to consult with their instructor if they are uncertain whether their cooperative activities are acceptable.

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 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 dean.  Suspected violations by students reported to members of the faculty or to the 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 dean.

Positive Learning Environments
Students are required to refrain from any type of cruel or hurtful behavior toward anyone that creates a risk to the individual or group’s physical and/or mental health and safety.


STUDENT APPEALS:  Grievance Policy
The Academic Council is appointed annually by the President, and is advisory to the Dean. Its responsibilities include the oversight of the program, and review of grievances from faculty and students.

The Council may be requested by faculty or students to call a formal review as needed.  That review focuses on performance, issues of integrity, or grievances related to the rights and responsibilities of students including, but not limited to, grade grievances.

The review provides an opportunity for the student involved to participate in the process. Any matter requiring formal Council review shall be brought to the Council’s attention as soon after its identification as is practicable. All requests for review shall be submitted in writing to the Council at least two weeks, if possible, before a formal review meeting.

Procedures for Grievances
Situations where the student is in disagreement with faculty evaluation and/or program planning or assesses a violation of rights should be approached in the following manner:

  1. Student shall arrange to meet with the faculty member involved and attempt to resolve the differences/difficulty;
  2. Student shall notify the advisor and instructor of a continuing difference/difficulty;
  3. Student advisor shall discuss the situations with the student and with the instructor and shall try to assist in resolving the difference/difficulty;
  4. The Coordinator of Student Services shall be notified in writing by the student if additional input into resolving the difference/difficulty is sought or if attempts at resolution are unsatisfactory;
  5. Description of the difference/difficulty, attempts to resolve the difference/difficulty and the present state of affairs shall be forwarded to the Dean by the student prior to any formal review;
  6. Faculty members involved in the difference/difficulty are free to submit written material to the Dean and if necessary the Academic Council

Timeline for Grievances
Any student who believes he or she has a grievance should communicate with the faculty member involved as soon as possible after the action being grieved, but no later than the close of the semester in which the action giving rise to the complaint occurred. A grade grievance beyond a year is not considered.

During the academic year the faculty member should communicate within two weeks of the student’s request to discuss the grievance. If the matter cannot be resolved, the student should notify the advisor in writing of the grievance specifying the nature of the complaint and the remedy requested. Within two weeks of receiving the complaint, the student's advisor shall discuss the situation with the student and with the instructor and shall try to assist in resolving the difference/difficulty. If a mutually acceptable solution cannot be reached, the student shall notify the Dean in writing if additional input into resolving the difference/difficulty is sought or if attempts at resolution are unsatisfactory.

In matters of a student grievance unresolved by the faculty members and/or Dean, the Academic Council shall assume responsibility for notifying all parties involved of the scheduled review. The advisor, Dean and the student shall attend the Council meeting and present a summary of the difficulty or grievance, efforts presently underway or previously undertaken for resolution of the difficulty or grievance, and their recommendations. The Council, the Dean and advisor or the student may request additional information from specific individuals having knowledge relevant to the situation.

The Academic Council shall meet within two weeks of a written request and shall notify both faculty and student verbally and in writing, ten days in advance of the meeting.

Conflict of Interest
If a member of the Academic Council has a conflict of interest, he or she will recuse themselves from consideration of the matter under review.

During deliberations, only members of Academic Council shall be present. The Council shall determine the seriousness and/or validity of the student's difficulties and/or grievances. After considering any recommendations made by the Dean, the advisor, the student and/or relevant others, the Council must recommend to the Dean a course of action to be followed. Their recommendation may include no action, probation, dismissal, program modification or action as seems warranted regarding a grade grievance. When the difficulty or disagreement appears to be amenable to remedy, a specific time period shall be established for overcoming the issue under deliberation. At the end of this period, the Council shall again review the situation and recommend appropriate action. The Dean shall notify the student of the final decision in writing.

Appeal of the Academic Council Decision
The student has the right to request an appeal of the action on a grievance in cases where there has been a procedural violation or a demonstrable mistake of fact. A written petition of appeal must be submitted to the Dean within ten working days of written notification of the action on a grievance. The petition should succinctly state all facts relevant to procedural violations or factual errors.

If a petition for appeal is accepted by the Dean, the Dean shall appoint an Ad Hoc Appeals Committee to review the decision. The Appeals Committee shall be composed of three faculty members (not members of the Academic Council) and the Dean.

The Dean, who shall act as chairperson, shall be a non-voting member. The student has the right to challenge, for cause, any individual member appointed to the Appeals Committee. The final decision on membership rests with the Dean. In presenting to the Appeals Committee, the student shall introduce material of a substantiating nature and may request additional information from specific sources or individuals having knowledge relevant to the issue under appeal.