Academic Integrity and Dishonesty Policy

Academic Integrity and Dishonesty Policy

Approved by Faculty Senate on Dec. 8, 2014

Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs

Student Conduct: Academic Affairs

A.  Academic Integrity and Dishonesty (Updated 11/17/2014)

1.  General

a.  “The core principles of integrity create a foundation for success in all of life’s endeavors.  Integrity in academic settings is a fundamental component of success and growth in the classroom.  It prepares students for personal and professional challenges as well as providing a blueprint for future fulfillment and success” (The International Center for Academic Integrity, “About Integrity,” www.academicintegrity.org/icai/integrity-1.php, downloaded on 03-26-14).

b.  Academic integrity is expected of all individuals in academe.  Behavior beyond reproach must be the norm.  Academic dishonesty in any form is unacceptable.

c.  Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating and plagiarism.

d.  This policy applies to all forms of university educational activities, including but not limited to, classroom, lab and online formats.

e.  Instructors are encouraged to include specific information in the course syllabus on academic integrity and dishonesty guidelines specific to the course format and evaluation activities, as well as the link to this policy.

f.  Students should not assume that any materials or collaborative learning activities are authorized unless explicitly stated by the instructor in the course.

2.  Definitions

a.  CHEATING is defined as using or attempting to use materials, information, or study aids that are not permitted by the instructor in examinations or other academic work.

Cheating includes, but is not limited to:

i.  Obtaining, providing, or using unauthorized materials or devices for an examination or assignment, whether verbally, visually, electronically, or by notes, books, or other means.  (See A.1.f above.)

ii.  Acquiring examinations or other course materials, possessing them, or providing them to others without the explicit permission of the instructor.  This includes buying or selling an assignment or exam, or providing any information about an examination in advance of the examination.

iii.  Taking an examination in place of another person or arranging for someone else to take an examination in one’s place.

iv.  Submitting the same work or substantial portions of the same work in two different classes without the explicit prior approval of the instructor.

v.  Fabricating information for any report or other academic exercise.

vi.  Fabricating or misrepresenting data.

vii.  Copying down answers when provided during course testing or other standardized testing and giving them to other students who have not taken the test. This includes using smartphones to photograph and transmit restricted test materials.

viii.  Removing the test instrument or test information from the testing room or other location without the instructor’s explicit permission.

ix.  Assisting another student without the instructor’s permission.

x.  Deceiving instructors or other university officials about academic work.

xi.  Altering grades on one’s own or another student’s work.

xii.  Offering money or other remuneration in exchange for a grade.

b.  PLAGIARISM is defined as presenting or representing another person’s words, ideas, data, or work as one’s own.

Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to:

i.  The exact duplication of another’s work and the incorporation of a substantial or essential portion without appropriate citation.  

ii.  The acts of appropriating creative works or substantial portions in such fields as art, music, and technology and presenting them as one’s own.

The guiding principle is that all work submitted must properly credit sources of information. In written work, direct quotations, statements that are paraphrased, summaries of the work of another, and other information that is not considered common knowledge must be cited or acknowledged. Quotation marks or a proper form of identification shall be used to indicate direct quotations. Students should be aware that most instructors require certain forms of acknowledgement or references and may evaluate a project on the basis of proper form.

c.  ACADEMIC as used in this policy is synonymous with “scholastic” and refers to school-related endeavors, whether the school is vocational or academic.

d.  INSTRUCTOR/FACULTY MEMBER as used in this policy is defined as a person who is responsible for the teaching of a class or laboratory or other instruction. These terms include professors regardless of rank, instructional staff, graduate assistants, visiting lecturers, and adjunct, affiliate or visiting faculty.

3.  Penalties for Academic Dishonesty

a.  Any penalty imposed by an instructor for academic dishonesty shall be:

i.  in proportion to the severity of the offense,

ii.  based on the level of the course and its importance to professional standards, and

iii.  consistent with the instructor’s professional judgment.

b.  Penalties that may be imposed by the instructor are:

i.  Written Warning:  The instructor informs the student in writing that further academic dishonesty will result in other penalties being imposed.

ii.  Resubmission of work:  The instructor may inform the student in writing that he or she requires that the work in question be redone to conform to proper academic standards or may require that a new project be submitted.  The instructor may specify additional requirements in writing.

iii.  Grade reduction:  The instructor may lower a student’s grade or assign a failing grade for a test, project or other academic work.  The instructor will notify the student, department chair, dean, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, and Office of the Registrar in writing when these actions are taken.

iv.  Fail the Course: The instructor may assign an “F” for the course. The instructor will notify the student, department chair, dean, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, and Office of the Registrar in writing when this action is taken.

c.  Penalties that may be imposed at the University level are:

i.  Suspension from the University:  This is the administrative withdrawal of the student found responsible by the University. The student is suspended for a length of time, determined by the University Academic Dishonesty Board, which may depend upon the circumstances that led to the sanction.  This action is permanently recorded on the student’s transcript.

ii.  Expulsion from the University:  This is the most severe penalty for academic dishonesty and may be imposed by the University Academic Dishonesty Board for extreme or multiple acts of academic dishonesty. Once expelled, the student is not eligible for readmission to the University.  This action is permanently recorded on the student’s transcript.

d.  Both an instructor penalty and University level penalty may be imposed. (See Section B. Academic Dishonesty Board)

e.   Withdrawal from a course does not exempt a student from penalties for academic dishonesty.  In no case should an instructor recommend that a student withdraw from the course to avoid charges and/or penalties.

4.  Procedures for Determination of Academic Dishonesty and Imposition of Penalties

a.  The instructor of the course is responsible for investigating each suspected incident of academic dishonesty. The instructor is encouraged to consult with the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs or the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for guidance on adhering to the policy process, as needed. Students alleged to have violated this policy may consult with the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for guidance on rights and responsibilities regarding the Academic Dishonesty Policy.

When the instructor witnesses such an incident, has evidence of one, or is informed of one by a witness, the instructor shall proceed as follows:

i.  The instructor may intervene and shall gather evidence to see whether further action is necessary.

ii.  If the instructor feels that a penalty of a grade reduction or failing the course is warranted, he/she shall discuss the incident with his/her department head.  If, after this meeting, the instructor decides not to impose penalties, then no further action is necessary.

iii.  If, after the meeting, the instructor decides to proceed, he/she shall inform the student or students involved (orally and in writing) of the evidence of academic dishonesty and request a meeting with the student. Students will be given at least three (3) school days to schedule an appointment with the instructor. The instructor shall then meet with the student, consider the student’s response (which should be given orally and in writing), and collect any available evidence and testimony from witnesses.  In cases of suspected plagiarism, the instructor may ask the student to supply the references used and the student must comply with such a request.

iv.  On the basis of this information and the preponderance of the evidence, the instructor may decide to impose a penalty.  If the penalty is only a written warning or a written demand that work be resubmitted, then no further action is necessary.

v.  If, after those steps, the instructor concludes that academic dishonesty has occurred and decides to impose a penalty of grade reduction or failing the course, he/she shall prepare a written incident report.  (A sample incident report template is included herein – see Addendum.) The report shall include the student’s name, the date of the incident, a description of the incident and the available evidence, and the instructor’s decision regarding penalties.  The report shall state the specific penalties imposed—grade reduction or failing the course.  When more than one student is involved in academic dishonesty for a course assignment, the instructor will prepare individual reports and ensure that all students’ FERPA rights are protected.  

vi.  The instructor shall keep a copy of the report and send copies to:

1. the student,

2. the chairperson (or designee) of the department in which the instructor holds an appointment,

3. the chairperson (or designee) of the department in which the student is a major,

4. the dean (or designee) of the college in which the instructor holds an appointment,

5. the dean (or designee) of the college in which the student is a major,

6. the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, and

7. The Office of the Registrar.  A copy of the incident report shall be placed in the student’s permanent file in that office.

vii. The instructor shall also inform the student of the procedures for appeal outlined in Section 5 below.

b.  For incidents that occur near the end of the semester, the instructor will issue an incomplete grade to the accused student(s) while the investigation and resolution of the accusation continues. Once the instructor has rendered a decision and imposed a penalty, if any, the grade will be updated.

c.  Any student who is found responsible for academic dishonesty and receives “Fail the Course” penalties for two separate incidents is subject to university suspension or expulsion.  When a student receives a second “Fail the Course” penalty, the Office of the Registrar shall notify the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs. The VPSA’s Office will then convene the Academic Dishonesty Board. This Board will then decide whether the student should be suspended, expelled, or neither, following the procedures in Section B below.

5.  Procedures for Students’ Appeal of Imposed Penalties

a.  The student may appeal penalties for academic dishonesty to the dean (or designee) of the college in which the course was offered.  This is the final level of appeal for penalties of resubmission of work, grade reduction, or failing the course that are imposed for academic dishonesty by the instructor.

b.  The appeal to the dean (or designee) must be filed, in writing, no later than fifteen (15) business days after the student has received written notification of the instructor’s final decision and penalties regarding academic dishonesty.

c.  When a student files an appeal, the dean (or designee) shall set a date for a formal hearing to discuss the allegations and penalties.  He/she shall chair and conduct the hearing and keep a written record of it.  The hearing shall include the instructor, the student, the chairperson (or designee) of the department in which the instructor holds an appointment, the chairperson (or designee) of the department in which the student is a major, and the dean (or designee) of the college in which the student is a major.  In addition, the student may bring one support person (faculty, staff or student) but this individual does not participate in the hearing.  Within five (5) business days following the hearing, the dean shall issue a final determination in writing of responsibility or non-responsibility based upon a preponderance of the evidence.

d.  If the formal hearing results in the student being exonerated of all charges of academic dishonesty, the dean (or designee) of the college in which the course was offered shall prepare a letter of memorandum stating that the student has been exonerated and requesting that all records about the alleged act of dishonesty be destroyed, other than the dean’s own record of the hearing.  

The dean (or designee) shall send copies of the letter of memorandum to:

i.  the instructor,

ii.  the student,

iii.  the chairperson of the department in which the instructor holds an appointment,

iv.  the chairperson of the department in which the student is a major,

v.  the dean of the college in which the student is a major,

vi.  the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, and

vii.  the Office of the Registrar.  That office shall remove all records about the alleged dishonest conduct from the student’s permanent file.

e.  If the student is not exonerated of all charges, then the dean (or designee) of the college in which the course was offered shall send copies of the written record of the formal hearing to parties (i – vii above).

f.  If the penalty is reduced or rescinded as a result of the hearing, the dean (or designee) of the college in which the course was offered shall direct the Registrar to make any changes in the student’s grade.

g.  Penalties for academic dishonesty may not be challenged through the scholastic appeals process.

h.  The decision of the dean (or designee) is final.

6.  Procedures for Implementation of Penalties at the University Level

a.  Authority to assign the penalties of suspension or expulsion from the University rests with the Academic Dishonesty Board. See Section B below.

B. Academic Dishonesty Board (Updated 8-09)

1.  Charge and Scope of Academic Dishonesty Board

a.  The Academic Dishonesty Board considers significant infractions of academic honesty.  It is the sole body with authority to assign the University level penalties of suspension or expulsion for academic dishonesty.  Cases coming before the Board must be fully documented by evidence.  The Board shall not hear matters subject to the jurisdiction of the Student Conduct Board or general academic complaints that should be referred to a dean or the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.  Its decision is final and may not be challenged through the scholastic appeals process.

2.  Procedures

a.  Notice from the Registrar that a student has received two “Fail the Course” penalties for academic dishonesty violations activates the Board. (See section A.4.c. above on notice from the Registrar.) An instructor may also ask the Academic Dishonesty Board to consider suspension or expulsion when he/she deems the incident of academic dishonesty to be significant and warranting a university level penalty.  Such a request shall be in writing and shall include complete documentation, including all documents presented at any formal hearing before the dean. Finally, an instructor or administrator may ask the Academic Dishonesty Board to consider university suspension or expulsion of a student with multiple penalties for academic dishonesty.  Such a request shall again be in writing; it must include the reasons for recommending suspension or expulsion and shall include supporting documents.

b. The Academic Dishonesty Board will consist of six voting members:

i.  A faculty member selected by the Faculty Senate to serve as chair,

ii.  The ASISU Vice President, who serves as vice chair,

iii.  Two members chosen by the Academic Dishonesty Board chair from a pool of faculty members selected by the Faculty Senate, and

iv.  Two members chosen by the Academic Dishonesty Board vice chair from a pool of students selected by the ASISU Senate.

There shall also be a non-voting member from the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs.

c.  Once the Board is constituted, the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs shall give the instructor’s request, along with supporting documents, to the Academic Dishonesty Board Chair.  The Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs will notify the student, outlining the procedures, informing the student that he/she may review the materials in the VPSA’s Office, and allowing the student a reasonable amount of time to present to that office any documents in his/her defense.

d.  The Academic Dishonesty Board Chair shall then set a date for a formal hearing, one that allows the student sufficient time to prepare a defense and allows Board members sufficient time to review all the materials held in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, including any submitted by the student.  The student may choose one ISU student, staff or faculty member to accompany them to the hearing.  However, this person does not directly participate in the hearing. In addition, the person who initiated the Board review (Registrar, instructor, or administrator) shall be invited to give testimony.

e.  All members of the Board must be present at the hearing.  However, neither the student nor the person who initiated the review need be present for the Board to act.

f.  After the formal hearing, the Board will vote on whether to suspend or expel the student, or neither.  A majority of the Board members must vote for suspension or expulsion for such an action to occur.  The length of any suspension shall also be determined by majority vote.

g.  The Board Chair will send a written record of the Board’s decision to the Vice President for Student Affairs, who will be responsible for relaying the decision to the student, the Registrar, and the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.  The Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs will hold all materials related to the case permanently.

h.  The Board’s decision shall be implemented by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs (or designee).

i.  When the Board imposes suspension, the Office of the Registrar shall record “Suspension for Academic Dishonesty” on the student’s permanent transcript. When the Board imposes expulsion, “Expulsion for Academic Dishonesty” shall be recorded on the student’s permanent transcript.

Idaho State University gratefully acknowledges the International Center for Academic Integrity and the University of Alaska Anchorage for resources and ISU faculty for comments and suggestions that greatly assisted in providing updates to this policy.

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