PRP 3512 - Academic Integrity Policy

Issued by: James Mackin, Ph.D., Provost and VP Academic Affairs
Notes: Revised by BUCC 4/22/98, Presented to Forum 4/29/98, Effective date: 5/28/98 Revised by BUCC 2/22/06, Reported to Forum 3/1/06
Effective date; Fall 2006

What is Academic Integrity?

Academic integrity refers to the adherence to agreed upon moral and ethical principles when engaging in academic or scholarly pursuits. The university's academic integrity policy is part of an effort to nurture a community where trust, honesty, and personal integrity guide all of our dealings with one another. Personal integrity is vital to our pursuit of educating and becoming educated. This student academic integrity policy is only part of, not the entirety of, efforts to foster a community of trust; trust is built first on our actions toward each other. The responsibility to be honest, fair and forthright with others is a responsibility that each member of the Bloomsburg University community must accept. The conditions of an academic integrity policy spell out the nature of the expectations we have of one another, and explain the sanctions that follow the failure to live up to these expectations. The following policy sets a standard for all of us to live up to and exceed.

What is Academic Dishonesty?

The following types of behaviors are examples of academic dishonesty. This list is not, and cannot be, exhaustive. Students who are unsure if an act is academically dishonest have a duty to consult their professor before engaging in the act.

  1. Cheating: (a) Using notes, study aids, or information on an examination which are not approved by faculty; (b) Altering graded work after it has been returned and submitting the work for regrading; (c) Allowing another person to do one's work and submitting that work under one's own name; (d) Submitting identical or similar papers for credit in more than one course without prior permission from the course instructors.
  2. Plagiarism: Submitting material that in part or whole is not one's own work without attributing those same portions to their correct source.
  3. Fabrication: (a) Falsifying or inventing any information, data, or citation; (b) Presenting data that were not gathered in accordance with standard guidelines that defined the appropriate methods for collecting or generating data and failing to include an accurate account of the method by which the data were gathered or collected.
  4. Misrepresenting Circumstances: (a) Lying; (b) Presenting a professor (verbally or in writing) with false or incomplete information.
  5. Impersonation: (a) Representing oneself as another student in an examination; (b) Signing another's name on an attendance roster; (c) In general doing the work required of another student and/or allowing another to do your work.
  6. Obtaining an Unfair Advantage: (a) Stealing, reproducing, circulating or otherwise gaining access to examination material prior to the time authorized by the instructor; (b) Stealing, destroying, defacing or concealing library materials with the purpose of depriving others of their use; (c) Unauthorized collaborating on an academic assignment; (d) Retaining, processing, using or circulating previously given examination materials, where those materials are to be returned to the instructor at the conclusion of the examination; (e) Intentionally obstructing or interfering with another student's academic work; or (f) Otherwise undertaking activity with the purpose of creating or obtaining an unfair academic advantage over other students' academic work.
  7. Aiding and Abetting Academic Dishonesty: (a) Providing material, information, or other assistance to another person with knowledge that such aid could be used in any of the violations stated above; or (b) Providing false information in connection with any inquiry regarding academic integrity.
  8. Falsification of Records and Official Documents: (a) Altering documents affecting academic records; (b) Forging signatures of authorization or falsifying information on an official academic document, grade report, letter of permission, petition, drop/add form, ID card, or any other official University document.
  9. Unauthorized Access to Computerized Academic or Administrative Records or Systems: (a) Altering computer records; (b) Modifying computer programs or systems; (c) Releasing or dispensing information gained via unauthorized access; or (d) Interfering with the use or availability of computer systems of information.

How can faculty encourage Academic Integrity?

It is necessary for the administration and faculty to do all that is possible to encourage high standards of academic integrity. Steps that could be taken include:

  1. Course Requirements: Have the syllabus clearly state what is and is not acceptable in the course. This may include a statement of an individual or department's policy on what constitutes plagiarism, the scope of permitted collaboration, testing behaviors, policy on recycling assignments and papers, and missed assignments or exams.
  2. University Policy: Briefly review the university Academic Integrity Policy on the first day of class, orally or by reference to a syllabus.
  3. Examination Security: Safeguard examinations. In no event should the student be given access to, custody of, or any responsibility over examinations prior to their administration.
  4. Examination Environment: Consider preventive techniques, such as alternate seating or alternate exam formats, and reasonable proctorial activities.
  5. Availability of Past Examinations and Assignments: Establish individual and/or departmental policies for returning examinations for students to keep, collecting and securing examinations, and/or placing copies of old examinations on reserve in the library.
  6. Student Responsibility: Faculty are encouraged to state in all syllabi that students who are unsure if an act is academically dishonest have a duty to consult their professor before engaging in the act.

What happens when a student is suspected of Academic Dishonesty?

The first step in any alleged case of academic dishonesty will be for the faculty member to inform the student that dishonesty is suspected and that steps will be taken to resolve the issue.

If the faculty member would like to resolve the issue informally and if the student accepts the charges and the penalty, then the faculty member chooses between Options l and II.

Option III is required when the student does not accept the charges or the penalty, or the faculty member believes that a penalty greater than failing the course is appropriate.

If dishonesty is discovered at or after the end of the semester, the faculty will not enter a grade for that student; thus the student will receive an "X" grade. The faculty member will either contact the student directly to set up the initial meeting or contact the Office of Academic Affairs who will notify the student of the need for such a meeting.

Option I: Informal Confidential Resolution

The faculty member may resolve the charge confidentially with the student, discussing the alleged offense and explaining any penalty that might follow; students who dispute the fairness of the charge or penalty may elect to have the matter arbitrated by the Academic Grievance Board.

The professor has a range of sanctions within the boundaries of the course in which the dishonesty occurred. Possible sanctions include verbal and written reprimand, an appropriate additional assignment, and lowering the grade on the assignment on which the dishonesty occurred. If the professor wishes to impose more severe sanctions, including lowering the course grade, he or she must file an Academic Integrity Policy Violation Report Form with the Office of the Dean of Students.

The faculty member is strongly encouraged to have this agreement in writing, and to keep that document and any evidence in a secure location.

Option II: Informal Resolution with a Filed Report

The faculty member may follow the guidelines given in Option I, Informal Confidential Resolution, and, in addition, file an Academic Integrity Policy Violation Report Form with the Office of the Dean of Students. The Report Form explains the offense and penalty and includes an acknowledgment by the student of the offense and penalty. The penalty agreed to on the Academic Integrity Policy Violation Report Form will be void if the student has a record of a previous offense. A second or repeat offense requires resolution by the Academic Grievance Board.

Option III: Formal Resolution by the Academic Grievance Board

If the student accepts the charges (1) but does not accept the penalty or (2) has had a previous offense, the sanction will be determined by the Provost (or his/her designee) in consultation with the Office of the Dean of Students.

If the student does not accept the charges, the case will be arbitrated by the Academic Grievance Board. The faculty member should fill out the Academic Integrity Formal Resolution Notification Form. Once it is determined that a case will be heard by the Academic Grievance Board, the Office of the Dean of Students will notify all involved parties of the need to convene the Board. The Office of Academic Affairs will provide the student with written notification of the time and place of the hearing and with a copy of any written charges. The hearing will be recorded and a recommendation made to the Provost as to whether a policy violation occurred.

The Provost will make the final determination as to whether academic dishonesty occurred. If the student is cleared of the charges, the initial report form will be destroyed and the student's record will be totally clear of the event. If it is determined that a violation did occur, the Provost will determine the appropriate sanction in consultation with the Office of the Dean of Students.

The decision of the Provost will be final.

Academic Integrity Form