Academic Honesty

Faculty Resources

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Faculty Obligations Under the College Honesty Policy

All cases of suspected dishonesty must be reported to the Board on Academic Honesty, either through an Academic Dishonesty Short Form Incident Report that allows faculty to address the matter directly or by forwarding a case to the board for a hearing using the Academic Dishonesty Long Form Incident Report.

The only exception is when suspected dishonesty turns out to be a clear and simple misunderstanding in which case the matter can simply be dropped.

Faculty may not come to an understanding with a student on their own in a case of suspected dishonesty without using the short form or submitting a case via the long form. Nor may they ask a student to withdraw from a course when academic dishonesty is suspected. One reason for this is to ensure that records are available in the event of repeat offenses. Faculty members who fail to report students to the Board on Academic Honesty may well be responsible for guilty students’ ability to avoid otherwise serious consequences. Keep in mind that a frequent outcome of a first instance of cheating is course failure and that it is the board’s policy to suspend students from the University for a second instance of dishonesty.

Reporting Suspected Academic Honesty

Instructors suspecting academic dishonesty have two options for reporting it to the board. They may pursue a resolution through the Academic Dishonesty Short Form Incident Report by meeting with the student involved, confronting him or her with the evidence of dishonesty and offering a penalty. At the meeting, the professor will provide the student with a copy of the Academic Honesty Policy and the completed short form and give the student 48 hours to decide what to do.

If the student does not admit responsibility or does not agree to the proposed penalty, or if the instructor chooses not to meet with the student to discuss the allegation, the case must be forwarded to the board for a hearing using the Academic Dishonesty Long Form Incident Report.

Prior to meeting with the student, consultation with the chair of the board regarding the penalty suggested in a short form resolution is crucial to ensure that the case is handled in a way consistent with academic dishonesty procedures and precedents. Keep the following points in mind:

Instructors are free to pass along all cases of suspected academic dishonesty to the board without contacting the student or students involved and attempting a short form resolution. To do so, they must fill out the Academic Dishonesty Long Form Incident Report and submit it together with all accompanying evidence to the board at the address listed on page two of the report.

A more detailed description of the procedures for reporting academic dishonesty may be found under Reporting Cases of Suspected Academic Dishonesty in the Honesty Policy. Hearing Procedures are also outlined in the policy.

Confidentiality and Academic Honesty

University officials, including faculty, are limited by the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Faculty should make it a rule not to discuss cases with any third parties once the case has been submitted to the board. The consequences to the University’s reputation and to the rights of students, should a professor or staff member violate FERPA, are severe.

Academic Honesty in the Classroom

The Board on Academic Honesty (BAH) strongly endorses Dean Richard Feldman’s recommendation that all instructors include an academic honesty statement on all course syllabi. Guidelines for collaborative work, use of online resources, peer editing, and discipline-specific citation conventions should be clearly indicated on the syllabus and discussed in class early in the term. The board offers the following templates:

1) The most simple model, from an English course:
Academic honesty: All assignments and activities associated with this course must be performed in accordance with the University of Rochester's Academic Honesty Policy. More information is available at:

2) A model for courses that involve collaborative work in laboratory or problem sets, from a computer science course:
Academic honesty:

Homework collaboration:
You may discuss homework problems with others, but you must not retain written notes from your conversations with other students, or share data via computer files to be used in completing your homework. Your written work must be completed without reference to such notes, with the exception of class and recitation notes, which may be retained in written form. [NOTE: some instructors require students to report the names of those with whom they discussed an assignment.]

General rule: When in doubt, cite

3) A model from a writing-intensive humanities course:
Academic honesty: Students and faculty at the University must agree to adhere to high standards of academic honesty in all of the work that we do. As freshmen, students read and sign an academic honesty policy statement to indicate that they understand the general principles upon which our work is based. The College Board on Academic Honesty website gives further information on our policies and procedures:

In this course the following additional requirements are in effect:
You are encouraged to discuss course readings and assignments with your fellow students. However, all written work must be done independently and not in collaboration with another. In order to make appropriate help available for your essays, I encourage you to consult with me and with the College Writing Center. The term research paper will require citations and “Works Cited” following the MLA format.

4) This one-slide PowerPoint prepared by Prof. John Werren can be used as is or modified to show in class and/or to post to Blackboard.

Download the PowerPoint Slide >

5) These “Academic Honesty Guidelines for Group Projects and Group Reports” can be used as is or modified to fit your specific assignments.

Use in any format (class handout, post to Blackboard, incorporate into a PowerPoint presentation). Download the Word document here.

For more information about academic honesty in the classroom contact:
Professor Beth Jörgensen
Chair of the Board of Academic Honesty
Phone: (585) 275-4265

Tips for Deterring Cheating

Source: "What Can We Do About Student Cheating?" by Sally Cole and Elizabeth Kiss inAbout Campus, May-June 2000.

  1. Assign narrow and specific research topics.
  2. Don't allow last-minute changes of topic.
  3. Require that outlines be submitted three to four weeks prior to the deadline and that drafts be submitted with the final paper.
  4. Require detailed citations, including page numbers.
  5. Encourage students to visit the Academic Honesty web page for help determining what constitutes plagiarism and for guidelines for correctly citing sources and attributing ideas.
  6. Put the academic honesty policy in your syllabus.
  7. Clearly explain your expectations.
  8. Clearly spell out all rules and limits pertaining to group work.
  9. Encourage students to come to you if they are confused about citation practices or the rules for collaborative work.
  10. Be a good role model. Cite sources in your lectures. Talk to students about how citation shows respect for other scholars.
  11. Make it a point to talk with your students about academic honesty, and make sure they understand both the reasons and the tools for avoiding plagiarism or other dishonest acts. Remind them that you will hold them strictly accountable for the honesty of their work.
  12. Do not allow cell phones to be out during an exam.
  13. Seat students during an exam in such a way that they cannot see each other's work.
  14. Have proctors actively observe the students while they are taking their tests.
  15. Dictate that all backpacks, bags and books be closed and out of sight during the examination period.

Tips for Detecting Cheating

Use Google, Altavista or other search engines to look for phrases or sentences that do not seem to have been written by the student. Put the phrase or sentence in quotation marks when you do the search.

Verify that the student's work is actually on the assigned topic or task to insure that a student has not used a paper on a comparable topic by someone else from a previous year's class or obtained a paper from the web on a similar but not exactly identical topic.

Be on the lookout for identical odd mistakes (in wording, spelling, etc.) that occur on separate papers or exams.

If the class has a re-grading policy, draw a line around all graded answers prior to returning the exams to students to prevent students from adding to their answers and submitting them for more credit.


Contact the Chair of the Board.