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Academic Honesty

Instructor Resources

ATTENTION: OUR ACADEMIC HONESTY POLICY HAS CHANGED
This is the current policy as of Fall 2015.
Need the old policy? Applies to classes taken during and before Summer 2015.


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What is my responsibility as an instructor?

          Faculty members, course instructors, teaching assistants and staff have the responsibility to uphold the College policy, model integrity in their own practices and educate students about disciplinary standards (Section I).

Instructors must:

  • Include an academic honesty statement on each course syllabus or the course Blackboard page or website about how academic honesty applies to the course, and call attention to the information during at least one class session during the first two weeks of class. (Section VI.ASee templates and resources here.
  • Make any discipline-specific guidelines for academic honesty clear for each assignment, either in written or oral form early in the semester, or throughout the semester as assignments are given. It is important to highlight the proper forms of academic collaboration and citation as these vary across disciplines. (Section VI.A)
  • Require all students to copy and sign this Honor Pledge on all examinations: “I affirm that I will not give or receive any unauthorized help on this exam, and that all work will be my own.” (Section IV) Additional recommended pledges for graded assignments and group projects are: (Graded Assignment) “I affirm that I have not given or received any unauthorized help on this assignment, and that this work is my own.” (Group Projects) “I accept responsibility for my role in ensuring the integrity of the work submitted by the group in which I participated.” Resources for implementing the honor pledge are here.
  • All cases of suspected dishonesty must be reported to the Board on Academic Honesty, either through an Instructor Resolution Warning Letter or Instructor Resolution With Penalty form, which allow instructors to address the matter directly, or by forwarding a case to the board for a hearing using the Board Resolution Form. The one exception is when an instructor, after meeting with a student about a suspected violation, is convinced that no violation was committed. In this situation, the case no longer counts as a suspected violation and does not need to be reported (Section VIII.A.).

Instructors may not come to an understanding with a student on their own in a case of suspected dishonesty without using these processes. Nor may they ask a student to withdraw from a course when academic dishonesty is suspected, as the student is not allowed to withdraw from or declare the S/F option for a course in which the student has been accused of academic dishonesty unless or until the student is proven innocent of the charges or the Board on Academic Honesty has approved an Instructor Resolution Warning Letter signed by the student. One reason for requiring a report is to ensure that records are available in the event of repeat offenses. Instructors who fail to report students to the Board on Academic Honesty may well be responsible for guilty students’ ability to avoid otherwise serious consequences.

New instructors of College undergraduate and graduate courses at all ranks and in all schools across the University and all new academic staff will receive an orientation to the Academic Honesty Policy through a combination of College-wide and departmental efforts. All instructors of College courses and academic staff will receive regular updates on the Academic Honesty Policy (Section III).

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How do I prevent academic dishonesty and encourage honesty?

Best Practices to Deter Cheating

Source: "What Can We Do About Student Cheating?" by Sally Cole and Elizabeth Kiss in About 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 to Detect Cheating

Use Google, Bing 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.

Remind teaching assistants, proctors, and graders that if they observe suspicious behavior during a quiz or exam, or detect dishonest behavior in an assignment they are grading, they must report that to the instructor with any relevant documentation.

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What if I find or suspect academic dishonesty?

If you suspect academic dishonesty, it must be addressed using one of three options: Instructor Resolution Warning Letter, Instructor Resolution With Penalty, or Board Resolution.

Which one do I choose?

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It involves an undergraduate student:

If the improper academic conduct is minor and results from inexperience, instructors may choose a Warning Letter. (Instructors are free to use an Instructor Resolution With Penalty, or to pass along cases of suspected academic dishonesty to the board without contacting the student or students involved using the Board Resolution process.)

For many cases, Instructor Resolution With Penalty is appropriate. (Instructors are free to pass along cases of suspected academic dishonesty to the board without contacting the student or students involved using the Board Resolution process.)

Board Resolution is available for all cases.


It involves a graduate student:

If the violation is minor, instructors may choose an Instructor Resolution With Penalty. (Instructors are free to pass along cases of suspected academic dishonesty to the board without contacting the student or students involved using the Board Resolution process.)

If the violation is moderate or major, instructors must use the Board Resolution Process.

Note: This policy does not apply to graduate student misconduct in sponsored research.

How will the process work?

Note: Confidentiality is vital. Reporting persons and Board members must not discuss cases with any third parties once the case has been submitted to the board, and must not share the names of students involved in reported cases with anyone except under the conditions described for Internal and External Reporting in Section XV. University officials, including instructors, are limited by the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and the consequences for violating FERPA are severe.

Warning Letter (Undergraduate Students Only)

Prepare the Warning Letter according to these guidelines. Meet with the student involved, present him or her with the evidence of dishonesty and offer a consequence in the form of rewriting the work in question or completing an alternative assignment for educational purposes. Refer the student to the Academic Honesty Policy, give him/her a copy of the completed Warning Letter and give the student 48 hours to decide what to do.

Before the meeting, review the categories of violation and suggested penalties. Check with the Academic Honesty Liaison or the Chair of the Board if you have not yet used this process or if you are unsure whether the consequence is appropriate. After submission of the Warning Letter, all provisions must be approved by the chair of the Board on Academic Honesty. If the agreed-upon consequence for the infraction is not approved, the Warning Letter must be renegotiated or a hearing must take place. The chair of the board will initiate this process by contacting the instructor and then the student.

If the student admits responsibility, submit the hard copy or an electronic copy of the signed Warning Letter to the secretary of the Board. If the student does not admit responsibility or does not agree to the proposed penalty, the case must be forwarded to the board for a hearing using the Board Resolution Form.

After meeting with the student, if you are convinced that no improper academic conduct occurred, it is no longer suspected academic dishonesty and does not need to be reported through this process.

Instructor Resolution With Penalty

Prepare the Instructor Resolution With Penalty Form according to these guidelines (or these guidelines for graduate students). Meet with the student involved, present him or her with the evidence of dishonesty and offer a penalty. Refer the student to the Academic Honesty Policy, give him/her the completed Instructor Resolution Form and give the student 48 hours to decide what to do.

Before the meeting, review the categories of violation and suggested penalties (or these penalties for graduate students). Check with the Academic Honesty Liaison or the Chair of the Board if you have not yet used this process or if you are unsure whether the penalty is appropriate. After submission of the Instructor Resolution Form, all penalties must be approved by the chair of the Board on Academic Honesty. If the penalty for the infraction is not approved, the Instructor Resolution must be renegotiated or a hearing must take place. The chair of the board will initiate this process by contacting the instructor and then the student. If a grade penalty does not seem appropriate in a given case, please consult with the chair of the board before filling out the Instructor Resolution Form.

If the case involves a graduate student, before the meeting contact the Arts, Sciences and Engineering Dean of Graduate Studies. The Dean will check for prior findings, and consult on the appropriate penalty.

If the student admits responsibility, submit the hard copy or an electronic copy of the signed Instructor Resolution With Penalty Form to the secretary of the Board. It is not necessary to submit documentation, but you should retain copies of any evidence for your own records and in case of further action determined to be necessary by the Board. If the student does not admit responsibility or does not agree to the proposed penalty, the case must be forwarded to the board for a hearing using the Board Resolution Form.

Please keep in mind: With few exceptions, the penalty involves a grade of zero for the work in question and a reduction in the course grade. If a lab, paper, or exam is compromised by plagiarism, copying from another student or other dishonest action, simply failing the work in question is typically not a satisfactory penalty. A grade of zero for labs, papers or exams that are compromised is the grade the work deserves, as the work was not completed by the student. In such instances, instructor should assign the zero and incorporate a further reduction in overall course grade to constitute the penalty portion of the dishonesty finding. This reduction typically ranges from a 1/3 drop in the course grade (A to A-), 2/3 (A to B+), or a full grade level.

After meeting with the student, if you are convinced that no violation occurred, it is no longer a suspected violation and does not need to be reported through this process.

Board Resolution

Prepare the Board Resolution Form according to these guidelines. Submit the form and all documentation in hard copy or electronically to the Board Secretary. Keep a copy for your records. You may notify the student that you have submitted a report, but are not required to. The Chair of the Board will contact you if any additional information is needed.

A hearing will be scheduled, which you will not attend, but you must be available by phone to answer questions from the Presiding Officer during the hearing.

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How do I check if a student has a prior finding of academic dishonesty for hiring or awards decisions?

If an undergraduate or graduate student is applying for teaching assistantships, research assistant positions or other on-campus employment, Students’ Association or Graduate Students Association positions, membership on the Board on Academic Honesty, Study Abroad, fellowships, scholarships or any other award, instructors may include a waiver for the student to sign giving permission for the person in charge of the process to request information about the student’s Board on Academic Honesty history. Without a signed waiver, no information will be released about the student's academic honesty record. With a signed waiver, findings of responsibility will be reported. Findings of exoneration will not be reported, nor will a Warning Letter (undergraduates only) when it is the only report in their file. For more information, see Section XV.C.

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Questions?

Contact the Chair of the Board.

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.