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Academic Integrity (Dishonesty Policy)

Policy Number: 100601

Current Policy

Category: Academic » Integrity

 

Policy

Academic Integrity Is Essential.

Northern Arizona University regards acts of academic dishonesty—including, but not limited to, plagiarism, cheating, fabrication, forging an instructor’s signature, stealing tests, copying themes or tests from other students, texting for answers, accessing the Internet during "closed" tests, or using “crib notes”—as very serious offenses.

If you are charged with academic dishonesty, you are subject to the Arizona Board of Regents’ Student Code of Conduct, as well as procedures established by Northern Arizona University in the Academic Dishonesty policy. 

General Procedure

Academic Dishonesty Policy

A. INTRODUCTION
It is the responsibility of any student, faculty member, or academic administrator who observes, or has knowledge of, apparent instances of academic dishonesty to report the activity to the appropriate faculty member or Chair/Director. All students have the right to due process under this policy if charged with academic dishonesty. This policy is not intended to address differences of opinion regarding grades issued by a faculty member who is exercising good faith and professional judgment regarding a student’s work. The procedures set forth herein are designed to encourage a fair and appropriate response to allegations of academic dishonesty; they may be modified in individual cases, so long as the student is provided with an opportunity to respond to the allegations within a reasonable time after the allegations have been made.

Academic integrity is demonstrated when students and faculty jointly agree to adhere to codes of conduct appropriate to the mutually trusting relationship that must exist between student and teacher. It is the expectation at NAU that all students will conduct themselves in a truthful, straightforward and honest fashion at all times. All NAU students are expected to be familiar with the definitions of academic dishonesty. Not knowing that certain activities qualify as academic dishonesty is not a defense to a charge of academic dishonesty.

Faculty are also required to uphold the standards of academic integrity; faculty are governed by the policies and procedures outlined in the NAU Faculty Handbook. Faculty can contribute to the maintenance of academic integrity through simple and non-intrusive tactics in their classroom settings and in their assignments. Faculty members are encouraged to include within the course syllabus a statement on academic dishonesty that reflects the principles of this policy and that includes the penalties imposed for engaging in such activities. Furthermore, academic integrity is supported when the faculty consistently report incidents of academic dishonesty in accordance with the process described in this document.

Academic dishonesty is a form of academic misconduct that violates the university’s academic standards and is subject to disciplinary action under the Student Code of Conduct and using this policy. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, the following infractions: cheating, collusion, fabrication, obtaining an unfair advantage, and plagiarism. Violations of the Student Code of Conduct which exclusively involve issues of academic dishonesty, but where no university-level sanctions are considered or imposed, are dealt with by the affected faculty in accordance with this policy.

B. EXAMPLES OF ACADEMIC DISHONESTY

Cheating is the intentional use of, or attempted use of, unauthorized materials, information, study aids, or previously prepared solutions in any academic exercise, exam, paper or other assignment. Cheating includes, but is not limited to:

  • Copying another student’s work.
  • Sharing answers for either a take-home or in-class examination.
  • Using notes, books or web materials on an exam when such aids are forbidden.
  • Taking an examination in another student’s name or having another person take one for a student.
  • Changing the answers on an examination after it has been graded in order to gain more credit than deserved.
  • Using a “cheat-sheet” or other prohibited assistance (calculator, cell phone, text messaging, etc.) during an examination.
  • Working on an examination outside the specified time limits, such as beginning before the faculty member directs students to begin, or continuing to work after the faculty member has declared an end to the examination period.
  • Using a commercial service or engaging another person (whether paid or unpaid) to prepare assigned work. Unless prohibited by the faculty member for educational reasons, editing and/or proof-reading by another person is not considered cheating.

Collusion occurs when two or more students work together to produce individually submitted work without the permission of the faculty member. Collusion also occurs when one student produces work and knowingly allows another student to copy it and submit that copy for assessment. In such a case, both students will be considered to have colluded. Similarly, any student who helps another student to commit any type of academic dishonesty is considered to have colluded. Because of the wide use of teams and study groups, faculty members are encouraged to define acceptable team or study group behaviors and inappropriate collusion in the course syllabus.

Fabrication/Fraud is the unauthorized falsification or invention of any information, data, or citation in an academic exercise. It also includes, but is not limited to, the presentation of information or data not collected in accordance with standard applicable ethical guidelines; the failure to include an accurate account of the method by which the data were gathered or collected; or any attempt to deceive a faculty member or administrative officer of the university regarding academic work.

Obtaining an unfair advantage includes activities that directly or indirectly compromise fair assessment or grading or constrain other students’ abilities to successfully complete their assignments. These activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Stealing, reproducing, circulating or otherwise gaining access to examination materials prior to the time authorized by the faculty member.
  • Stealing, destroying, defacing or concealing library or other reference materials with the result that others are deprived of their use or that the faculty member cannot check students’ work.
  • Possessing, using, or circulating previously administered examinations, unless authorized by the faculty member.

Plagiarism is representing the words, expressions, productions or creative works of another as one’s own in any academic exercise. Examples of plagiarism include, but are not limited to:

  • Complete plagiarism occurs when an essay or other work has been copied word for word from another source or sources (e.g. purchase or copying of an online paper) without citation and/or without any original contribution by the student.
  • Partial plagiarism occurs when another work has been used by a student as part of an assessment or project without proper acknowledgement of the original source. Because of the accessibility of the internet, partial plagiarism can easily occur if students cut and paste from web pages.
  • Improper paraphrasing occurs when a student changes one or two words in order to make the copied work look like original work instead of properly paraphrasing and citing the material. Insufficient citation occurs when a student cites a source one time and not again for subsequent uses of the source.
  • Self-plagiarism occurs when a student reuses his or her own work or data without permission of the faculty member. Even when using one’s own material, it must be cited properly. Also, using the same work for different courses without permission of the faculty members is self-plagiarism.

C. PROCEDURES AND PENALTIES

This section describes the procedures to be followed in order to address allegations of academic dishonesty. All incidents of academic dishonesty, with the associated penalties, shall be recorded in either the undergraduate or graduate Academic Dishonesty Databases.


These procedures do not preclude the faculty member and student from having an informal meeting that may be conducted to communicate concerns, clarify issues, assess the situation, etc., nor do they require this meeting prior to the initiation of these formal procedures.


The faculty member may impose penalties for academic dishonesty in accordance with the course syllabus, program policy, and in direct relation to the nature of the infraction and the degree to which the involved academic work affects the course grade, as well as pursuant to the specific procedures set forth herein. Examples of possible faculty member-imposed penalties include, but are not limited to:

  • Educational assignments such as completion of an academic dishonesty tutorial or a learning module1
  • Reducing the grade on the assignment or examination
  • Awarding a grade of zero or “F” on the assignment or examination
  • Reducing the grade in the course by one letter grade
  • Awarding a failing grade in the course
  • Warning the student in writing about the incident

Other faculty member-imposed penalties may be deemed appropriate in accordance with the nature of the offense and related information that is set forth in the course syllabus and after consultation with the faculty member’s Chair/Director.

Additional penalties may be considered by the university for students with any history of academic dishonesty or for incidents considered extremely serious. Those additional penalties include:

  • Placement on university probation Suspension or permanent removal of the student from his or her program
  • Suspension or expulsion of the student from the university 2
  • The marking of the student’s academic transcript with language indicating the reason for suspension or expulsion
  • Revocation of a degree, if a degree had already been awarded

If the faculty member believes that the academic dishonesty is severe enough to recommend probation, an administrative hold, program dismissal, suspension, or expulsion, the faculty member should reference Section D of this document. Throughout these procedures, all references to any number of “days” refer to business days (not weekends or holidays). If the faculty member is required to participate in the process, then “days” refers to business days (not weekends, holidays or scheduled breaks when faculty are not expected to be available) in which the faculty member is on contract with the university.

1. Initiation of Process
a. As soon as is practical, but in any event within five (5) days after the discovery of the alleged academic dishonesty, the faculty member informs his or her Chair/Director of the situation in writing,3 detailing the evidence of the allegations, the basis for the faculty member’s academic judgment, and the rules which may have been violated.
b. At the same time, the faculty member informs the Dean or the Dean’s designee about the alleged academic dishonesty. The Dean or his or her designee checks the appropriate Academic Dishonesty Database4 to determine whether the alleged incident is a first or subsequent offense. If a record of two prior offenses exists or if the suspected offense is severe, all parties should refer to Section D of this document.
2. Review and Decisiona.
a. Within five (5) days of the discovery of the alleged academic dishonesty, the faculty member communicates in writing the allegation of academic dishonesty to the student. The communication must include the allegation, a sufficiently detailed description, or copy, of the evidence and other relevant information collected, a reference to the specific rules or policies which may have been violated, the proposed sanction to be imposed upon the student, a copy of this policy and a specific reference to the student’s right to appeal decisions made in accordance with this policy, and a request that the student schedule a meeting with the faculty member in person, via telephone, or by other meeting assistive technologies (such as Skype). The communication must also state that if the student fails to respond to this request for a meeting or does not schedule a meeting in accordance with this policy, or fails to attend the scheduled meeting, the student has voluntarily given up his or her right to any additional due process (except if the sanction is a university-level sanction) and the student acknowledges that the sanctions proposed by the faculty member will be imposed upon the student. Within five (5) days from the receipt of the faculty member’s communication, the student is required to reply to the faculty member regarding the scheduling of the future meeting.
b. Should the student fail to schedule an appointment or fail to attend the scheduled meeting, the faculty member may proceed to impose the proposed sanction against the student, without additional student input.

c. If the student schedules a meeting, the faculty member and the student should meet as soon as practical, but in any event no later than fifteen (15) days from the student’s request for the meeting. In the meeting, the faculty member and student should discuss the allegation of academic dishonesty and the evidence. The student must have an opportunity to speak in his or her own defense. The student may present additional information or evidence, including written statements from witnesses, for the faculty member’s consideration. This additional information becomes part of the record. The faculty member must listen to the student, must carefully weigh the presented evidence, and must decide the matter based only upon evidence presented at the meeting and/or to the student prior to the meeting.
i. The faculty member must then notify the student of his/her decision in writing within five (5) days of the meeting.
ii. If the allegation stands, the notification to the student must include the decision and the penalty that will be imposed. The sanction imposed should be appropriate for the specific violation and consistent with this policy and the statements in the syllabus for the course. The written notification must also include a statement that the decision will be recorded to the appropriate Academic Dishonesty Database. It should also inform the student that he or she may appeal the determination in accordance with the procedures herein. A copy of the notification must be sent to the Dean of the College or the Dean's designee and the faculty member's Chair/Director.
iii. Once the penalty has been determined, the faculty member must complete the academic dishonesty form that is reviewed by the faculty member’s Chair/Director and the Dean or Dean’s designee prior to its submittal to the appropriate Academic Dishonesty Database. This report is required for any sanction given.
3. Student Options: After the penalty has been determined, the student has two options.

a. The student may accept the faculty member-assessed penalty and the recording of the incident made to the Academic Dishonesty Database (in which case the student need take no action); or

b. The student may contest the allegation and penalty by notifying the faculty member and the faculty member’s Chair/Director in writing of such an appeal within ten (10) days of receipt of the notification of penalty. Such an appeal shall follow the procedures as outlined in Section E. If the student fails to provide such written notification of an appeal, the student is deemed to have waived any objections to the penalty being imposed.

D. ADDITIONAL PROCEDURES AND PENALTIES WHEN PROGRAM, DEPARTMENT, COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY PENALTIES ARE RECOMMENDED

This section describes the additional procedures to be followed in case of academic dishonesty when:

  • The student has an existing record of academic dishonesty in the university’s Academic Dishonesty Databases5 and the current allegation causes the student to be considered a “repeat offender”; or
  • The faculty member believes that the academic dishonesty is severe enough to recommend a sanction beyond course failure for a single incident. The type of academic dishonesty incidents that may qualify as “severe” include, but are not limited to, those involving theft of the faculty member's or another student's materials; destroying or damaging the academic materials of another; sabotaging of instructional technologies or classroom/laboratory equipment and devices; depriving others from conducting, or participating in, academic activities; forgery of official documentation; or misrepresenting oneself as someone else. This list is not exhaustive; other incidents may qualify as well.

1. Initiation; Review and Recommendation at the Departmental Level:
The process set forth in section C (1-2) above shall be first be followed, with the addition that the student may bring a silent witness to the meeting with the faculty member, so long as the faculty member is notified of this at least two (2) days prior to the meeting. Additionally, once the faculty member makes a decision, he or she must not only notify the student (in accordance with section (C)(2)(c)(i) above), but must also simultaneously forward that decision to the faculty member’s Chair/Director for additional review.
The Chair/Director must review the materials considered by the faculty member, including the materials presented by the student at the meeting with the faculty member. The student and the faculty member must also be provided with the opportunity to provide additional information to the Chair/Director as part of his or her review. The Chair/Director , in turn, must carefully weigh the presented evidence before making a decision regarding whether to uphold the faculty member’s decision/recommendation. The Chair/Director must notify the student of his or her decision in writing within five (5) days of the meeting. The proposed sanction should be appropriate for the specific violation and consistent with this policy. If the Chair/Director determines to affirm the decision/recommendation of the faculty member, the written communication to the student must include the finding of academic dishonesty, the recommended sanction, and a description of the next steps. A copy of the written communication, along with the presented evidence, must simultaneously be sent to the Dean of the College or the Dean's designee.

2. Review and Decision by the College
Upon receipt of the materials from the Chair/Director, the Dean or Dean's designee (e.g. Associate Dean, another Department Chair, or Program Director) reviews and makes a determination whether to accept the decision and recommendation of the department. The Dean's designee may elect to investigate the situation beyond the department-level determination, if the conditions warrant that course of action to enable a sound decision. The investigation may include meetings with the instructor, instructor's Chair/Director, and the student. If the Dean's designee is unable to complete this additional investigation within the fifteen (15) day time period, the designee must inform, in writing, the student, instructor, and instructor's Chair/Director about the delay in the decision due to the investigative process. The communication must also set forth an expectation about when the investigation will be completed and the decision will be made. Once the Dean has made a determination, it shall be communicated in writing to the student. The communication must inform the student of his or her rights and options and the related procedures, and should include a copy of this policy. A copy of the communication shall be sent to the designated officer of the Office of the Provost, the Registrar, the faculty member, and the faculty member's Chair/Director. If the sanction is a university-level sanction, the student must be informed of his or her right to request a hearing before the University Hearing Board, and a copy of the communication must also be sent to the Dean of Students.


3. Student Options:

If the Dean or the Dean’s designee upholds the recommended penalty, and the penalty is not a university-level one (e.g. expulsion, suspension or degree revocation), the student may:
a. Accept the penalty and the recording of the incident made to the Academic Dishonesty Database (in which case the student need take no action); or
b. Contest the allegation and penalty by providing written notification of such an appeal within ten (10) days of receipt of the notification of penalty–to the faculty member, the faculty member’s Chair/Director, and the Dean's office. Such an appeal shall follow the procedures as outlined in Section E.
If the Dean or the Dean’s designee upholds the recommended penalty, and the sanction to be imposed is either suspension or expulsion from the university or is degree revocation, the student has the right to: (1) appeal in accordance with Section E, and (2) also request a hearing before the University Hearing Board in accordance with Section F, if the sanction still stands after the Section E appeal.

E. STUDENT APPEAL PROCESS

The only bases for an appeal of an academic dishonesty finding made in accordance with the above procedures are:

  • Falsity of the allegation; Attempt by the faculty member to impose more severe consequences than those stated in the class syllabus.
  • Failure by the faculty member, department or college to follow the above applicable procedures; or
  • Allegations of malice, bias, or conflict of interest on the part of the individual(s) who made the determination of academic dishonesty.
1. In accordance with section C.3.b or D.3. b, the student must provide written notification of his or her intent to contest the decision of academic dishonesty. This notification must be provided within ten (10) days of receipt of the notification of penalty. The notification must include a description of the charges of academic dishonesty, a description of the sanction imposed and a statement that the student is appealing the charge. The recipients of this notification shall be the faculty member and faculty member's Chair/Director. The Dean’s office shall receive notice of the intent to appeal if the penalties recommended require Section D procedures. If the instructor of the course is a Department Chair or the administrator of the academic unit, the steps of the process are conducted by a Dean-designated administrator within the College.
2. If the hearings below resulted in a recommendation of program dismissal, university suspension or university expulsion, the student is allowed to remain enrolled in classes during the appeal process. If a student appeals a charge of academic dishonesty near the end of a term when it is not possible to complete the appeals process, the faculty member will record a grade for that student reflecting the sanction imposed (an F in the course or a final grade incorporating an F on an assignment for example). If the student prevails on the appeal, the grade will be changed through university-established procedures.
3. Upon receiving such a request, the meeting convener shall schedule a meeting as soon as is practical for all parties, but in any event no later than fifteen (15) days. The meeting convener shall be the faculty member's Chair/Director unless department, program, college or university sanctions are recommended (see Section D) in which case the convener shall be the Dean's designee. Proceedings of the meeting shall be recorded (either via a tape recording or via note-taking by an impartial party appointed by the meeting convener). The student may present additional information and may bring a silent observer to this meeting, provided the meeting convener is notified of this in writing no less than two (2) days prior to the meeting.
The meeting attendees shall include the student, the faculty member, the faculty member's Chair/Director, and an impartial arbitrator (e.g. the Associate Dean or another Department Chair) who has been designated by the Dean. If the sanctions recommended include program, department, college or university sanctions (see Section D), then an impartial arbitrator designated by the Office of the Provost (e.g. Associate Vice Provost, Registrar, or Vice Provost).

4. At the meeting, both the student and the department (faculty member, if Section C; faculty member and Chair/Director, if Section D) will be given the opportunity to succinctly present their case with evidence. If this is a Section C incident, the department's case is presented by the faculty member. If this is a Section D incident, the department's case is presented by the faculty member's Chair/Director. The arbitrator may ask questions of both parties. At the conclusion of this meeting, the arbitrator shall determine the outcome of the appeal and send a letter within fifteen (15) days of the meeting to the meeting attendees documenting the meeting and setting forth the decision that was made. The arbitrator may affirm, modify, or dismiss the charge of academic dishonesty. The arbitrator’s decision is final, if the sanction is NOT a university-level sanction (i.e., suspension, expulsion, or degree revocation).


F. HEARING PROCESSES ASSOCIATED WITH UNIVERSITY-LEVEL SANCTIONS

1. Upon completion of a Section E appeal and if the sanction is suspension, expulsion, or degree revocation, the student will be informed of his or her right to request a hearing before a University Hearing Board. This request must be made by the student in writing to the Dean of Students (in the Office of Student Life) no later than twenty (20) days following the date of the notification from step E.3. A copy of this request shall also be sent by the student to the Dean or Dean's designee. The student may request a hearing to appeal the determination that a violation occurred, or to appeal the sanctions, or both issues. The Office of Student Life’s role is to convene the board and to facilitate the hearing.
2. University Hearing Board:Should an academic misconduct matter be referred to the University Hearing Board, the procedures set forth in ABOR Policy 403(D & E) apply, except that the Hearing Board in the matter is advisory to the Provost, instead of the Vice President of Student Affairs. Accordingly, it is the Provost who reviews the recommendation and renders a decision that affirms, denies, or modifies the recommendation made by the University Hearing Board, in accordance with the procedures set forth in ABOR Policy 5-403(F). The Provost shall consider mitigating and aggravating factors in determining to affirm, deny or modify the recommendation.

Footnotes

1 See e-Learning (http://www.nau.edu/~d-elearn/support/tutorials/academicintegrity/index.php) for tutorials and course shell modules on academic integrity.
2 http://www.azregents.edu/policymanual/default.aspx. In accordance with ABOR Policy 5-308(G), expulsion is the permanent separation of the student from the university; suspension is the temporary separation of the student from the university for a specified period of time. Other conditions as set forth in ABOR Policy may also apply.
3 Throughout this document, written communications and letters can be conducted by NAU email or through regular hard mail delivery services such as the US Postal Service, etc. If the student already has in place a disability-related accommodation related to written communications, that accommodation will be used to communicate with the student.
4 For undergraduate students, consult with the designated officer of the Office of the Provost. For graduate students, consult with the Associate Dean of the Graduate College.
5 The reported incident(s) may exist in either, or in combination of, the undergraduate or graduate Databases.

Approved by: AADR 11/3/2011 and ASC: 10/28/2011
Reviewed by: ACC: 10/26/2011, Legal: 10/26/2011, PALC: 11/2/2011
Approved by the Provost:

Students can appeal

Procedures are outlined in the Academic Dishonesty policy, which is located in the Online Student Handbook appendices.