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Addressing Academic Misconduct

You may address academic misconduct by:

  • working to prevent academic misconduct.
  • talking to students you suspect of academic misconduct and reaching a mutually agreeable resolution.
  • reporting students you suspect of academic misconduct.

You may NOT address academic misconduct by:

  • unilaterally lowering a student's grade

Prevent Academic Misconduct

Establishing an ethos valuing academic honor and scientific integrity

  • Put a statement of ethos in your syllabus.
  • Put a handout on cheating in our course packet
  • Talk about the definition of academic pursuits and the importance of honesty.

Reducing chances for cheating during exams

  • Use ScorePak forms and testing options to reduce chances of copying in exam situations.
  • Use a distinctly colored pen to correct papers and mark clearly with an X through blank questions so students do not fill these in later and come back saying, "they were missed by the grader."

Preventing plagiarism and fabrication of research results

  • Use assignments that require students to show how they have developed their work.
  • Have students work in teams arranged by instructor so they can cross-check each others' work.

Talk to Students Suspected of Academic Misconduct

An instructor may inform a student that s/he is suspected of cheating and provide her/him with multiple options (including accepting a zero as a grade on the assignment) as long as the instructor makes it clear to the student that s/he has the right to appeal the matter to the Dean's Representative. As the grading sanction under consideration by the instructor increases in severity, the instructor should give stronger consideration to referring the matter to the Dean's Office for processing.

Less severe sanctions. The options you give the student do not result in her/his failing the course or seriously undermine her/his grade in the course.

  Professor: I noticed that this paper doesn't look at all like previous work I've seen you produce. In fact, it looks quite a bit like a paper I wrote back in 1992. I'm going to give you three options:
 
  • Redo this assignment and hand it in.
  • Drop this assignment and let your grade be determined by the average of your remaining course work.
  • If you feel I have charged you inappropriately, you may appeal the matter to the Dean's Representative.

 

Moderately severe sanctions. The options you give the student do not result in her/his failing the course but could seriously undermine her/his grade in the course.

  Professor: I noticed your answers are exactly the same as the perso who was sitting next to you and you were witnessed looking over at your neighbor's paper a number of times during the hour. I suspect you of cheating. Here are your options:
 
  • You can accept a zero on this exam and refrain from any other cheating in this class. If you do well enough on the five fother unit exams you should still pass the course with no problem.
  • If you feel I have charged you inappropriately, you may appeal the matter to the Dean's Representative.

 

Severe sanctions. The options you give the student could cause her/him to fail the course.

  Professor: It is clear to me that you have fabricated the results of your marketing research project for this course. (The research project counts for 60% of the course grade.) Here are your options:
 
  • I plan to give you a zero on this project, and you will fail the class.
  • If you feel I have charged you inappropriately, you may appeal the matter to the Dean's Representative.

Instructors are encouraged to resolve cheating incidents through an informal, agreed resolution process, e.g., the instructor and student agree on the facts, the decision, and the sanction. If no agreement exists, the matter should be referred to the Dean's Representative for resolution. Instructors must be careful not to intimidate students into "agreeing" to a sanction for fear of being referred to the Dean's Representative, however. If no agreement is readily reached the instructor should offer to suspend judgment on the matter and forward it to the Dean's Representative for a more formal, fair hearing.

Report Academic Misconduct

When instructors choose to refer cases of academic misconduct, they typically are resolved at the college or school level in an informal hearing within a couple of weeks. A few cases, however, require several levels of disciplinary review and take longer for resolution.