History TA Website
Academic misconduct covers a variety of university infractions, but the ones of most concern to History TAs are plagiarism and cheating.
The Faculty Resources on Grading (FROG) website provides the university's definition academic misconduct, a description of the penalties, and suggestions for students on avoiding problems. It is recommended that TAs be familiar with these polices and that the URL or a link to this resource be provided to every student:
Also, instructors and TAs should carefully review the policies and advice provided on "Academic Conduct" at http://depts.washington.edu/grading/issue1/conduct.htm.
Particularly attention should be paid to "What Can Instructors Do to Address Academic Misconduct?" (http://depts.washington.edu/grading/issue1/conduct.htm#address), as it outlines what instructors can and cannot do in cases where plagiarism or cheating is suspected. To quote two instances:
"There is one thing you may not do to address academic misconduct: Unilaterally lower a student's grade."
"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."
Some additional resources:
Plagiarism Workshop (PDF)--This was put together by Robert Cruickshank, lead TA for 2006-2007, and provides a good overview of how to prevent plagiarism and, when it occurs, respond to it. While it does advise caution in situations where the plagiarism is not "certain," certainty may be too strict of a standard. In fact, the College of Arts and Sciences' Committee on Academic Conduct (CAC), which provides the formal review of misconduct cases and administers disciplinary action when appropriate, suggests that any significantly suspicious or likely cases of academic conduct be referred to them for review and action. Instructors and TAs do not have to identify the source of plagiarism before they can refer a student to the CAC. See below for more information.
Guidelines for Faculty and Instructors on Preventing Academic Misconduct (PDF)-- http://depts.washington.edu/grading/issue1/gprevent.htm--Information from the Committee on Academic Conduct that provides an overview on stopping plagiarism and cheating before they begin.
Information for Faculty Reporting a Case of Student Academic Misconduct (PDF)-- http://depts.washington.edu/grading/issue1/inforprt.htm--This document sets out the university approved process for reporting cases of suspected plagiarism or cheating to the Committee of Academic Conduct. TAs should be aware that many faculty members are not fully informed about the university's procedures for handling academic misconduct, often thinking that the process is more difficult and less effective than it is. They may also be unaware that TAs can refer cases to the CAC, although TAs should always consult their faculty supervisors and keep them informed (always send them a copy of the Letter of Charges).
Note: If a student is suspected of plagiarism and/or cheating and the case referred to the CAC, an X grade (not a 0.0 or I) should be recorded until the committee renders its decision.
Why you should report Academic Misconduct to the CAC
Referring cases of suspected plagiarism to the CAC is often the most effective solution. In doing so, the TA and/or the instructor remove themselves from the process of determining "guilt"they are merely alerting the university to a possible problem and the committee will make an investigation, hold a hearing, and determine if plagiarism did occur. If it does, the committee then determines the appropriate responseand, for first-time offenders, the response is aimed at educating the students about plagiarism and how to avoid it rather than any kind of Draconian punishmentand follows up with the student.
Also, if it is determined that the student violated university policy, the committee's action provides a paper trail and any subsequent violations by the student, in any other department across the university, will result in more severe disciplinary action, up to expulsion. As such, consistent reporting of suspected cases to the CAC can curb academic misconduct.
Two case studies (password required)
Here are two cases where plagiarism was suspected and reported to the CAC. Each includes a copy of the Letter of Charges prepared by the TA (the supporting documents are not attached), the results of the informal hearing, and the final decision of the CAC. These case studies are provided as teaching examples only and, while all student names have been carefully excised, care should be taken not to redistribute copies outside of the History TAs.
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Last modified: 6/23/2008 2:29 PM