Why does the University of Connecticut have a policy regarding academic integrity and academic misconduct?
There are a number of things that you can do to promote academic integrity.
- Be familiar with the University’s Academic Integrity policy.
- Be a model of integrity in your own academic behavior.
- Take action when suspicious of academic misconduct.
- Include information on academic integrity/misconduct on course syllabi.
- Discuss in-class expectations regarding research and group projects.
- Volunteer to serve as a faculty member on the University of Connecticut Academic Integrity Hearing Board, which hears academic misconduct cases.
All forms of academic misconduct are prohibited. The Undergraduate Academic Integrity policy regarding academic misconduct states, “Academic misconduct is dishonest or unethical academic behavior that includes, but is not limited, to misrepresenting mastery in an academic area (e.g., cheating), failing to properly credit information, research or ideas to their rightful originators or representing such information, research or ideas as your own (e.g., plagiarism)”.
The Undergraduate Academic Integrity policy does speak to the instructor’s role in the process. It states, “When an instructor believes there is sufficient information to demonstrate a case of academic misconduct, s/he shall notify the student in writing of the allegation of misconduct and the academic consequences that the instructor will impose. The appropriate academic consequence for serious offenses is generally considered to be failure in the course. For offenses regarding small portions of the course work, failure for that portion is suggested with the requirement that the student repeat the work for no credit. The written notification shall also inform the student whether the case has been referred to the Academic Integrity Hearing Board (Board) for consideration of additional sanctions. The instructor shall send the written notification to the student with a copy to the Office of Community Standards (Community Standards) within five business days of having discovered the alleged misconduct. Academic misconduct reports, including the written notification sent to students, can be submitted by using this reporting form. At the Regional Campuses, a copy shall be sent to the Office of Student Affairs (Regional Campus Student Affairs). Cases that are purely technical in nature, without any perceived intent to achieve academic advantage, may be reported at the discretion of the instructor.”
I suspect that a student has violated the Undergraduate Academic Integrity policy. What happens next?
You must notify the student in writing (within five business days) of the alleged misconduct and the academic consequence(s) that will be imposed. In this written notification, you may ask the student to meet with you in person. The student has five business days to respond to you. If the student does not respond within five business days, you should impose your academic consequence(s). You will notify Community Standards or the Regional Campus Student Affairs by using this reporting form to include the written notification sent to the student and any additional information.There are two options for resolving an academic misconduct violation. The instructor and student may reach a mutually acceptable resolution. If resolution is reached, the instructor will notify Community Standards or Regional Campus Student Affairs of the agreement. If a resolution cannot be reached, the student may request a hearing in writing (via hard copy or email) to the instructor. If a student requests a hearing, the instructor will send (or forward from the student) an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to officially request a hearing. The instructor can also request a hearing. The instructor will need to forward any evidence (i.e., witness statements, exams, cheat sheets) and the original notification letter sent to the accused student to Community Standards. Next, the Academic Integrity Hearing Board will schedule a hearing date, time and location and will give written notice to the student. An instructor may be asked to serve as a witness at the hearing. If a student is found “not responsible”, the instructor shall reevaluate the student’s grade. If the student is found “responsible”, the instructor’s sanctions are imposed.
The Academic Integrity Hearing Board may impose additional sanctions depending on the severity of the incident or previous conduct history. Community Standards will review all academic misconduct cases as they are received to determine if a case needs to be heard by the Board to determine additional sanctions need to be considered. After receiving written notification of the academic misconduct from the instructor, Community Standards may meet with students to discuss additional sanctions to determine if an agreement about additional sanctions can be reached. If an agreement cannot be reached between a student and Community Standards, the case will be heard by the Board.
Students may appeal the hearing board’s decision on three grounds: (1) on a claim of error in the hearing procedure that substantially affects the decision; (2) on a claim of new evidence or information material to the case that was not known at the time of the hearing, and (3) to determine whether any additional sanction(s), not including academic consequences, imposed by the Board were appropriate for the violation based on the student’s conduct history and/or significance of the violation.
The letter should include the following:
- Date, course, place (or situation) and type of academic misconduct.
- Evidence being held that supports allegation.
- The academic consequence you plan to assign- (The Undergraduate Academic Integrity policy states, “The appropriate academic consequence for serious offenses is generally considered to be failure in the course. For offenses regarding small portions of the course work, failure for that portion is suggested with the requirement that the student repeat the work for no credit”.)
- Refer students to the Responsibilities of Student Life: The Student Code to read the Undergraduate Academic Integrity policy and review the hearing process
- Inform students they have five days to respond to your notification, and that they can request an Academic Integrity Hearing in writing to you.
- Inform students that the notification will be forwarded to Community Standards or Regional Campus Student Affairs office.
- Refer to Community Standards, or the Regional Campus Student Affairs Office for questions regarding the process.
I am meeting with a student to discuss an Undergraduate Academic Integrity policy violation. What should I cover in this meeting? Are there any helpful tips to follow?
- Be direct
- Explain the facts as you know them
- Do not get defensive and do not engage in an argument
- Do not “plea bargain” – stick to your standards
- Explain the process for academic misconduct. It can be found within the Responsibilities of Student Life: The Student Code
- Refer them to Undergraduate Frequently Asked questions
What are the possible academic consequences for a violation of the Undergraduate Academic Integrity policy?
* Adapted from the University of South Carolina