Academic Integrity                                                                       Policy Problems

 

 

Issues:

                     

* Procedures need to be clarified                                                               * Types of academic dishonesty:

   * Don't exist in either handbook                                                              * Academic fraud, collaboration,

   * Last updated in 1992                                                                             copying, cribbing, fabrication,

   * Don't convey an institutional culture about integrity                                  plagiarism, sabotage, substitution.

* Policies need to be updated                                                                    * How to apply these definitions to a

    * Definitions need updating                                                                       class is left to the faculty member

    * Inconsistent penalties and practices                                                         to decide.

    * "Us vs. Them" environment                                                                 *  Penalties are left to faculty to decide.                                                                                                                             Consistency?

                 *  Responsibility to enforce is left to the

                    faculty

 

 

 

Procedural Problems                                                              Recommendations

 

Academic Dishonesty Process                                                              * There is a need to update the polices and

Faculty Member                                       procedures                                      

Dropping Course Prohibited                                                                       * This requires a joint faculty-student action,

                                    No              Action                                               not an administrative action

                                                                                                            * Sooner the better

                                                              Yes

 

              There is a need to update the policies and procedures.

 

              Tbisrequiresajointfaculty-studentaction, not an administrative action.

 

              Sooner the better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Addressing Academic Dishonesty

at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

 

 

Intellectual integrity is critical to the foundation of all academic work.  Academic dishonesty, therefore, is considered a serious matter and will be addressed as such.

 

As defined in the current Rensselaer Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities, examples of academic dishonesty include, but are not limited to: academic fraud, collaboration, copying, cribbing, fabrication, plagiarism, sabotage, and substitution.  Additional, attempts to commit

Academic dishonesty, or to assist in the commission or attempt of such an act, am also violations of the academic dishonesty policy.

 

If found in violation of the academic dishonesty policy, students may be subject to two types of penalties.  The instructor administers an academic (grade) penalty, and the student may also enter the Institute judicial process and be subject to such additional sanctions as: warning, probation, suspension, expulsion, and alternative actions as defined in the current Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

 

Faculty Procedures for Responding

 

If there is reason to believe a student in your course may have been involved in academic dishonesty proceed as follows:

 

1)         Contact the student(s) and schedule a meeting to discuss the allegations.  This meeting should occur within 10 Institute business days of having discovered the possible dishonesty.

 

2)         When meeting with a student review the circumstances and evidence related to the suspicion of academic dishonesty and allow him or her the opportunity to provide his or her perspective on the situation Take notes during the meeting to document important information.

 

3)         After reviewing the situation, speaking to any witnesses, etc., make a determination as to the guilt or innocence of the accused student.

 

If it is concluded that a student has violated the Institute academic dishonesty policy, it is the professor's responsibility to determine the academic (grade) portion of the penalty (i.e. failure of the course, a significant reduction of the final course grade, etc.) and to communicate this decision to the student in writing.  This communication should occur

Within five Institute business days of having met the Student. Included in this written

Notification should be information regarding the student's option to appeal the grade

decision and have the procedure/time limit in which to do so.

 

5)      This written decision is copied to the Senior Judicial Administrator the Dean of Students Office along with a brief summary of the case facts and a copy of any supporting documentation (i.e. exams/assignments involving cheating, crib sheets, witness statements, etc.).

 

 

 

 

6)         A copy of the incident of academic dishonesty will be kept on file in the Dean of Students Office as a record of the incident and as a way to monitor repeat/multiple offenses.  If such records are not forwarded to the Dean of Students Office and such files are not centrally maintained, it is feasible that a student could participate in multiple acts of cheating with each professor being under the assumption that his or her course is the student's first offense.

 

7)         In addition to the grade penalty, faculty members can also request that additional action be taken against a student they have found in violation of academic integrity standards.  Such

requests should be attached to the above-mentioned documentation when it is sent to the Senior Judicial Administrator.  He or she will then review the material for possible judicial action and will proceed in accordance with Institute protocol.  The Senior Judicial

Administrator will also review prior academic dishonesty case files (located in the Dean of Students Office) to determine if said student is a "repeat offender).

 

Appeals

 

Decisions regarding grades have always been the responsibility and jurisdiction of the course professor, and the school in which the academic dishonesty occurred, as there is no one in a better position to make this determination.   Any appeal of this grade decision is likewise under the same authority.  Therefore, a student can submit a written appeal of the grade portion of his or her penalty to the Department Chair within five Institute business days of the being notified of the  professor's decision.  If the course professor is the Department Chair or Dean of the School  or there are other circumstances that could create the perception

of  "bias" steps must be taken to avoid conflicts of interest and to utilize other appropriate individuals for the appeal process

 

1)      The Department Chair (or designee) will then make a determination based on the facts/circumstances of the case and the appropriateness of the original sanction.  This determination should be made and communicated to the student and the professor within 10 Institute business days of receiving the appeal.  Included in this written notification should be information regarding the student's option to appeal the grade decision and of the procedure/time limit in which to do so.

 

2)      If the student or professor believes he or she has grounds for appealing the decision of the Department Chair (i.e., new evidence), both parties have the option to submit a written appeal to the Dean of the School within five Institute business days of receiving the decision.  The Dean will then render a decision on the facts/circumstances of the case and the appropriateness of the sanction.  This determination should be made and communicated to the student and the professor within  10 Institute business days of receiving the appeal.

 

3)      The decision of the Dean of the School may be subject to final determination by the Dean of the Faculty, with good cause and at the written request of either party involved, within five Institute business days of notification of the Dean of the Schools.  The decision of the Faculty is unconstrained in the procedure he or she chooses to employ in the context of such a review.  The Dean of faculty is the final level of appeal and his/her decision stands as final for both the student(s) and professor involved.  The Dean of the Faculty will render a decision based on the circumstances pf the case and the appropriateness of the sanction.   This determination should be made to the student and the professor within 10 Institute business days of receiving the appeal

 

 

4)      Students found in violation of the academic dishonesty policy are prohibited from dropping a course in order to avoid the academic penalty.  Instructors should, therefore, notify the Registrar's Office and Academic Advising about students who are not permitted to drop a course for this reason.

 

5)         If an appeal takes place, the final decision should also be copied to the Senior Judicial Administrator, in the Dean of Students Office, if it differs from the original case outcome.

 

Non-Grade Appeals

 

Non-academic sanctions imposed via the Dean of Students Office am appealed through the Institute judicial system (as outlined in  The Rensselaer Handbook off Student Rights and Responsibilities) and are not the responsibility of the professor, though he or she may be called as a witness.

 

Academic and Non-Academic Decisions

 

In the unlikely event that the verdict of guilt or innocence differs between the academic process and the juridical process, the academic dishonesty case may be forwarded to the President for final resolution.  The President is unconstrained in the procedure he or she chooses to employ in the context of such a review and academic (grade) and non-academic decisions are subject to change based on his/her final determination.

 

Procedural Timelines

 

The designated procedural timelines should be adhered to unless there are extenuating circumstances and agreement to extend the process, is reached between the parties involved.  However, expedience is

important in such matters and the entire process (including appeals) should be concluded within one

semester at most.

 

This protocol has been in practice for a numberr of years and was officially documented in 1992 and

approved by the Faculty Senate, Student Senate, Dean of Students Office, and the President in 1993.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   HANDBOOK FOR ACADEMIC STAFF

 

             HANDBOOK FOR ACADEMIC STAFF

 

F.           Other Responsibilities

 

a. Academic Honesty

 

Rensselaer does not have an official academic honor code; therefore, the faculty plays a major role in problems of academic honesty.  A faculty member who becomes aware of student dishonesty has two possible courses of action, depending on the nature and severity of the infraction: (1) the student may be dealt with on an individual basis, or (2) the incident may be reported to the Office of the Dean of Students.  In the latter instance, the case may be heard by the student judicial board, whose recommendation is sent to the Dean of Students for review and disposition.  Cases may also be brought before the Board by a student.  If a student is dealt with on an individual basis, the action taken is to be reported to the dean of students.

 

Faculty members having any questions about matters of academic honesty should contact the dean of students.

 

b.       Conduct Regulations

 

Student conduct regulations are detailed in the students' The RensselaerHandbook of Student Rights

 and responsibilities. All faculty members should have current copy and should be familiar with

 its contents.

 

A faculty member who becomes aware of a minor infraction may deal with ft individually.  Serious infractions should be reported immediately to the Office of the Dean of Students or, in situations threatening imminent danger to persons or property, to the Office of Public Safety.  Faculty cooperation is particularly important in the control of theft and unauthorized possession of keys.

 

Charges of violation of conduct regulations may be heard by the student judicial board.

 

c. Potential or Impending Violations

 

A faculty member who has reason to believe that an individual or group is planning actions that would result in violation of the conduct regulations should report this information immediately to the dean of students.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ADDITIONAL POLICIES

 

ACADEMIC DISHONESTY

 

Academic Fraud

Alteration of documentation relating to the grading process.  For example, changing exam solutions to negotiate for a higher grade or tampering with an instructor's grade book.

 

Collaboration

Deliberate facilitation of academic dishonesty in any form.  For example, allowing another student to observe an exam paper or allowing another student to "recycle" one's old term paper.

 

Copying

Obtaining information pertaining to an exam question by deliberately observing the paper of another student.  For example, noting which alternative a neighboring student has circled on a multiple-choice exam.

 

Cribbing

Use or attempted use of prohibited materials, information, or study aids in an academic exercise.  For example, using an unauthorized formula sheet during an exam.

 

Fabrication

Unauthorized falsification or invention of any information in an academic exercise.  For example, use of "bought" or "readymade" term papers, or falsifying lab records,

 

Plagiarism

Representing the work or words of another as one's own through the omission of acknowledgment or reference.  For example, using sentences verbatim from a published source in a term paper without appropriate referencing, or presenting as one's own the detailed argument of a published source.

 

Sabotage

Destruction of another student's work related to an academic exercise.  For example, destroying a model, lab experiment, computer program, or term paper developed by another student.

 

Substitution

Utilizing a proxy, or acting as a proxy, in any academic exercise.  For example, taking an exam for another student or having a homework assignment done by someone else.

The definitions and examples presented above are samples of the various types of academic dishonesty and are not to be construed as an exhaustive or exclusive iist.  The academic dishonesty policy also applies to scholarly pursuits and research, Additionally, attempts to commit academic dishonesty or to assist in the commission or attempt of such an act, are also violations of this policy.  If found in violation of academic dishonesty policies, students may be subject to two types of penalties.  The Instructor administers an academic penalty (i,e., failure of the course), and the student may also be subject to the procedures and penalties of the student judicial system outlined in this handbook.  Academic penalties are appealable only through the Instructor, Department Chair, Dean of the School, or School Committee designated by the Dean.

 

Note:    Students found in violation of academic dishonesty policies are prohibited from dropping a course in order to avoid the academic penalty,

 

PREVENTION OF ACADEMIC DISHONESTY

 

For these courses or academic exercises in which either the instructor or student considers proper definition of academic dishonesty to be open to interpretation, the instructor is expected to outline his or her particular standards.  An example for which such definition seems particularly necessary would be collaboration on out-of-class assignments.

Course supervisors are expected to provide adequate and conscientious proctoring for examinations.  Faculty and proctors have the option of asking a student for identification during an exam or exercise, and take reasonable precautions to lessen probability of academic dishonesty occurring, such as requiring that all personal belongings, texts, etc., be placed away from desks in the examination room.

 

 

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION POLICY

 

It is the policy of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute that all persons be provided equal opportunities regardless of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, religion, creed, national origin, marital status, Vietnam-era Veteran status, disabled veteran status, or disability,

Rensselaer commits itself to affirmative action and will make a major effort to increase the number of minority members and women in the student body, faculty, and staff.  While maintaining high standards of excellence, Rensselaer will continue to broaden its pool of available minority and women candidates for positions on the faculty, staff, and in the student body.  The Institute will, furthermore, endeavor to graduate men and women with a commitment to affirmative action and to making equal opportunities a reality.

 

I.          Basis for Filing a Complaint of Discrimination Any adverse action or personnel action or other act of discrimination based on race, color, sex, sexual orientation, age (except to the extent permitted by law), creed, religion, national origin, marital status, Vietnam-era Veteran status, disabled veteran status, or disability, may be the basis for filing a complaint of discrimination.

 

II.         Who May File a Complaint of Discrimination Any employee, applicant for employment, or student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute who believes that he or she has been discriminated against may file a complaint of discrimination.  A group of eligible people may also file a complaint.

 

APPEALS

 

The verdicts issued and penalties assigned within the Student Judicial System may be appealed to a board and ultimately to the President.  A student may request an appeal to the appropriate judicial body through the hearing officer or Senior Judicial Administrator.  This process will be discussed with the student.  Appeal requests: must be submitted in writing from the appellant specifically, within the time limit designated; must include the specific reasons/rationale and supporting information for requesting an appeal; and can be only for the reasons/grounds stated subsequently.  Upon receipt of the appeal request, the appropriate judicial body will proceed accordingly.

Once a student accepts judicial decision, or if an appeal request is not submitted according to the above requirements and by the date and time designated, the decision stands as final and cannot be further appealed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

GROUNDS FOR APPEAL

 

Grounds for appeal include only: demonstrated procedural error; now evidence that could not have been discovered by the accused student prior to the time of the original decision which would be likely to change the results of the previous outcome; and/or sanctions that are not appropriate for the violations.

 

Note:    A mandatory minimum sanction is not negotiable and cannot be reduced.

 

THE HEARING BOARDS

 

There are several hearing boards that will hear appeals of the decision of the Office of the Dean of Students or other Institute action.  In certain instances these boards may hear a case without judicial inquiry, these are:

 

      Civil cases between students or student groups including all student government disputes,

 

      Cases referred directly to a hearing board by the Office of the Dean of Students.  However, such a referral would only be due to rare and/or extenuating circumstances,

 

      Cases not initiated in the Dean of Students Office, such as Faculty Academic Board cases and the academic grading portion of academic dishonesty cases.

 

The hearing boards will hear cases depending upon their nature and may issue verdicts and assign penalties.  Both parties involved have the option to accept the decision of the hearing board or appeal to the Review Board, If both parties accept the board's decision, it stands as final,

Hearing boards are governed by their own bylaws, To request a hearing of one of thew boards you must provide a written appeal, per the previous specifications, within three Institute business days of notification of the original judicial decision.

 

STUDENT JUDICIAL BOARD

 

The Student Judicial Board has jurisdiction in alleged violations of the Grounds for Disciplinary Action by students or groups, and In civil cases between students/groups.  The Judicial Board is comprised of seven students.

 

GREEK JUDICIAL BOARD

 

The Greek Judicial Board can hear cases involving alleged violations of the Grounds for Disciplinary Action, The Statement of Relationship between Rensselaer and Social Fraternities and Sororities, and of the Inter fraternity Council (IFC) or Panhellenic Council (PC) Constitution of bylaws by a recognized fraternity or sorority.  If a case is referred to a hearing board, the person/group bringing the original charges has the option to have the case heard by either the Greek Judicial Board or jointly by the Student Judicial Board and the Greek Judicial Board.  If the case is heard jointly by these Boards, the Student Judicial Board will determine the verdict and the Greek Board will determine the penalty.  The Greek Judicial Board is comprised of nine students.

 

 

 

 

 

FACULTY ACADEMIC BOARD

 

The Faculty Academic Board shall hear the appeals of final course grades, but only after a student has been unsuccessful in resolving this dispute with his or her professor, the Department Chair, and the Dean of the School, and when the student alleges the wrongful assigning of a grade.  This allegation must be based upon a violation of the course syllabus, a violation of Institute policy by the profe@rlinstructor, or a violation of the student's rights under the Student Bill of Rights, The Faculty Academic Board is comprised of five faculty members.

 

THE JOINT BOARD

 

The Joint Board has civil jurisdiction over alleged violations of Institute rules, rights or regulations by an academic unit, an administrative unit, or by Rensselaer itself when the complainant is a student or a student group.  The Joint Board will not hear a matter unless attempts to resolve it with the unit and its supervisor have been unsuccessful.  The Joint Board's decision may then be appealed directly to the President by either party within five Institute business days of receiving the Joint Board decision.  The Joint Board consists of three Judicial Board members, three faculty members, and one administrator.  The Judicial Board Chairperson also chairs the Joint Board.

 

REVIEW BOARD

 

The decision of a lower board may be appealed to the Review Board, by either party.  The written appeal must be sent to the Review Board Chairperson via the Senior Judicial Administrator in the Dean of Students Office, within five Institute business days of receiving the lower board's decision.  The Review Board will then meet to discuss the merits of the appeal.  Based solely upon the written evidence before It (including the letter of appeal) the Review Board will decide one of the following: to uphold the decision of the lower body; to modify the verdict or sanction(s) of the lower body; to refer the case back to the lower body with instructions for further action; or to conduct a hearing.  If the Review Board decides to conduct a hearing, it will determine what information will be examined or further clarified.  The Review Board is an appeals board and only reviews lower board decisions.  The Review Board consists of two students, two faculty members and one administrator.