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Academic Integrity Policy

History:
Resolution 37-26 Created the Academic Integrity Policy (doc)
Resolution 37-29 Created the Academic Integrity Council (doc)

I. Preamble

The University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) is committed to community and academic excellence which thrive through honesty, trust, and mutual respect.

When faculty, students, and staff come to UIS, they join an academic community founded on the search for knowledge.  At the heart of that search is personal honesty that makes possible an open and vibrant exchange of ideas. The intellectual health of the community depends on this honesty and sustains itself through the trust and mutual respect of each of its members.

Academic integrity is at the heart of the University’s commitment to academic excellence.  The UIS community strives to communicate and support clear standards of integrity, so that undergraduate and graduate students can internalize those standards and carry them forward in their personal and professional lives. Living a life with integrity prepares students to assume leadership roles in their communities as well as in their chosen profession. Alumni can be proud of their education and the larger society will benefit from the University’s contribution to the development of ethical leaders.

Violations of academic integrity demean the violator, degrade the learning process, deflate the meaning of grades, discredit the accomplishments of past and present students, and tarnish the reputation of the University for all its members.

This policy applies to all UIS instructors, staff, and students admitted to the university, any department, or program, including conditional or probationary admittance. This policy provides a due process resolution for alleged violations by students. Faculty or staff who are alleged to have violated academic integrity shall be subject to the policies and processes appropriate to the sanction being sought, e.g., Dismissal for Cause, or Sanctions Less than Dismissal, etc.

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II. Faculty and Students’ Responsibilities

1. Faculty
Faculty are responsible for being aware of the UIS Academic Integrity Policy and contributing to student development by promoting academic integrity, addressing dishonesty, and assisting in the development of ethical reasoning. Such behavior includes:
Providing a clear and complete syllabus which describes course expectations,   guidelines, and standards of performance, as well as those of the university, concerning academic integrity

  • Holding students responsible for knowing these expectations and guidelines
  • Fostering an environment where academic integrity is expected and respected
  • Endeavoring to detect and properly handle breaches of academic integrity
  • Fostering a classroom environment in which all students are treated with courtesy and respect
  • Creating assessments that are effective evaluations of student mastery of course content
  • Evaluating student work based on its academic merit
  • Giving students timely and honest feedback
  • Being available to discuss appropriate academic matters

2. Students
Students are responsible for being aware of the UIS Academic Integrity Policy and demonstrating behavior that is honest and ethical in their academic work. Such behavior includes:

  • Being responsible for knowing and following the academic integrity policy of the campus.
  • Being responsible for knowing and following each instructor’s academic integrity policy as defined in the course syllabus
  • Asking for clarification if the standards of academic performance are not clear
  • Asking for clarification from the instructor about the syllabus, assignments, or grading policies if they seem unclear
  • Helping to foster an environment where academic integrity is expected and respected
  • Treating each other with courtesy and respect and helping to foster a classroom environment in which all students are treated with courtesy and respect

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III. The Academic Integrity Council

The Academic Integrity Council (Council) is a standing committee of the Campus Senate, whose responsibilities are to promote academic integrity at UIS and to oversee the judicial functions of the Academic Integrity Policy by ensuring fair and efficient operation of hearing panels, serving as appellate hearing panels, and deciding on petitions. The Bylaws of the UIS Campus Senate provide a more complete description of the duties and membership.

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IV. Definitions of Violations

These definitions do not represent a complete list of possible violations of academic integrity; rather, they are intended to provide a general range of conduct which constitutes violations.

1. Plagiarism
Submitted work should be one’s own work and it should properly acknowledge ideas, facts, the progression of thought or reasoning and words from others. Plagiarism is intellectual theft: the plagiarist presents work done by others as his or her own, in writing or orally. Plagiarism is the failure to properly and appropriately reference and acknowledge the ideas and words of others. This includes website material used in written, oral, or multi-media presentations.

Examples of plagiarism include:

  • Using direct quotation without the quotation marks or citation – Examples
  • Paraphrasing without proper citation
  • Making only minor changes to an author’s words or style
  • Insufficient acknowledgment of sources (partial citation) – Examples
  • Using the pattern, structure or organization of an author’s argument or ideas without proper citation – Examples
  • Failing to cite sources for uncommon facts or knowledge
  • Working with another student on a project but failing to put both names on the final product
  • Having someone else re-write or heavily edit a paper

2. Cheating
Honesty involves presenting one’s own level of knowledge as accurately as possible. Misrepresenting or providing false information in any matter of academic achievement or work is cheating.

Examples of cheating include:

  • Unauthorized possession, copying or any sharing of exam questions or answers
  • Having another person take an exam
  • Using notes, books and the like in closed-book examinations
  • Presenting work done by others as one’s own
  • Fabrication of text, sources, or citations
  • Unauthorized altering of graded work after it has been returned, then submitting it for regrading
  • Signing another person’s name on an academic exercise or attendance sheet
  • Unauthorized collaboration on any assignments such as homework, take-home exams, or projects in which the instructor does not allow collaboration is cheating (It is the student’s responsibility to ascertain whether collaboration is permitted.)

3. Misrepresentation of Academic Experiences, Ability, or Effort
One is expected to accurately and fairly present one’s experience, ability, or effort so that others may accurately assess those accomplishments. Providing false or misleading information concerning academic background or academic work is a violation of academic integrity.

Examples of misrepresentation include:

  • Falsifying, altering, or presenting misleading information about the substance of an internship; the content of prior coursework; a graduation contract or student petition; reasons for classroom absences, late work or inability to meet course requirements; the level of effort on a group or solo assignment; submission or use of “invented” data, such as lab experiments or interviews; or any official department, college, or university academic document, application, grade report, letter of permission or excuse, petition, drop/add form or other registration material, and university ID card
  • Submission of substantially same work in two courses without explicit permission from all instructors. Instructors have the right to assume that any work submitted for their classes has not earned or will not earn credit in another class. Presenting all or part of work done for one course in another course requires permission of all the instructors involved. Some connected or paired courses may require submission of the same work in the two associated courses; this will be explicitly stated for this type of assignment. In all other circumstances, failure to gain permission from all instructors in submitting the same work is cheating.
  • Failure to disclose a criminal conviction in appropriate circumstances when a conviction is relevant to the disciplinary area of study, professional credentialing and internships, placements or practica. This includes convictions imposed after being admitted. For example, a conviction for child abuse would be relevant to the fields of elementary and secondary teaching and school counseling.

4. Academic Interference
Academic integrity means that one should respect another person’s work and efforts. Any activity undertaken with the purpose of creating or obtaining an unfair academic advantage over other students’ academic work, or inhibiting the progress of another person’s academic work, violates academic integrity.

Examples of academic interference include:

  • stealing, destroying, defacing or concealing library materials, computer software, or other academic equipment or resources with the intent to deprive others of their use
  • retaining, possessing, using or circulating previously given examination materials, where those materials clearly indicate that they are to be returned to the instructor at the conclusion of the examination
  • or intentionally obstructing or interfering with another student’s academic work, including laboratory experiments, research, artistic creations

5. Unauthorized Access to Academic Records or Systems
Academic integrity means honoring others’ right to privacy and the integrity of the university’s academic records or systems.

Examples of unauthorized access to academic records or systems include:

  • Interfering with any academic computer or computer system, or software in a way that can compromise confidentiality, integrity, or availability
  • Accessing, disclosing, copying, or using data, grade books, university, department or student academic documents or files

6. Facilitating Violations of Academic Integrity
Academic integrity also means that one is honest with respect to another person’s work as well as with one’s own work. Any act which facilitates or encourages violations of academic integrity by another person is itself a violation of academic integrity.

Examples of facilitating violations of academic integrity include:

  • providing material, information, or other assistance to another person with knowledge that such aid could be used in any of the violations stated above
  • providing false information in connection with any inquiry regarding academic integrity

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V. Academic Integrity Policy Procedures

1. Allegations of Academic Dishonesty

A.  Primary Responsibility for Bringing a Charge
Courses:
The primary responsibility for bringing a charge of academic dishonesty involving academic work or other documents submitted in a course rests with the faculty or other instructors of record (hereafter called faculty).  Graduate assistants, teaching assistants, research assistants, student workers, online coordinators and any other persons who assist or support faculty in teaching should report suspected instances of academic dishonesty to the instructor of record.

Master’s Thesis, Projects; Doctoral Dissertation; and Comprehensive Exams: The primary responsibility for bringing a charge of academic dishonesty involving a Master’s project or thesis, doctoral dissertation, or comprehensive examination rests with the student’s thesis or project, or dissertation advisor or members of the committee evaluating the thesis, project, dissertation, or examination.

Falsified documents: The primary responsibility for bringing a charge of academic dishonesty involving suspected falsification or use of falsified documents (e.g. graduation contracts) rests with the faculty or the head of the academic unit (e.g.,  Chair, Director, Associate Dean, or Dean) who received the document in question. Any violation that is discovered in an academic support unit in the division of Student Affairs (e.g., transcripts, letters of recommendation, medical documentation) shall be reported to the appropriate instructor or academic unit head in Academic Affairs.

Other Instances: The primary responsibility for bringing a charge against a student suspected of academic dishonesty of a nature that does not clearly fall under the preceding sections, shall rest with the appropriate faculty or head of the academic unit involved. Any violation that is discovered in an academic support unit in the division of Student Affairs shall be reported to the appropriate instructor or academic unit head in Academic Affairs.

Students:  When a student suspects that a violation of the Academic Integrity Policy has occurred, the student has an ethical choice to make about whether to promote academic integrity at UIS.  Ideally, a student will report that violation to the Council using an Academic Integrity Violation Report Form.  In this report, the student should describe what action the student has taken, such as talking with the other student (s) involved, or with the faculty or staff member. Every effort will be made to preserve the anonymity of the student reporting the incident; confidentiality, however, cannot be guaranteed. Students may also report anonymously to the faculty or staff member, with or without naming individuals, or confront the individual(s) believed to be in violation of the policy.

Charges at Higher Levels: When the person who bears the primary responsibility does not bring a charge within a reasonable time, the Department Chair or academic unit head may bring a charge with that person’s written consent.

B. Pending Charges in Courses
Once a student is notified, in writing, that a faculty member is pursuing an allegation of academic dishonesty in a course (see sections V.2. to V.3.), the student may not change his or her registration in the course while the matter is pending. Any attempt to withdraw from a course under these circumstances shall be considered a separate violation of this policy.

2. Informal Resolution

A. Meeting with Student
If a faculty member or academic unit head suspects that a violation has occurred, the faculty or unit head may discuss the circumstances with the student. If the faculty or academic unit head concludes that there is no violation of this policy, the matter is over. If the faculty still believes a violation has occurred, the faculty member or academic unit head will contact the Provost’s Office to determine if the student has a previous violation, in which event the case must be referred to the Council for review by a Hearing Panel. If the student has no previous violations, then the faculty member or academic unit head and the student may pursue an informal resolution. The faculty member or academic unit head shall notify the student in writing, of the basis of the belief that a violation occurred and then allow the student ten business days to respond to the allegation. If the student is either unwilling or unable to respond within ten business days of the notice, then the case must be referred to the Council for review by a Hearing Panel.

If the student does not admit responsibility for the violation or disagrees with the sanction to be imposed by the faculty member or academic unit head, either party may request that the case be referred to the Council. Either the faculty or student may seek the assistance of the Department chair, and subsequently the Dean at the informal resolution stage.

The faculty member or academic unit head bringing the charge is responsible for informing students of their option to refer the incident to the Council for review at any time during the informal resolution.

B.  Sanctions Permitted
Sanctions permitted under informal resolution procedures include one or more of the following:

  • Formal warning
  • A reduction in grade for the assignment and/or reduction in the grade for the course
  • A failing grade for the assignment and/or reduction in the grade for the course
  • A failing grade in the course
  • A failing grade in the course with a transcript notation of academic dishonesty
  • Rescinding or changing a grade for a past course in which a violation occurred
  • Successfully completing a university sponsored non-credit seminar on academic integrity
  • Other sanction(s) as appropriate and agreed to in writing

C. Notification to the Academic Integrity Council and Provost’s Office
If both the student and faculty member or academic unit head agree to the student’s responsibility for the violation and to the sanction to be imposed, the faculty or academic unit head must submit an “Informal Resolution Form” to the Academic Integrity Council and send copies of the report to the student and the Office of the Provost as the office of record.

All reports of academic dishonesty will be reviewed by the Provost’s Office to verify whether reports have been received indicating that the student has been found responsible for any other act of academic dishonesty. Whenever the Provost finds a repeat offense, the Provost shall automatically refer it to the Council for review by a Hearing Panel.

3. Formal Resolution
Cases not resolved through informal resolution will be referred for a hearing. A hearing is initiated when the Council receives a request for a hearing by either the student or the faculty or academic unit head. In the case of on-line students or faculty whose physical presence at a hearing would impose a hardship, the hearing may be conducted using technologies deemed appropriate by the Hearing Panel presiding officer.

A.  Composition of Hearing Panels
A Hearing Panel will normally consist of a presiding officer, two faculty, and one student member who are selected by the Council chair from a pool of faculty and students solicited by the Academic Integrity Council. An alternate will also be selected to serve in case a member of the panel needs to be excused during the course of the hearing.  Decisions will be by a majority vote (two votes or more). The presiding officer will vote only in the event of a tie.

Students have the right to object to any member of the Hearing Panel they believe to be biased in the case. In such instances, the presiding officer will decide whether or not to act on that objection. Members of the Hearing Panel have the responsibility to remove themselves from cases in which there is a conflict of interest.

B. Presiding Officer
The chair or vice chair of the Council will normally serve as the presiding officer of all Hearing Panels. If the chair or vice chair is unavailable or the caseload becomes unmanageable, the Chair will appoint another faculty member of the Council to preside over the hearing.

C. Pool of Panel Members
Each academic department shall select one tenure track or tenured faculty member who will serve for a term of two years as a potential hearing panel member. Each year, each academic department shall nominate one student who will serve as a potential hearing panel member. The Academic Integrity Council will forward the slate of nominations to SGA for approval at its following meeting. Hearing panel members should not be members of the Academic Integrity Council.

D. Preliminary Procedures
An allegation of academic dishonesty will be reviewed by the Council Chair who will appoint a Hearing Panel and designate whether the Council Chair or the Council Vice Chair shall serve as the presiding officer. No other members of the Council shall be eligible to serve on Hearing Panels except as specified in section V. 3.B. above.

The presiding officer will select the date, time, and place for the hearing and notify both the referring faculty member or academic unit head and the student by personal delivery or campus mailbox a minimum of five (5) business days prior to the hearing. It is desirable that the hearing occur as soon as reasonably possible after the alleged incident. While not always possible, a hearing should occur no later than 20 business days after the Council receives the request for a hearing, excluding any tolling of the timelines.

A member of the Council will meet with the student before the hearing to review hearing procedures and process and after the hearing to discuss the ramifications of the findings and the student’s options for appeal.

The presiding officer shall notify the student of the allegation in writing, including the report of the faculty member or academic unit head and will request a written response to the allegation from the student. Any written response will become part of the record and be reviewed by the Hearing Panel in preparation for the hearing.

Both the student and the faculty or academic unit head may submit a list of witnesses to appear at the hearing. Witnesses are limited to only those individuals who can present direct evidence that bears on the allegation. The presiding officer shall determine in advance of the hearing anyone who may be called as a witness.

Timelines shall be tolled (held in abeyance) during Thanksgiving, winter and spring breaks, as well as any times when no classes are scheduled. Timelines may be tolled in other circumstances only with the consent of the presiding officer, but in no case shall exceed an additional 20 business days. Faculty not on summer contract, on sabbatical, other leave, or otherwise unavailable may delegate authority to another faculty member, including the department chair, to appear and act on their behalf.  Any delegation shall be reduced to writing and received by the presiding officer before the hearing.

E. The Hearing Panel Process
The purpose of a hearing is to explore and investigate the incident giving rise to the appearance of academic dishonesty and to reach an informed conclusion as to whether or not academic dishonesty occurred. All persons at a hearing are expected to assist in a thorough and honest exposition of all related facts. Council Hearing Panel proceedings are not legal proceedings.

The sequence of a hearing is necessarily controlled by the nature of the incident to be investigated and the information to be examined. It lies within the judgment of the presiding officer to determine the most reasonable approach. The following steps are generally recommended:

  • The referring faculty member or academic unit head reporting an alleged violation, and then the student, will briefly present their respective cases, including any relevant information or arguments. The faculty may recommend a sanction.
  • Only witnesses who have knowledge of the incident or can offer documents or other materials bearing on the case may be called.
  • Members of the Hearing Panel may request additional material or the appearance of other persons, as needed.
  • The referring faculty member or academic unit head reporting the allegation and the student may make brief closing statements.
  • The Hearing Panel will meet privately to discuss the case and determine whether a violation has taken place based on a preponderance of evidence.
  • If the student is found in violation, the Hearing Panel will independently determine an appropriate sanction. When determining the sanction, the Hearing Panel will be informed of any other violations of academic integrity on the part of the student, as well as past sanctions.
  • The presiding officer will provide the referring faculty or academic unit head, the student, and the Provost with a written report of the facts found, identifying the parts of the policy that have been violated and describing the sanction, if any, to be imposed.

The Hearing Panel presiding officer will ensure that the following rules are observed:

  • The student may be accompanied by a person of his or her choosing for emotional support only, provided that the support person is not a party to the case. This person will not actively participate in the hearing process in any way.
  • Hearings will be audio recorded for the purposes of the Hearing Panel’s deliberations and any Council appeals and kept for a minimum of five years.
  • Presence at a hearing lies within the judgment of the presiding officer. A hearing requires a deliberative and candid atmosphere, free from distraction. Accordingly, it is not open to the public or other “interested” persons.
  • The presiding officer may remove from the hearing any person who disrupts or impedes the investigation, or who fails to adhere to the rulings of the presiding officer.
  • The presiding officer will direct that persons, other than the student, who are to be called upon to provide information, be excluded from the hearing except for that purpose.
  • Members of the Hearing Panel may conduct private deliberations at such times and places as they deem proper.
  • Failure to appear before a Hearing Panel will not preclude the Hearing Panel from hearing evidence and determining outcomes.
  • It is the responsibility of the person desiring the presence of a witness before a Hearing Panel to ensure that the witness appears. Written statements by witnesses should not be used unless the individual cannot reasonably be expected to appear. Any written statement must be dated, signed by the person making it, and witnessed by a University employee. The work of a Hearing Panel will not, as a general practice, be delayed due to the unavailability of a witness.
  • A hearing is not a trial. The Hearing Panel will consider all relevant, probative, and credible evidence. The presiding officer will determine what evidence will be considered.

F. Hearing Panel Outcomes
If the Hearing Panel determines that the allegations of academic dishonesty are unfounded, no sanctions will be imposed.

If the Hearing Panel determines that the allegations of academic dishonesty are founded, it will send copies of its decisions to the referring faculty or other individual, the student, and the Office of the Provost as the office of record.

If this is a first violation and the faculty or academic unit head, or department or program has provided a clear statement  about penalties for violations of academic integrity in the syllabus, department or unit handbook, website, or other documents or materials that the student received, the Hearing Panel shall not normally substitute its judgment as to the penalty.

Sanctions permitted include one or more of the following:

  • Formal warning
  • A reduction in grade for the assignment and/or an additional reduction in the grade for the course
  • A failing grade for the assignment and/or an additional reduction in the grade for the course
  • A failing grade in the course
  • A failing grade in the course with a transcript notation of academic dishonesty
  • Rescinding or changing a grade for a past course in which a violation is discovered
  • Rescinding admission into the university, a department, program or internship
  • Rescinding an academic degree or certificate
  • Disciplinary probation
  • Successfully completing a university sponsored non-credit seminar on academic integrity
  • Community work assignment for a defined period of time
  • Removal of the privilege of representing the university in any official function or leadership position. Sanctions that suspend a student’s privileges shall have a set time of duration indicating when and under what conditions the student may regain the privilege. Examples include but are not limited to intercollegiate athletics, peer mentors, student organization leadership positions, student ambassadors, cheerleaders, committee membership or officer position, and residence assistants.
  • Disciplinary suspension from the University for one or two semesters, excluding summer terms. Students suspended for academic dishonesty must apply for readmission according to the Board of Academic Standards guidelines. Students suspended for academic dishonesty cannot transfer into UIS any credits earned during the suspension. Readmission applications by students suspended for academic dishonesty must be approved by the Academic Integrity Council.
  • Dismissal from the university.

G.  The Failing Grade with a Notation of Academic Dishonesty
A failing grade will be recorded on the student’s transcript with the notation “failure due to academic dishonesty.” The failing grade with a notation of academic dishonesty shall be treated in the same way as a comparable failing grade for the purposes of grade point average, course repeatability, and the determination of academic standing.

A student may file a written petition to the Council to have the notation of academic dishonesty removed. The decision to remove the notation requires a majority vote of the Council provided that:

  • at the time the petition is received, at least twelve months shall have elapsed since the grade and notation was imposed; and
  • at the time the petition is received, the student shall have successfully completed a university sponsored non-credit seminar on academic integrity; or, for the person no longer enrolled at the  university, an equivalent educational activity to be determined by the Council; and
  • the Provost’s Office certifies that no reports have been received indicating that the student has been found responsible for any other act of academic dishonesty at the university or at another institution.

Prior to making a decision, the Council will review the record of the case, and consult, if possible, with a referring faculty or academic unit head who originally reported the violation(s).  If the Council denies the petition, the student cannot submit another petition for two years, unless the Council specifies an earlier date.

H. Subsequent Allegations of Academic Dishonesty
In the event of a subsequent allegation of academic dishonesty, the Provost will automatically refer the case to the Council for review by a Hearing Panel. Ordinarily, a second finding of academic dishonesty will result in either suspension for one or two full semesters, excluding summer terms, or permanent dismissal from the university.

Suspension for academic dishonesty will ordinarily take place immediately. In the case of an appeal, the suspension is held in abeyance until the appeal process is completed.

In the event of extraordinary or extenuating circumstances, the Hearing Panel has the right to assign a lesser sanction or to delay the suspension.

I. Appeals
A student may appeal the decision of the Hearing Panel to an Appeals Panel of the Council. The Appeals Panel shall consist of two (2) faculty and one (1) student members of the Council selected by the Council Chair. A typewritten and signed appeal, including the reason(s) for appeal, and supporting documentation, must be received by the chair of the Council within ten (10) business days of receipt of the Hearing Panel decision. Appeals are limited to one or more of the following three conditions:

  • There is new and significant evidence which was not available for the Hearing Panel and which may further clarify and support the defense of the student. In this instance, the case should be referred back to the original Hearing Panel for reconsideration.
  • There is clear reason to believe that the sanction is not consistent with the seriousness of the violation. In such cases, the Appeals Panel may issue a different sanction.
  • There is substantial credible evidence that the initial hearing was not fair and impartial, or that the established process was not followed. In this instance, the case should be referred back to a new Hearing Panel to rehear the case.

If the appeal documentation does not fall into one of the permissible grounds or does not support the claim, the appeal shall be denied.

In cases of academic dishonesty, the decisions of the Appeals Panel are final and may not be further appealed.

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