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Promoting Academic Integrity: A Guide for Faculty

This guide provides faculty members with methods for preventing and addressing issues of academic dishonesty.

A Note to Faculty Members:

Eastern Michigan University is committed to providing an exceptional learning environment that prepares students for a lifetime of success. In support of this mission, the Student Conduct Code and the accompanying student disciplinary processes are in place to foster ethical development and personal accountability. One of the core philosophies articulated in the code is a conviction that honesty and integrity are key values to the University community. Academic integrity is an important issue and is central to achieving an exceptional learning environment. Student Conduct and Community Standards supports faculty in confronting academic dishonesty on campus and has created this guide to assist you in addressing cheating, plagiarism, and other threats to the integrity of the classroom.

This guide provides:

  • Information about the University policy on academic dishonesty
  • Strategies to promote academic integrity in the classroom
  • Techniques for preventing and detecting academic dishonesty
  • Examples of academic dishonesty
  • Methods for confronting academic dishonesty

Promoting integrity on campus starts with confronting the dishonest behavior and holding students accountable. We encourage you to contact the office in all cases of suspected academic dishonesty for information and support.

Jesús Hernández
Director, Student Conduct and Community Standards

Eastern Michigan University's Policy on Academic Dishonesty

Section X of the Eastern Michigan University (EMU) Student Conduct Code outlines the procedures pertaining to violations of academic integrity. Section X provides a guide for faculty navigating the complex issue of confronting academic dishonesty.

Section X: Special Disciplinary Provisions Governing Acts of Academic Dishonesty

  1. Academic dishonesty is both an academic matter between a student and his/her faculty member and a violation under the Student Conduct Code subject to University disciplinary action. An act of academic dishonesty should be handled by the faculty member, the student, and if appropriate, the faculty member's department head and/or the dean over that particular academic department. Sanctions that can be assigned by a faculty member range from giving a reduced grade on the particular work in question to failing the student for the entire course. In addition, some academic departments and programs have their own policies for dealing with academic dishonesty and/or violations of the Professional Code of Ethics which allow the department or program to impose sanctions ranging from probation to program dismissal. A sanction assigned by a faculty member and/or an academic department or program is an academic, not a disciplinary sanction
  2. If the matter is resolved satisfactorily between the student and the faculty member, and the faculty member decides not to refer the student for University disciplinary action, the faculty member may still report the incident to Student Conduct and Community Standards. Student Conduct and Community Standards will maintain a record of the reported incident and may elect to pursue University disciplinary action against a student who is reported to that office for a subsequent act of academic dishonesty.
  3. If the faculty member decides that a stronger sanction is needed instead of, or in addition to, any academic sanctions assigned by that faculty member, the incident may be referred to Student Conduct and Community Standards for review and possible University disciplinary action. Once the referral is made to Student Conduct and Community Standards, the incident will be handled in the same manner as would any other allegation under the Student Conduct Code.
  4. In cases where the student denies the allegation of academic dishonesty, the faculty member may elect to postpone assigning any academic sanctions until after the student has gone through the University disciplinary process. If, at the end of that process, the charge of academic dishonesty is upheld, the faculty member may then assign an academic sanction. The academic sanction is independent of any disciplinary actions taken against the student by the University.
  5. In cases where the student denies the allegation of academic dishonesty, the faculty member may elect to postpone assigning any academic sanctions until after the student has gone through the University disciplinary process. If, at the end of that process, the charge of academic dishonesty is upheld, the faculty member may then assign an academic sanction. The academic sanction is independent of any disciplinary actions taken against the student by the University.

Promoting Academic Integrity

The first week of your course provides a great opportunity to promote integrity and inform students of the acceptable academic practices of EMU. Consider the following strategies:

  1. Use the first week of class to discuss the importance of academic integrity within higher education. Clearly define plagiarism and other forms of cheating. This eliminates the excuse, "I didn't know I couldn't do that!" Be thorough and clearly state that you will not accept any violations of academic dishonesty in your course. Clearly explain your expectations so that students have a firm grasp of your policy on academic dishonesty.
  2. Encourage students to report any forms of academic dishonesty. Consider setting up a system where students can report violations anonymously.
  3. Explain EMU's policy on academic dishonesty and refer students to the Student Conduct Code for clarification.
  4. Provide information such as packets, handouts, books, or websites for students explaining how to properly quote and use citations in their assignments. Remind students before each exam that a violation of the academic integrity policy will result in some form of disciplinary action.
  5. Make a statement in your syllabus prohibiting any form of academic dishonesty and informing students of the penalty for violations. For example: "Any form of academic dishonesty may result in an 'E' in the course and referral to Student Conduct and Community Standards for disciplinary action."

Preventing and Detecting Academic Dishonesty

Preventing Academic Dishonesty

There are several ways to curb academic dishonesty. Consider the following prevention methods:

  • Use a book without a manual or answer key.
  • Use a variety of books in your course.
  • Force students to utilize material or locate answers in the library.
  • Design assignments so students are forced to read assigned text.
  • Give different assignments each semester.
  • Provide necessary scrap paper, and ask students to staple their scrap sheets to their exam and answer sheet.
  • Require absent students to take a different exam.
  • Require students to personally hand in their own exams and show identification (lecture-sized classes). This prevents students from taking exams for other students.
  • Collect exams by row so you can determine seating arrangements.
  • Stand at the back of the classroom during the exam so students cannot tell whether you are watching them or not (students tend not to cheat if they feel they are being viewed).
  • Change workbooks each semester or year.
  • Avoid general topics; force students to write on narrow topics.
  • Establish an exact format for all assignments and emphasize proper citations.
  • Ask students to photocopy any materials they cite.
  • Require advanced outlines of papers.

Detecting Academic Dishonesty

If you suspect students of academic dishonesty, check to see if any of the following indications of violations of academic integrity are present:

  • The students' assignments are extremely professional.
  • The students' responses to assignments reflect superior opinions/answers, are similar to the book-manual, or are given in forms that you have not covered in class. The writing style, vocabulary, and grammar appear may appear superior or represent a quality of work you have yet to see the students exhibit.
  • The students' scores on exams have increased significantly and their answers cover material you did not cover in class.

Defining Acts by Students that Constitute Academic Dishonesty

The Student Conduct Code defines acts of academic dishonesty for EMU students. If you are unsure what academic dishonesty consists of see the following definitions and examples.

Cheating

Cheating is using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, or study aids in any academic assignment. Examples of cheating are:

  • Looking on someone else's paper.
  • Using any kind of "cheat" sheet or other enhancement during a test.
  • Allowing someone else to take an exam in your place.
  • Submitting the same work more than once for credit.
  • Using someone else's homework or lab assignments.
  • Collaborating with another student on any assignment or take-home test if told that collaboration was not allowed.
  • Assisting another student in committing an act of academic dishonesty by allowing the student to copy homework or an exam.
  • Taking an exam for someone else.
  • Giving test information to students in other sections of the same class.

Falsification

Falsification is intentional and unauthorized misrepresentation or invention of any information or citation in an academic assignment. Examples of falsification are:

  • Making up data on an assignment.
  • Making up a source to cite in a paper.
  • Attempting to change, actually changing, altering grades or any other unauthorized tampering with grades.
  • Giving false information to a faculty or staff member to increase one's grade.
  • Altering then resubmitting returned academic work.

Plagiarism

Plagiarism is deliberate and knowing use of someone else's work or ideas as one's own. For example, plagiarism can consist of:

  • Quoting a source verbatim, or paraphrasing text from a given source, without properly citing the source.
  • Turning in a research paper that was written by someone else.
  • Passing off someone else's work as one's own.
  • Failing to give credit for ideas or materials taken from someone else.

Confronting Academic Dishonesty

If you encounter an incident of suspected academic dishonesty, consider the following approaches for confronting the student(s):

  1. Familiarize yourself with the process and procedures. Know your options. Contact your department head and, Student Conduct and Community Standards to discuss how the case should be handled.
  2. Allow a student cheating on an exam during class to finish the exam and take notes of the student's actions.
  3. Avoid confronting the student(s) during class or in front of other students or colleagues. Ask the student to schedule a time to meet with you privately. If your suspicion concerns a group of students, speak with each one separately.
  4. State your suspicions clearly when meeting with the student(s).
  5. Allow the student(s) to explain the incident from his or her point of view.
  6. If the student's explanation convinces you that a violation occurred, explain to the student what will happen.

Deciding on Sanctions

For cases formally referred to Student Conduct and Community Standards the following sanctions may result:

  • Verbal warning
  • Formal reprimand
  • Disciplinary probation
  • Deferred suspension
  • Suspension
  • Permanent dismissal
  • Delay and/or denial of degree award
  • Revocation of degree

In most academic dishonesty cases, Student Conduct and Community Standards will issue a decision of probation as well as the completion of an educational sanction that requires reflection on ethical decision making or a review of academic integrity policies. Extreme cases or repeated offenses, however, may result in suspension or dismissal.

Pursuant to Section XIV of the Student Conduct Code, a disciplinary file on a student will be retained at least four years from the date of the sanction or until the student's graduation from the University, whichever comes first.

A notation may be made on the student's official University transcript only in cases where a student is suspended, dismissed, or given an "E" grade in a course as a result of academic dishonesty.

 

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