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Faculty Members' Responsibilities

To learn more about faculty members’ responsibilities regarding Academic Integrity, please see Recommendations and Practices for Academic Integrity in the Classroom and the Cases and Hearing before the Academic Integrity Committee.

Communicating with Students

Instructors should help students learn the importance of academic honesty in the learning process by informing them that the University will not tolerate cheating, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty, and that instructors take such offenses seriously. At the beginning of each course, be sure to provide a statement clarifying the application of academic integrity criteria to that course. For your convenience, we have provided a sample statement for your syllabus.

When you Suspect an Academic Integrity Violation

Each faculty member has the right not only to interpret the policy, but also to decide when to act or not to act on those stated expectations. But that “right to interpret the policy” does not include the right to negotiate Academic Integrity issues with a student outside of policy. The Academic Integrity Committee has recently received this clarification of the “right to interpret” clause from Dr. Jeremy Cohen, Senior Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education:

An instructor may not issue a grade solely based upon a belief that a student has violated academic integrity. An instructor must instead follow the procedures provided for in AAPPM G9.

Per G9, a faculty member who suspects a violation of academic integrity must alert the student, either at the time or after a brief cooling off period. The student must then have the opportunity to admit to a violation and accept the faculty member's decision as to how this will effect an assignment or grade, or to dispute the allegation. In either case, the instructor must initiate the academic integrity process and utilizing the proper Academic Integrity form, alert the Office of Judicial Affairs.

Under some circumstances, it may be that through misunderstanding or miscommunication the Academic Integrity procedures will not be followed. In the rare instance that this occurs, the university cannot create ad hoc remedies that supercede G9.

Therefore,

If an instructor receives a paper, test, or other student work, and believes that the student has violated academic integrity but the instructor does not initiate and/or follow through on the academic integrity procedures stated in G9 the instructor may not take into account in her or his grading the suspicion that an academic integrity violation has occurred and may not after the fact (after the final grade has been submitted) ask the student to do additional or other work and must base the assignment grade on the quality of the material handed in as if it were the student’s legitimate work and must compute the paper grade accordingly and must compute the final grade under the same assumptions.

We owe it to ALL of our students, and to our colleagues across Penn State, to uphold the policy and follow the procedures.

What is Your Responsibility According to the Policy?

The instructor is responsible for giving a student charged with academic dishonesty both oral and written notice of the charge. When confronted with a case of student dishonesty, discuss the infraction face-to-face with the student outside of class. Under no circumstances should the student’s case be divulged to other students. Such matters must be handled in a prudent manner in order to prevent a student’s rights from being abridged, and accusations should not be made on suspicion alone. Before proceeding with a case of academic dishonesty, you should review the University policy on violations of academic integrity (Senate Policy 49-20). You may discuss your concerns with and seek procedural or other guidance from your Division Head without violating the student’s right to privacy.

Plagiarism

 

Conversations with faculty across our college indicate to us that misuse of sources is a fairly common occurrence in student writing. However, students often misuse sources because they do not understand how to use them properly rather than because they intend to deceive. With this in mind, we think it’s important to share with faculty the University Park English Department’s document titled Types of Plagiarism which can be found on the page “What is Academic Dishonesty?”.