ATMU Policy # 7 Cheating and Plagiarism

1. INTRODUCTION

This document provides information about policies, procedures, and regulations at ATMU, either formally adopted or developed as a matter of practice and precedent. ATMU personnel use this document as a set of guidelines when taking or recommending courses of action. All policies, procedures, and regulations discussed in this document are subject to change following normal University procedures.

2. POLICY

Students at ATMU are engaged in preparation for professional activity of the highest standards. Each profession constrains its members with both ethical responsibilities and disciplinary limits. To assure the validity of the learning experience ATMU establishes clear standards for student work.

In any presentation – creative, artistic, or research – it is the ethical responsibility of each student to identify the conceptual sources of the work submitted. Failure to do so is dishonest and is the basis for a charge of cheating or plagiarism, which is subject to disciplinary action.

Cheating includes but is not necessarily limited to:

  1. Plagiarism, explained below.
  2. Submission of work that is not the student’s own for papers, assignments, or exams.
  3. Submission or use of falsified data.
  4. Theft of or unauthorized access to an exam.
  5. Use of an alternate, stand-in, or proxy during an examination.
  6. Use of unauthorized material including textbooks, notes, or computer programs in the preparation of an assignment or during an examination.
  7. Supplying or communicating in any way unauthorized information to another student for the preparation of an assignment or during an examination.
  8. Collaboration in the preparation of an assignment. Unless specifically permitted or required by the instructor, collaboration will usually be viewed by the university as cheating. Each student, therefore, is responsible for understanding the policies of the department offering any course as they refer to the amount of help and collaboration permitted in preparation of assignments.
  9. Submission of the same work for credit in two courses without obtaining the permission of the instructors beforehand.

Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, failure to indicate the source with quotation marks or footnotes where appropriate if any of the following are reproduced in the work submitted by a student:

  1. A written phrase, sentence, or paragraph.
  2. A graphic element.
  3. A proof.
  4. Specific language.
  5. An idea derived from the work, published or unpublished, of another person.

3. Procedures in case of cheating or plagiarism:

Incidents of suspected academic disciplinary violations shall be handled initially at the level at which the incident occurs (e.g., course or research/creative project) and at the department level. The incident must be reported immediately to designated parties and, where appropriate, shall receive second-level review(s) in the manner outlined in the following section.

Initial Review, Decision and Action(s)

Initial review, decision, and action shall remain local, to involve the instructor(s) or academic supervisor(s) directly involved with the course, assignment or project. If appropriate, the instructor(s) or academic supervisor(s) may decide to consult with a third party from the faculty, the department/program head or associate head, or the dean of student affairs. Instructors are free to discuss alleged violations informally with the student(s) thought to be involved, but should avoid revealing the identity of other students involved unless necessary. Suspected violations that would result in a penalty should be handled by the instructor(s), in direct communication with the student(s) involved, within one week of the discovery of the suspected infraction and before the imposition of a penalty.

After discussion with the student(s) involved and their response, the instructor(s) shall conclude, within one week of discovery of the infraction and based on available evidence, whether the suspected violation(s) occurred. Instructors are encouraged to consult at this stage with their department/program head about the nature of the suspected violations, the evidence to support or refute these violations, and the range of penalties under consideration. If the conclusion is that the suspected violation(s) did occur, the instructor(s) shall also choose an appropriate penalty. The most severe penalty available at this level of review and action shall be failure in the course or dismissal from a project. However, instructors may also recommend a more severe penalty to the student’s department/program head, who retains the option to impose more severe penalties (e.g., suspension or dismissal from the program) at this level. Elements to consider in making this decision include prior incidents of academic disciplinary action in a student’s record, available from the head of the student affairs. The department/program head may discuss the issue with the student(s) and choose to convene a disciplinary hearing per the procedures of the department/program.

The student shall be notified immediately, and in writing, of this decision, the basis for this decision and (when applicable) the penalty imposed. This notification will come from the instructor and/or department/program head depending on the penalty involved. Students whose penalty is failure in the course in question will be informed that they are not be allowed to drop the course. Students will also be informed at this time of their right to appeal.

Reporting of Initial Action(s)

A copy of the letter outlining the initial decision and action to the student(s) involved in cases of academic disciplinary violations should also be directed to the following parties:

  • Student’s home department/program head
  • Dean’s office of the student’s college
  • Dean’s office of the college housing the course in which the violation(s) occurred (if different from the student’s college)
  • The student’s major department
  • The head of student affairs

The head of student affairs will maintain the central record of academic disciplinary violations and actions. If the head of student affairs is aware of information on prior incidents of academic disciplinary actions in the student’s record, he or she will communicate this information to the department/program head and provide the department/program head the opportunity to impose an appropriate sanction.

Second-level Review and Action(s)

A second-level review of an initial decision emanates from one or more of the following three sources: (1) appeal by the student(s) involved because the student deems the penalty inappropriate and/or believes that improper procedure has been followed, (2) recommendation by the instructor, home  department/program/college that the student be permanently expelled from the university, (3) recommendation by the head of Student Affairs for a review.

Where an appeal is made or a second-level action appears warranted, the provost will determine what action should be taken. The provost may decide to deny the appeal or waive the opportunity for a second-level action, to remand the case to the department/program head for additional consideration, to order a new or different penalty, or to convene a Review Committee for additional investigation of facts and/or determination of appropriate sanctions.

4. Student Appeals

Students who want to appeal an academic disciplinary action must state in writing to the dean their intention to do so within one week of the penalty date in question, and then must present their appeal to the dean no later than two weeks after said penalty date. Students who fail to meet these deadlines for filing a proper and timely appeal will forfeit or waive their right of an appeal of any academic disciplinary action. Appeals must be in writing, with appropriate documentation.

If the dean determines that a second-level review is warranted and that a Review Board should be convened, the dean or his/her designee shall immediately form and convene a Review Board and designate a chair. The board will include faculty from the college of the student involved, a graduate student from the college, the dean of student affairs and others deemed appropriate by the dean. If a student appeal and a review of a recommendation for second-level action occur at the same time, both shall be considered by this Review Board simultaneously. Where appropriate, it is expected that the instructor(s) from the course/project involved (or appropriate representatives designated by the department) will be available for participation or at least for consultation. The chair of the board shall inform the student(s) involved, in writing, of this step.

Copies of this letter should go to:

  • The instructor(s) in the course in question
  • The department head of the course involved
  • Dean’s office of the student’s college
  • Dean’s office of the college housing the course in which the violation(s) occurred (if different from the student’s college)
  • The student’s major department
  • The dean of Student Affairs

The Review Board shall (a) review the facts of incidents involved and (b) make a recommendation about second-level action to the provost or his/her designee. The provost shall then render a decision subject only to appeal to the president of the university.

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