Faculty Resources for Academic Integrity

Here are some resources for faculty on how to minimize academic dishonesty in your classroom, procedures for what to do if you find a student cheating and other information.

Top Things to Do to Reduce Academic Dishonesty

Including Academic Integrity in Your Class Syllabus

What to Do If You Suspect a Student Is Cheating

Talking to a Student Suspected of Cheating

What Happens After Dishonesty Is Reported?

Academic Dishonesty Procedures (Official Policy)

Steps for reporting Academic Dishonesty:

Contact the Office of Undergraduate Studies by email (ugs@mst.edu).  Please include the student name, student I.D., incident date, instructor, class, and all documented communications between faculty and student.  Please send hard copy evidence to 105 Norwood Hall.  When all the hard copies have been received an appointment will be scheduled between the student and the VPUS.

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Top 10 Things to Do to Reduce Academic Dishonesty

1. Explain your rules of scholarship in your syllabus.

2. State your expectations for paper writing, lab assignments and other projects, including whether students can use old lab reports or instructor's manual to complete their assignments. Do you allow resources such as Wikipedia, the Writing Center, CliffsNotes or SparkNotes to write papers? 

3. Explain when and with whom collaboration is expected and encouraged for out-of-class assignments, and when students have crossed the line into copying. 

4. Help students focus less on the grade and more on the learning process. Some ideas: allow students to submit drafts and receive feedback during the process; reward demonstrated learning and not simply "doing" an assignment; clearly communicate how you assess learning and student work.

5. State your policies, if any, for re-submissions and re-grading.

6. Remind students several times, especially in introductory courses, about upcoming tests or projects, as well as resources available to them and preparation tactics they can use to help alleviate their anxiety.

7. Use multiple versions of exams, and avoid the use of "old" exams.

8. Remind students immediately before the test or assignment what constitutes academic dishonesty and the ramifications of such behavior.

9. If there is space in the classroom, separate students during exams.

10. At the beginning of the semester, seek student input for developing a code of ethics in your class and ask all of your students to sign and abide by the policy the class developed. See a sample academic integrity and classroom behavior agreement, courtesy of Dr. Bethany Stone, assistant teaching professor of biology at MU. Also, refer students to the Missouri S&T Student Council-adopted Honor Code. (Note: This document was approved by the Missouri S&T Student Council in 2012 and has not necessarily been reviewed or approved by the UM Board of Curators or by the University of Missouri General Counsel.)

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Including Academic Integrity in Your Class Syllabus

Use your class syllabus to promote academic integrity. Be sure to include what you expect regarding classroom conduct, what the policy is for academic integrity at Missouri S&T (http://registrar.mst.edu/academicregs/index.html), and your responsibility to report all suspected academic misconduct to the Vice Provost of Undergraduate Studies.

If applicable to your class, state your use of tools for plagiarism, such as TurnItIn.

Direct students to the Writing Center for assistance.

Define what you mean by collaboration on homework, labs, and other projects.

Explain rules of scholarship and why that is important.

Include any policies about re-grading and re-submission of assignments.

Consider including an Integrity of Scholarship Agreement for students to sign (see #10 above). 

Have students watch this quick overview about what constitutes plagiarism.

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What to Do If You Suspect a Student Is Cheating

If a student is suspected of cheating during an examination, an instructor can make the academic judgment about the severity of the situation and take a variety of actions, such as:

  • Give a warning to the student or in some other way let the student know he/she is being watched
  • Move the student to another seat
  • Take notes about the observation (student's name and names of students sitting nearby) but let the student continue the exam
  • Take the student's exam not allowing the student to complete it

If proctors or teaching assistants observe the cheating, they should notify the instructor immediately.

Save the original exams, papers or assignments when plagiarism or dishonesty are suspected. (Copies of the paperwork can be returned to the students.)

The instructor is encouraged to meet with the student one-on-one about any academic dishonesty. 

This meeting should include the faculty  member's judgment for the behavior, based upon the academic standards communicated to the student in the course syllabus, catalogs, handbooks and other references. This may include a failing grade for the work submitted if the student's work has failed to meet the academic standards for that work, or a failing grade for the course if the student's work in the course has failed to meet the academic standards of the course.

Allow students suspected of academic dishonesty to continue in the course. Students cannot withdraw from the course while an academic misconduct charge is pending.

In ALL cases when academic dishonesty occurs, the instructor should notify the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies office. This process is important in dealing with repeat offenders.

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Talking to a Student Suspected of Cheating 

Act on situations of suspected dishonesty despite any reservations. Enforcement of policies listed in the syllabus as well as campus policies is crucial.

Prepare for your conversation with the three C's: clarity about the questionable behavior; compassion toward the student; and a candid assessment of what you observed (your interpretations of the activities and your feelings in the situation.)

A sample invitation to meet: "I have some concerns about your recent assignment (or exam), and would like to discuss with you. When can you meet with me?"

Sample questions for your conversation with the student: "Tell me how you're feeling about the class (or assignment)?" "What was the process for studying/completing the assignment?" "Are you satisfied with your learning/progress in the course?"

After listening to the student, express concerns about the assignment or exam in question. Example: "I'm concerned because the information I have suggests that you may have ____________________________. Is that an accurate assessment? Why not?"

Tell the student what you are planning to do next, and that you are required to report the incident to the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies.

Be prepared for student reaction, which may include anger, crying, accusation or offense, or the student may admit to or deny the misconduct.  

Above suggestions courtesy of the University of California at San Diego Academic Integrity website (2011). Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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What Happens After Dishonesty Is Reported to VPUS?

The Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies will meet with the student and has the option to impose an appropriate sanction on the student. 

The student can either accept the discipline and sign the Acceptance of Discipline on Informal Disposition form or has the right to appeal the charge within seven days. 

If a student rejects the proposed sanction, the case moves to a formal hearing before the Student Conduct Committee. This committee can impose sanctions upon students as well. (See the campus' official policy for more information.) 

The following is a list of possible SANCTIONS; more than one of the sanctions may be imposed for any single violation:

WARNING. A notice in writing to the student that the student violated institutional regulations.

PROBATION. A written reprimand for a designated period of time and includes the probability of more severe sanctions if other instances of academic dishonesty are discovered.

LOSS OF PRIVILEGES. Denial of specified privileges for a designated period of time.

DISCRETIONARY SANCTIONS. Work assignments, service to the university, or other related discretionary assignments.

UNIVERSITY DISMISSAL. An involuntary separation of the student from the University; there is no definite time period attached to this sanction.

UNIVERSITY SUSPENSION. Separation of the student from the University for a definite period of time, after which the student is eligible to return. Conditions for readmission may be specified

UNIVERSITY EXPULSION. Permanent separation of the student from the University.

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More Resources

The article "Teaching Academic Honesty in the Classroom" by Daniel Fusch, Academic Impressions, 2010, offers these suggestions:
--Create course-specific documents that clarify what academic behavior is not acceptable
--Integrate teaching on academic honesty and collaborative work into the first week of some first-year courses
--Use first offenses as teachable moments
Go here for the full article.

Read "Why We Cheat" from the Chronicle of Higher Education, June 2011.

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