University of Maine at Augusta

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Student Academic Integrity Policy

Academic Integrity

To file a complaint regarding academic misconduct, please fill out this form.

 

SECTION I: Definitions
The University of Maine at Augusta is dedicated to upholding the highest standards of academic integrity. Academic integrity means that one’s work is the product of one’s own effort, and one neither receives nor gives unauthorized assistance in any assignment. Because advanced academic work depends on the sharing of information and ideas, academic integrity at the college level includes rigorous adherence to the conventions for acknowledging one’s use of the words and ideas of other people, and instruction in this fundamental skill of college life is available to all UMA students. As members of the UMA community as well as the broader community of seekers of knowledge and truth, we affirm academic integrity as a central value because we recognize the following:

  1. The purpose of education is to attain knowledge and develop skills, and this purpose is achieved through academically honest work. When students create academically dishonest assignments, they do not receive the full benefits of their courses; moreover, they prevent instructors from accurately gauging the capabilities of their students and, thus, prevent instruction from being offered at an effective level.
  2. Education flourishes in a climate of trust. Students, in devoting time and energy to their academic assignments, need to know that their peers are not seeking an unfair advantage over them, and instructors, in devoting careful attention to their students’ work, need to know that the work is that of their students. Only academically honest actions establish and sustain trust among students and between students and faculty.
  3. Education flourishes in a climate of respect for intellectual and artistic labor, and the rigorous adherence to the standards of academic integrity, especially the conventions for acknowledging one’s use of others’ words and ideas, is essential to such a climate.
  4. An act of academic dishonesty jeopardizes all members of our community, not just the perpetrator. The reputation of UMA and the value of a UMA diploma depend on the genuine accomplishments of UMA graduates and, thus, on the academic integrity of the entire UMA community.

RESPONSIBILITIES
All members of the UMA community are responsible for learning the standards of academic integrity and ensuring that all of their work meets them. All students will be held to the standards of this Academic Integrity Code. If students have questions about the academic integrity of their work, they should discuss these with their instructors before turning in the work. Ignorance and carelessness are not justifications for violation of the code. Violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to, the actions listed.

Plagiarism: the representation of others’ words or ideas as one’s own. For example,

  1. Submitting as one’s own work an examination, paper, homework assignment, or other project (laboratory report, artistic work, computer program, etc.) that was created entirely or partially by someone else.
  2. Failure to use quotation marks to signal that one is using another person’s precise words. Even brief phrases must be enclosed in quotation marks.
  3. Failure to identify the source of quotations and paraphrases. Of course one must cite the source of quotations; one must also cite the source of ideas and information that is not common knowledge even when paraphrased (presented in one’s own words). Sources include unpublished as well as published items — for example, books, articles, material on the Internet, television programs, instructors’ lectures, and people, including other students, friends, and relatives.
  4. Creating an academically dishonest paraphrase. When paraphrasing the author must find their own way of expressing the original meaning. Simply inserting synonyms into the source’s sentence structures is plagiarism.
  5. Failure to identify the source of the elements of a nonverbal work (for example, a painting, dance, musical composition, or mathematical proof) that are derived from the work of others.

Cheating: the use or attempted use of unauthorized assistance in an examination, paper, homework assignment, or other project. For example,

  1. Copying answers from another student’s examination.
  2. Communicating in any way with another student or a third party during an examination without the permission of the instructor.
  3. Using unauthorized materials or devices (e.g. notes, textbooks, calculators, electronic devices) during an examination without the permission of the instructor.
  4. Obtaining and/or reading a copy of an examination before its administration without the permission of the instructor.
  5. Collaborating with other students or third parties on a take-home examination, paper, homework assignment, or other project without the permission of the instructor.

Additional violations of academic integrity include:

Duplicate Work: Submitting a paper or other project in more than one course without the permission of the instructors. Students are expected to produce original work for each course. A student should not submit identical or substantially similar papers or projects in two different courses (in the same or different semesters) unless both instructors have given their permission.

Facilitating Academic Dishonesty: assisting another student’s academic dishonesty. For example,

  1. Writing a paper or other project for another student.
  2. Permitting another student to copy from one’s examination, paper, homework assignment, or other project.
  3. Assisting another student on a take-home examination, paper, homework assignment, or other project if one knows or suspects such assistance is not authorized by the instructor.

Fabrication: For example,

  1. Fabrication of data: Inventing or falsifying the data of a laboratory experiment, field project, or other project.
  2. Fabrication of a citation: Inventing a citation for a research paper or other project.
  3. Alteration of an assignment: Altering a graded examination, paper, homework assignment, or other project and resubmitting it to the instructor in order to claim an error in grading.

SECTION II: SANCTIONS
A violation of the Code of Academic Integrity is a distinctly grievous act that jeopardizes the entire community, not merely the education of the individual perpetrator. Because this code ensures that all students are familiar with the standards of academic integrity, a violation of the code is an implicit statement made by the perpetrator that he or she is unwilling or unable to uphold the central value of our community. In imposing a sanction when the code is violated, the community implicitly communicates its own statement in response. To reaffirm the centrality of academic integrity, the sanction imposed for any violation is severe, typically exceeding the consequences of other forms of academic failure. While a student who invests little effort in studying or procrastinates until the night before the due date of a major assignment likely will earn a low grade, a student who chooses to violate the code should expect a sanction that emphatically signals that academic dishonesty is a failure that surpasses any other shortcoming in academic behavior. It is crucial that instructors and the Student Conduct Committee have the latitude to select a sanction that is appropriate for the specific circumstances of each case, but it is also vital that a sanction reflect the principles of a community that has explicitly pledged itself to uphold the highest standards of academic integrity. Mild sanctions trivialize academic integrity, and sanctions that vary radically from one course to another suggest that academic integrity is a value that is prized unevenly within the community. In an attempt to articulate a clear but flexible framework to assist instructors and the committee in the important task of assigning sanctions the following recommendations are presented:

  1. Academic: The instructor will determine the course-related academic sanction. The maximum sanction is a grade of F for the course. Actions may include, but are not limited to: repeating the assignment, extra course-related assignments, awarding of a failing grade for the assignment, and reduction of course grade.
  2. Disciplinary:If the Student Conduct Officer determines this is a repeat violation of the Academic Integrity Code by the student, the case will be referred to a Student Conduct Committee for consideration of disciplinary action.
    Second Violation: If a Student Conduct Committee determines that a second violation has occurred, they will declare the student ineligible for all future academic honors and awards, including all future Dean’s Lists, departmental and university awards, and graduation honors. The maximum sanction imposed by a Student Conduct Committee will be dismissal from the university and, for students whose violation is determined after graduation, revocation of the degree.
  3. Third Violation: The Student Conduct Committee will dismiss the student from the university or revoke their degree.

SECTION III: PROCEDURES
Adhering to the standards of academic integrity, one has the right to enjoy the benefits of an academically honest community, but that right comes with an additional responsibility. In addition to ensuring their own work is academically honest, all members of the UMA community share the responsibility for encouraging the academic integrity of others. An important way to encourage academic integrity is not to tolerate academic dishonesty. Failing to respond to a violation of the code is the equivalent of condoning that violation and encouraging future violations. Only when all of us respond reliably to acts of academic dishonesty is the academic integrity of our community protected.

  1. Faculty members are expected to report all suspected violations of the Student Academic Integrity Code through the procedures that are detailed below. These procedures are designed to create a fair and consistent system for dealing with alleged violations of the code. Of course, faculty members should also take reasonable measures to discourage academic dishonesty — for example, including in the syllabus a statement about academic integrity that clarifies any specific guidelines for the course, instructing students in any procedures of academic integrity within the discipline that are especially challenging, and proctoring examinations.
  2. Students are strongly encouraged to respond to violations of academic integrity that they witness. It is especially recommended that a student promptly report the violation to the instructor of the course in which it occurred.

Procedural Steps
While their case is pending or after they have been found in violation of the Student Code of Academic Integrity, students may not withdraw from a course in which the alleged or established violation occurred.

  1. Alleged violations of the Student Academic Integrity Code are to be reported to the Student Conduct Officer as soon as they have been detected. All charges of academic dishonesty must be reported within one year from the conclusion of the semester in which the violation is alleged to have occurred.
  2. Faculty who suspect that a student has violated the Student Academic Integrity Code will then fill out a Student Academic Integrity Violation Form in order to document the alleged violation.
  3. Once the summary of allegation(s) and evidence section of Student Academic Integrity Violation Form has been completed, the faculty member or designee must discuss the alleged violation with the student. If, as a result of this discussion the faculty member becomes convinced that he or she was mistaken, the Student Academic Integrity Violation Form will be destroyed and the matter will be considered resolved. If, however, the faculty member finds sufficient evidence that a violation of the Student Academic Integrity Code has taken place, the faculty member will assign a course-related academic sanction. The faculty member will then record the academic sanction on the Student Academic Integrity Violation Form, retain the original form, provide a copy to the student, and forward a copy to the Student Conduct Officer.
  4. Upon presentation of the Student Academic Integrity Violation Form to the student, the student has up to two weeks to return the form to the Student Conduct Officer.
    1. Students may admit violation of the Student Academic Integrity Code by signing the appropriate line on the form. If they choose this option, the course-related academic sanction(s) imposed by the instructor will stand. Failure of the student to sign and return the form by the deadline indicates the student chooses not to challenge the violation or sanction.
    2. Students may contest the faculty’s finding regarding the violation of academic integrity and/or the appropriateness of the imposed academic sanction(s) by signing the appropriate line of the Student Academic Integrity Violation Form. In so doing, the student indicates his/her intention to pursue a Student Academic Grievance. The student will then follow the established campus procedures governing a Student Academic Grievance.
    3. When a faculty’s finding and academic sanction(s) regarding violation of the Student Academic Integrity Code are upheld in a grievance process, a record of the grievance outcome will be appended to the student’s Academic Integrity Violation File until the deadline for filing a grievance has passed. If a grievance results in the reversal of a faculty member’s finding of academic violation, the student’s Academic Integrity Violation File will be expunged relative to that specific allegation. If a grievance results only in the modification of academic sanctions, the Academic Integrity Violation File will remain intact and a copy of the grievance outcome will be appended.
  5. Upon receipt of the Student Academic Integrity Violation Form by the Office of the Dean of Students, the Student Conduct Officer will create a confidential academic integrity violation file for the student. At this time the Conduct Officer will establish the two week deadline for student response to the charge(s) and sanction and will mail to the student by certified mail a copy of the Form with deadline. Any written statements submitted by the complaining faculty member or student as clarification of their positions regarding the violation will be placed in this file for possible review by parties to the Student Academic Grievance process or a Student Conduct Committee hearing. The files also serve to track repeat offenders. The contents of the Academic Integrity Violation Files will be destroyed four years after graduation or after four consecutive years of nonattendance. Any files resulting from a Student Conduct procedure will be retained in accordance with the system and campus Student Conduct procedures.
  6. All cases involving a repeat violation or any deemed sufficiently serious will result in a hearing before the Student Conduct Committee. A “repeat violation” occurs when two or more Academic Integrity Violation Records exist for the same student. “Sufficiently serious” will be determined by the Conduct Officer in consultation with the Chair of the Student Conduct Committee.
    1. The Student Conduct Officer will inform the Chair of the Student Conduct Committee and discuss with the student the process and his/her rights.
    2. If a preliminary investigation warrants, such students will receive a letter from the Chair of the Student Conduct Committee detailing the charges; the date, place and time of the hearing before a Student Conduct Committee; and the composition of the hearing committee. The hearing will follow the UMS Student Conduct Code guidelines and any related campus procedures. Students contesting allegations may submit written statements to the Student Conduct Officer clarifying their position at any time prior to their scheduled hearing. While allegations of academic misconduct are under consideration by the Student Conduct Committee, students will retain all rights and privileges of an enrolled student, including within the course where the violation is alleged to have occurred, unless interim suspension is otherwise necessary.
    3. Students found in violation of the Conduct Code who wish to dispute the Student Conduct Committee’s finding and/or imposed sanctions may request a review by the Provost who will be the President’s designee on such matters. Requests for review, in writing and marked confidential, must be sent to the Provost within seven calendar days of the Student Conduct Committee’s finding. The Provost’s decision will be communicated in writing to the student, the Student Conduct Officer, and the members of the Student Conduct Committee. The option of further review will be governed by the UMS Student Conduct Code, V.E.1.

This code was inspired by similar examples at other institutions of higher learning, including the University of Maine at Farmington, University of Maryland, and Vanderbilt, Yeshiva, Wright State, Shippensburg, and George Washington Universities.

University of Maine at Augusta