Academic Integrity

Appendix C: Standards of Academic Integrity

(Approved by Undergraduate Academic Council and Graduate Academic Council, May 2006).

As a community of scholars, the University at Albany has a special responsibility to integrity and truth.  By testing, analyzing, and scrutinizing ideas and assumptions, scholarly inquiry produces the timely and valuable knowledge that guide and inform important and significant decisions, policies, and choices.  Our duty to be honest, methodical and careful in the attribution of data and ideas to their sources establishes the foundations of our work. Misrepresenting or falsifying scholarship undermines the essential trust on which our community depends. Every member of the community, including both faculty and students, shares an interest in maintaining the highest standards of academic integrity.

Violations of trust harm everyone.  The academic community has to trust that its members do not misrepresent their data, take credit for another's ideas or labor, misrepresent or interfere with the work of other scholars, or present previous work as if it were new. Acts of academic dishonesty undermine the value and credibility of the institution as a whole, and may distract others from important scholarship or divert resources away from critical research. In particular, students who plagiarize or falsify their work have not only failed to adhere to the principles of scholarly inquiry and failed their peers by taking undeserved credit or reward, they have failed to learn.

When the entire University community upholds the principles of academic integrity, it creates an environment where students value their education and embrace experiences of discovery and intellectual growth. In this environment, grades and degrees are awarded and applauded as the recognition of years of achievement, discipline, and hard work.  Maintaining the highest standards of academic integrity insures the value and reputation of our degree programs; these standards represent an ethical obligation for faculty intrinsic to their role as educators, as well as a pledge of honor on the part of University at Albany students. If a violation of academic integrity occurs, faculty, deans, and students all share in the responsibility to report it.

These guidelines define a shared context of values to help both students and faculty to make individual and institutional decisions about academic integrity.  Every student has the responsibility to become familiar with the standards of academic integrity at the University.  While it is strongly recommended that faculty specify in their syllabi information about academic integrity, as well as a description of the possible responses to violations, claims of ignorance, unintentional error, or personal or academic pressures are not sufficient reasons for violations of academic integrity. Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the standards and behaving accordingly, and University at Albany faculty are responsible for teaching, modeling and upholding them. Anything less undermines the worth and value of our intellectual work, and the reputation and credibility of the University at Albany degree.

 

Resources for Students

The University Libraries offers the following helpful information:

You have access to many research and information literacy resources here at the University at Albany.

Take an information literacy course. These courses will help you to locate and evaluate information effectively —skills that will help you not only with your studies, but also in the workplace. More information is available at: http://library.albany.edu/usered/unl205/index.html.

Check out helpful tip sheets and other tutorials (http://library.albany.edu/usered/). The University Libraries provide a wide array of guides and other instruction to answer your research-related questions. These include help on the research process, citation tip sheets, explanations of types of resources, information on how to locate a wide range of materials and how to evaluate them effectively, and much more.

The University Libraries homepage (http://library.albany.edu/) will provide you with access to resources for doing research, including the online catalog and a wide variety of research databases. You will find links to contact librarians and how to ask for help.

Examples of Academic Dishonesty

The following is a list of types of behaviors considered to be academically dishonest and therefore unacceptable. Even the attempt to commit such acts is a breach of integrity and is subject to penalty. No such list can, of course, describe all possible types or degrees of academic dishonesty, so these should be understood as examples rather than as a comprehensive list. Individual faculty members, Deans of Schools and Colleges as appropriate, and the Office of Conflict Resolution and Civic Responsibility will continue to judge each case according to its particular merit.

Plagiarism: Presenting as one's own work, the work of another person (for example, the words, ideas, information, data, evidence, organizing principles, or style of presentation of someone else). Plagiarism includes paraphrasing or summarizing without acknowledgment, submission of another student's work as one's own, the purchase of prepared research or completed papers or projects, and the unacknowledged use of research sources gathered by someone else. Failure to indicate accurately the extent and precise nature of one's reliance on other sources is also a form of plagiarism. The student is responsible for understanding the legitimate use of sources, the appropriate ways of acknowledging academic, scholarly, or creative indebtedness, and the consequences for violating University regulations.

Examples of plagiarism include: failure to acknowledge the source(s) of even a few phrases, sentences, or paragraphs; failure to acknowledge a quotation or paraphrase of paragraph-length sections of a paper; failure to acknowledge the source(s) of a major idea or the source(s) for an ordering principle central to the paper's or project's structure; failure to acknowledge the source (quoted, paraphrased, or summarized) of major sections or passages in the paper or project; the unacknowledged use of several major ideas or extensive reliance on another person's data, evidence, or critical method; submitting as one's own work, work borrowed, stolen, or purchased from someone else. For more information concerning plagiarism, see the library’s tutorial on the subject on the library web site.  Graduate students will find additional information concerning Academic Integrity, Conduct, and Research Regulations on the Graduate Studies web site.

Cheating on Examinations: Giving or receiving unauthorized help before, during, or after an examination. Examples of unauthorized help include collaboration of any sort during an examination (unless specifically approved by the instructor); collaboration before an examination (when such collaboration is specifically forbidden by the instructor); the use of notes, books, or other aids during an examination (unless permitted by the instructor); arranging for another person to take an examination in one's place; looking upon someone else's examination during the examination period; intentionally allowing another student to look upon one's exam; the unauthorized discussing of the test items during the examination period; and the passing of any examination information to students who have not yet taken the examination. There can be no conversation while an examination is in progress unless specifically authorized by the instructor.

Multiple Submission: Submitting substantial portions of the same work for credit more than once without receiving the prior explicit consent of the instructor to whom the material is being submitted the second or subsequent time.

Forgery: Imitating another person's signature on academic or other official documents.

Sabotage: Destroying, damaging, or stealing of another's work or working materials (including lab experiments, computer programs, term papers, or projects).

Unauthorized Collaboration: Collaborating on projects, papers, or other academic exercises when this is regarded as inappropriate by the instructor(s). Although the usual faculty assumption is that work submitted for credit is entirely one's own, standards on appropriate and inappropriate collaboration vary widely among individual faculty and the different disciplines. Students who want to confer or collaborate with one another on work receiving academic credit should make certain of the instructor's expectations and standards.

Falsification: Misrepresenting material or fabricating information in an academic exercise or assignment (for example, the false or misleading citation of sources, the falsification of experimental or computer data, etc.)

Bribery: Offering or giving any article of value or service to an instructor in an attempt to receive a grade or other benefits not legitimately earned or not available to other students in the class.

Theft, Damage, or Misuse of Library or IT Resources: Removing uncharged library materials from the library, defacing or damaging library materials, intentionally displacing or hoarding materials within the library for one's unauthorized private use, or other abuse of reserve-book privileges. Any violation of the University’s Responsible Use of Information Technology policy. This includes, but is not limited to, unauthorized use of the University's or another person's computer accounts, codes, passwords, or facilities; damaging computer equipment or interfering with the operation of the computing system of the University. All students are expected to be familiar with the Responsible Use Policy, which can be viewed at https://wiki.albany.edu/display/askit/Responsible+Use+of+Information+Technology+Policy .

 

Penalties and Procedures

The faculty member responsible for educating the student is also responsible for determining when that student has violated academic integrity.  When a faculty member determines that a student has violated academic integrity, he or she will inform the student and impose an appropriate sanction.  A faculty member may make any one or a combination of the following responses to the infractions of academic dishonesty cited above:

  1. Lowering of a paper or project grade by one full grade or more;
  2. Giving a failing grade on a paper containing plagiarized material;
  3. Giving a failing grade on any examination in which cheating occurred;
  4. Lowering a course grade by one full grade or more; or
  5. Giving a failing grade in a course or other academic exercise.

    In addition, faculty members will complete the Violation of Academic Integrity Report”, including the sanction they have imposed along with a brief description of the incident, and send it to the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education or Graduate Studies, as appropriate.  A copy of the report is to be given to the student. The Deans of Undergraduate or Graduate Studies will maintain a copy of such reports for the duration of a student's enrollment at the University.

    If a faculty member informs the student that he or she will receive a failing grade in the course or other academic exercise as a result of academic dishonesty, the student receiving such a penalty will not be permitted to withdraw from the course unless the grievance process or Office of Conflict Resolution and Civic Responsibility rules in favor of the student.  Students who feel they have been erroneously penalized for an academic integrity infraction or think that a penalty is inappropriate may grieve these issues through procedures developed for each college, school, program, or department of the University. Copies of the procedures are maintained in the School and College Deans' Offices or on their respective websites. A copy of the disposition of any grievance arising in matters of academic dishonesty will be attached to the Violation of Academic Integrity Report filed in the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education or the Dean of Graduate Studies.

    Any faculty member or School or College Dean encountering matters of academic dishonesty in a class or academic program for which he or she has responsibility may, in addition to, or in lieu of, the actions cited above,

  6. Refer a case to the Office of Conflict Resolution and Civic Responsibility.

 

After considering the case, the Office of Conflict Resolution and Civic Responsibility will recommend to the Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education or the Dean of Graduate Studies, as appropriate, the disposition of the case, which can include revoking a student’s scholarship or fellowship, or teaching or research assistantship, as well as or in addition to disciplinary probation, suspension, or expulsion.  Students should be aware that violations of academic integrity may cause subsequent difficulties in admission to graduate or professional schools and/or in employment in certain professions. 

When a student violates academic integrity in more than one academic exercise, whether those infractions occurred during the same or different periods of time, or in the same or different courses, the University regards the offense as an especially serious subversion of academic integrity. The matter becomes particularly severe when the student has been confronted with the first infraction before the second is committed. Whenever the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education or Dean of Graduate Studies receives a second Violation of Academic Integrity Report on a student, the Dean will request a hearing before the Office of Conflict Resolution and Civic Responsibility.

The Director of Libraries or Chief Information Officer, upon a finding of theft, damage, misuse of facilities or resources, or a violation of University policies, will forward all such cases to the Office of Conflict Resolution and Civic Responsibility for review and disposition, which can include suspension or expulsion from the University. The Director of the Libraries or Chief Information Officer may, in individual cases, limit access to the Library or IT resources pending action by the Office of Conflict Resolution and Civic Responsibility. In all other cases of academic dishonesty by students, which come to the attention of any staff, faculty, or student, it is expected that the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education or Dean of Graduate Studies, as appropriate, will be consulted about such infractions.

If a faculty member announces a failing grade in the course as a possible result of academic dishonesty, the student receiving such a penalty will not be permitted to withdraw from the course unless the grievance or judicial system rules in favor of the student.

Any faculty member encountering matters of academic dishonesty in an academic program or class for which he or she has responsibility may, in addition to, or in lieu of, the actions cited above, refer a case to the University Judicial System. After considering the case under the procedures provided by the University, the appropriate University judicial body will recommend the disposition of the case which can include disciplinary probation, suspension, or expulsion from the University.

The University at Albany operates under a presumptive penalty system for cases of academic dishonesty. Generally, a student with no prior disciplinary record who is found guilty of academic dishonesty will be suspended from the University for a minimum of one semester. Those guilty of a serious offense or repeated offenses can expect to be suspended for two or more semesters or, in aggravated cases, expelled.

The University Council fixes the general rules for the University's judicial system. The following procedures for matters of academic dishonesty are consistent with those general rules.

  1. Any member of the University Community encountering matters of academic dishonesty may report such matters to the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education or the Dean of Graduate Studies, as appropriate. Those offices are responsible for describing the options available for dealing with cases of academic dishonesty. Representatives of those offices may attend any subsequent hearing as a nonparticipating observer.
  2. If a faculty, student, or staff member wishes to pursue a matter formally, he or she may refer the case to the University judicial system through the Office of Conflict Resolution and Civic Responsibility. The Dean of Graduate Studies or the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education may also refer cases to the University judicial system through the Office of the Vice President for Student Success.
  3. The Vice President for Student Success is responsible for the implementation of hearing procedures as defined in the Community Rights and Responsibilities. The Vice President or an appointed designee will schedule cases referred to his or her office for hearing before a panel made up of members from the Committee on Student Conduct or Hearing Officer.
  4. The purpose of a hearing is to determine the facts of the case and to recommend sanctions. The results of the hearing are communicated to each of the three parties to the case: the student, the complainant, and the appropriate Dean. If no appeal for a rehearing is made by any of those, the recommended sanction will be forwarded to the Vice President for Academic Affairs for review and implementation.
  5. If any of the three parties to the case believe that (1) due process was not followed in the case, or (2) that the recommended sanction was not commensurate with the offense, or (3) that important new evidence is available, that party has a right to appeal the case. Such appeals are made to the Vice President for Academic Affairs or an appointed designee who shall review the appeal in accordance with these criteria and determine if the appeal is to be accepted and a rehearing ordered. In such a case a subcommittee composed of members of the Committee on Student Conduct not involved in the original hearing will be convened. The results of such a rehearing, along with all other records of the case, will be communicated to the Vice President for Academic Affairs who will make final disposition of the case and provide for its implementation.
  6. In some cases, a hearing will not be necessary if a student admits to the charges filed or if a resolution is achieved between the student and faculty or staff member by mutual consent. In either case, a faculty Hearing Officer will review the case and, if satisfied with the plea or resolution, may proceed without a hearing to recommend a sanction in the case as provided above.

In those instances where faculty or staff members do not refer a violation to the University judicial system but instead deal with the matter entirely within the bounds of discretion available to them, they are expected to report in writing to the Offices of Graduate Studies or the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, as appropriate, all sanction they impose, along with a brief description of the incident. A copy of the report is to be given to the student. These offices will maintain a copy of such reports for the duration of a student's enrollment at the University. Upon graduation or separation of the student from the University, these confidential reports will be destroyed. Violations of academic integrity by graduate students are reported by faculty directly to the Office of the Graduate Admissions and Policy Graduate Office for appropriate action. This office replaces the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education in all matters involving graduate student violations of academic integrity.

Students who feel they have been erroneously penalized by a faculty or staff member for an academic integrity infraction or think that a penalty is inappropriate may grieve these issues through procedures developed for each college, school, program, or department of the University. Copies of the procedures are maintained in Deans' offices and in the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education or Graduate Studies. A copy of the disposition of any grievance arising in matters of academic dishonesty will be attached to the faculty correspondence in the Offices of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education or Graduate Studies.

When a student violates academic integrity in more than one academic exercise, whether those infractions occurred during the same or different periods of time, or in the same or different courses, the University regards the offense as an especially serious subversion of academic integrity. The matter becomes particularly severe when the student has been confronted with the first infraction before the second is committed. Whenever the Offices of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education or Dean of Graduate Studies receive a second academic integrity report on a student, the Dean will request a hearing before the University judicial system.

The Director of Libraries or the Computing Center, upon finding of theft, damage, or misuse of facilities or resources, will forward all such cases to the University judicial system for review and disposition, which can include suspension or expulsion from the University. The Director of the Library or the Computing Center may, in individual cases, limit access to the Library or Computing Center pending action by the University judicial system. In all other cases of academic dishonesty, which come to the attention of any staff, faculty, or student, it is expected that the Dean of Undergraduate Studies will be notified of such infractions. The Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education or the Dean of Graduate Studies, as appropriate, will process all such alleged matters of academic dishonesty and refer them to the University judicial system.

The University judicial system was established by the governing bodies of this campus and is administratively the responsibility of the Vice President for Student Success. Any questions about the procedures of the University judicial system may be secured by inquiry to that office. (Approved by the University Senate and the President of the University at Albany – SENATE BILL #0506-25)