9.2.5 Academic Honesty
As scholars and students, all members of the Concordia University of Edmonton community have a responsibility to use the intellectual contributions of others honestly, with appropriate acknowledgment. Academic honesty is fundamental to the academic enterprise. All scholarship rests on the basis of ideas and structures of thought developed by others. Concordia University of Edmonton has two complementary policies which spell out expectations for all faculty and students: the policy on Integrity in Research and Scholarship and this policy on Academic Honesty.
2. Principles and Responsibilities
Instructors and students are responsible for upholding the following principles:
- To acknowledge the contribution of others to one’s scholarship and research, in the form generally recognized in the discipline.
- To support an academic environment in which honesty prevails.
3. Instructors’ Responsibilities
Specifically, instructors have the following responsibilities:
- To include in all course outlines an academic honesty statement which draws the attention of students to Concordia University of Edmonton’s Academic Honesty policy, includes any course-specific expectations, and reminds students of the consequences of academic dishonesty.
- To teach students appropriate modes of using and acknowledging the contribution of others.
- To clarify for students the distinction between information which must be documented and common knowledge which does not require documentation.
- To give students appropriate guidelines for group projects and other forms of consultative activity.
- To take reasonable steps to reduce opportunities for academic dishonesty in their courses.
- To act promptly in accordance with this policy to investigate cases in which they suspect academic dishonesty or in which allegations of academic dishonesty are brought to their attention.
- To confront students suspected of academic dishonesty in a way that respects student privacy during the process of investigation.
- To inform students found guilty of academic dishonesty of their rights of appeal.
4. Students’ Responsibilities
Specifically, students have the following responsibilities:
- To follow the guidelines for appropriate use and acknowledgment of the contributions of others in their assignments and projects.
- To manage their work to allow sufficient time for review, editing, and scrupulous documentation.
- In group projects, to take individual responsibility for the trustworthiness of the group’s work.
- To act honestly and in keeping with the instructor’s guidelines in tests and other comparable situations.
- To seek the guidance of the instructor in uncertain cases.
- To refuse to aid or abet any form of academic dishonesty.
- To bring to the attention of the instructor evidence of academic dishonesty by others.
5. Declaration of Academic Honesty
Instructors may require students to hand in, with their assignments, a signed declaration that they have observed all guidelines for honesty.
- If there is a conflict of interest, or if the Discipline Officer or Dean is not available, the Dean shall name an alternate Discipline Officer, or the Vice-President Academic shall name an alternate to act in place of the Dean.
- Appeal Committee
- The Appeal Committee is the Academic Student Discipline Committee established according to the Bylaws of the General Faculties Council, appendix 3B.
- Discipline Officer
- The Discipline Officer is a faculty member charged with responsibility for assessing allegations of academic dishonesty and for assigning penalties. The Discipline Officer is the Department Chair or another faculty member designated by the Dean. The Discipline Officer with oversight of the course in which the academic dishonesty is alleged to have occurred is the one with jurisdiction.
- The Dean is the Dean responsible for the program in which the student who is alleged to be guilty of academic dishonesty is enrolled. When the dishonesty is alleged in a course in one faculty but the student is enrolled in a program in a different faculty, the Dean in charge of the program must consult with the Dean responsible for the course.
- Working Day
- A Working Day is a day on which Concordia University of Edmonton’s administrative offices are open for business.
C. Academic Dishonesty
Academic dishonesty includes cheating, plagiarism, collusion, unauthorized submission for credit of previously graded work, and misrepresentation.
- Cheating on tests includes, but is not limited to conduct such as unauthorized communication with others; unauthorized use of any materials or resources; attempting to use other student’s work; enabling other students to use the student’s work.
Cheating on written assignments includes, but is not limited to the representation of substantial editorial or compositional assistance as the student’s own work.
- Plagiarism is the use of the ideas, structures of argument, or phrases of others without appropriate acknowledgment. Ideas and lines of argument borrowed from others, even when expressed in the student’s own words, must be fully identified, in a format customary in the discipline, as specified by the instructor. In addition, phrases borrowed from others must be identified as quotations and fully attributed. Plagiarism ranges from the submission by a student of an entire essay or project which was in fact done by someone else to the inclusion in a paper of a phrase which is not properly quoted or documented, even though the source may be included in the list of works cited.
- Collusion involves more than one individual cooperating to cheat, plagiarize, or misrepresent. A student who assists someone else in academic dishonesty is equally guilty of the dishonesty. Unauthorized collaboration between individuals in preparing materials submitted for assessment is collusion. In cases of group work, students are responsible for carefully observing the instructor’s guidelines about shared and individual responsibility for assignments.
- Unauthorized Submission of Previously Graded Work
- This offence occurs when the student submits for credit in a course any work (even though it may be completely original with the student) of which all or a substantial portion has been or is being submitted for credit in another course. The written approval of both the original and the current instructor must be obtained in advance before work is submitted for credit under these circumstances.
- Misrepresentation includes a broad range of other modes of academic dishonesty, such as providing false statements, impersonating another student on a test, and falsification of data.
D. Principles of Application
In dealing with cases of suspected academic dishonesty, the following principles are to be applied:
- The integrity of the academic enterprise is protected. This includes the confidence of students in the fairness of their grades and the fairness with which all students are treated, as well as the confidence of the larger community in the validity of Concordia University of Edmonton’s programs and degrees.
- Procedures and penalties are shaped by the educative value to the student and to other students.
- The procedures and penalties deter academic dishonesty.
- Processes are fair and seen to be fair. This means that students accused of academic dishonesty are advised of the allegations against them and are given the opportunity to state their side of the case. They are supplied with copies of all written evidence and reports about them. They are presumed to be innocent until the contrary has been established, based on the balance of probabilities. Students have the right to appeal a finding of academic dishonesty in accordance with this policy.
- Penalties are appropriate to the type of dishonesty, and, in the case of plagiarism, to the expectations reasonable for a student of a particular level. For example, similar penalties may be imposed on students at all levels who are guilty of handing in a paper that they did not write themselves. On the other hand, a first-year student guilty of use of sources without appropriate documentation may reasonably be treated more leniently than a student in a senior year, who may be expected to know better.
- Withdrawal from a course or program does not exempt a student from procedures and penalties under this policy.
Some penalties may be applied by the instructor; others by the Discipline Officer; others by the Dean.
1. Minor Penalties Applied by the Instructor
Instructors may apply minor penalties in cases in which they find academic dishonesty but determine that it is the result principally of inexperience rather than willful intention to mislead. The instructors’ appraisal of the circumstances will include factors such as the type of dishonesty, the level of the course, and the extent of the guidelines given. Such minor penalties include the following:
- Requirement to redo an assignment, with a grade penalty.
- Requirement to do another assignment.
- Failure in an assignment: the instructor who imposes this penalty for academic misconduct should inform the Discipline Officer, who will review the case and normally issue a Reprimand (E.2.a).
2. Penalties Applied by the Discipline Officer
Instructors should inform the Discipline Officer of cases in which they have imposed the penalty of Failure in an assignment (E.1.c), and should refer cases more serious than those described in section E.1 to the Discipline Officer. If the Discipline Officer finds that a student is guilty of willful intention to mislead but that there are mitigating factors, the Discipline Officer shall confirm or apply any of the minor penalties in E.1 and further shall issue a Reprimand:
- Reprimand: This takes the form of a letter to the student outlining the circumstances of the students’ dishonesty and warning that further similar behaviour will lead to a stiffer penalty. The letter of reprimand is copied to the Registrar and placed in the students’ file, but it will not appear on grade reports and transcripts.
- In addition to a Reprimand, the Discipline Officer may also apply the penalty of Failure in a course.
3. Penalties Applied by the Dean
The Discipline Officer should refer to the Dean cases warranting more severe penalties than those described in E.2, including all cases of repeat offenders. The Dean may impose any of the penalties in E.1 or E.2 and further may apply any of the following penalties:
- Notation of Academic Dishonesty on the student’s transcript. When this penalty accompanies failure in a course for academic dishonesty, it shall remain on the student’s transcript for a period of two years from the end date of term for the relevant course. When the penalty accompanies Suspension, it may remain on the transcript for a length of time specified by the Dean, normally not to exceed the date of the student’s graduation from Concordia University of Edmonton. In a case of Expulsion, the notation may, at the discretion of the Dean, remain on the transcript permanently.
- Suspension: The student is required to withdraw from Concordia University of Edmonton for a specified period of time, ranging from one semester to three years. Upon completion of the period of suspension, the student will be eligible for reinstatement to full academic status. The student’s academic program is subject to the Statute of Limitations, section 9.1.1.
- Expulsion: The student is required to withdraw from Concordia University of Edmonton for more than three years or indefinitely. The Dean may prescribe conditions governing readmission to Concordia University of Edmonton, if it is to be permitted at all.
- Such other penalty or order as appropriate in the circumstances.
4. Provisions Regarding Suspension and Expulsion
- A Suspension or Expulsion takes effect on the date of the Dean’s decision, unless the Dean specifies a different effective date. For example, the Dean may allow a student to finish examinations in other courses at the end of a semester before starting a Suspension.
- A student shall receive credit for any course passed before the effective date of a Suspension or Expulsion.
- Withdrawals resulting from a decision of Suspension or Expulsion will show as a grade of W on the student’s transcript.
- In a case of Suspension or Expulsion, the fee refund dates outlined in this Calendar shall apply.
- Material or decisions pertaining to a disciplinary process and notice of appeal hearings may be hand-delivered, sent by courier, or sent by regular or registered mail. Alternatively, at the student’s request, the student may pick up the material, decision, or notice at an arranged place at Concordia University of Edmonton.
- Email may be used provided that the recipient has a Concordia University of Edmonton email address or has provided Concordia University of Edmonton with his or her personal email address. An email message which has not been acknowledged by the recipient within 5 Working Days should be followed by written notice sent by regular or registered mail, as in F.1.e.
- An instructor, Discipline Officer, or Dean may ask the Registrar to contact a student by telephone or to mail a written notice.
- When sent by mail, the material, decision, or notice shall be sent to the last address provided by the student to Concordia University of Edmonton.
- Delivery is deemed to have been effected on the date of pick-up, personal receipt of hand or courier delivery, or 5 Working Days following registered or regular mailing.
- If a student attempting to contact an instructor, Discipline Officer, or Dean does not succeed in reaching the individual within 5 Working Days, the student should consult the Registrar. If not successful in contacting the instructor, the Registrar shall contact the Discipline Officer. If the Discipline Officer and/or Dean is not available, the Registrar shall request the appointment of an Alternate.
2. Procedures for Any Individual Who Believes That a Student Is Guilty of Academic Dishonesty
- An individual who believes that a student is guilty of academic dishonesty shall first speak to the instructor of the course.
- If the individual cannot contact the instructor or is not satisfied with the results of the conversation with the instructor, the individual shall seek the advice of the Registrar about the appropriate Discipline Officer to contact.
- When a report of academic dishonesty is made, the individual who receives the report will respect the privacy of the person making the allegation until the matter has been investigated.
- No findings will be published until the factual truth of the allegation(s) has been confirmed. Discretion will be used in revealing the name of the individual making the allegation to the student charged.
3. Procedures for Instructors
An instructor who finds or receives evidence of academic dishonesty shall proceed as follows:
- Collect or assist in the collection of the necessary evidence. Retain or obtain possession of any suspect material. In cases of suspected cheating on a test or examination, the invigilator shall confiscate any suspect material. The invigilator, if other than the instructor, shall give a full written report, together with any confiscated material, to the instructor.
- Notify the student(s), protecting as far as possible the privacy of the student(s), of the suspicion of dishonesty as soon as possible after the instructor has arrived at that suspicion, and in any case within 5 Working Days (refer to F.1, Notification). If the case is one of suspected collusion, the instructor shall as far as possible deal with each student separately.
- Arrange an interview with each student. If the student refuses or fails to meet with the instructor within a reasonable period of time specified by the instructor, the instructor shall notify the student as provided in F.1, Notification, and refer the matter to the Discipline Officer.
- During an interview with each student, supply the student with the relevant evidence, review the matter with the student, and give the student an opportunity to state his or her side of the case.
- If the instructor determines that academic dishonesty has taken place, but that it is the result of inexperience rather than willful intention to mislead, the instructor may apply one or more minor penalties as specified in E.1, depending on the circumstances.
- The instructor may report to the Discipline Officer any case of academic dishonesty. The instructor must report in writing any case in which the instructor has deemed it necessary to apply the penalty of failure in an assignment. The instructor shall advise the student that the Discipline Officer will review the circumstances and check the student’s record. The Discipline Officer, if satisfied that the student is guilty of academic dishonesty, will issue a Reprimand. Depending on the circumstances, the Discipline Officer may take further action, as outlined in F.4.
- The instructor shall advise the student of his/her right to appeal the finding that an offence has been committed, the penalty imposed, or both, to the Discipline Officer within 10 Working Days of deemed receipt (F.1) of the instructor’s decision.
- If the instructor concludes that academic dishonesty has taken place and that it is the result of willful intention to mislead, the instructor shall so report in writing to the Discipline Officer, with the relevant evidence, and shall supply the student(s) with a copy of the report. In cases of suspected collusion, the instructor shall write a separate report concerning each student, in which the other students involved are referred to in a way that does not identify them by name or student number (e.g., “Student B”). The individuals responsible for investigating the case need to know the names of all the students who are involved. However, the written report on each student, of which the student receives a copy, should identify only that particular student by name. The instructor’s report may include a recommendation about a penalty.
4. Procedures for Discipline Officers
A Discipline Officer (or Alternate) who receives a report of academic dishonesty shall proceed as follows:
- Review the instructor’s report and the evidence, consult with the instructor, and decide whether the case may involve willful intention to mislead.
- Check with the Registrar’s Office to determine whether the student’s record includes a Reprimand (E.2.a) or other notation of previous academic dishonesty.
- If the student’s record does not include any notation regarding previous academic dishonesty, if the facts are not in dispute, and if the Discipline Officer considers the instructor’s penalty appropriate, the Discipline Officer shall write a Reprimand (E.2.a).
- If the student’s record includes a previous notation regarding academic dishonesty, if the facts are in dispute, or if the Discipline Officer considers that the instructor’s penalty may be inappropriate, the Discipline Officer shall investigate further.
- If the case occurs at a time when statements of grades are issued, notify the Registrar to withhold the statement of grades until the case is resolved. The Registrar will so notify the student.
- Arrange an interview with the student. During the interview, ensure that the student has received a copy of the instructor’s report and any other evidence, and that the student has an opportunity to state his or her side of the case.
- If the student refuses or fails to meet with the Discipline Officer within a reasonable period of time specified by the Discipline Officer, the Discipline Officer shall refer the matter to the Dean (see Notification, F.1)
- If the student is appealing a decision of the instructor to the Discipline Officer and is unable to contact the Discipline Officer within 5 Working Days following receipt of the instructor’s decision, the student shall consult the Registrar who will, if necessary, ask the Dean to appoint an alternate Discipline Officer (see Notification, F.1).
- If the Discipline Officer concludes that academic dishonesty has taken place and that it is the result of willful intention to mislead, the Discipline Officer shall write a Reprimand and may further apply the penalty of Failure in a course. The Discipline Officer shall advise the student of the right to appeal to the Dean.
- The Discipline Officer shall write a report, copied to the student and the instructor, about the resolution of the case. In cases of alleged collusion, the Discipline Officer shall write a separate report for each student, in which the other students involved are referred to in a way that does not identify them by name or student number (e.g., “Student B”); see discussion above, F.3.h. The report shall include the alleged offence(s), an overview of the evidence, the Discipline Officer’s decision, and the reasons for the decision.
- If the decision includes a finding of academic dishonesty, the report should include information about the student’s right to appeal both the finding of dishonesty and any penalty that has been confirmed or imposed, and the appeal deadline. The student may appeal a decision of the Discipline Officer to the Dean, within 10 Working Days of deemed receipt (F.1.e) of the Discipline Officer’s decision.
- If the Discipline Officer has applied the penalty of Failure in a course, or if the student has a prior record of academic dishonesty, the Discipline Officer shall forward the report, with full documentation, to the Dean.
- If the Discipline Officer concludes that the academic dishonesty warrants a more severe penalty than the ones in E.2, he/she shall so state in the report to the Dean and may include a recommendation about a penalty.
5. Procedures for Deans
A Dean (or Alternate) who receives a report of academic dishonesty from a Discipline Officer shall proceed as follows:
- The Dean shall review all reports of academic dishonesty received from the Discipline Officer, review the student’s record, and exercise discretion to determine whether further action is warranted. Repeat offenders should be dealt with more severely than first offenders.
- If the Dean considers that further action may be warranted, the Dean shall meet with the student, ensure that the student has received a copy of the Discipline Officer’s report and all relevant evidence, and give the student an opportunity to give his or her side of the case. The Dean may also talk with all the other parties involved.
- The Dean may rescind or modify the penalties imposed by the instructor and Discipline Officer or apply any of the penalties in F.3, F.4, or F.5.
- If the student refuses or fails to meet with the Dean within a reasonable period of time specified by the Dean, the Dean shall make a decision, which may include penalties, taking into account the available evidence. Refer to Notification, F.1.
- The Dean shall write to the student. The letter shall include the academic dishonesty alleged, an overview of the evidence, and the reasons for the decision.
- If the Dean has found that the student is guilty of academic dishonesty, the letter shall include any penalty imposed by the Dean, along with relevant dates. The letter shall also include information regarding the student’s right to appeal both the finding of dishonesty and any penalty confirmed or imposed by the Dean. The student may appeal a decision of the Dean to the Appeal Committee within 10 Working Days of deemed receipt (F.1.e) of the Dean’s decision. The Dean’s letter shall be copied to the instructor and the Discipline Officer. If it includes a finding of academic dishonesty, a copy shall also go to the Registrar for the student’s file.
- When a student is found guilty of academic dishonesty, the student may appeal the finding that an offence has been committed, the penalty imposed, or both. The appeal may be based on the denial of the offence and/or the severity of the penalties imposed. A defect in procedures shall not warrant the quashing of the decision being appealed unless the defect complained of can be reasonably said to have deprived the complainant of fair treatment.
- The student may appeal a decision of the instructor to the Discipline Officer within 10 Working Days of deemed receipt (F.1.e) of the instructor’s decision. The appeal may be made orally or in writing.
- The student may appeal a decision of the Discipline Officer to the Dean, within 10 Working Days of deemed receipt (F.1.e) of the Discipline Officer’s decision. The appeal may be made orally or in writing.
- A decision of the Dean may be appealed to the Appeal Committee within 15 Working Days of the deemed receipt (F.1.e) of the decision by the student. The appeal must be submitted in writing to the Registrar, must state the full grounds of appeal, and must be signed by the student. The Registrar will convene the Appeal Committee inform the coordinator of the Appeal Committee and request that a meeting of the Appeal Committee be called to consider the appeal. [Approved by the General Faculties Council on February 19, 2020] The decision of the Appeal Committee is final.
- During the appeal period, a student appealing a decision of Suspension or Expulsion may register for classes and continue to attend classes. However, marks for assignments and examinations may be withheld at the discretion of the Dean until such time as the appeal is successful. If the student loses the appeal, no credit will be given for work completed subsequent to the date given in the original decision.
2. Appeal Committee
- The Registrar, upon receipt of an appeal of a Dean’s decision, shall convene an Appeal Committee and shall provide the coordinator of the Appeal Committee with all the evidence so far available.
- The Appeal Committee shall meet to review the evidence and determine its procedures. With the Registrar’s assistance, it shall schedule a hearing or hearings.
- Written notice (F.1) must be provided to all the parties involved regarding date, time, and place of hearing(s). If the student, the instructor, Discipline Officer, and/or the Dean neglects or refuses to appear at the time of the hearing, the Appeal Committee may, in its discretion, proceed with the hearing.
- As far as possible, the proceedings of an Appeal Committee should be confidential.
- Normally, a hearing should be held within 30 days of receipt of an appeal.
- The Appeal Committee may accept any evidence that it considers proper, and may request additional material as it sees fit.
- The Appeal Committee shall hear the argument of both sides to the appeal and then, by majority vote, shall determine whether or not an offence has been committed and uphold or quash the decision under appeal. Where a decision against a student is upheld, the Appeal Committee may confirm, vary, or suspend the penalty imposed.
- The Registrar coordinator of the Appeal Committee shall, when practical, immediately communicate the decision of the Appeal Committee to the student, the instructor, the Discipline Officer, the Registrar, and the Dean.
- Within 5 Working Days of the decision having been reached, the Registrar coordinator of the Appeal Committee shall communicate the decision in writing to the student, the instructor, the Discipline Officer, the Registrar, and the Dean.
- If the Appeal Committee wishes, it may also forward recommendations for changes in the policy or in procedures under the policy to the Education Policies Academic Standards Committee.
[Approved by the General Faculties Council on February 19, 2020]