Academic Integrity Policy
Students at the University of Montevallo uphold the values of the University by refraining from every form of dishonesty in college life and by doing all that is possible to create a spirit of honesty and integrity on campus.
Students are expected to follow the behaviors within the Student Code of Conduct, but this policy specifically addresses academic misconduct.
As stated in the Fledgling, Academic dishonesty is defined as cheating or plagiarism. Cheating is the giving or receiving of unauthorized aid, whether written, oral or otherwise, in order for a student to receive undeserved credit on work that is their own responsibility. Plagiarism occurs when a student uses the words or the ideas of another without acknowledging that they belong to someone else.
Briefly, there are five main ways in which a student can commit plagiarism:
- Using the exact words of another person’s work/writing without acknowledgement of the source through the use of quotation marks and correct citation/documentation
- Rephrasing a passage by another writer without giving proper credit
- Using someone else’s facts or ideas without acknowledgement
- Using a piece of writing for one course that was already used in a previous course (or in courses in which one is simultaneously enrolled) without express permission from both instructors to do so
- Presenting fabricated or falsified citations or materialsStudents may not give or receive unauthorized aid in completing academic work and meeting academic requirements. Only the faculty member teaching the course can authorize assistance, use of resources, etc. Students who are uncertain about whether conduct would constitute academic dishonesty are responsible for seeking clarification from the faculty member prior to engaging in such conduct. Accountability measures for academic dishonesty are determined based on the seriousness of the offense and on whether the student has a record of other instances of academic dishonesty.
If the academic dishonesty pertains to a non-course degree requirement, such as a standardized examination, then the student may fail to receive credit for the degree requirement for which the violation occurred. The consequences for the violation of a non-course degree requirement may be imposed by the appropriate department chair or college dean.
If the academic dishonesty pertains to an assignment in a course, the faculty member teaching the course in which the violation occurred may determine the course-based consequences, e.g., an academic integrity development plan, a zero on the assignment, a grade of F in the course, etc.
In addition to these consequences, the faculty member or academic administrator should refer all serious academic integrity violations to the Office of the Provost for record keeping and/or possible further sanctions via the Academic Dishonesty Incident Report. (Individual faculty members may define what constitutes a serious academic integrity violation in their course(s), provided that their definition is included in the course syllabus.)
The Office of the Provost will serve as the central recording center for all Academic Dishonesty Incident reports. Thus, if a student has multiple violations on record, the Office of the Provost may take action as they deem appropriate, e.g., by recommending an Academic Integrity Development Plan, referring the case to the Academic Integrity Council, implementing the Academic Integrity Council’s recommended disciplinary action (such as suspension or expulsion), etc.
The following is an outline of the process for resolving allegations of academic dishonesty. (The Academic Integrity Council, in collaboration with the Provost, Deans, and Chairs, is charged with determining and communicating the full procedure.)
- The instructor responsible for the course at the time of the incident will determine the appropriate course-based consequences AND complete the online Academic Dishonesty Incident (ADI) form as soon as possible, but within 21 business days from the date the assignment was graded.
- Upon filing the online Academic Dishonesty Incident form, the instructor of record will note whether the referral is for record keeping only (“Faculty Discretion”) or for further review and consideration by the Academic Integrity Council (“Disciplinary Referral”). An instructor who recommends Disciplinary Referral can also recommend an appropriate disciplinary action for the student.a. Notice of the Academic Dishonesty Incident report will automatically be distributed to the instructor of record, the chair of the department in which the incident occurred, the dean of the College, the Dean of Students, and the Registrar.
b. After two “Faculty Discretion” referrals for the same student, the Office of the Provost will automatically refer the case for further consideration by the Academic Integrity Council. (Moreover, in response to multiple violations by the same student, further disciplinary measures may be taken at the discretion of the Provost’s Office.)
c. If necessary, a hold will be placed on the student’s account until the case is fully resolved, thereby prohibiting the student from dropping or withdrawing from the course. (See point 9c.)
- The Provost’s Office will promptly contact the student via email to inform them that an Academic Dishonesty Incident form has been filed. This email will state the charges against the student and include copies of any documentation of the incident. Once this email has been sent to the student’s official UM email address, the student is considered to have been notified of the charges. (The faculty member who filed the Academic Dishonesty Incident form will be copied on this email as well.)a. If the instructor responsible for the course chooses to refer the case for “Faculty Discretion” and no further action is taken, the Provost’s Office will inform the student of this. The Provost’s Office will also warn the student that any further incidents will merit further action.
b. If the instructor responsible for the course chooses to refer the case for “Disciplinary Referral,” or if the case is automatically referred to the Academic Integrity Council, the Provost’s Office will notify the student of the situation and inform them that a hearing will take place.
c. Once the student has been notified of the academic dishonesty charge, the course-based consequence(s) determined by the instructor will be carried out.
d. The student may discuss the academic dishonesty charge with their instructor if desired. The discussion should take place either (i) via email or (ii) in person with another faculty member, or the department chair, as a witness to the discussion. (Instructors may choose the format of the discussion, and may also ask to initiate the discussion.)
- In cases of “Disciplinary Referral” or automatic referral, the Academic Integrity Council will call a hearing according to their procedures. The accused student should attend the hearing; however, the hearing will take place even if the student fails to attend.
- Upon completion of the hearing, the Academic Integrity Council may recommend accountability measures at their discretion. Depending on the severity of the allegation and/or the number of allegations, these measures may include, but are not limited to:a. No further action
b. Targeted instruction and/or guidance
c. A zero on the assignment
d. An F in the course
- The Academic Integrity Council will forward its recommendation to the Provost’s Office. Upon approval from the Provost’s Office, appropriate course-based actions and/or administrative actions will be carried out, and notification will be sent to the student, the student’s advisor, the instructor, the Department Chair, the Deans of the college in which the incident occurred and the college in which the student is enrolled, the Dean of Students, and other appropriate parties (Registrar, Director of Housing and Residence Life, etc.).
- Students who wish to appeal the course-based consequences determined by their instructor must do so by contacting the Office of the Provost within 5 business days of being notified of the academic dishonesty charge to request that the case be reviewed. If the instructor who submitted the Academic Dishonesty Incident report selected “Faculty Discretion” (and the case was not automatically referred to the Academic Integrity Council), the appeal will be reviewed by the Academic Integrity Council; if the instructor selected “Disciplinary Referral” or the case was automatically referred to the Academic Integrity Council, the appeal will be reviewed by the Office of the Provost (or designee). The process outlined below will be followed:a. The faculty member will be informed of the pending appeal.
b. The appropriate reviewer(s) will make a determination of the validity of the charges.
i. If the reviewer fails to find sufficient justification for the charges, then the Office of the Provost will inform the student, the instructor, the Department Chair and the Dean. The instructor will be asked to reassess the assigned grade, or reassess the course-based consequences, etc., and will be notified that he or she may be in an untenable legal position if he or she elects not to do so. The faculty member’s reassessment of the grade/consequence may or may not result in a different grade depending on the quality of the student’s performance on the assignment(s).
ii. If the reviewer finds that the charges are justified, the Office of the Provost will notify the student, the student’s advisor, the instructor, the Department Chair, the Deans of the college in which the incident occurred and the college in which the student is enrolled, the Dean of Students, and other appropriate parties (the Registrar, the Director of Housing and Resident Life, etc.) of the outcome of the appeal. In the case of a student appeal of a faculty-imposed consequence, the reviewer may not impose a consequence stronger than the initial one.
- In the case of “Disciplinary Referral” (or automatic referral), students who wish to appeal the recommendation of the Academic Integrity Council must submit a written formal appeal to the Office of the Provost within 5 business days of the announcement of the Academic Integrity Council’s decision. The Office of the Provost, or designee, will make a decision on the appeal; this decision will be final.
- When an academic dishonesty charge is filed against a student in a course, that student’s eligibility for withdrawing from the course is determined as follows:
- If, in the final outcome of the case (taking into account the result of any appeals), the student is given the consequence of “F in the course,” then the student cannot evade this consequence by withdrawing from the course. In this situation, the student will not be allowed to withdraw from the course under any circumstances, including circumstances which would normally constitute grounds for “Withdrawal for Extenuating Circumstances.”
- If the final outcome of the case (taking into account the result of any appeals) still allows the student to receive credit for the course, then the student’s eligibility for withdrawal depends upon the timing of the incident and/or the timing of the final conclusion of the case:i. If the case fully concluded on or before the last day to withdraw, then the student may choose to withdraw, provided that they do so on or before the last day to withdraw. In this situation, if the student does not withdraw on or before the last day to withdraw, then they can no longer withdraw unless they are approved for “Withdrawal for Extenuating Circumstances.”
ii. If the academic dishonesty incident took place on or before the last day to withdraw, but the final conclusion of the case occurred after the last day to withdraw, then the student has a window of 5 business days after the final conclusion of the case in which the student may choose to withdraw. After that window of 5 business days has passed, the student cannot withdraw unless they are approved for “Withdrawal for Extenuating Circumstances.”
iii. If the academic dishonesty incident took place after the last day to withdraw, then the student cannot withdraw unless they are approved for “Withdrawal for Extenuating Circumstances.”
c. If a student may ultimately receive an “F in the course” as a consequence of an academic dishonesty charge, e.g.,
i. The faculty member filing the Academic Dishonesty Incident form chooses “Faculty Discretion” with the course-based consequence of “F in the course”;
ii. The faculty member chooses “Disciplinary Referral”; or
iii. The case is automatically referred to the Academic Integrity Council, then a hold will be placed on the student’s account (temporarily preventing the student from dropping/withdrawing from the course) until the case, including any appeals, is fully resolved. After the case is fully resolved, the student’s eligibilityfor withdrawal is determined by the rules laid out in points 9a and 9b.
d. If a student allegedly committed an academic integrity violation but withdrew from the course before an ADI form could be filed, then the instructor can still file an ADI form against the student (provided that the form is filed in a timely manner) and the ADI resolution procedure will still be followed.
10. If a student incurs an academic integrity violation and the student accepts the consequences (or the student’s appeal, if any, is rejected), then any grade penalty resulting from said violation cannot be used as a basis for any future grade appeals. In this situation, only grades that are not related to the student’s academic integrity violation are eligible for grade appeals. On the other hand, if a student’s appeal of an academic integrity violation is accepted, then any grade that had been impacted by the consequences of the academic integrity violation is again eligible for grade appeals. Note that student appeals of academic integrity violations can only be made within the time limits stated in this policy; see points 7 and 8. Also, students must appeal an academic integrity violation in a course, and the appeal must be resolved in the student’s favor, before the student may appeal any grades impacted by said violation. (See Grade Appeals.)
Rights of the Accused Student:
- To be informed of the charge against them, to receive copies of any documentation supporting the charge, and to be informed of any recommended accountability measures
- To be informed of the date and time of a hearing, if necessary, and the procedures involved
- To present witnesses, documentation and other evidence at the hearing, and to have an advocate present
- To continue in the course without prejudice until the outcome of the hearing
- To appeal the decision
Rights and Responsibilities of Faculty, Staff, and Administration:
- To establish norms of conduct related to academic integrity in their classrooms and assign grades accordingly
- To help promote a culture of academic integrity by reporting suspected violations of the Academic Integrity Policy
- To be informed of the procedures of the Academic Integrity Council
- To be present (either by choice, or as required by the Academic Integrity Council) at any hearing related to a charge of academic dishonesty levied by the faculty
Business Day – A business day is any day the administrative offices of the university are open for business.
Timeliness – Every effort will be made to carry out the ADI resolution procedure (including review of any appeals) in a timely manner. However, the procedure may be delayed due to factors such as the semester (or part of term) ending, the university being closed, or semester breaks.