Information for Faculty

Mission Statement

The purpose of this information is to assist faculty in creating an atmosphere that promotes honest academic interchange among all individuals in the classroom.  One of the goals of the university is to ensure that students are honest and forthright in their academic endeavors.  Incidents of academic dishonesty disrupt the educational process and produce a great deal of personal anxiety for faculty members, as well as students, so it is important to support the prevention and deterrence of such incidents.

One way to accomplish this goal is for faculty members to create an environment that promotes honesty by educating students as to the university's expectations regarding proper conduct and the consequences of dishonest behavior.
 
Promoting Honesty

Academic dishonesty is a serious problem and deserves serious attention.  Academic misconduct implies dishonesty or deception in fulfilling academic requirements and includes, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, or the furnishing of false information to the university or a university affiliate in academic related matters.  An affiliate of the university is any person, organization, or company that works in conjunction with Ohio University for the purposes of assisting students in fulfilling their academic requirements.  As an educational institution, Ohio University is committed to helping students to change their inappropriate behavior.  The Ohio University Student Code of Conduct is predicated on the philosophy of educational discipline and provides faculty, staff, and students with a process by which to hold students accountable for behavior that is inconsistent with the educational mission of the university. 

The Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility provides for the objective examination of facts surrounding alleged misconduct and reinforces responsibility through educational sanctions designed to encourage students to change their behavior and to learn from their mistakes.
 
Outline Your Expectations at the Beginning of the Semester

Assist your students in understanding academic integrity by engaging in the following:
1.  Include a statement on the university's expectation of academic integrity on your syllabus. For example: "Academic integrity and honesty are basic values of Ohio University.  Students are expected to follow standards of academic integrity and honesty.  Academic misconduct is a violation of the Ohio University Student Code of Conduct subject to a maximum sanction of disciplinary suspension or expulsion as well as a grade penalty in the course."
2.  Outline on the syllabus your expectations regarding electronic devices including laptops and cell phones. 
3.  Discuss the importance of academic integrity and clarify university policies regarding academic misconduct prior to any graded assignment.
4.  Present an appropriate ethical model for students by setting an example of fair and consistent behavior.
5.  Create an environment conducive to academic integrity by avoiding stressful conditions such as inappropriate assignments, unreasonable deadlines, or capricious changes in requirements.
 
Provide a Classroom Climate that Encourages Academic Integrity

Prevention suggestions from experienced faculty:
1.  Files of past examinations are sometimes maintained by student groups and are readily available to large numbers of students.  Number and collect copies of examinations or rewrite examinations every quarter.
2.  Access to examinations should be limited.  Destroy "waste" copies and carefully screen employees who have access to examinations. Faculty offices are not secure places to keep examinations on file.
3.  Carefully proctor examinations.  More than one proctor should be present when more than 40 students take an examination.  Other prevention ideas include the following: a prearranged seating plan, a sign-in sheet or presentation of identification card and signature. The classroom should not be left unattended.
4.  Research has shown that if a final examination or paper is a large percentage of the final grade, students are more likely to cheat or plagiarize. Provide multiple graded opportunities (see suggestions regarding plagiarism).
5.  Use essay rather than multiple choice examinations if possible.
6.  Do not allow students to leave the classroom during examinations
7.  Do not permit hats or headphones during an examination.
8.  Do not use undergraduate students to type or duplicate examinations.  The temptation to share the information is often too great.
 
Suggestions Specifically for Large Class Sections
 
1.  Require positive identification from students when they enter the room to take an examination or when they turn in their answers.
2.  Have students sign their answer sheet.  Signatures can be compared if a question arises.
3.  Count or number examinations and compare this to the number of examinations returned.
4.  Consider using multiple forms of examinations. Shuffle the order of examination questions or have the same test printed on different colored paper to give the appearance of multiple tests.
5.  If space permits, seat students so that at least one seat is empty between them.
6.  In departmental examinations, seat the discussion or lab sections together.  The teaching associate for each section should monitor that section for greater control.
 
Suggestions Regarding Plagiarism
 
1.  Do not assume that students have been informed about plagiarism and correct documentation in high school or another class.  During an early class period, identify your expectations and give concrete examples.
2.  In assigning term paper topics, discuss the issue of plagiarism and make sure students understand proper documentation of sources.
3.  Whether you assign specific topics or let students choose their own, provide a description of the type of analysis wanted for the paper.  Ask for a copy of rough drafts, bibliographic notes, and revisions.  Purchased papers are more likely to be submitted when the instructor assigns a paper but does not supervise research in clearly delineated stages.
 
Recommended Responses to Suspected Misconduct

Some faculty and teaching associates assume that the established procedures to deal with academic misconduct are so complicated that it is better to ignore the problem.  This puts honest students at a disadvantage.  These practices may injure both responsible students and faculty, as well as prevent the university from identifying and confronting repeat offenders.  When academic misconduct is displayed, two issues arise: the issue of the grade in the class over which the faculty member has complete authority, and the issue of dishonest or deceptive behavior over which the Office of Community Standards has authority to take disciplinary action.  Academic dishonesty is an A-1 violation of the Ohio University Student Code of Conduct.  Both issues are of great importance and must be addressed if the university is to maintain high academic standards, confront deceptive behavior, and assist in changing unethical behavior.
 
Suggested Procedures to Follow when an Instructor Witnesses Suspicious Behavior
1.  If a student is using notes or crib sheets, immediately and discreetly confiscate the notes.
2.  If a student is inappropriately using a computer/cell phone and/or other electronic device, announce that no such devices are permitted during class, and/or discreetly confiscate the device until the end of the class period. 
3.  If students are talking, announce that no talking is permitted during the exams, and/or quietly ask the students to stop talking.
4.  If students are talking or otherwise exchanging information, they can be asked to change seats or move apart.
5.  If a student is looking at others' work, announce to the class that all work is individual and/or quietly tell the student that eyes must be kept on one's own paper.
6.  Document the student's suspicious behavior and identify those students involved by setting their exams aside and recording their names.
7.  If possible have another proctor/instructor confirm the behavior.
8.  In reviewing the exams, if you find evidence of misconduct, schedule a meeting with the student, and describe to the student your observations and suspicions.  Ask the student for an explanation. Explain to the student that you will handle the misconduct in a fair and consistent manner.
9.  If you are satisfied with the student's response, advise the student of possible consequences related to future suspicious behavior.  Be sure to document the conversation and send a copy to the student and to the Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility for information purposes.
 
If not satisfied with the student's explanation, inform the student of the course of action that will be taken.  For example, you may:
1.  Assign the appropriate grade as described in the class syllabus, and send to the student and the Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility the appropriate documentation; and/or,
2.  File a formal student conduct referral with the Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility, along with supporting documentation.  The Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility will notify the student of the pending student conduct charges.
3.  Note: Supporting documentation should include a written statement from the instructor or person who observed the incident as well as an account of the steps taken to resolve the incident, crib notes, tests, reports, programs, written statements by the accused student and witnesses, as well as the name, address, and telephone number of any witnesses.  The documentation should also include all evidence such as the papers turned in, the exams, etc.
 
Recommended Responses to an Accusation of In-Progress Misconduct by Another Student
 
If one student accuses another of cheating while an examination is in progress, do any of the following as appropriate, depending on the validity of the accusation:
1.  Ask the student making the accusation to see you after the examination, and observe the behavior of the accused student.
2.  After the examination get a detailed description of suspicious behavior observed by the student making the allegation.
3.  Inform the student making the allegation of the process for filing a formal complaint.
4.  Instruct the student making the allegation that this is a confidential matter and should not be the subject of gossip.
5.  Investigate the allegation as described in the preceding section.
 
Filing a Formal Student Conduct Referral with The Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility

In order to file a formal complaint of academic misconduct (A1 offense), the faculty member must complete a student conduct referral form and submit it to the Office of Community Standards.
1.  Upon receipt of a referral, the director or the assistant director of the Office of Community Standards will review the complaint and make a decision regarding its appropriateness.  In most cases the director or the assistant director will consult with the faculty member making the complaint and ask for supporting materials (i.e., seating chart, crib notes, classroom policy on academic misconduct, tests for comparison, etc.).
2.  The accused student will be sent a copy of the formal charge, an information sheet outlining his/her rights and options as provided by the Ohio University Student Code of Conduct, and an appointment date with a hearing authority from the Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility for a procedural interview.
3.  During the procedural interview, the accused will be informed of the charge and possible sanctions if found in violation.  The accused will be given the opportunity to admit or deny the charge.
4.  If the accused admits to the charge during the procedural interview, the hearing authority will impose the appropriate disciplinary sanction and notify the faculty member of the decision.
5.  If the accused denies the charge, a hearing will be scheduled so that a broader exploration of the facts and circumstances may occur.
6.  During the hearing, both the faculty member who lodged the complaint and the accused will have the opportunity to present their perspective of the incident.  Based on the testimony and evidence presented at the hearing, a decision regarding the charge will be rendered.  If the accused is found responsible for the offense, an appropriate disciplinary sanction will be imposed.
7.  After a decision is rendered, the accused has the right to appeal the decision in writing within three business days.
 
For more information on the Procedural Interview, Hearing Process or Appeal Process, please see those sections on our website.
 
For More Information

If you have any questions regarding academic integrity, please contact The Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility at (740) 593-2629, or your department chairperson.

If a student wants to appeal the grade penalty, she or he must follow the grade appeal process which can be found here.  The grade appeal process requires that the student consult first with the instructor, then if not satisfied the chairperson of the department, the if still not satisfied the dean of the college (the final option for appeal).
 
The student can seek assistance in preparing their appeal through the University Ombudsman office if desired or can follow the suggestions available on the Ombudsman website.
 
Sources

Several of the ideas in this site have been adapted, with permission, from the Academic Dishonesty brochure prepared by the Judicial Affairs Office at the University of Maryland and from guidelines used at the University of Florida.