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Faculty Responsibility to Address Student Academic Misconduct (Policy 4180)

University Policy 4180

Download a Printable Version of Policy 4180

Effective Date

May 2018

Responsible Party

Office of the Provost, (208) 426-1202
Office of the Dean of Students, (208) 426-1527

Scope and Audience

This policy applies to all faculty at the University, teaching in any format.

Additional Authority

University Policy 2020 (Student Code of Conduct)

1. Policy Purpose

This policy provides guidelines for faculty to respond consistently, effectively, and fairly to student academic misconduct.

2. Policy Statement

a. Academic integrity is the foundation of higher education. The acts of taking ownership of one’s own work and ideas, giving credit where it’s due, and conducting oneself ethically create conditions where students can engage with their courses to the fullest, faculty can best prepare students for future courses and careers, and the value of Boise State degrees and research is further strengthened.

b. As such, student violations of the principle of academic integrity are extremely serious, threatening students’ own education as well as the work of their peers and faculty. Students are ultimately responsible for their actions and will be held accountable through Section 7: Procedures for Academic Misconduct within Policy #2020: Student Code of Conduct. Still, faculty have the crucial opportunity to manage and promote academic integrity in their courses. Furthermore, faculty have a responsibility to respond to academic misconduct consistently and fairly when it is identified.

3. Faculty Role

a. Within reason, faculty are responsible for:

  • Enforcing the academic integrity policies in their syllabi and in Section 7 of Policy #2020: Student Code of Conduct;
  • Identifying academic misconduct in student work;
  • Resolving academic misconduct concerns promptly and consistently.

b. Faculty may also contribute to student intellectual development through instruction, coursework, and research that promotes academic integrity, addresses dishonesty, and develops ethical reasoning. Strategies (e.g., having a statement of academic integrity in a course syllabus) for proactively upholding academic integrity and thereby deterring academic misconduct can be found at the academic integrity resource page for faculty. The particular set of strategies that faculty may choose to utilize will be dependent on discipline, course format, faculty/student relationships, and a variety of other contextual factors.

4. Addressing Student Academic Misconduct

When student academic misconduct is identified, faculty are strongly encouraged to follow this process to increase consistency and ease for all involved:

a. Review the definition of academic misconduct located in Section 7 of Policy 2020 (Student Code of Conduct) to evaluate the suspected misconduct.

b. Gather relevant documentation, which should include:

  • The work of all students suspected to have violated academic integrity;
  • Other relevant materials like sources that were used to plagiarize, exam copies, email communication, statements from other students or TAs, etc.;
  • The course syllabus, particularly any clause that sets expectations for academic conduct.

c. Notify the student of the allegation of academic misconduct and arrange an opportunity for the student to respond in order to ensure due process. If an in-person meeting isn’t possible, phone, email, and video calls are also viable options. Notification to the student should include a date and time by which the student needs to respond. One week is recommended as a reasonable deadline. If students are unable or unwilling to respond by this date, faculty may move forward in the process. Faculty may find guidance for discussing possible academic misconduct helpful.

d. After speaking with the student about the allegation, or after the student has failed to respond, consider the following:

(i.) Whether the student act constitutes academic dishonesty or academic negligence. While dishonesty is an intentional act to cheat or gain an unfair advantage, negligence is the unintentional result of student ignorance, carelessness, or mistaken academic work. Opportunities for accountability and learning are crucial in either case, but sanctioning may be different depending on whether it is determined that dishonesty or negligence occurred. If faculty are uncomfortable making this determination, the Office of the Dean of Students is available to provide feedback, or investigate the situation if the incident is formally reported (see iii. below).

(ii.) Appropriate sanctions. Common sanctions include requirements to revise or redo the work in question and grade penalties for the overall course grade and/or specific assignments. Additionally, educational sanctions can be provided and assessed by the Office of the Dean of Students in order to increase student accountability and development, helping to prevent future incidents of academic misconduct. Sanctioning guidance is also available online.

(iii.) Whether a formal Academic Dishonesty Report to be processed by the Office of the Dean of Students should be submitted. While the report is not required and some infractions may be small enough that faculty feel comfortable handling them independently, there are several major benefits of reporting. These include: maintaining thorough documentation of all incidents, allowing any patterns of academic misconduct by particular students to become visible, having the Office of the Dean of Students provide support to both faculty and students involved, and giving students clearer access to exercising their rights and responsibilities as listed in the Student Code of Conduct.

(iv.) Whether the Office of the Dean of Students should be consulted if assistance is desired in making any of the above considerations, and whether faculty’s department chair or program director should be informed of the academic misconduct incident.

e. Regardless of whether or not a formal report will be submitted, students should be notified of the faculty member’s decision. Faculty are encouraged to include the following information in a notification email:

  • Acknowledge whether or not the student took advantage of their opportunity to respond to the allegation;
  • Explain reasons for the final decision;
  • List any sanctions that faculty intend to impose;
  • Make it clear that an Academic Dishonesty Report will be submitted if faculty intend to do so. If the incident will be formally reported, should be copied on this decision email, and the following information about students’ right to appeal should be included: “You may appeal this decision within the next ten (10) days by completing the Student Conduct Appeal Form.”

f. Complete the online Student Conduct Report form. The form will prompt faculty to include details about the course, sanctions imposed, and all relevant documentation including student work, other relevant materials, and the course syllabus.

g. The Office of the Dean of Students will process the report and follow up with reporting faculty regarding pertinent information, including the status of any student appeals.

5. Forms

Student Conduct Appeal Form

Student Conduct Report Form

6. Related Information

Academic Integrity Resource Page for Faculty

Guidance for Discussing Possible Academic Misconduct

Sanctioning Guidance