Resources for Faculty - Managing Incidents of Suspected Academic Dishonesty
While rare, incidents of academic dishonesty, e.g., cheating, academic misconduct, fabrication or plagiarism, do occur at The University of Maine. Should you suspect that there has been such a violation in one of your classes, there are several things that should be kept in mind:
1. All incidents must be reported to the Office of Community Standards (581-1409). This allows the campus to monitor for students who may have been involved in multiple incidents.
2. As a faculty member you have the following options in handling the matter:
A) You may handle it exclusively within your classroom jurisdiction. A faculty member, of course, is the only person who may assign a failing or reduced grade as part of a sanction.
B) You may refer the case to the appropriate Dean or the Provost.
C) The case may be referred to the Conduct Officer for adjudication under the UMS Student Conduct Code. This procedure affords a greater variety of sanctions than is available to the faculty member, but cannot impact the grade awarded.
D) You may do a combination of the above.
3. If you choose to handle the case within your classroom jurisdiction, you must provide the student with at least a minimal level of due process. While not a legalistic process at this level, due process requires that a faculty member treats the student with fundamental fairness and, as such:
A) Provide students with prior notification of your policies relevant to academic dishonesty. It is best if this type of notification is included in the course syllabus. As an example:
“You are encouraged to become familiar with the University System’s Student Conduct Code. The violations related to academic dishonesty are listed under section III. This Code is published in its entirety in the Student Handbook. In addition, the following specific requirements will be expected in class: (enter specific requirements, if appropriate). If you are in doubt about any of these requirements, please consult with me before you complete that specific requirement of the course. In the event that I determine any student has been involved in an incident of academic dishonesty, I reserve the right to (fill in what you think is appropriate).”
B) Thoroughly review the evidence to ensure that there is sufficient evidence to warrant a charge of academic dishonesty.
C) Notify the accused/suspected student that you have reason to believe that he/she may have been involved in academic dishonesty. (* see important note below).
D) Allow the student an opportunity to provide his/her side of the story. It is best to invite the student’s response in your notification to him/her of your suspicions of academic dishonesty and to give the student a (reasonable) deadline for such a response.
E) Inform the student of your final judgement in the case and of any penalty that will be imposed. This should be done in writing with a copy to the Conduct Officer.
F) As part of step “e”, notify the student that he/she has the right of appeal through the Student Academic Grievance Policy.
IMPORTANT NOTE: It is recommended that you consult with the campus Conduct Officer or other appropriate academic administrators for assistance in these cases. You may effect each step in this process either in writing, through conversation or some combination of both. When there is no formal, written documentation of one of these steps, however, it is highly recommended that you keep careful notes regarding the procedures you followed and the outcome.