Academic Integrity

Policy

The mission of Southern Arkansas University empowers all members of the University community to develop and encourage learning environments that create, expand, acquire, share, evaluate, and communicate knowledge. Academic integrity at SAU is an organizational and individual responsibility to honesty in all learning experiences. Students, faculty, and staff share responsibility for maintaining the highest standards for academic integrity. This policy focuses on the academic integrity in course- related work, its basis and context is applicable to all.

Any act of dishonesty in academic work constitutes academic misconduct and is subject to disciplinary action. Acts of dishonesty include, but are not limited to, plagiarism, cheating, and fabrication.

A. Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the act of taking and/or using the ideas, work, and/or writings of another person as one’s own.
1. To avoid plagiarism give written credit and acknowledgment to the source of thoughts, ideas, and/or words, whether you have used direct quotation, paraphrasing, or just a reference to a general idea.
2. If you directly quote works written by someone else, enclose the quotation with quotation marks and provide an appropriate citation (e.g., footnote, endnote, bibliographical reference).
3. Research, as well as the complete written paper, must be the work of the person seeking academic credit for the course. (Papers, book reports, projects, and/or other class assignments are not to be purchased from individuals or companies which provide these services.)

B. Cheating

Cheating is an act of dishonesty with the intention of obtaining and/or using information in a fraudulent manner. Examples of cheating include:
1. Observing and/or copying from another student’s test paper, reports, computer files, and/or other class assignments.
2. Giving or receiving assistance during an examination period. (This includes providing specific answers to subsequent examinees and/or dispensing or receiving information which would allow a student to have an unfair advantage in the examination over students who did not possess such information.)
3. Using class notes, outlines, and other unauthorized information during an examination period.
4. Using, buying, selling, stealing, transporting, or soliciting, in part or entirety the contents of an examination or other assignment not authorized by the professor of the class.
5. Exchanging places with another person for the purposes of taking an examination or completing other assignments.

C. Fabrication:

Fabrication is faking or forging a document, signature or findings of a research project.
1. Fabrication is most commonly associated with falsified research findings.
2. Other forms of fabrication may include unauthorized collaboration or submitting the same paper or portions of the same paper to two different courses without the consent of both instructors.
Requirement to Inform Students

Requirement to Inform Students

The University’s academic integrity policy applies to all students enrolled in courses at the University All forms of academic misconduct at the University will be regarded as serious.

The Divisions of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs will conduct an academic integrity seminar during Freshman Orientation. Other seminars related to academic integrity will be made available to faculty, students, and staff from time to time each year. The Divisions of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs will collaborate in publishing information about academic integrity and misconduct, with explanations and examples intended to help students make informed decisions about how they conduct themselves in their academic work, including the use and presentation of information.

Every course syllabus must include the following language:
Southern Arkansas University affirms its commitment to academic integrity and expects all members of the University community to accept shared responsibility for maintaining academic integrity. Students in this course are subject to the provisions of the University’s Academic Integrity Policy, approved by the President and published in the Student Handbook. Penalties for academic misconduct in this course may include a failing grade on an assignment, a failing grade in the course, or any other course-related sanction the instructor determines to be appropriate. Continued enrollment in this course affirms a student’s acceptance of this University policy.

An instructor may include in the course syllabus additional information about academic integrity if he or she wishes to do so.

Notification of Charge of Academic Misconduct

In the event an instructor determines that a student has engaged in academic misconduct, the instructor will notify the student of the allegation and the basis on which it is made and inform him or her of the action or sanction the instructor deems appropriate, consistent with the terms of Penalties for Academic Misconduct section of this policy.

Penalties for Academic Misconduct

Each instructor will decide on a case-by-case basis what penalty will be given to the student for his or her academic misconduct; such penalties are described in the table on page 31. The instructor will notify the dean of the college of the allegation and the penalty assigned. The dean will inform the student of his or her right to appeal. Within seven (7) working days of the dean’s notification, the student has a right to request an appeal through the procedures set forth below.

If the student does not appeal, the instructor may send all documentation and appropriate form(s) that contain a description of the academic misconduct and the penalty assigned to the University Registrar for filing in the students record. Institutional responses to allegations of misconduct fall into two categories: (1) automatic penalties based on an official allegation and (2) possible penalties that will result if the student is not exonerated. The institutional responses seek both to educate and reprimand students while promoting academic integrity. These responses vary based on previous infractions and their outcome.

Infraction or Penalties unless Exonerated by Appeal

Infraction

Automatic Penalties

Possible Penalties unless exonerated by appeal

First1. Referral to Academic Integrity Workshop2. Instructor sanction1. Permanent record in Registrar’s Office2. Meeting with college dean
Second1. All of the above2. Meeting with college dean1. Permanent record in Registrar’s Office2. Referral to Academic Integrity Council for University sanction
Third1. Permanent record in Registrar’s Office2. Referral to Academic Integrity Council for University sanction

Academic Misconduct File

All documentation sent to the Office of the Registrar relevant to a student’s academic misconduct will be maintained in both electronic and paper files. The files will be created and housed in the Office of the Registrar. Hard paper copies will reside on file in the office of the college dean in whose college the alleged misconduct occurred. Academic misconduct files shall only be used by non-student University employees as necessary in the case of an appeal. If the student makes a formal appeal, it will be decided in accordance with the procedures set forth below. If the instructor is not able to give notice to the students, the instructor will send the information to the Office of the Dean of Students for delivery to the student. Students may not drop a class until the allegation of academic integrity violation has been resolved. If the allegation is confirmed the instructor retains the ability to give a grade for the course if the student decides to drop the class after completion of the process.

Appeals Process

A student may appeal the charge of academic misconduct and any sanctions or actions taken by the instructor through the procedures set forth below, beginning at the department level, and proceeding to the University level, if necessary.

1. Appeals at the Department Level:

a. After the instructor advises the student of an accusation of academic misconduct and the penalties to be applied, the student has seven (7) working days after receiving this information to meet informally with the instructor to attempt to resolve the matter.

b. If the student is not satisfied with the action of the instructor, then within seven (7) working days after the meeting with the instructor, the student may submit a formal written appeal to the department chair. Within seven (7) working days ofreceipt of the written appeal, the chair will meet with the student to attempt to resolve the matter.

c. If the student is not satisfied with the action of the department chair, then within seven (7) working days of the meeting with the department chair, the student may submit a formal written appeal to the dean of the appropriate college.

2. Appeals at the University Level:

a. Within a reasonable time [generally not more than seven (7) working days] of receipt of the written appeal, the instructor and department chair must submit the following materials to the dean of the college: a description of the academic misconduct and any penalties assigned, and all pertinent documentation concerning the academic misconduct. The dean of the college may ask for additional documentation from the student’s academic misconduct file if such documentation exists.

b. Within seven (7) working days after receipt of the appeal, the dean of the college will submit a written decision to the student with copies to the instructor and to the department chair. If the dean of the college does not fully exonerate the student of the charge of academic misconduct, he/she will submit the written decision to the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs and retain all pertinent documentation regarding the academic misconduct in the student’s academic misconduct file.

c. If not satisfied with the action of the dean of the college the student may submit a written appeal to the vice president for academic affairs for referral to the Academic Integrity Council seven (7) working days after receiving notice of the decision.

d. Within seven (7) working days of receipt of the student’s appeal, the vice president for academic affairs will refer the appeal to the Academic Integrity Council for a hearing and inform the instructor, department chair, and college dean. The composition of the Council and the procedures to be followed are set forth in Section H below.

e. The Council will submit the report of the hearing and the recommendations of the Council to the vice president for academic affairs who may choose appropriate designees to act on her or his behalf. The vice president for academic affairs and/or designees will render the final decision after considering the recommendations and report of the Academic Integrity Council. The vice president for academic affairs or designees will send a report of the final decision to the student, instructor, department chair, college dean and registrar.

H. Procedures for the Academic Integrity and Discipline Council

The following procedures apply only to the Academic Integrity Council:

1. The vice president for academic affairs will give the Council a copy of the appeal and all pertinent documentation regarding the charge of academic misconduct. Copies of the appeal will also be sent to the instructor, department chair, and college dean.

2. The Council will be made up of four faculty, three students and the dean of students. Five members of the Council will constitute a quorum, and at least one appointee from the dean of students, the faculty and the Student Government Association must be present. Decisions must be reached by a majority of the33

members present. The chair may cast a deciding vote in the event of a tie. The number of yes, no, and abstention votes will be recorded without designating individual votes.

3. The student, instructor, department chair, the relevant deans, and the vice president for academic affairs will be entitled to three (3) calendar days’ notice of the date, time, and place of hearing.

4. After the Council considers the matters referred to it by the vice president for academic affairs, the student and instructor may present relevant witnesses and documentary evidence. The Council will accept all relevant oral testimony and documentation that it feels to be relevant and material to the issue. The chair has the power to rule on the admissibility of the evidence and on the relevance of questions. The responsibility for questioning witnesses, securing evidence, and determining the degree of proof will be vested in the Council.

5. Strict judicial rules of evidence will not be applied. The student, the instructor, the department chair, and the appropriate deans may be accompanied by an advisor, who may be an attorney, who may advise his client but may not address the Council. Advisors will only function in an advisory capacity; they will not address the Council, question witnesses, or otherwise actively participate in the hearing.

6. The student, instructor (and advisors), department chair, college dean, dean of students, undergraduate and graduate deans (as appropriate), and the vice president for academic affairs may be present at any time testimony is presented and be provided copies of all evidence considered by the Committee.

7. The office of the college dean or administrator in whose unit the alleged misconduct occurred will retain and secure copies of all evidence considered by the Council.

8. A copy of the decision of the Council will be provided to the student and the instructor, the department chair, the college dean, dean of students, the undergraduate and graduate deans (as appropriate), the vice president for student affairs and the vice president for academic affairs within seven (7) working days of the final meeting of the Council.

9. Within seven (7) working days after receipt of the Council’s recommendation, the vice president for academic affairs, or their designees, will render a final decision. The vice president for academic affairs, or designee, will give the student, the instructor, and the college dean official notice of the Council’s recommendation and final action on the appeal.

Academic Integrity Video Tutorials

The below video tutorials have been developed to assist the SAU community in understanding academic integrity as well as SAU’s Academic Integrity Policy: