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It can be difficult to navigate and talk about academic integrity in the classroom! The Dean of Students Office is here to help! Below are some helpful considerations for you as you set expectations, help students understand academic integrity standards, and how the Dean of Students Office can help support you.
As stated in the Student Code of Conduct, at MSU Denver, academic misconduct “includes but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, and submitting same work for different classes. The term cheating includes but is not limited to: use of any unauthorized assistance in taking quizzes, tests, or examinations; misrepresenting class attendance; dependence upon the aid of sources beyond those authorized by the faculty member in writing papers, preparing reports, solving problems, or carrying out other assignments; or the acquisition, without permission, of tests or other academic materials belonging to a member of the University faculty, staff, or students.”
“Plagiarism includes but not is limited to, the use by paraphrase or direct quotation of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgment. It also includes the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency that may or may not be engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials.”
“Submitting same work for different classes means submitting substantive portions of the same work in more than one class without disclosure to, and approval from, faculty members involved.”
You can find a list of academic integrity standards on our website here.
There are many different reasons or circumstances on why students cheat or plagiarize:
Faculty determine if academic misconduct occurred (per the definitions in the Student Code of Conduct) and assign any applicable grade consequence to the student. Faculty are also responsible for submitting an Academic Misconduct Incident Report with the Dean of Students Office. In the referral, faculty may include documentation of the misconduct.
Once the Dean of Students Office receives a referral, the conduct professional will notify the faculty that the referral was received and will check-in with any questions about the situation. The conduct professional will then notify the student that the incident has been reported and, depending on the severity of the incident and/or any prior incidents, may also meet with the student.
The conduct professional may assign university sanctions that are designed to address accountability and any academic/educational needs. The conduct professional will keep in communication with the referring faculty throughout the process.
The approach to academic misconduct is to address the underlying reasons why the conduct occurred and to educate students on their academic responsibilities.
All official communication (emails to students about referral and sanctions), which faculty are copied on, are delivered through our Maxient database.
Please view the MSU Denver Academic Misconduct Process (PDF) for a full view of the process.
Faculty are encouraged to speak directly with student about the impact of academic misconduct and the referral to the Dean of Students Office after any incident occurs. These conversations may be challenging. When faculty reach out to students, it is encouraged to inform the student that they are being referred to the Dean of Students Office, if the student is receiving any grade consequences, and to give the student an opportunity to discuss the situation with you. Opening a dialogue with students will give them an opportunity to understand your concerns, the consequences of what happened, and can illuminate a potential path for how the student can move forward in the class.
If faculty suspects academic misconduct and is not sure how to proceed, it is encouraged that the faculty reach out to the student to schedule a meeting to discuss the situation. Have the student bring their materials, drafts, sources, syllabus, etc. to the meeting. Helpful questions and tips for the meeting include:
This approach invites students to share information and may give you additional information that will inform your referral to the Dean of Students Office.
When students are referred for academic misconduct, they are already found responsible by the referring faculty member. The conduct professional will assign students sanctions that address student accountability and any further education/academic needs. Typically, students receive a warning for the first referral for most situations. If students continue to violate academic integrity standards, they can see elevated sanctions.
When appropriate, the conduct professional may also assign educational sanctions that address needs the student and/or faculty identified through the process. Educational sanctions include connecting students to academic resources (such as the Writing Center, Tutoring Center, Immigrant Services Center), reflection paper that asks students to consider more deeply the impacts of their conduct and how it relates to the ethical guidelines of their chosen field, letter of amends when relevant to involved parties, connecting students to other campus resources to help them improve personal outcomes (such as Career Services, Peer Mentoring, etc.), among other opportunities to encourage continued learning from the situation.
Faculty are to report any incident of academic misconduct, regardless of severity. However, for minor first time infractions, the conduct professional may notify the student of the report, issue them a warning to not engage in further problematic behavior, and share resources but take no further student conduct action.
The best thing is to be clear and communicative with your students about academic integrity expectations. Setting expectations and checking-in about academic integrity at the beginning of course, on the syllabus, on the various assignment or exam instructions, and during your classes throughout the semester, sets the tone and symbolizes the importance of these standards in your class. Here are some best practices to consider:
Academic integrity is about being honest and transparent when creating and communicating about your academic work. All students have academic responsibilities related to the Student Code of Conduct, which covers plagiarism, unauthorized assistance, collaboration, submitting the same work in more than one class, and other forms of cheating. To become familiar with your academic responsibilities and to learn more about the academic support resources available to you, please visit the Dean of Students Office Academic Integrity website.
Example Statement on Outsourcing Websites:
In any course, the goal is for students to learn the material and produce original work to help them with upcoming courses or the field. Online sources or websites that require students to pay for their full services, will take away from a student’s learning. While these sites may market themselves as a tutoring resource, using them is a violation of academic integrity standards and is considered outsourcing. If you are struggling with a concept or assignment, please reach out to your professor for assistance. They can share with you what sources are authorized and which may be considered outsourcing. Outsourcing websites may include, Chegg, Homeworkhelp.com, CourseHero, and others (this is not an all-encompassing list; double-check with your professor first before using an online source, especially if it requires payment).
Example Syllabus Statement on Resubmitting Work:
In any course, the goal is for students to learn the material and produce original work to help them with upcoming courses or the field. While you may want to keep working on a topic area that you are passionate about, may have completed a similar assignment, or may be retaking a course, you must contact your professor to ask permission before resubmitting any previous work. Not doing so takes away from original work and improving your learning. It also can be unfair to other students as they do not have the advantage of turning in previous work. While you may be allowed to modify, use new sources, or use portions of previous work, you may be required to start the assignment from the beginning.
During this exam, you may use your book, class notes, and slides. You may not collaborate with other students or use outside resources. Please acknowledge that you have read and understand these expectations.
Having a discussion with your whole class on academic integrity can be vital. Academic integrity is not just about right or wrong, but it is about helping students make ethical decisions, especially as we prepare them for the field they are pursuing. Some helpful ideas include: