Dec 01, 2020  
Undergraduate/Graduate Catalog 2019-2020 
    
Undergraduate/Graduate Catalog 2019-2020 [ARCHIVED CATALOG] See drop-down menu above to access other catalogs.

Academic Integrity Policy


I. INTRODUCTION


Institutions of higher education are dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge and truth. In this pursuit, academic honesty is of fundamental importance. Bridgewater State University faculty, students, administrators, and staff all have a responsibility to demonstrate and safeguard academic integrity as one of the university’s most essential institutional values.

When students, faculty, administrators, and staff follow and support academic integrity values, teaching and learning can proceed in an environment of trust and respect. When such standards are violated, teaching and learning are impaired. Therefore, the best interests of the university community require that cases of alleged violations of academic integrity be addressed seriously and equitably.

Students are admitted to Bridgewater State University with the expectation that they will accept and abide by the standards of conduct and scholarship established by the faculty, administration and student governing boards. The university reserves the right to require students to withdraw who do not maintain acceptable academic standing. The university also reserves the right to dismiss, with due process, students who do not meet the requirements of conduct and order or whose behavior is inconsistent with the standards of the university.

II. JURISDICTION


The policy is applicable to any academically related experience involving BSU students whether on or off the campus, including but not limited to, field placements, internships, or study abroad.

III. AUTHORITY


The Academic Integrity Policy is one of three formal policies governing student conduct at BSU. This policy is overseen by the BSU Academic Policy Committee (for undergraduate students) and by the Graduate Education Council (for graduate students). The Academic Integrity policy governs student conduct related to the academic experiences undertaken as an enrolled student of the university and is in effect during all phases of a student’s academic life.

The second formal policy is the Student Code of Conduct which addresses general student conduct, usually excluding academic-related matters or issues and is overseen by the Office of Community Standards (OCS). The Student Code of Conduct details the due process and requirements for student conduct proceedings. If the violation could be handled by the Code of Conduct or the Academic Integrity policy, the OCS Director and the Dean of Undergraduate Studies will confer to determine jurisdiction. The Student Code of Conduct is intended to complement the purposes of the Academic Integrity policy and the graduate or professional proceedings related to colleges, departments or professions.

The third formal policy is the Classroom Conduct Policy which addresses student conduct that occurs in the classroom or other academic environment. This policy prohibits students from engaging in behaviors or activities that causes the disruption of teaching, learning, research or other academic activities.

NOTE: Graduate or professional schools within the university may initiate charges against students for alleged violations of professional standards or ethics as a separate issue or as an extension of alleged Academic Integrity policy or Student Code of Conduct violations. In resolving cases of alleged violations of professional standards or ethics, the colleges and departments are responsible for devising procedures appropriate to their programs and for provision of due process for all students. Double jeopardy is not involved since the student is accountable to separate jurisdictions - i.e., institutional standards of academic integrity, general conduct and/or the ethical standards of the particular profession.

IV. ADMINISTRATIVE ROLES


The Academic Policy Committee (APC) is one of four undergraduate shared governance committees consisting of administrators, faculty, librarians and students. Together, they make recommendations to the President with regard to academic policies and undergraduate programs and courses.

The Academic Review Panel (ARP) consists of three faculty members and two student members of the BSU Academic Policies Committee. They review cases of academic integrity violations made by undergraduate students. To convene a review, three members must be present, including at least two faculty members, to constitute a quorum. Each panel member is appointed annually by the APC chairperson.

The Graduate Education Council (GEC) ensures the quality of the graduate educational experience by providing a vehicle for review and oversight of the graduate curriculum and academic policies through rigorous dialogue and evaluation by administrators, faculty, librarians, and students. It is convened to hear cases of academic integrity violations by graduate students.

The Dean of Undergraduate Studies oversees the university-wide implementation of the Academic Integrity policy and serves in a nonvoting capacity as adviser to the ARP. The dean may also advise students and faculty seeking assistance on matters pertaining to the Academic Policy and its processes.

The Associate Administrative Dean in the College of Graduate Studies oversees the implementation of the Academic Integrity policy within the college and works closely with the GEC and Dean of Undergraduate Studies.

The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs receives and considers all appeals of the decisions made by the ARP or GEC. The Provost’s decision is final.

V. DEFINITIONS


Academic dishonesty is an attempt to misrepresent one’s efforts on any academic assignment or exercise submitted for evaluation. These attempts and examples may be defined as, but are not limited to:


Plagiarism: Intentionally or knowingly presenting the work of another as one’s own (i.e., without proper acknowledgment of the source). The sole exception to the requirement of acknowledging sources is when the ideas, information, etc., are common knowledge.

Faculty are responsible for providing clear guidelines and/or resources in their syllabus about plagiarism (what it is and how to avoid it) and how to correctly cite resources according to their discipline’s standards. Students are responsible for properly citing the resources used in their assignments.

Typical Examples: Submitting as one’s own work that of a “ghost writer” or commercial writing service; directly quoting from a source either in hard copy or from the Internet without citation in the text and in the reference list; paraphrasing or summarizing another’s work without citations; using facts, figures, graphs, charts, illustrations, computer code (i.e., source codes, HTML), or mathematical or scientific solutions without correctly citing the source; stealing, destroying, or altering any student academic work used to complete, in part or in whole, assignments in university courses, programs, or sponsored activities; or using all or part of a literary plot, poem, film, musical score or other artistic product without attributing the work to its creator.

Cheating: Intentionally using or attempting to use prohibited materials or information in any academic exercise. This definition includes prohibited communication of information during or after an academic exercise.

Typical Examples: Copying from another student’s paper or receiving assistance without the instructor’s permission during a quiz, test or examination; using books, notes, the Internet or other devices (e.g., calculators, human or online translators) without the instructor’s permission; procuring tests or examinations before the scheduled exercise without the instructor’s permission; copying reports, laboratory work, computer programs or files and the like from other students; collaborating on laboratory or computer work without the instructor’s permission and without indication of the nature and extent of the collaboration; using the handheld device of another student to submit electronic answers to a quiz or test; sending or soliciting a substitute to take an examination or to do work that one represents or plans to represent as one’s own; offering bribes for grades, transcripts, or diplomas.

Fabrication and falsification: Intentional and unauthorized alteration or invention of any information or citation in an academic matter. Falsification is a matter of altering information, while fabrication is a matter of inventing or counterfeiting information for use in any academic exercise.

Typical Examples – Fabrication: inventing or counterfeiting data, research results, information or procedures; inventing data or fabricating research procedures to make it appear that the results of one process are actually the results of several processes; counterfeiting a record of internship or practicum experiences.

Typical Examples – Falsification: altering the record of data or experimental procedures or results; altering the record of or reporting false information about practicum or clinical experiences; altering grade reports or other academic records; submitting a false excuse for absence or tardiness in a
scheduled academic exercise; altering a returned examination paper and seeking regrading.

Abuse of academic materials: Intentionally or knowingly destroying, stealing, or making inaccessible library or other academic resource material.

Typical Examples: Stealing or destroying library or reference materials needed for common academic assignments; hiding resource materials so others may not use them; destroying computer programs or files needed in academic work; stealing or intentionally destroying another student’s notes or laboratory experiments; receiving assistance in locating or using sources of information in an assignment where such assistance has been forbidden by the instructor. (NOTE: Any alleged abuse of academic materials will be handled by this policy only when the abuse has an impact on students’ academic efforts in a course or experience for which academic credit is awarded.)

Multiple submissions: The submission of the same work (including oral reports) in more than one course without prior permission of both instructors.

Complicity in academic dishonesty: Intentionally or knowingly helping or attempting to help another to misrepresent their efforts on any academic assignment or exercise submitted for evaluation.

Typical Examples: Knowingly allowing another student to submit one’s academic work as their own work; knowingly allowing another to copy from one’s paper during an examination or test; knowingly distributing test questions or substantive information about the material to be tested before the scheduled exercise; collaborating on academic work knowing that the collaboration will not be reported; taking an examination or test for another student, or signing a false name on an academic exercise.

VI. SANCTIONS


The faculty member responsible for teaching the course will determine the initial sanction for an observed academic integrity violation. Generally, the sanction will be based on the level of the course, its content, and the context of the situation in which the violation occurred.

Sanctions given by faculty may include:

• A verbal or written warning
• The assignment of additional course or remedial work
• A grade of “F” or zero for the assignment being evaluated
• A grade of “F”, “No Pass (N)”, or “Unsatisfactory (U)” (as appropriate) in the course

Sanctions administered by the university may include:

• Dismissal from degree program, where applicable, with the opportunity to apply to return
• Dismissal from the university, with the opportunity to apply to return
• Permanent dismissal from the university

NOTE: BSU reserves the right to implement any one of the sanctions above even if the student has withdrawn from the course, passed the course, or graduated. Where applicable, a formal written notice will be sent to the Registrar’s Office so that the student’s record can be adjusted.

VII. ACADEMIC INTEGRITY VIOLATION REPORTING PROCEDURE


The following are procedures for reporting a possible violation of the academic integrity policy for sanctions that involve grades of F, zero, N, or U:

A. NOTIFICATION PROCESS OF POSSIBLE VIOLATION: UNDERGRADUATE AND GRADUATE STUDENTS

1. Within seven calendar days after a faculty member suspects or is informed of a possible academic integrity violation, the faculty member notifies the student of the charge via BSU email. This notification may include a request for a discussion (either face-to-face or by phone) between the faculty member and the student about the violation and its consequences. The department chairperson is copied on this message.

2. If a BSU student or other employee (administrator, faculty or staff) suspects a student has committed academic dishonesty in a course, the alleged violation is to be reported to the faculty member teaching the course or to the department chairperson who oversees that course.

3. The student will be given seven calendar days after the date of the faculty member’s email notification in which to respond. The response could be any of the following: a face-to-face meeting, a telephone call, or an exchange of BSU email messages. In the event a student does not respond, the faculty may still report the violation as outlined below. The report will need to include a note about the unsuccessful effort to discuss the matter with the student.

B. FACULTY MEMBER-STUDENT DISCUSSION AND SANCTION PROCESS: UNDERGRADUATE

1. The faculty member meets with the student and presents the evidence of an academic integrity violation, and then requests an explanation from the student. (This meeting could also be done by telephone with the evidence shared via email.) Together, the faculty member and student review the class policies, including the academic integrity policy, as well as the chosen sanction for the violation. Next steps can also be discussed.

2. The faculty member and the student may each request that the department chair or other party from the university (and who is not a relative) be present at this meeting (or on the telephone call) to serve in an advisory role. Invited persons may not participate in the discussion.

3. After hearing the explanation, if the faculty member determines that a violation has occurred, then they can complete the Academic Integrity Policy Violation Report Form and provide all supporting documentation.

4. The student has up to five calendar days following the meeting or call to consider the faculty member’s violation report and seek advice on whether to contest the findings or accept the sanction.

5. If the student decides to accept the sanction, the student notifies the faculty member by email of the acceptance.

6. If the student decides not to accept the sanction:

a. The student notifies the faculty member and the Dean of Undergraduate Studies by email of the decision not to accept the findings or sanction. This notification will serve as a request for an ARP hearing to be held within 30 calendar days. Student requests for an ARP hearing will be considered on the basis of inappropriate sanctions, violation of due process, procedural error that negatively impacted the outcome of the meeting with the faculty member, or new evidence that was not reasonably available at the time of the meeting.

b. Within one week of receipt of the student’s decision, and based upon the student’s rationale for non-acceptance, the Dean of Undergraduate Studies may contact the ARP chairperson and request a hearing.

7. If the student does not notify the faculty member of a decision, then the sanction will stand.

8. In the event that the reported academic integrity violation is the second one on record for the student, the Dean of Undergraduate Studies will contact the ARP chairperson and request a hearing. This hearing will occur after the faculty member and student discussion has been held and/or documented as described above.

C. FACULTY MEMBER-STUDENT DISCUSSION AND SANCTION PROCESS: GRADUATE

1. The faculty member meets with the student and presents the evidence of an academic integrity violation, and then requests an explanation from the student. (This meeting could also be done by telephone with the evidence shared via email.) Together, the faculty member and student review the class policies, including the academic integrity policy, as well as the chosen sanction for the violation. Next steps can also be discussed.

2. The faculty member and the student may each request that the DGCE Chair or other party from the university (and who is not a relative) be present at this meeting (or on the telephone call) to serve in an advisory role. This person may not participate in the discussion between the faculty member and the student.

3. After hearing the explanation, if the faculty member determines that a violation has occurred, then they can complete the Academic Integrity Policy Violation Report Form and provide all supporting documentation. This report form will be sent to the Associate Administrative Dean in the College of Graduate Studies for further processing and to the Dean of Undergraduate Studies for university recordkeeping.

4. The student has up to three calendar days following the meeting or call to consider the faculty member’s violation report and seek advice on whether to contest the findings or accept the sanction.

5. If the graduate student decides to accept the sanction, the student notifies the faculty member by email of the acceptance.

    SPECIAL NOTE: If the student does not notify the faculty member of a decision, then the sanction will stand.

6. If the graduate student decides not to accept the sanction:

a. The student notifies the faculty member and the Associate Administrative Dean by email of the decision not to accept the findings or sanction. This notification will serve as a request for a GEC hearing within 30 calendar days.

Student requests for a GEC hearing will be considered on the basis of inappropriate sanctions, violation of due process, procedural error that negatively impacted the outcome of the meeting with the faculty member, or new evidence that was not reasonably available at the time of the
meeting.

b. Based upon the student’s rationale for non-acceptance, the Associate Administrative Dean may contact the GEC chairperson and request a hearing.

VIII. HEARINGS FOR UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS


The Academic Review Panel (ARP) hearing process is as follows:

1. The ARP will convene a hearing usually within 30 calendar days following notification from the Dean of Undergraduate Studies.

2. The ARP chairperson will invite the student and the reporting faculty member to present additional information in the scheduled panel hearing.

3. The faculty member and the student may each request that the DGCE Chair or other party from the university (and who is not a relative) be present at this panel hearing to serve in an advisory role. This person may not participate in the panel hearing discussion.

4. The hearing will be held even if the faculty member or student cannot or will not attend.

5. The GEC will review all documentation related to the academic integrity violation and discuss it in a closed session. All evidence given to the ARP is kept strictly confidential.

6. Based upon the evidence received and reviewed, the ARP may decide in favor of further sanctions, no change in sanctions, or a reduction in sanctions.

7. The ARP will take into account any previous infractions only after it concludes its investigation of the presented case. Multiple offenses by the student may have a bearing on the sanctions imposed which may include academic suspension or dismissal.

8. The ARP’s recommendation will be forwarded in writing to the Dean of Undergraduate Studies within three calendar days of the hearing. Any printed materials made available for the hearing will be shredded at the end of the hearing.

9. The Dean of Undergraduate Studies will inform the student and the faculty member of the ARP’s decision in writing by either hand delivered letter or by return-receipt-requested, addressee-only mail within seven calendar days of the hearing. This notification will be recorded in the academic integrity
violation report record.

10. The student and the faculty member will be given 14 calendar days from the date of the notification letter to request an appeal in writing. (See below for the appeal process.)

IX. HEARINGS FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS


The Graduate Education Council (GEC) hearing process is as follows:


1. The GEC will convene a hearing usually within 21 calendar days during the academic year following notification from the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

2. The GEC chairperson will invite the student and the reporting faculty member to present additional information in the scheduled hearing.

3. The faculty member and the student may each request that the DGCE Chair or other party from the university (and who is not a relative) be present at this hearing to serve in an advisory role. This person may not participate in the hearing discussion.

4. The hearing will be held even if the faculty member or student cannot or will not attend.

5. The GEC will review all documentation related to the academic integrity violation and discuss it in a closed session. All evidence given to the GEC is kept strictly confidential.

6. Based upon the evidence received and reviewed, the GEC may decide in favor of further sanctions, no change in sanctions, or a reduction in sanctions.

7. The GEC will consider any previous infractions only after it concludes its investigation of the presented case. Multiple offenses by the student may have a bearing on the sanctions imposed which may include academic suspension or dismissal.

8. The GEC’s decision will be forwarded in writing to the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies within three calendar days of the hearing. Any printed materials made available for the hearing will be shredded at the end of the hearing.

9. The Dean will inform the student and the faculty member of the GEC’s decision in writing by hand delivered letter or by return-receipt-requested, addressee-only mail within seven calendar days of the hearing. A copy of this letter will be sent to the student’s graduate DGCE Chair and the Associate Administrative Dean for processing.

10. The student and the faculty member will be given 14 calendar days from the date of the notification letter to request an appeal in writing. (See below for the appeal process.)

X. HEARING APPEAL PROCEDURES

Students and faculty have the right to appeal the sanction and/or the decision made by the ARP or GEC. The following outlines the steps need to make an appeal:

1. To file an appeal, the student must do so in writing to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs within 14 calendar days of the date noted on the hearing notification letter.

2. The appeal letter must clearly state the reason(s) for the appeal. Students who appeal the hearing decision must also clearly state their explanation of the academic integrity violation and their academic goals.

3. The letter must be sent to:

Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs
Bridgewater State University
Office of the Provost
Boyden Hall Room 104
Bridgewater, MA 02325

4. The Provost will review all documentation related to the academic integrity violation and notify the student, faculty member, graduate DGCE Chair (if appropriate), department chair, college dean, and the chairperson of either the ARP or GEC of the final decision. In the event of a course grade change, suspension or dismissal sanction, the registrar will also be notified. This decision will be sent in writing within seven calendar days upon receipt of the appeal letter.

XI. RECORD KEEPING PROCEDURES

All academic integrity violation report forms and related documentation are kept within Maxient, the official university database used for this purpose. All materials will be kept strictly confidential for five years after graduation or last enrollment before destruction in accordance with the Commonwealth record retention policy unless the violation resulted in either academic suspension or dismissal. In these instances, the records will be kept permanently.