Academic Integrity Policy
Academic Integrity and honesty is the foundation of the Philadelphia University teaching, learning, and professional community. Anyone who is a part of this community who knowingly or unknowingly breaks the rules of academic integrity as defined by the Philadelphia University community commits an offense against all members of this group. In order for all to know and understand the standards that define academic integrity at Philadelphia University, the following policy has been developed and ratified by students, faculty, and staff.
These policies pertain equally to all courses regardless of the method of delivery. Thus, they pertain to courses delivered fully or partially online as much as to courses delivered in-person.
Types of Academic Dishonesty
The following incidences provide examples of the most common types of academic dishonesty, but other instances may occur outside of the categories defined here.
Cheating is the inappropriate and unacknowledged use of materials, information, designs, ideas or study aids in any academic exercise. The use of books, notes, calculators, electronic resources and conversations with others is restricted or forbidden in certain circumstances as indicated by your professor. Cheating also includes stealing, buying, or otherwise obtaining a test; selling or giving away answers to a test; buying or selling a paper, painting, sculpture, model, project, or design for use in the fulfillment of an academic requirement; or falsifying a grade or attempting to alter a grade on a test, official academic record, or a change of grade form.
Students may not request others (including commercial term paper companies) to conduct research or prepare any work for them.
Students in all course delivery formats, including online and other forms of distance-learning, must complete all coursework themselves. Any attempt to have others complete coursework in the student’s name is a form of cheating.
Students are also not permitted to submit identical work or portions of that work for credit or honors more than once without prior approval of the faculty member.
Fabrication is the falsification or invention of any information or citation in an academic work. “Invented” information (that is, information which is made up by the student) may not be used in any laboratory experiment, surveys or other academic exercise. The student must always acknowledge any source from which cited information was obtained. A writer should not, for example, reproduce a quotation from a book review and indicate that the quotation was obtained from the book itself.
Plagiarism is the representation of the words, images, information, charts, graphs, data or ideas of another as one’s own in any academic exercise. Every idea, image or argument that is not one’s own must be cited. Only information considered to be “common knowledge” does not need to be cited. When unclear about the definition of “common knowledge’ in a particular discipline, students should consult with the faculty member teaching the course.
Paraphrased material taken from print, electronic sources, or other media should also be cited. Along with this citation, the author should acknowledge a paraphrase properly, by using words such as: “to paraphrase Smith’s comment,” or “drawing on Smith’s ideas about.” Every direct quotation must be identified by quotation marks or appropriate indentation and must be properly cited according to correct citation conventions. Manipulation of images or visuals that are not your own must also be cited. Students must familiarize themselves with the correct citation conventions required in each course. Any questions about what constitutes plagiarism should be discussed with the faculty member.
Faculty members may suggest a style guide to use; style guidelines are also available on the Philadelphia University’s Learning and Advising Center Website. (www.philau.edu/learning )
Facilitating Academic Dishonesty
Students who knowingly or negligently allow their work to be used by other students or who otherwise aid others in academic dishonesty are in violation of the academic integrity.
Denying Others Access to Information or Material
It is a violation of academic integrity to deny others access to scholarly resources, or to deliberately impede the progress of another student. Examples of offenses of this type include giving other students false or misleading information; making library material unavailable to others by stealing or defacing books or journals or by deliberately misplacing or destroying reserve materials; or altering computer files that belong to another.
Digital Piracy and Privacy
The following, and similar practices, are violations of academic integrity when done to benefit one’s own (or others’) academic record:
- Digital Piracy and Privacy: The willful violation of copyright laws through file sharing of information destined for an academic submission; use of material discoverable or downloadable without acknowledgement of the source; willful deletion of another’s work from shared sites, interference with others’ use of shared sites, e-portfolios, etc.
- Hacking: Seeking out weaknesses in a computer network or system for the purpose of academic gain.
- Cracking: Breaking security on a system to engage in theft or vandalism for the purpose of academic gain.
Process of Handling and Reporting
Violations of the Academic Integrity Policy
All members of the Philadelphia University learning community are entrusted with respecting and maintaining its Academic Integrity Policy (hereafter referred to as “AIP”), whether instruction occurs in-person, online or hybrid. Violations are taken very seriously, as the AIP reinforces the values of original thinking and the recognition of the effort and work of others. Anyone violating this trust harms not only themselves but also the whole learning community (students, faculty, and staff), and the rights of all members of the University and professional communities are compromised.
Roles of Faculty Members and Students Involved in Violations
The severity of violations of this policy varies and must be considered thoughtfully on a case-by-case basis. Sanctions based on this policy are ultimately assessed and implemented at the discretion of the faculty member. Faculty members may determine sanctions within the bounds of the course, e.g. failure on the assignment, or failure of the course. Faculty members do not have the authority to suspend a student from the University.
In order to reach a fair and consistent decision about sanctions, faculty members may seek the advice of the Advising Advocate in their given College, their program director, or their Executive Dean. In such cases, the faculty member may not reveal the name of the student or otherwise compromise the student’s identity. When a faculty member assesses a penalty for a violation of the AIP, the student has the right to appeal the penalty—either because s/he feels s/he was not in violation of the policy or because s/he disagrees with the severity of the sanction.
The faculty member has the prerogative to submit a record of the violation of the AIP to the Dean of Students Office. Documentation with the Dean of Students Office formalizes the occurrence and provides a historic record in the event of a recurrence of an AIP violation. It is the role of the faculty member to examine only single violations at hand. It is the role of the Dean of Students Office and the Academic Integrity Board to evaluate issues of recurrence.
Steps in Handling Violations of the AIP
1) Prevention of Violations in Course Planning: Faculty members are required to include a statement on the Academic Integrity Policy in their syllabi, referring students to the policy in the Student Handbook and the Academic Catalog. Faculty members are also encouraged to provide examples of violations of the AIP that might occur in the course and potential penalties for infractions. In the event that this information does not appear on the syllabus, students are nonetheless bound to the AIP, which is promulgated in the Student Handbook and the Academic Catalog.
2) Resolution at the Course Level: Faculty members who perceive a violation of the AIP have the prerogative to assess the penalty they deem most appropriate. The faculty member has two main means of support: 1) the advice of the College’s Advising Advocate, their program director, or the Executive Dean of the College; 2) following the procedures outlined here.
- As a first step, the faculty member may consult his or her Advising Advocate, program director, or Executive Dean. This is an optional step to acquaint the faculty member with potential ways forward and to solicit feedback on potential resolutions. Because these individuals are not a party to the actual perceived violation, it is not permitted for a faculty member to share the name(s) of the student(s) involved nor to identify the student(s) by any other means.
- Within one week of the faculty member becoming aware of the perceived violation, unless there are extenuating circumstances, the faculty member shall consult with the student (or group of students) involved regarding the allegation of academic misconduct. This consultation may take place in person or in written correspondence, in whatever manner the faculty member deems most effective.
- Typically, the faculty member will make the student(s) aware of the penalty imposed for the violation during this first consultation with the student or shortly thereafter. However, the faculty member has the prerogative to assess the penalty at a later date, if there are extenuating circumstances. The faculty member assigns a sanction, up to and including giving the student a failing grade for the class.
- Sample sanctions include but are not limited to:
1. Repeat the assignment or complete another assignment.
2. Failure of the assignment with no opportunity to repeat it. No points will be earned for the assignment (that is, an F will equal a “0”).
3. Failure of the class.
- In cases of egregious violations of the AIP, the faculty member may request that the Academic Integrity Board consider more severe sanctions for the student(s) involved, including suspension or expulsion from the University. In this case, the faculty member should file the form for a hearing request with the Dean of Students Office. The form may be obtained from the Dean of Students Office or http://www.philau.edu/learning/Advising/advisingforms.html. Once the form is filed, the student(s) shall remain enrolled in the course, unless the faculty member requests immediate removal of the student(s) from the course. Such requests for immediate removal are forwarded to the Office of the Provost.
3) Recording of Violations with the Dean of Students Office: The faculty member has the prerogative—and is strongly encouraged—to document all violations of the AIP. To document the violation, the faculty member should send written documentation (paper or electronic) to the Dean of Students Office, which serves as the repository for reported violations of the AIP. The description sent to the Dean of Students should detail the violation, the discussions between faculty member and student, and the penalty imposed for the violation. It is anticipated that a vast majority of such violations will end with resolution at the course level and with the recording of the violation and resolution with the Dean of Students Office, requiring no further action by the faculty member or the Dean of Students.
The Dean of Students Office is obliged to keep the record of AIP violations confidential, as mandated by the University Student Records policy. In cases of repeat violations of the AIP by the student or in cases in which further adjudication is being considered, the Academic Integrity Board will be informed and will maintain confidentiality. The Dean of Students Office may also initiate proceedings with the Academic Integrity Board if a student has received a citation for more than one violation of the AIP, or if a violation of the AIP is reported by a university department not directly tied to teaching (as with the Library, the Office of Information Resources, Learning & Advising, etc.).
4) Referral to the Academic Integrity Board: There are three possible scenarios in which an alleged violation of the AIP proceeds to the Academic Integrity Board for adjudication:
- In perceived egregious violations of the AIP, the faculty member may request a full hearing as a means to determine an appropriate penalty, in cases where the faculty member deems that the student’s actions warrant suspension or expulsion from the University. In these cases, the faculty member files a form for a hearing request with the Dean of Students Office.
- The student(s) involved has the right to appeal the finding and/or sanctions leveled by the faculty member. In this case, the student(s) files the form for a hearing request with the Dean of Students Office.
- The Dean of Students also may request a judgment by the Academic Integrity Board in cases of repeat violations of the AIP, or if a violation of the AIP is reported by a university department not directly tied to teaching (as with the Library, the Office of Information Resources, Learning & Advising, etc.).
The form can be obtained from the Dean of Students Office or http://www.philau.edu/learning/Advising/advisingforms.html. The form for a hearing request should be filed with the Dean of Students Office within 7 days of the faculty member’s imposition of a sanction (unless there are extenuating circumstances that require additional time), to allow for scheduling of a hearing as soon as possible. At this time, the Dean of Students Office will also inform the student’s academic advisor and the Executive Dean of the student’s degree-granting college of the proceedings against a student.
5) Convocation and Composition of the Academic Integrity Board: The Dean of Students Office will set up and convene the hearing within two weeks of the filed request (unless extenuating circumstances require a delay). The Academic Integrity Board will comprise three voting faculty members (including the Chair of the Student Experience Committee, who chairs the Board proceedings, and two other faculty members from the Student Experience Committee), and two voting student members (drawn from a pool of students from the Student Experience Committee or those nominated by the Dean of Students Office). One administrative representative from the Dean of Students Office will be present in a non-voting capacity, to record the proceedings and to insure the proper administration of the hearing and recording of the finding.
6) Proceedings of the Academic Integrity Board: The faculty member who made the initial finding or referral to Academic Integrity Board may submit a written statement and supporting evidence, as she deems appropriate, and should be prepared to appear at the hearing to present evidence. The student(s) involved in the adjudication may submit a written statement and supporting evidence, and must appear before the Board to address the finding of the faculty member. For students enrolled in online or other distance-learning formats, the Academic Integrity Board may include the student by means of internet-based visual and verbal participation or, in cases where visual interaction is technology not possible, by phone. The student’s academic advisor, Advising Advocate, and Executive Dean are permitted—but are not required—to attend the hearing, though not in a voting capacity. The Chair of the Academic Integrity Board will determine whether any witnesses may offer testimony. The five voting members of the Board will make a judgment that shall uphold, amend, or retract the sanction(s) imposed by the faculty member. In cases of egregious violations of the AIP or recurrent violations of the AIP, the Academic Integrity Board has the authority to suspend or expel the student from the University.
7) Documentation of the Academic Integrity Board Hearings: All documentation of the hearing process will be kept on file in the Dean of Students Office. The student will be told of the outcome of the hearing immediately after deliberation, and will receive a written summary of the finding of the Academic Integrity Board within 3 working days of the hearing. The student’s Executive Dean and Academic Advisor will also be informed of the conclusion of the Academic Integrity Board.
8) Appeal of the Academic Integrity Board Decision: Students have the right to appeal a decision by the Academic Integrity Board in accordance with the guidelines governing a “University Committee” published in the University Catalog: “In the event a University committee rendered a decision, the student may file a second appeal with that same committee if there is new information that would have a bearing on the outcome of the case. The University committee is the final appeal.”