Instructor Resources on Academic Misconduct

Image of President Mantella and Staff

The principles of academic integrity are fundamental to a community of scholars.
The University expects that students will not engage in acts of academic misconduct in curricular and non-curricular academic activities.
Engaging in academic misconduct compromises the integrity of University grades, scholarship, and research.

This webpage contains information for course instructors on:

The Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities:
Academic Misconduct Policies and Procedures

Curving Academic Misconduct:
Talking About Academic Misconduct
Preventing Academic Misconduct, Especially in Online Learning
Syllabus Examples for Referencing Academic Misconduct

Reporting Academic Misconduct:
If You Suspect Academic Misconduct
Reporting Suspected Academic Misconduct

Additional Readings:

"Teaching" by Beth McMurtrie
"Take My Advice" by Jean Dimeo
"6 Tips for Teaching Online and In Person Simultaneously" by Amy E. Crook
"Tackle Challenges of Online Classes Due to COVID-19" by Jordan Friedman
"Faculty Confidence in Online Learning Grows" by Doug Lederman


Academic Misconduct Policies and Procedures


Talking about Academic Misconduct

Students appreciate frankness. We all know that academic misconduct is an unfortunate reality in higher education; in order to counter common justifications for academic misconduct, students need to hear an effective argument for academic integrity. The following tips, abstracted from David Callahan’s book, The Cheating Culture, will help you as a course instructor to facilitate a conversation about the dangers of academic misconduct, and how every member of the Grand Valley community can contribute to creating an equitable academic community.

Don't sugarcoat reality

Acknowledge that people do sometimes go against their own values and society’s ethics. Explain that sometimes people cut corners in order to get ahead, but that nevertheless, that does not make it okay. Avoid seeming out of touch with this reality.

cast cheating in a larger context

Appeal to students by saying that appreciating academic integrity is also having an appreciation for the world's larger inequalities.

emphasize fairness over honor

Try to appeal to students through fairness. Help them understand that maintaining their own honor is not more important than being fair to others.

remind students of their historic role in social progress

Students need to remember that young people have repeatedly been on the vanguard of efforts to foster social change. Student activists have sought to turn university campuses into microcosms of the kind of society they believe in. Creating a level playing field on campus can help model the fairness that is desirable in the real world.

Image of Students in a Classroom

explain why cheating hurts others

Emphasize that as a student, they are part of the greater learning community. It's important to keep each other accountable in order to maintain a fair learning community, where everyone is on the same playing field. Academic dishonesty is deeply unfair to other students that did not cut corners. Those who are academically dishonest may even get opportunities that others don’t, only because they were dishonest.

explain how individuals can make change

Many young people lack efficacy and think they are powerless to shape social conditions or large institutions. They should be reminded that everyone has "some" influence, if only on their friends and over their own actions. Gandhi’s maxim to "be the change you want to see in the world," very well conveys the case for individual action.

acknowledge the stresses on students

It is important to acknowledge all of the stresses that students have to face. Competition, stresses of life, money troubles, and overwhelming schedules could all be reasons that students may decide to cut corners. Acknowledge these pressures, but then remind them that these are not reasons to commit academic misconduct.

share alternative visions of happiness

Many students believe that making a lot of money is crucial to happiness. But an emerging body of happiness research suggests that this not true. Rather, we are happiest when we do what we are really good at and when we give back to others. Students should be exposed to these ideas.


Preventing Academic Misconduct, Especially in Online Learning

Course Instructors must understand the factors that make students more likely to engage in academic misconduct. Intentional adjustments to online pedagogy can support student learning and encourage adherence to GVSU’s high standards for academic integrity.

Students are more likely to engage in academic misconduct when they...

  • Are unclear on course and assignment expectations.
  • Do not understand what qualifies as academic misconduct
  • Lack skills for doing research and working responsibly with source material
  • Fear the consequences of high-stakes assessments
  • Believe that the assignment is meaningless or “busy work”

Image of Students at GVSU Graduation

What Course Instructors Can Do to Prevent Academic Misconduct

  1. Remind students that the Academic Misconduct Policy still applies in online learning situations, as it always has. As is best practice in any learning environment, be specific about what this means in your particular course; your leadership is integral to being sure your learning community has a shared understanding.
  2. Clearly define in writing (e.g., syllabus, website) permissible or expected collaboration on any assignment, as well as other academic integrity issues that pertain to the course, but openly invite clarifying questions about how and if collaboration and resource-sharing expectations might change given current potential changes in the learning environment. Express expectations and standards from the beginning of the course. Clarify what sites and information students should use or not use to complete assignments.
  3. Consider a variety of ways for students to participate, including inviting students to disclose what technology and time are available to them.  Internet access may be varied among your students, and they may be sharing home space with a variety of family members, so polling software or vocal participation may create challenges. Find creative and multiple platforms for them to engage, including email, surveys, and formative assessments as the course progresses.
  4. Be clear about citation expectations: “For this assignment, you need to attribute any quotations that you use within the paper. Please see [insert example that you select].”    
  5. Design assignments that require students to do the work independently of their peers, as this will also support varied internet access. When assigning an online quiz or test, you can often randomize the order of questions or multiple-choice options, making academic misconduct more difficult.
  6. Consider how much time you allot for assignments.  Be sure students have enough time to meaningfully do the work, without time to compare answers. Be inclusive of students with varied internet access and students with Disability Support Resources accommodations.

     

How Instructors Can Prevent Academic Misconduct (ADA Accessible)


Syllabus Examples of Referencing the Academic Misconduct Policy

"Students are expected to be familiar with and comply with GVSU’s academic misconduct policies and procedures (sections 5.1 and 6.1) in the Student Code: The Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities. I generally have a zero-tolerance policy for academic misconduct, and all suspected violations will result in a referral to the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution. If you have any doubts or questions about what constitutes academic misconduct, please do not hesitate to contact me."

"Please familiarize yourself with GVSU’s Academic Misconduct policy (sections 5.1 and 6.1 in the Student Code: The Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities), which applies to this course. It goes without saying that I do not anticipate any problems with academic misconduct. In the unlikely event that any concerns do arise on this score, I will forward all related materials to the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution for an impartial adjudication."

"Intellectual development requires honesty, responsibility, and doing your own work. Taking ideas or words from others--or providing your own ideas or words to others--is academic misconduct, and will result in a referral to the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution. If you are unsure about what constitutes academic misconduct, ask me, or consult sections 5.1 and 6.1 of the Student Code: The Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities."

"All GVSU students have the responsibility to know and observe GVSU's policies on academic misconduct. For specifics on the policy, see sections 5.1 and 6.1 of the Student Code: The Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities. The instructors of _______ support this policy and expect that students will conduct themselves in all aspects of the student conduct process according to this policy. Any form of academic misconduct will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution for disciplinary action."

  • "What happens if I am caught violating GVSU's academic misconduct policy? While we must meet over suspected incidents of academic misconduct, my policy in ______ is to send all suspected violations of academic misconduct to the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution, as per sections 5.1 and 6.1 of the Student Code: The Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities. This is not negotiable.
  • What are the penalties for academic misconduct violations? Penalties can include suspension from the University, a failing course/assignment grade, and even a permanent record of academic misconduct on your student conduct record.
  • What procedures are used to detect academic misconduct in this course? All graded exams will be scanned before being returned to you. Any discrepancy between the returned exam and one resubmitted for a regrade is considered a suspected violation. No materials such as a smartphones are allowed to be used during an exam. Any use of a smartphone during an exam (for any reason) is considered a suspected violation."

"According to section 5.1 of GVSU's Student Code: The Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities, “Academic Misconduct is defined as any action or behavior that misrepresents one’s contributions to or the results of any scholarly product submitted for credit, evaluation, or dissemination.” If you include outside sources in your work, you must cite these sources following the format that I give you. Contact me if you are unsure of whether or not you need to cite a source. Self-plagiarism occurs when you submit your own previously produced work, for which you have received credit in another course. You are not allowed to self-plagiarize in this course. If there is evidence that you have copied from another person or from another source (such as the Internet) without citing your source, or have self-plagiarized, I will be filing a report with the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution. I encourage you to study together and to discuss information and concepts covered in class with other students. However, it is considered academic misconduct to copy from someone OR to let someone copy from you. If you let someone copy your homework, paper, or any other assignment, you and the person who copied from you will both be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution and disciplinary action may be taken. The best way to improve your skills and be successful in this course is to DO YOUR OWN WORK."


If You Suspect Academic Misconduct

If homework, exams, or other class assignments raise suspicions of academic misconduct, contact the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution, as OSCCR works collaboratively with GVSU course instructors to address academic misconduct concerns.

Out-Of-Class/Online Learning

A course's instructor must contact and meet with any student regarding alleged academic misconduct. Once a conversation has been had with a student, if an instructor still suspects academic misconduct, then the instructor must file a report with OSCCR for further action (see Reporting Academic Misconduct below).

In Class

The following procedures are recommended for handling incidents in which a student in a classroom setting is observed engaging in alleged academic misconduct:

  • Make a note of the activity.
  • Allow the student to continue with the exam, unless the behavior is creating a disturbance.
  • Continue to monitor the student's behavior.
  • After the exam has ended, contact/meet with the student regarding the alleged academic misconduct. From there, follow the best next step forward (see Reporting Academic Misconduct below).

Reporting Suspected Academic Misconduct

If an instructor suspects any instance of academic misconduct, the instructor must notify and meet with the student to discuss the incident.

Based on the outcome of that meeting, the instructor may find there was no act of academic misconduct and take no further action.

However, if the instructor still feels there was an act of academic misconduct and would like for corrective action to be taken, the instructor must report the matter to OSCCR with sufficient evidence to substantiate their finding, and with a recommendation for an academic restorative measure as listed below:

  • Impose additional course requirements.
  • Require the student to redo the work in question.
  • Reduce the student’s grade on the work in question.
  • Impose a failing grade for the assignment, examination, or the entire course.
     

Click Here to File a Report of Alleged Academic Misconduct