Graduate Student Academic Conduct Policies

A university exists for the purpose of educating students and granting degrees to all students who complete graduation requirements. Therefore, Arkansas Tech University requires certain standards of academic integrity and conduct from all students. Arkansas Tech University expects an academic atmosphere to be maintained in all classes. This atmosphere is created by both the professor and the class to enable all students enrolled to reach their academic potential. Students are expected to attend class, conduct themselves in a non-disruptive manner in class, and refrain from cheating, plagiarism, or both unfair and dishonest practices. Students should also realized that the classroom policies in a syllabus at the beginning of the semester.

Academic offenses involving dishonesty and misconduct are defined in the Definitions section. These definitions are not all inclusive, and conduct not expressly set forth in the definitions may also be considered dishonesty or academic misconduct.

A. Definitions

Academic Dishonesty. Academic dishonesty refers to the various categories of cheating and plagiarism in the classoom.

  1. Cheating on an examination, quiz, or homework assignment involves any of several categories of dishonest activity. Examples of this are: a) copying from the examination or quiz of another student, b) bringing into the classroom notes, messages, or crib sheet in any format which gives the student extra help on the exam or quiz, and which were not approved by the instructor of the class; c) obtaining advance copies of exams or quizzes by any means; d) hiring a substitute to take an exam or bribing any other individual to obtain exam or quiz questions; e) buying term papers from the Internet or any other source, and f) using the same paper to fulfill requirements in several classes without the consent of the professors teaching those classes.
     

  2. Plagiarism is stealing the ideas or writing of another person and using them as one's own. This includes not only passages, but also sentences and phrases that are incorporated in the student's written work without acknowledgement to the true author. Any paper written by cutting and pasting from the Internet or any other source is plagiarized. Slight modifications in wording do not change the fact that the sentence or phrase is plagiarized. Acknowledgement of the source of ideas must be made through a recognized footnoting or citation format. Plagiarism includes recasting the phrase or passage in the student's own words of another's ideas that are not considered common knowledge. Acknowledgement of source must be made in this case as well.

Academic Misconduct. Academic misconduct concerns the student's classroom behavior. This includes the manner of interacting with the professor and other students in the class. For example, students may disrupt the learning environment in a classroom through inappropriate behavior, such as, talking to students, unnecessary interruptions, attempting to monopolize the professor's attention, or being chronically late to class. Misconduct also covers verbal or nonverbal harassment and/or threats in the relation to classes. Student behavior should not infringe on the rights of other students or faculty during a class.

B. Academic Appeals Committee

Composition of Committee

  1. The Graduate Academic Appeals Committee is an official committee of Arkansas Tech University and will be formed each year as a pool of qualified faculty and students to hear student academic honesty and misconduct appeals. At the beginning of the fall term, the Graduate Dean will appoint one graduate faculty member from each school; the Graduate Council will appoint one graduate faculty member from each school; program directors will appoint one graduate student from each school. The faculty on the committee will elect a Chair.

  2. These faculty and students will form a pool of 15, from which a student can be drawn to serve on a subcommittee hearing a specific case.

  3. When a student appeal of a decision concerning academic dishonesty or academic misconduct is filed with the Chair of the Graduate Academic Appeals Committee, the Chair shall select a three-person sub-committee from the pool of 15 composed in the following manner: one faculty member from the school in which the department involved in the appeal is located, one faculty member from the school in which the student is enrolled as a major, and one student.


C. Procedure for Charges of Academic Dishonesty

   Since charges of academic dishonesty may have serious consequences, a professor who suspects a student of any category of academic dishonesty must have facts and/or evidence to support the charge.

  1. The professor will meet with the student and present him or her with a written outline of the alleged academic dishonesty and the evidence supporting the charge. Penalties for various levels of academic dishonesty vary from giving an 'F' on a particular quiz or exam, to giving and 'F' on a term paper or other written work, or giving the student an "F' or 'W' for the course. The professor may also have different penalties for particular cases of academic dishonesty.

  2. The professor will notify his or her program director (or Graduate Dean if the professor is a program director) of the charge, evidence and penalty.

  3. If the student accused of academic dishonesty denies the charge or disagrees with the evidence presented by the professor, the student should make an appointment with the relevant program director (or Graduate Dean if the professor is a program director; in which case, skip steps 4 and 5). The student may remain in class during the appeal process.

  4. If the student is still dissatisfied after meeting with the program director, he or she should make an appointment with the Graduate Dean who will seek resolution of the problem.

  5. If a resolution is not found, the Graduate Dean will refer the student to the Graduate Academic Appeals Committee.

  6. The student should then submit a written appeal to the Chair of the Graduate Academic Appeals Committee.

  7. If the Graduate Academic Appeals Committee determines that academic dishonesty has occurred, it will confirm the recommendation of the professor concerning the penalty. Such a decision will be given both the Chair of the Graduate Academic Appeals Committee and the Graduate Dean. The student will be notified of the Sub-Committee's decision by the Chair of the Sub-Committee that sat for the appeal. The Chair shall also notify the Vice-President for Academic Affairs of the decision. The Vice-President will review the case and forward the outcome to the Registrar after the three-day appeal period.

  8. The student shall have the right to appeal the decision of the Graduate Academic Appeals Sub-Committee by filing a Notice of Appeal with the Office of the Vice-President for Academic Affairs within the three working days of receiving notification of to the sub-committee's decision of the Chair of the Sub-Committee. The decision of the Vice-President for Academic Affairs will be final.

  9. If the Graduate Academic Appeals Sub-Committee determines that academic dishonesty has not occurred or evidence is insufficient, the sub-committee will forward all pertinent information to the Vice-President for Academic Affairs. The Vice-President will confer with the Graduate Dean, program director, and professor to facilitate the return of the student to class without penalty. The program director will notify the student of the decision.


D. Procedure for Charges of Academic Misconduct
 

  1. The professor of a class being disrupted by academic misconduct will speak with the disruptive student. Proper behavior and possible consequences for not modifying the behavior will be discussed with the student. Extreme incidents of academic misconduct, in which the student becomes verbally or physically abusive in class will be dealt with immediately by asking the student to leave the class. If the student refuses to leave, Campus Security personnel will be called to remove the student, and the Dean of Students will also be informed of the behavior.

  2. If the student ignores the professor's requests to discuss the behavior, it is considered that the student received and official warning that his or her classroom conduct is inappropriate. If the student continues the disruptive behavior the professor will warn the student a second time to cease the behavior.

  3. If the student has refused to respond or has ignored the professor's first and second warning, the student will be suspended on an interim basis from the class where the warnings were given. Within 24 hours of the interim suspension a notification will be sent to the Chair of the Graduate Academic Appeals Committee by the program director.

  4. The Graduate Academic Appeals Sub-Committee will be appointed, and a hearing conducted by the Graduate Academic Appeals Sub-Committee will be conducted within three working days after the date of the notification of interim suspension.

  5. On the same date that the notification is sent to the Chair, the student will be advised by the program director that he or she has the right to submit a written statement to the Graduate Academic Appeals Sub-Committee addressing the alleged incident of academic misconduct. The student's written statement as well as the professor's written statement shall be delivered to the Chair of the Graduate Academic Appeals Committee at least 24 hours prior to the hearing.

  6. The Graduate Academic Appeals Sub-Committee will consider the written statements of the professor and the student involved in the incident of academic misconduct. The program director will also provide a statement that the warning procedure has been followed and that the student has suspended on an interim basis from attending the particular class pending the decision of the Graduate Academic Appeals Sub-Committee. The Sub-Committee has the right to pursue further information from the professor, program director, and student.

  7. If the Graduate Academic Appeals Sub-Committee determines that academic misconduct has occurred, it will confirm the recommendation of the professor concerning the penalty. Such a decision will be given both to the Chair of Graduate Academic Appeals Committee and Graduate Dean. The student will be notified of the Sub-Committee's decision by the Chair of the Sub-Committee that sat for the appeal. The Chair shall also notify the Vice President for Academic Affairs of the decision. The Vice President will review the case and forward the outcome to the Registrar after the three -day appeal period.

  8. The student shall have the right to appeal the decision of the Graduate Academic Appeals Sub-Committee by filing a Notice of Appeal with the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs within three working days of receiving notification of the sub-committee's decision from the Chair of the Sub-Committee. The decision of the Vice President for Academic Affairs will be final.

  9. If the Graduate Academic Appeals Sub-Committee determines that academic misconduct has not occurred or evidence is insufficient, the Sub-Committee will forward all pertinent information to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The Vice President will confer with the Graduate Dean, program director, and professor to determine the course of action to be followed and the status of the student in regards to the class in question. The program director will notify the student of the decision.


E. Student Rights

   If a student feels unfairly treated in regard to grades, grading, or treatment by the professor or other students within the classroom, the student should address these concersn in the following manner.

Informal Process

  1. Make an appointment to spead with the professor of the class to discuss the problem. Students must begin with the professor of the class, as many problems can be worked out satisfactorily with a simple discussion.

  2. If the student is still dissatisfied after discussing his or her problem with the professor of the class, an appointment should be made with the director of the program in which the course is taught. The program director will seek satisfactory resolution of the problem with both the student and professor.

  3. If the student is still dissatisfied, an appointment should be made with the Graduate Dean. The dean will again seek solution, and failing satisfactory resolution, will point out to the student the appropriate appeals process for the student's complaint.


Formal Process

  1. If the student complaint involves an assigned grade, the student will follow the Appeal of Academic Grade procedure as outlined in the Student Handbook.

  2. If the student wishes to pursue an appeal based on a grade associated with a charge of academic dishonesty further than the Graduate Dean, the student may file an appeal within three working days according to the outlined procedure for the Graduate Academic Appeals Committee.

  3. Final appeals, whether informal or formal, will be passed by the Graduate Dean to the Vice President for Academic Affairs for final decision, if necessary.

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