Penn State Great Valley's Academic Integrity Policy and Procedure

Statement of Policy

All members of the Penn State Great Valley community are expected to accept responsibility for the integrity and basic honesty of their academic work. Accordingly, students and faculty are never permitted to take credit for or represent as one's own work anything that is the work of another. This includes the academic work of classmates, published authors, and known or anonymous authors on the Internet. Academic dishonesty includes a variety of activities that includes, but is not limited to: all forms of cheating, plagiarism, fabrication of information or citation, the failure to use appropriate citations, unauthorized possession of examinations, submitting work of another person or work previously submitted by another, tampering with the work of another and fraud.

The School of Graduate Professional Studies vigorously supports the University's commitment to academic honesty. The School does not tolerate violation of this policy. The School supports appropriate sanctions that are consistent with the University guidelines and with state and federal law.

The School has established an Academic Integrity Committee that will review and settle all contested cases of academic integrity infractions in which sanctions are applied. The Academic Integrity Committee will be the final review for all charges of academic dishonesty, not involving formal disciplinary sanctions through the Great Valley Judicial Affairs Designee.

Committee Membership

The Great Valley Academic Integrity Committee will consist of at least five members: Three faculty members, one administrator, and one student.

The Judicial Affairs Designee of the School assists and supports the Committee and acts as the liaison to the University Park Office of Judicial Affairs.

Procedure

All charges and sanction requests will originate with the instructor. The instructor may withdraw the charges at any time before the School Committee's decision. In uncontested cases, an instructor may assign academic sanctions not to exceed a failing grade for the course. If the instructor recommends any disciplinary sanctions or an academic outcome greater than a failing grade, the case must be referred to the Committee for resolution or referral to the Judicial Affairs Designee at Penn State Great Valley.

When an instructor suspects academic dishonesty, he or she will notify the student of the suspected infraction as soon as possible. The instructor will meet with the student to discuss the situation. The instructor will present any evidence supporting the suspected infraction, inform the student of the academic and/or disciplinary sanctions and gives the student a chance to respond. If after discussion, the instructor wishes to proceed with the charges, he/she will sign and provide the student with a copy of the Academic Integrity Form.

After receiving the Form, the student will have five business days to submit the form with a signature indicating whether they accept responsibility for or contest the charges and sanction. If the student accepts the charge(s)and the proposed sanction is not greater than a failing grade for the course, then the case is closed. If the student contests the charges or the proposed sanction is greater than a failing grade for the course, the case will go to the School's Academic Integrity Committee for review and/or referral to the Judicial Affairs Designee for disciplinary action. If the student fails to respond or refuses to sign and return the Form, it will be interpreted as acceptance of the charges and sanctions.

When the student contests the charge(s) and the case is forwarded to the School Academic Integrity Committee for review, the instructor will assign a DF grade. The instructor or Committee chair will notify the registrar upon resolution of the case and request assignment of the grade that resulted from the process. The instructor will notify the student, in writing concerning the assignment of the DF grade. The student should also be encouraged to continue in the class until the conclusion of the process based on a presumption of innocence and the fact if they are found not responsible, they will receive an “earned grade”.

The Review/Hearing

At least five members must hear a case.  This number should include at least three faculty members, one administrator and one student.

The Committee will normally conduct a review of the paper records. A hearing will be required when the sanction may create a significant loss to the student: for example - removal from the program. If a Committee member is the instructor bringing the charges, he or she will not participate in the Review/Hearing.

The review or hearing will occur as soon as possible. It should be no sooner than ten business days after notifying the student and no later than four weeks after submissions of the signed Academic Integrity form. Both the instructor and the student will forward all relevant documentation and evidence to be used in the review to the Academic Integrity Committee Chair. The Academic Integrity Committee Chair will distribute copies of all materials to the student, instructor, and Committee. All parties should receive documentation in advance of the hearing or paper review.

The Coordinator will contact the Great Valley Judicial Affairs Designee to see if there are previous infractions. If there is a previous record or the infraction is extremely serious, disciplinary sanctions may be considered, and the case may be forwarded to the Great Valley Judicial Affairs Committee for disciplinary sanctions as well as academic sanctions. This referral must take place prior to any fact-finding by the Committee.

For Committee hearings, the Committee Chair directs the review of the case, ensures fairness and confidentiality, and rules of procedure. At the hearing, the instructor will describe the accusation or in cases where only the sanction is being contested, the rationale for the assigned sanction. The student will be allowed to present evidence. The Committee may question both instructor and student. Both instructor and student may question witnesses and comment on any evidence presented. A written record will be kept of the proceedings.

The Committee will examine the evidence and decide by majority vote whether the student is in violation of the University policy. The Committee will make their decision based on clear and convincing evidence. If the Committee finds the student responsible, they will assign an appropriate sanction or if the student is found not responsible, they will notify the instructor that no sanctions are to be assigned and the student is to receive the grade earned in the course.

The Committee will prepare a summary of the decision, accompanied by all documentation. The report will be sent to the student and the Great Valley Judicial Affairs Designee as the official custodian of educational records resulting from the student discipline process. The decision of the Committee is final.

Student's Rights

The student has the right to

  • Attend the hearing
  • Present evidence
  • Be accompanied by an adviser (faculty adviser, University personnel, or a currently enrolled student only)
  • Be notified Five (5) business days prior to the hearing
  • Question available witnesses
  • Withdraw her/his request for the hearing and accept a sanction at any time prior to the School AI Committee's decision.

Parents, spouses, and attorneys may not attend the hearing under any circumstances.

Sanctions

Normally, it is preferable to settle issues between faculty and students, relying on the assignment of grades and course or program-related sanctions to support the learning process, rather than requesting additional University-level disciplinary sanctions. However, where integrity violations are considered to be extreme, the faculty member may also opt to pursue a disciplinary action in conjunction with both the campus Academic Integrity Committee and the Judicial Affairs Designee.

A more detailed and comprehensive listing of the types of sanctions faculty may assign to students on the Academic Integrity Form can be found in the document Sanctioning Guidelines for Academic Integrity Violations.

An "XF" grade is a formal University disciplinary sanction. It is assigned with the concurrence of the instructor, the School AI Committee, and the Judicial Affairs Designee. Assigning an "XF" is done rarely and is reserved for the most serious offenses. In any situation in which the instructor believes an "XF" is required, the case is automatically forwarded to the School's Academic Integrity Committee for review and then to the Judicial Affairs Designee  for appropriate fact finding, review, and decision.

An "XF" will appear on the student’s official University transcript  for a time period determined by the Judicial Affairs Designee in consultation with the AI committee.  At such time as the “XF” is expunged from the record, the academic F will remain on the student’s permanent record.

Record Keeping

The Judicial Affairs Designee will house the records to ensure confidentiality, consistency of treatment and to keep a record of the number of offenses. The records will also be forwarded to the Office of Judicial Affairs at Penn State University Park. The individual student records will be expunged upon graduation unless specified otherwise.