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Addressing, Deterring, and Reporting Academic Dishonesty: A Guide for Faculty

Truman State University expects the highest standards of integrity in all academic activities. Honesty is fundamental to the pursuit of knowledge and truth. The liberal arts tradition focuses on facilitating ethical and moral, as well as intellectual, growth in our next generation of leaders.


The Truman State University Student Conduct Code1 Expectations for Student Conduct (8.050.01) defines academic misconduct/dishonesty to include, but not to be limited to, any one of the following acts: 1. Acts of academic misconduct/dishonesty, including, but not limited to the following: 1.1. Cheating: Defined as using or attempting to use unauthorized (a) materials, (b) information, or (c) study aids in any academic exercise. 1.2. Fabrication: Defined as unauthorized (a) falsification or (b) invention of any information (including research data) or citation in an academic exercise. 1.3. Facilitating academic dishonesty: Defined as (a) assisting or (b) attempting to assist another to commit an act of academic dishonesty, whether or not that action is associated with any particular course. 1.4. Plagiarism: Intentional representation of the words or ideas of another as ones own in any academic exercise. The term plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, (a) the use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work or sections of a work of another person without full and clear acknowledgement; (b) the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials, including material taken from or ordered through the Internet; and/or (c) the unacknowledged use of original work/material that has been produced through collaboration with others without release in writing from collaborators. 1.5. Sabotage: Defined as, but is not limited to, the unauthorized interference with, modification of, or destruction of the work or intellectual property of another member of the University community.

The 2007-2008 General/Graduate Catalog2 (Truman Policies, Academic Dishonesty) states: Students are expected to do their own academic work. Any student involved in cheating on a paper, an examination or in any other form of academic dishonesty will be subject to disciplinary action, including suspension or expulsion from the class, the students academic program, or the University.


The following are examples of academic misconduct3: substituting on an exam for another student substituting in a course for another student paying someone else to write a paper and submitting it as one's own work giving or receiving answers by use of signals during an exam copying with or without the other person's knowledge during an exam doing class assignments for someone else plagiarizing published material, class assignments, or lab reports turning in a paper that has been purchased from a commercial research firm padding items on a bibliography obtaining an unauthorized copy of a test in advance of its scheduled administration using unauthorized notes during an exam collaborating with other students on assignments when it is not allowed altering answers on a scored test and submitting it for a re-grade accessing and altering records in a grade-book stealing class assignments from other students and submitting them as one's own, particularly computer programs fabricating data destroying or stealing the work of other students

The 2007-2008 General/Graduate Catalog2 (Truman Policies, Academic Dishonesty) states: It is the responsibility of faculty members 1) to inspire in their students an appreciation of and a desire for honesty in academic work; 2) to discourage dishonesty and to protect the honest student; and 3) to take appropriate action in instances of dishonesty.


By creating an environment where expectations are clearly provided and consequences are clearly discussed, academic dishonesty can be minimized. Faculty members should include a statement about dishonesty in their syllabus, including your own particular policies and the consequences faced by dishonest students. Provide an unambiguous statement on the special policies that will prevail in your class. In addition, mentioning positive aspects of academic integrity early in your class will help set a constructive tone for the semester. There are many opportunities throughout the semester to address integrity. For instance, at the beginning of an exam or quiz, remind students that they are expected to do honest work. When assigning an essay, define plagiarism clearly, using concrete examples, so that students will not accidentally commit plagiarism. During the exam itself, a faculty member can minimize cheating and other dishonest work by giving both oral and written instructions about what behaviors are and are not allowed during an exam. In addition, physical considerations, like spacing students throughout a room, putting books, packs, and other disallowed materials under their desk or in the front of the room can also be conducive to a cheating-free environment. Active proctoring of exams can ensure that students know you are serious about eliminating cheating in your classroom.


The following are recommended responses you may use if you suspect a student of cheating during an exam4: Do not stop a student from completing the exam, even if you believe that he/she is cheating. Instead interrupt the misconduct as described below, and identify those involved by setting their exams aside and recording their names. Review the exams to see if you can find evidence of cheating. If a student is using notes or has notes visible, immediately and discreetly confiscate the notes. These materials may be important in providing charges if a student denies cheating. Make a note on the student's exam indicating when the notes were taken. If students are talking, announce that no talking is permitted during exams, and/or quietly ask the students to stop talking. If students are talking or otherwise exchanging information, they can be asked to change seats or move apart. If you learn that a substitute or "ringer" may be taking an exam for another, quietly approach him/her and ask for identification. If a student is looking at others' work, announce to the class that all work is individual, and/or quietly tell the student that eyes must be kept on one's own paper. You may suspect that students have cheated, if while grading, you notice similar wrong answers or similar phrasing of answers. While reading an essay, you may suspect plagiarism has occurred if the text or part of the text seems familiar or more sophisticated than you would expect from student work. In addition, if the information is out of date or if it includes older source citations, the work may be plagiarized. Confronting students about academic misconduct is not easy to do, but if we ignore the incidents that do occur, it is impossible to maintain Trumans standard for academic excellence. Some guidelines may be helpful in confronting a student. Meet with a student promptly in private to discuss your suspicions and to present the evidence collected or observed. It may be beneficial to have a third party, such as another faculty member, available for this meeting to take notes and to act as a witness. Allow the student an opportunity to respond and listen to their explanation. Tell them how you feel about their actions and the effect their misconduct has on the classroom environment. After the discussion with the student, decide based upon the more likely than not standard (51% likely versus 49% not) if the misconduct occurred. If the student is found to be responsible for misconduct, the faculty member should take appropriate action. The 2007-2008 General/Graduate Catalog2 (Truman Policies, Academic Dishonesty) states: Such action may include the reduction or elimination of a dishonest students score for an affected test or project, the lowering of a grade for the affected class (including the assignment of an F grade), or the expulsion of a student from the affected class.


Reporting instances of academic misconduct benefits students, faculty, and the University. When there is a central reporting system, the University can be responsive to students who have cheated in multiple classes, thus maintaining academic standards and facilitating ethical development in the student. The report can also serve as documentation for faculty in the instance of a grade appeal. The 2007-2008 General/Graduate Catalog2 (Truman Policies, Academic Dishonesty) states: Serious cases of academic dishonesty are reported by the faculty member to his or her Department Chair and to his or her Dean, who may take additional disciplinary action against the dishonest student, including suspension or expulsion from classes in the College or School. The Dean reports the dishonesty to the Provost, who may also report it to the Dean of Student Affairs. The Dean may also report the dishonesty to the College or School in which the dishonest student is enrolled as a major; the Dean of this College or School may suspend or expel the student from the academic program in the major. The

Dean of Student Affairs may also suspend or expel the student from the University as outlined in the Student Conduct Code for incidents of academic dishonesty. Disciplinary action by a faculty member for academic dishonesty may be appealed to the Dean of the faculty members College or School. Disciplinary action decisions by an academic Dean may be appealed to the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs for review and final decision. Disciplinary action by the Dean of Student Affairs for academic dishonesty may be appealed through the same process as other disciplinary actions by the Dean of Student Affairs for student misconduct. ( The Dean of Student Affairs, through the University Conduct Officer, will make a notation in the students conduct file. The student will receive a warning letter informing them of the notification of academic misconduct, their rights and responsibilities in the process, and what they risk if they are dishonest in the future. If there is more than one notation of academic misconduct in the students file or the initial violation is very serious, a conduct hearing will occur. The Office of Citizenship and Community Standards is focused on facilitating students ethical development and creating a safe community for learning through maintaining standards. As a result of the conduct process, educational sanctions may be given. A student may also be placed on probation, suspended, or expelled from the University.

For more information about addressing academic misconduct, please contact Dr. David Hoffman, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs/Citizenship and Community Standards and University Conduct Officer at 785-4111 (, your Department Chair, or College/School Dean.


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Truman State University, (2006, June) Student Conduct Code. Truman State University, 2007-2008 General/Graduate Catalog. 3 Purdue University, (1996) Deterring, Detecting & Dealing with Academic Dishonesty: Guidelines for Faculty. 4 University of Maryland, Academic Integrity Referrals.

Revised 10-10-2007