Philosophical statement

Honesty and integrity are prerequisites to academic life and more specifically, to the practice of nursing. Honesty is defined as being truthful, free of deceit and having integrity (Webster, 1976). Integrity is defined as utter honesty and adherence to a code of values (Webster, 1976). Integrity also encompasses “being truthful, avoiding acts of cheating, fraud or outright lying, and refusing to engage in deception or false representation in practice” (Hoyer, Booth, Spelman & Richardson, 1991, p. 171). Professional integrity in nursing is reflected in the American Nurses Association (ANA) Guide to the Code of Ethics for Nurses (2015) and the ANA Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice, 3rd ed. (2015). It is the responsibility of every person in the academic community – faculty members, students, and administrators – to ensure that academic dishonesty or misconduct is not tolerated.

Definition

Academic honesty includes adherence to guidelines pertaining to integrity established for a given course as well as those established by the College for conducting academic, administrative, and research functions. All forms of academic dishonesty or misconduct are prohibited. The examples given are not intended to be all inclusive of the various kinds of academic dishonesty, cheating, plagiarism, or misappropriation which may occur. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Cheating
    1. Copying, or the offering, requesting, receiving or use of unauthorized assistance or information in examinations, textbooks, reports, computer programs, term papers or other assignments.
    2. Attempting to change answers after an exam has been submitted.
  2. Plagiarism
    1. The appropriation of ideas, language, or work of another without sufficient attribution or acknowledgment that the work is not one’s own.
    2. Violations include but are not limited to:
      1. Submitting as one’s own work material copied from a published source.
      2. Submitting as one’s own work someone else’s unpublished work.
      3. Submitting as one’s own work a rewritten or paraphrased version of someone else’s work.
      4. Allowing someone or paying someone to write a paper or other assignment to be submitted as one’s own.
      5. Utilizing a purchased pre-written paper or other assignment.
  3. Intentional acts of commission or omission that could adversely affect patients.
  4. Falsification of documentation.
  5. Manipulation, alteration, or destruction of another student’s academic work or faculty material.
  6. The unauthorized removal, mutilation or deliberate concealment of library or other resource material or collections.
  7. Unauthorized use of College facilities, equipment or other property, including computer accounts and files.
  8. Any other act which might give one an unearned advantage in evaluation or performance.

Nurturing academic honesty

As much as possible, a member of the faculty, staff or administration (hereafter referred to as College representative) will deal individually with suspected violations of the Academic Dishonesty Policy. The College representative who suspects that such a violation has occurred will confer with the student, present support, listen to and evaluate the student’s explanation, and then, if the student is found to have violated the Academic Honesty Policy, impose a penalty based upon the findings. Penalties related to specific violations and may include, but are not limited to:

Academic dishonesty: Procedure, penalties, and due process

First occurrence

  1. As much as possible, a member of the faculty, staff or administration (hereafter referred to as College representative) will deal individually with suspected violations of the Academic Dishonesty Policy. The College representative who suspects that such a violation has occurred will confer with the student, present support, listen to and evaluate the student’s explanation, and then, if the student is found to have violated the Academic Honesty Policy, impose a penalty based upon the findings. Penalties related to specific violations and may include, but are not limited to:

    1. Warning the student
    2. Lowering the grade of the assignment or examination
    3. Suspension from classroom, lab or clinical
    4. Requiring the student to repeat the assignment or examination
    5. Assigning a failing grade for the semester

    The College representative will provide the student with a written decision within three (3) working days* of conferring with the student. This decision can be delivered in person, via email, or certified mail using the student’s last known local or permanent address as provided to the Registrar at registration. A student who wishes to appeal the decision must indicate, in writing, their intent to appeal within three (3) working days* following the delivery of the decision to the student using the “Intent to Appeal Academic Dishonesty” form. This form can be obtained from the Dean via email at via email. This intent to appeal must be received by the Dean within three (3) college working days*. If the student chooses not to appeal, then the violation and penalty will be reported to the Dean using the Academic Honesty Policy Violation Report“.

  2. Appeal process for first occurrence decisions

    The Academic Board will be composed of individuals consisting of a representative of the Student Success and Well-Being Council at the rank of Associate Professor or higher, who will serve as the Chair of the Academic Board, Program Directors (BSN, both ABSN and TBSN tracks, and MSN), and two faculty members, appointed by the Dean. In cases when a Nurse Practitioner student has filed the appeal, the Dean will appoint a Nurse Practitioner faculty. The composition of the Academic Board will avoid a conflict of interest. This may result in the Dean appointing other representatives in lieu of the aforementioned Board composition. In cases before it, the Academic Board will consider relevant supportive information presented by any side. The Board may uphold the decision, return the decision to the College representative for reconsideration, or recommend to the Dean the suspension or dismissal of the student.

Procedures before the Academic Disciplinary Board hearing

  1. The Academic Board must be formed within three (3) college working days* of the Dean receiving the student’s written intent to appeal the decision.
  2. Within three (3) college working days* of the filing of the written intent to appeal the decision, the student must deliver to the Dean all supportive information relevant to the appeal, including any request for hearing.
  3. Within three (3) college working days* of receipt of the student’s relevant supportive information, the Academic Board will notify the College representative. Within three (3) college working days* of notice of the College representative to the Academic Board, that College representative must deliver all relevant information in support of the decision to the Academic Board, including any request for hearing.
  4. The Academic Board may require a hearing and the decision to hear any case is in the discretion of the Academic Board.
  5. At least five (5) college working days* before the scheduled hearing, if any, the Academic Board will provide the student and the College representative written notice of:
    1. The alleged violation(s) to be heard;
    2. The time, date and place of the hearing;
    3. A statement of the charge(s) and documents in support of and in opposition to the charge(s). In cases where there are multiple charges, the Academic Board may consolidate all charges into one hearing.

      This notice can be delivered in person, via email, or certified mail using the student’s last known local or permanent address.

  6. The student may bring a faculty or staff member of the College community with them as a support person to any hearing and, if so, the student must notify the Academic Board of the name of the faculty member within one (1) working day* of the hearing. The student, however, is expected to present their own case in their own words.
  7. The Academic Board will be responsible for creating a record of the hearing if a hearing should occur.
  8. The decision of the Academic Board may be presented orally at the conclusion of the hearing or in writing via email or certified mail using the student’s last known local or permanent address, and to the College representative (using the same methods) within five (5) college working days* of any hearing and if there is no hearing, within ten (10) college working days* of timely receipt of all relevant supportive information from the student and College representative.
  9. Materials related to disposition of the charge(s) of the Academic Honesty Policy, including a summary record of any appeal process and decision(s), will be maintained in the office of the Dean.
  10. If the student is cleared of any wrongdoing, the incident is not reported to the Office of the Dean.
  11. If the student is found to be in violation of the Academic Honesty Policy, the findings of the Academic Board will be reported to the Office of the Dean.

Grounds for appeal

Below are listed the only bases upon which a student may appeal the decision of the Academic Board:

  1. A procedural error occurred.
  2. The decision of the Academic Board was arbitrary.
  3. New and significant evidence was not available or could not have been obtained prior to the Academic Board’s ruling.

Appeal of the decisions of the Academic Disciplinary Board

A student may appeal the decision of the Academic Board by filing an “Intent to Appeal Academic Dishonesty” with the Dean within one (1) college working day* of the decision of the Academic Board. The “Intent to Appeal Academic Dishonesty” form can be obtained from the Dean via email at Rebecca.Saxton@researchcollege.edu. On notice of the filing of the “Intent to Appeal Academic Dishonesty” from the Dean, the Academic Board will forward all information related to the case to the Dean. Absent extraordinary circumstances, the student may not present additional supportive information for consideration by the Dean. Any request to present additional information must be made to the Dean within three (3) college working days* of filing of the “Intent to Appeal Academic Dishonesty” and the request must include a substantive description of the additional supportive information. The Dean may request additional information or a meeting with any individual regarding the charge(s). In general, the Dean will present their decision to the student within five (5) college working days* of receipt of information or meeting with the student. The decision of the Dean may be presented orally or in writing addressed to the student at the student’s last known local or permanent address on file. The decision of the Dean is final. Pending the decision of the Dean, the student’s status as a student will remain unaltered except in cases where there are reasons relating to the emotional or physical welfare of the student or other members of the College community or for reasons involving the safety of property or the good of the College.

Second and subsequent occurrences – Centralized reporting for academic honesty policy violations

First occurrences involving students found to be in violation of the academic honesty policy will be reported to the Office of the Dean and reviewed at the end of each semester. Upon the second reported violation for any one student, a formal review of those violations will occur. It is also possible for a first offense to be reviewed. This review will be conducted by the Dean and Program Directors (BSN, both ABSN and TBSN tracks, and MSN).

Upon review of the reported violation(s), the Dean and Program Directors (BSN, both ABSN and TBSN tracks, and MSN) may impose any of the following sanctions:

  1. Issue a letter of warning to the student
  2. Deem the student to be out of good standing in terms of the Academic Honesty Policy. To be out of good standing is a probationary status and may render the student ineligible for special privileges including awards or scholarships, letters of recommendation, academic honors, etc.
  3. Suspension
  4. Dismissal

A student under review will be notified by College email and by certified mail addressed to the student’s last known local or permanent address on file in order to schedule a meeting between the Dean, or a Program Director and the student to discuss the reviewed violations and any sanction that might be imposed. The sanction(s) imposed will then be communicated to the student within three (3) college working days* of the meeting addressed to the student’s last known local or permanent address on file.

This information will be maintained in the Office of the Dean. Access to this information for the purposes of the determination of awards, honors, letters of recommendation, etc. can be obtained using the FERPA release form available in the Registrar’s office.

After three semesters, if a student placed on academic integrity violation probation has no further reported violations, the student will no longer be on probation. However, the previous violations will not be expunged. If the student is later found in violation of the academic honesty policy, all offenses will be considered for the determination of a sanction.

*College working days are those days that faculty are contracted to work and do not include weekends or holidays/vacation days. The following is a list of holidays/vacation days: Martin Luther King Day, Spring Break (5 days), Good Friday, Easter Monday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Fall Break (3 days), Thanksgiving Break (2 days) days), and Winter Break (10 days).