As members of the UC Denver academic community, faculty and students accept the responsibility to maintain the highest standards of intellectual honesty and ethical conduct in all forms of academic work. The CLAS Academic Ethics Committee, which is composed of faculty, students and staff, is charged with establishing academic ethics policies and, when necessary, to evaluate ethics charges against students.
According to CLAS syllabus policy, all CLAS syllabi should contain a summary statement concerning academic ethics expectations (see the syllabus template here). Rather than assuming that the boundaries of academic integrity are obvious to all students, faculty should view this topic as one that may need to be taught. Many students do not know the definitions of the offenses covered by the CU Denver Honor Code:
- fabrication and falsification;
- multiple submission,
- misuse of academic materials, and
- complicity in academic dishonesty.
Both faculty and students should consult the Honor Code, an elaboration of which also appears on the CLAS website linked here.
Faculty are encouraged to try to handle alleged academic dishonesty cases at the faculty or department level. Many cases of academic dishonesty involve miss communication, absence of clear policies on syllabus or assignments, or cultural differences, all of which are best handled at the department level. Additionally, the College Associate Dean will work with a faculty member and student(s) in an effort to facilitate communication and to resolve the dispute before the end of the semester and the issuance of final grades.
Faculty who have evidence suggesting a student is guilty of academic dishonesty should:
- privately confront the student with the evidence;
- listen to the student's perspective and keep communication lines open;
- evaluate all evidence and circumstances;
- determine appropriate consequences (warning, zero/failing grade on assignment, or failing grade for course);
- and inform the student using the Academic Ethics letter template.
CLAS Faculty have a large amount of discretion in handling ethics violations at the department level, up to and including a failing course grade. Any other sanctions (suspension, transcript notation, etc.) desired by the instructor must be forwarded to the CLAS Academic Ethics Committee via the CLAS Associate Dean. Faculty have responsibilities to uphold students' rights in matters of alleged academic dishonesty.
If the faculty decision concerning the alleged academic dishonesty adversely affects the student's assignment or course grade, a letter to the student is required (see form letter below) with copies to the department Chair and CLAS Associate Dean. The letter outlines the charge(s) against the student and informs the student of her/his rights. Faculty responsibilities in alleged ethics violations that lower a student's grade are summarized below.
Initiating an Alleged Ethics Violation Charge
- Instructor provides written notification to student outlining charge(s), statement of student rights, information about ethics policies, and student support services;
- Instructor supplies written notification (copy) to department Chair and CLAS associate Dean;
- Student is allowed to fully participate in remainder of class;
- Student is not allowed to drop or withdraw from class;
- Instructor should compile physical and eyewitness evidence for possible CLAS Academic Ethics Committee hearing at request of faculty or through appeal by student;
- Should the dispute go to the CLAS Academic Ethics Committee, the burden of proof resides with the faculty.
- 1. Evidence of academic dishonesty against a student is not concrete.
- For all student cases evaluated by the CLAS Academic Ethics Committee, the burden of proof is squarely on the faculty member. Situations without compelling evidence should be handled privately with the student and may include verbal warning, specific seating assignments, review of ethics policies with entire class, etc.
- 2. Faculty believe student downloaded paper from Internet but can't find source.
- Often a Google search with a suspicious passage in quotation marks turns up plagiarized sources. Blackboard comes with a plagiarism-checking software; consult CUOnline about this. Other plagiarism-checking software may be available online
- 3. Student unintentionally violates the academic ethics policy.
- It is the student's responsibility to understand and adhere to the CU Denver Academic Honor Code. Faculty are not required to define academic dishonesty, but are encouraged to place a general statement on the course syllabus that refers students to details of the Academic Honor Code. While an unintentional violation is still a violation, faculty are encouraged to consider intent in determining appropriate consequences.
- 4. Student is officially matriculated in another college.
- CLAS faculty should adhere to CLAS policies relating to academic honesty whether the student is officially in CLAS or another CU Denver college. Any jurisdictional issues are handled at the Associate Dean level.