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Faculty Academic Integrity Resources: Identifying and Reporting Violations

5 Steps to Identifying and Filing an Academic Integrity Violation

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Having trouble determining if a violation has occured? what level the violation would be?

Contact Marcia Steeves, Academic Integrity and Copyright Officer for assistance.

1. Identifying a violation has occurred.

There are 7 broad types of academic integrity violations (found here) that may occur. These do not constitute an exhaustive list but provides general information on the types of violations commonly found in an academic setting.

Faculty may come across potential violations in a variety of ways:

  • Observation of student behaviour during assessments (this may include digital flags while using Respondus Monitoring).
  • Turnitin similarity report (where Turnitin has been formally adopted into course assessments) may identify issues with patchwriting, improper citations, and/or student plagiarism.
  • Observed similarity between student assessments.
  • Reported behaviour / incidents from students/staff/faculty witnesses.
  • Observed changes in student writing that do not reflect past participation or assessments.

When you come across potential violations it is important to maintain full documentation of what has taken place, why it is believed to be a violation and how you came to this decision. Where plagiarism is suspected, it is helpful as well to document the original source if known.

Other resources and information pertaining to detection of violations:

2. Meeting with student to identify concerns.

Once you have determined there may have been a violation, it is important to meet with the student to discuss your observations. This helps to clarify concerns and possibly identify learning gaps that can be addressed. Where violations take place within a group of students, it is suggested that meetings take place individually to protect student privacy.

At the meeting:

  • Remind the student(s) of the academic integrity values that we promote: Honesty, Trust, Fairness, Respect, Responsibility, Courage
  • Detail the observations/information you have on the violation 
  • Ask the student to respond to the information you have shared with them
  • Identify or have the student identify where they are struggling and recommend appropriate services and supports.

At the end of your meeting:

  • If you still believe a violation has occurred, share this with the student and let them know you will forward a copy of the violation form and sanctions.
  • If you are still unsure, let the student know you will be in touch with the next steps once you have had time to deliberate the situation.
  • If you now have more information and do not feel a violation has occurred, simply thank the student for meeting with you.

3. Filing the violation

Violations are submitted digitally through this online form.

Simply complete each section of the form, including the details of the violation and applicable sanctions. To assist in determining the appropriate violation level (1-4) and the mandatory or optional sanctions, please refer below

At this stage, you are also asked to review the student(s) past violations. This can be done within PeopleSoft. Using the student's ID # search for their student record. If a student has a prior violation you will see a negative service indicatornegative service indicator icon beside their student number (upper left). Clicking on this indicator will take you to information about prior violations. Please note at this time there are typically 3 lines of information included for each violation.

Once the form is submitted a copy of the form will be e-mailed to you, the Records Office, and the Academic Integrity Officer. A copy of the form should be shared with the student, removing any identifying information of other students listed on the same form.

Level 1 violations may be minor in nature and affect a small portion of the assessment work in question.

Examples (not intended to be an exhaustive list):

  • Failure to acknowledge working with another student, unless the instructor explicitly authorizes such work
  • Failure to cite or give proper acknowledgment in a small/minor portion of the assignment

Mandatory Sanctions 

  1. Education Sanction (see specific tab for choices), AND
  2. at least one of the following sanctions:
    • Written Warning (by way of submitting the Violation Form)
    • Resubmission of the original assessment piece.
    • Submission of a new assessment piece
    • A portion of assessment work receives a grade of “0”
    • A penalty sanctioned at the discretion of faculty that results in a reduced overall grade

You may also apply any additional sanctions you deem appropriate.

Level 2 violations are of a more serious or extensive nature than the ones described in Type 1 or are those that affect a larger or more significant portion of the assessment. 

Examples (not intended to be an exhaustive list):

  • Complete lack of in-text citation and / or reference of sources in required format.
  • Submitting the same work, or major portions thereof, to satisfy the requirements of more than one course without permission from the instructor.
  • Cheating during a test, exam or other types of academic assessment (this could include using prohibited materials such as books, notes, calculators, or other electronic devices).
  • Receiving assistance from others (e.g. research, statistical, computer programming, field data collection help, or technical art/design production help) that constitutes an essential element in the undertaking without acknowledging such assistance in a paper, examination, or project.

Mandatory Sanctions

  1. Education Sanction (see specific tab for choices), AND
  2. A grade of zero (0) on the assignment.

Level 3 violations affect a significant portion of the assessment work, involve premeditation, and/or students who have repeated Type 1 and Type 2 violations. 

Examples (not intended to be an exhaustive list):

  • Repeat of Type 1 or 2 violations.
  • Falsification of data, and/or deliberately altering material (e.g. citing a source that does not exist).
  • Collaborating before an exam to develop methods of exchanging information and implementation thereof.
  • Use or distribution of material which has been acquired through unauthorized means.

Mandatory Sanctions

  1. Education Sanction (see specific tab for choices), AND
  2. A grade of zero (0) for the course.

Level 4 violations are reserved for the most serious breaches of academic integrity and/or incidents preceded by repeated violations at all previous levels.

Examples (not intended to be an exhaustive list):

  • Repeat of a Type 3 violation.
  • Providing another student with login information in an attempt to have that person complete the assessment work (false impersonation).
  • Infractions of academic integrity resembling criminal activity (e.g. forging a grade form, stealing an examination, buying an exam, falsifying a transcript).
  • False impersonation in an exam.
  • Sabotaging another student’s work through actions designed to prevent the student from successfully completing an assignment.

Mandatory Sanctions

  1. Education Sanction (see specific tab for choices), AND
  2. Suspension from the College for a minimum of one semester or regular program delivery. Faculty may choose Option ‘a’ or ‘b’:
    a. One to Three Semesters: Must be approved by the Dean of the applicable School.
    b. Three or More Semesters: Must be approved by the Dean in consultation with the Vice-President Academic.

The library continues to develop workshops and D2L Modules to educate students on material related to academic integrity and research skills that provide preventative education for students. At this time you may assign any of the following sanctions directly on the violation form:

  • Academic Integrity D2L Module
  • Avoiding Plagiarism D2L Module
  • Avoiding Plagiarism Workshop (held in-person and online)
  • APA Citation Workshop (held in-person and online)
  • One-on-one Meeting - library staff meet with the student review any past violations to identify information gaps and meet the individual needs of the student

Where you are able to identify specific learning needs of the student, there is room on the violation form to indicate so that library and academic skills staff can step in and assist the student with the needed learning.

Please Note: The timeline for completion of the education sanction should be reasonable for the student and also not too long out that would delay their learning. The intention is to provide timely learning to prevent further violations - recommended 2-3 weeks where possible.

4. Applying Sanctions

When the violation form is submitted the student will receive an email from the Academic Integrity Officer indicating the steps to take to register or enroll in the educational module, workshop, or meeting listed in the violation form. The intent of the education sanctions is to ensure that students are afforded the opportunity to learn from violations and prevent violations from occurring in the future.

If by the assigned deadline the student has not completed the assigned sanction, you will receive an email indicating that it has not been completed. At this time, you have the ability to move forward with any further sanctions as outlined on the original violation submission. 

PLEASE NOTE: When setting the timeline for completion of the education sanction it should be reasonable for the student and also not too long out that would delay their learning. The intention is to provide timely learning to prevent further violations - recommended 2-3 weeks where possible.

5. Follow-up

Once the academic integrity process completes, it can be particularly hard for students to reintegrate into the classroom with you as faculty or in some cases with classmates. Follow-up with the student presents an opportunity to reconnect and help the student move forward successfully.

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