Do I have to report my suspicions?
Instructors/Supervisors are obligated to report academic misconduct to their department Chair/Graduate Program Director as soon as they discover it. TAs should report suspected cases to their instructors. The Academic Integrity Policy outlines the process for handling suspected cases of academic misconduct. It is important that you report your suspicions as it provides an opportunity to educate the student regarding appropriate academic behaviour. Students should be held accountable for their actions.
Can I give the student a lower or failing grade without making a formal accusation?
No. It is important that we act together in upholding academic integrity. Taking matters into your own hands in this way sends the message to students (as well as other faculty and staff) that matters of academic integrity are not taken seriously. In addition, it has the potential to hinder the University’s ability to properly discipline repeat academic misconduct offenders.
How do I report an accusation?
You should contact your department chair/graduate program director immediately to report the suspected academic misconduct.
What happens after I report an accusation?
Your department Chair/Graduate Program Director will contact the Registrar/Director of Graduate Studies to place a hold on the student registration in the course. This prevents the student from dropping the course while the case of academic misconduct is being investigated. The department Chair/Graduate Program Director will then contact the student to arrange a time for the student to see the evidence associated with their case and meet with you (the Instructor) and the department Chair/Graduate Program Director to interview the student.
What happens at the meeting with the student?
The department Chair/Graduate Program Director will explain the purpose of the meeting and inform the student of his/her rights and responsibilities, ask you (the Instructor) to outline the specifics of the alleged academic misconduct, and review pertinent documentation and evidence with the student. The student will be given fair opportunity to provide a response and offer any documentation or information in reply to the accusation.
If the department Chair/Graduate Program Director determines there is sufficient evidence of academic misconduct, that person shall inform the student and refer the case to the Office of the Dean/Dean of Graduate Studies, along with any supporting evidence and discipline recommendations from the department/centre/program, within 10 working days of meeting with the student. The student has the right to invite an advisor such as the Ombudsperson to this meeting.
Should the department Chair/Graduate Program Director determine that no grounds for a charge exist, or there is insufficient evidence with which to proceed, that person shall inform the student and the Registrar/Director of Graduate Studies within 10 working days. No record of the occurrence shall exist.
What happens at the meeting with the student and the Office of the Dean(s)?
The designate(s) from Office of the Faculty Dean/Dean of Graduate Studies meets with the student to discuss the circumstances of the case, and seeks to discover any new information that may be relevant.
- Explains the purpose of the meeting.
- Reviews the specifics of the alleged academic misconduct as well as any pertinent documentation and evidence with the student.
- Gives the student fair opportunity to provide a response and offer any documentation or information in reply to the accusation of academic misconduct.
- Informs the student of his or her discipline decision at the end of the meeting.
- Informs the student of his or her right to appeal the decision.
Should the designate(s) of the Office of the Faculty Dean andDean of Graduate Studies determine that no grounds for a charge exist, or there is not sufficient evidence with which to proceed, that person shall inform the student, the Graduate Program Director and the Director of Graduate Studies within 10 working days. No record of the occurrence shall exist.
What are possible discipline decisions?
In the case where academic misconduct has been determined, the disciplinary outcome may entail an educative action and/or an academic penalty.
What is the difference between ‘educative action’ and ‘academic penalty’?
An Educative action may entail any one or combination of the following:
- Oral or written warning
- Rewrite or resubmission of the academic piece of work
- Participation in the APF (Assess, Plan, Follow up) Program provided through A-Z Learning Services
- Remedial activity recommended by the Instructor/Department Chair/Associate Dean/Graduate Program Director that is comparable to, but does not exceed the level of work entailed in the initial assignment or activity under examination
In the event of non-compliance to an educative action, an appropriate deduction will be made to the course grade.
An academic penalty may include any one or combination of the following:
- Lower grade or failure on assignment or examination
- Reduction in the course grade that exceeds the value of the assignment
- Failure in the course
- Removal from the program of study
- Notation on the student’s transcript
- Suspension from the University for a definite period with transcript notation
- Permanent debarment from the University with a transcript notation
- Withholding or rescinding a Brock degree or certificate
In either case, a letter of first (or subsequent) offence is placed in the student’s academic file.
How is the infraction documented?
From the Academic Integrity Policy: A record of disciplinary rulings shall be placed in the student’s academic file and maintained by the Office of the Registrar or the Faculty of Graduate Studies, as appropriate. Files relating to investigations shall be maintained within the individual Faculties until graduation or for a minimum of three years following the date of the letter notifying the student of the discipline decision.
What do I have to do if the student appeals?
Instructors are often invited to the appeal process and may attend with the Associate Dean, Dean(s) and Chair/Graduate Program Director. You may be invited to answer questions about the case as it pertains to your knowledge and information as the Instructor. The Ombudsperson can advise the student through the appeal process.
What happens if there are issues with a student during exams?
Occasionally, students may be caught with study notes or their phones during exams. The invigilators will document the issue in their reports which are forwarded to the Dean’s Office/Graduate Program Director. While unauthorized materials should be confiscated, some students may become upset if their phone is taken away. Rather than take phones away, it is suggested that the phone be powered off and placed under the student’s desk. It is recommended that the student be allowed to continue to write the exam. To minimize the further benefit of the unauthorized materials,instructors may choose to confiscate the unauthorized materials, as well as the student’s exam that had been written thus far, and then allow the student to continue the exam with a blank examination script if one is available.
Need more help?
- Academic Integrity Policy
The policy approved by Brock University’s Senate outlines the University-approved procedures for upholding academic integrity.
- Brock Copyright FAQ
A centralized source of copyright information for the Brock University community.
- Brock University Faculty Handbook, Section 3: Academic Regulations
Provides policy pertaining to the roles and responsibilities of faculty members.
- Centre for Pedagogical Innovation
Resources and assistance with course design, assignment design and educational outreach.