Academic Misconduct, Undergraduate

Owner
Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education

Key Contacts

If you have questions, please contact the Office of Academic Programs and Student Development.

Applicability

Instructors

Policy Purpose and Description

This policy introduces students to faculty expectations related to learning, research, and scholarship and to the standards of the UI academic community, with undergraduates recognized as essential members of this community. The policy fosters a climate of integrity in the classroom, protecting students from others who try to take advantage of peers through misconduct. 

The policy also helps to protect the integrity and reputation of the instructor, department, CLAS, and UI and the validity of the degree while supporting the Code of Student Life, overseen by the Office of the Dean of Students, which also outlines student obligations as members of the University community. Academic misconduct, as stated in the related policy, is ordinarily handled by the student’s undergraduate college. (For link, see 3. Definitions.) 

Instructors must report incidents of undergraduate academic misconduct to CLAS by using the required online reporting form after communicating these concerns directly to the student. 

Definitions

  • Academic Integrity Seminar (AIS): A sanction given by the College for a student’s first offense; the seminar is non-credit bearing and is offered by an institution outside of UI. The seminar focuses on the importance of integrity to a civil society and to equity, with an emphasis on student reflection. AIS does not present itself as a punitive experience but as a chance for students to reflect on their goals and values. Students give positive feedback about the AIS. A fee is charged and is paid directly by the student. Scholarships are available for students in need. 

  • CLAS Code of Academic Honesty: A statement that students in essence agree to when registering for CLAS courses, as follows: "I pledge to do my own academic work and to excel to the best of my abilities, upholding the IOWA Challenge. I promise not to lie about my academic work, to cheat, or to steal the words or ideas of others, nor will I help fellow students to violate the Code of Academic Honesty." https://clas.uiowa.edu/students/handbook/academic-fraud-honor-code 

  • Code of Student Life: “The Code of Student Life is a set of standards of student behavior and conduct that help maintain a campus environment where ideas are freely exchanged, University property and processes are respected, and conflicts are peacefully resolved. When students at the University of Iowa fail to uphold these standards by engaging in a violation of the rules below, campus conduct proceedings are used to assert and uphold the Code of Student Life.” (https://dos.uiowa.edu/policies/code-of-student-life/ 

  • Documentation: Documentation for academic misconduct may include any information that supports the instructor’s findings, but generally relates to the student’s work and to the direct evidence of misconduct. 

  • Sanctions for academic misconduct: A consequence applied for infractions against the CLAS Code of Academic Honesty, as follows:

    • Course-level sanction: An instructor-assigned sanction, consisting of a reduced or failing grade for the assignment or other work in question.

    • Collegiate-level sanction:  A CLAS-assigned sanction, given in addition to the grade reduction by the instructor.

      • First-offense sanction: AIS (see definition above)

      • Second-offense sanction: Suspension for one academic year

      • Third-offense sanction: Expulsion 

Procedure

  • First, the instructor should inform the student of the concern in an email at the uiowa.edu account, asking the student to discuss the situation. See these optional guidelines for the email: https://clas.uiowa.edu/faculty/teaching-policies-resources-guidelines-e-mail-notification-academic-fraud. If the student does not respond to this email or does not choose to meet with the instructor, the instructor should continue with the reporting process. (If the student contacts the instructor in the future, the instructor may meet with the student at that time or may discuss matters by email. The instructor may also choose to refer the student to CLAS.)  

  • Teaching Assistants generally report academic misconduct to the course supervisor who will take further action, but procedures may vary by unit. Adjunct instructors or others working with a course supervisor may submit the report themselves, but generally consult first with the supervisor. Departments and programs may have slightly different reporting procedures depending on the course type, size, experience of the instructor, and other matters. 

  • Next, the instructor should fill out the online academic misconduct report, answering all questions. If a supervisor should be copied on the CLAS response, please mention that in the report. 

  • Finally, instructors upload the related documentation to the form and then submit the form, an online process.  

  • An automated email verifying that the form was successfully submitted is sent, with CLAS contact information included. 

  • The College will review the report and respond as soon as possible, generally within one to two weeks (depending on the number of reports received by CLAS in that time period). The student will receive a letter stating the College’s findings and the related consequences, with the instructor and personnel mentioned in the report copied. Advisors and DEOs are not copied because of FERPA concerns; it is the responsibility of the student to share this information with others, as needed. 

  • Additional communication may also be necessary and could occur if the student chooses to appeal the finding by CLAS. (See Academic Misconduct, Undergraduate, Students)  

Forms

Instructors may use this email template if they wish to contact a student.

Instructors must use this form report misconduct: CLAS Report of Undergraduate Academic Misconduct

Frequently Asked Questions

The student has left town for the summer; do I really have to meet with the student? 

No, contact the student by email and be sure to submit the report. 

What kind of documentation is needed?  

There is a large range of acceptable documentation; submit what you have and CLAS will respond if more is needed. Sometimes a student is found not responsible because of the lack of evidence. This can still be a very valuable experience for a student and can help the student make better choices in the future. 

I saw a student repeatedly looking at another student’s exam and copying down answers. I have no evidence in addition to what I saw. Should I report this? 

Yes. Be sure to talk to the student first in this case. Even if the student is found not responsible by the College, it is important for the student to know that you care about fairness in the classroom. This can be an important lesson for the student to learn more about integrity and its importance. 

A student in my class reported that others in the class were using cell phones. How should I handle this?  

Watch very carefully to see if there is evidence of this. You could also ask another instructor or a TA to sit in the back and to watch carefully. Remind students of class rules, why they are important, and resulting consequences. Remember that most of the students are probably not using their phones; though it can be difficult, do try to keep the tone of any discussion friendly and objective. 

I received an anonymous email with evidence of a person outside UI paid to complete all of the student’s work for the course. What should I do? 

Please submit a report to CLAS, following the procedures above. This is a serious type of cheating that we see more frequently now than in the past. 

A student misinformed me about when homework was submitted to ICON, claiming ICON had a malfunction. I talked to ITS and there was no malfunction. How should I respond? 

Talk to the student and explain why this is academic misconduct (i.e. misrepresentation to gain an advantage over others). Submit the report to the College. 

I received a paper that was at a very elevated level, in terms of its content, diction, and sentence structure, etc. I can’t believe that this student wrote the paper but I have no hard evidence besides the average work completed by the student to date. What would be the best action to take? 

Talk to the student and show the student the reasons it is not believable work. Submit a report to the College and include the student’s earlier work and the paper so we can show the student why the paper is not likely the student’s. 

A student who missed two weeks of class submitted medical documentation that I believe is forged. How can I find out for sure? 

You may call the person given in the documentation. We frequently see forged materials. Be sure to tell the provider that you do not want any private medical information but that you are concerned the document is forged. They should be able to confirm or deny the documentation. If it is forged, report the student since this action is considered a type of identity theft and could be very serious. 

I have a lot of questions about how to handle a case. Who can I talk to? 

Please call the contact person listed on this policy, above. Many cases fall into a gray area; the best thing to do in these cases is to consult about the situation. 

Related Information

See the related policy for students, including the CLAS Code of Academic Honesty: https://clas.uiowa.edu/students/handbook/academic-fraud-honor-code 

This policy supports the UI Code of Student Life, overseen by the Office of the Dean of Students (2019-2020 version), which outlines student obligations as members of the University community. Academic misconduct, as stated in the related policy, is ordinarily handled by the student’s undergraduate college and its specific policies and procedures: https://dos.uiowa.edu/policies/ 

Revision History

Fall 2011, 2018