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Academic Integrity

The purpose of this document is to provide an overview of Academic Integrity within the Farmer School of Business (FSB). This report includes recent insights from the academic integrity literature; an overview of Miami University’s academic integrity policies and sanctions; and recommendations for how FSB academic integrity policies and sanctions may be more uniformly applied both within and among departments.   

Academic Integrity Insights

Over the past 25 years, numerous studies have addressed the concept of academic integrity and most colleges/universities have developed an office charged with managing the academic integrity process. Originating from one of the initial academic integrity studies, the International Center for Academic Integrity “offers assessment services, resources and consultations to member institutions and facilitates conversations on academic integrity topics” (Stone, Kisamore, Jawahar, Bolin, 2014). In addition, recent research suggests a “sea change” in how students perceive and define cheating (McCabe, Butterfield, Trevino, 2012). As opposed to viewing all violations of academic integrity as equal, a more contemporary viewpoint suggests violations should be considered by the level of severity, minor versus major violations, and by the level of premeditation associated with the violation, planned versus panic-based violations of academic integrity (Stone, Ksiamore, Jawahar, Bolin, 2014). How colleges/universities manage violations of academic integrity varies along a broad continuum ranging from student-run honor boards to faculty-reviewed committees, to systems mirroring Miami University’s process of involving department chairs/associate deans and the Office of Academic Integrity. In addition, colleges/universities differ with respect to policies pertaining to the permanence of transcript notations denoting violations of academic integrity. Some colleges/universities, such as Miami University, have strict rules regarding academic dishonesty transcript notations such that the academic transcript notation is permanent. Other colleges/universities have a more lenient policy that allows for such notations to be removed from the student’s academic transcript after a specified period of time. 

Regardless of how academic integrity violations are classified, the Josephson Institute of Ethics’ biannual Report Card on the Ethics of American Youth continues to report that more than 50 percent of respondents admit to cheating on an exam and lying to a teacher (Josephson Institute Center for Youth Ethics, 2012). While the percentages have decreased in recent years, suggesting a “moral revolution” is underway, the survey of over 23,000 high school students points to the severity of the problem as these students matriculate to college campuses. Furthermore, when asked what skills set college graduates should possess, employers frequently include ethics and integrity. (Association of American Colleges & Universities, 2007). Thus, the overall concept of academic integrity has been and continues to be at the forefront of issues faculty and administrators must address as the business community continues to place value on the overall concept of ethics and integrity.

Academic Integrity Policies & Sanctions

The policies addressing academic integrity at Miami University are detailed in the Miami University Student Handbook, Part 1, Undergraduate Academic Regulations, Chapter 5. Academic dishonesty is defined as any activity that comprises the academic integrity of the institution or subverts the educational process and includes but is not limited to: Cheating, Plagiarism, Fabrication, Unauthorized Collaboration, Misrepresentation and Gaining an Unfair Advantage. Miami University’s policies addressing academic integrity do not explicitly address the level of severity associated with the violation nor the level of premeditation associated with the violation. In addition, the University’s policies do not explicitly address how “vigilant” a faculty member’s efforts should be in discovering violations of academic integrity. 

The Student Handbook indicates a student found responsible for academic dishonesty will receive an appropriate grade-related sanction including the following: Zero/F on the Assignment; Reduced Grade in the Course; F in the Course; ADF in the Course (F with Transcript Notation of Academic Dishonesty).In addition, completion of an online academic integrity seminar also may be required. Lastly, a student who commits a second dishonesty offense will automatically be suspended from the university for at least one semester. In an effort to provide all parties with explicit direction regarding academic integrity within the FSB, the following policies will be followed by all FSB department chairs, faculty, staff and students.

Given the insights from the academic integrity literature with respect to level of severity and the level of premeditation, the FSB will consider both the level of severity, minor versus major, associated with the violation and the level of premeditation, planned versus panic-based, associated with the violation when determining the appropriate sanction. Furthermore, as a means of reducing potential variance associated with academic integrity sanctions, the following academic integrity sanctions will be administered in all FSB courses. (Refer to Table One, FSB Academic Integrity Sanctions)

The FSB Academic Integrity Sanctions distinguish the type of academic assignment: homework, case, examination; the level of severity of the academic integrity violation: minor versus major; and the level of premeditation: planned versus panic-based. Specific detail for each category follows.

Homework/Lab Exercises: This category of academic integrity violations is classified as minor, with no determination of premeditation and sanctions of a zero on the assignment, which may result in a reduced course grade, and the student must attend an online academic integrity seminar.

Written Cases/Written Reports/Oral Presentations: This category of academic integrity violations is classified as major, with no determination of premeditation and sanctions of a zero on the assignment, which may result in a reduced course grade, in addition, the final course grade will be lowered an additional letter grade, and the student must attend an online academic integrity seminar. 

Examinations: This category of academic integrity violations is classified as major, with a determination of premeditation and sanctions dependent on whether the violation is determined to be panic-based or planned. If panic-based, the sanctions will be an F for the course and the student must attend an online academic integrity seminar. If planned, the sanctions will be an ADF for the course and the student must attend an online academic integrity seminar.  

Developing a Culture of Reporting Academic Integrity

Academic integrity policies, enacted at either the University or the FSB-level, will be most effective if all faculty develop a practice or culture of reporting violations. Such a culture of reporting should occur at two levels. First, faculty must develop a level of comfort with reporting explicit violations of academic integrity. For example, students who are observed cheating on an examination or students who have plagiarized on a report or case assignment must be reported. Such “first-level” reporting of violations of academic integrity establishes a foundation with the student body that academic integrity is taken seriously within the FSB and all violations will be reported. 

All faculty must report every violation of academic integrity in every FSB course, including undergraduate and graduate courses; online, hybrid and face-to-face courses; fall, winter, spring and summer term courses; and Oxford, Luxembourg and International Programs courses. 

TABLE ONE

FSB ACADEMIC INTEGRITY SANCTIONS

 

TYPE OF ASSIGNMENT LEVEL OF SEVERITY (MINOR VS. MAJOR) LEVEL OF PREMEDITATION (PLANNED VS. PANIC) RECOMMENDED SANCTION
Homework, Lab Exercise Minor Planned or Panic-Based

*Zero on the Assignment

*May result in Reduced Course Grade

*Academic Integrity Seminar

Written Cases, Written Reports, Oral Presentations Major Planned or Panic-Based

*Zero on the Assignment

*May result in Reduced Course Grade

*In Addition, Final Course Letter Grade

will be Lowered an Additional Letter Grade

*Academic Integrity Seminar

Examinations Major

Panic-Based


Planned

*F in the Course

*Academic Integrity Seminar


*ADF in the Course

*Academic Integrity Seminar