Wilkes University’s academic integrity policy: What gets lost in interpretation

The policy for cheating is laid out in the student handbook. However, confusion can still arise.

According to the student handbook, instructors are expected to report violations to both the Dean of Students and the Provost.

However, many faculty members choose to initially deal with incidents of cheating within their department. Penalties for violations may range from failure in the particular assignment, program, or test to failure for the course.

Confusion can arise when multiple cases of cheating involving one student are dealt with within the department. If the department does not involve student affairs from the beginning, the first report to them is, as far as they know, the student’s first offense. Therefore it is unlikely that drastic measures will be taken right away.

Instructors also have the option referring the case for disposition to the Student Affairs Cabinet. The academic sanctions imposed are the purview of the Faculty; the Student Affairs Cabinet determines disciplinary sanctions. The appeal of a failing grade for academic dishonesty will follow the academic grievance policy. The appeal of a disciplinary sanction will follow the disciplinary action policy.

According to the student handbook, the following are considered to be serious violations and will not be tolerated:

1. Plagiarism: the use of another’s ideas, programs, or words without proper acknowledgment

2. Collusion: improper collaboration with another in preparing assignments, computer programs, or in taking examinations

3. Cheating: giving improper aid to another, or receiving such aid from another, or from some other source.

4. Falsifying: the fabrication, misrepresentation, or alteration of citations, experimental data, laboratory data, or data derived from other empirical methods.

There is a policy change underway which involves faculty reporting all cheating incidents to department chairs. The hope is that there will be more communication among departments across the university so that there can be consistency in dealing with academic dishonesty as well as  a collective effort to put an end to it.