Carnegie Mellon Engineering




CIT Policy on Graduate Student Academic Integrity Violations

 

Academic integrity expectations and definitions of violations for all students are presented in the university Policy on Cheating and Plagiarism. Under this policy, there are somewhat different disciplinary processes and actions for undergraduate students and for graduate students. The procedures and penalties described in the university Academic Disciplinary Actions Overview for Graduate Students are applied when there are academic integrity violations by graduate students in the College of Engineering. As indicated in that document, departments have primary authority for addressing graduate student academic integrity violations. Thus, individual departments may have developed procedures specific to their unit for evaluation and judgment regarding academic integrity violations by graduate students. The basic process is the same across the College of Engineering, however, and follows the university academic disciplinary process for graduate students given below. The penalty structure for graduate students in all CIT departments and programs is provided in the last section.

 

 

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[Excerpted from the university Academic Disciplinary Actions Overview for Graduate Students; italicized text is specific to CIT and has been added.]

 

Procedures

Incidents of suspected academic integrity violations shall be handled at the level at which the incident occurs (e.g., course or research project) and at the department level, reported immediately to designated parties and (where appropriate as answered below) shall receive second-level review(s) in the manner outlined in the following section.

 

Initial Review, Decision, and Action(s)

Initial review, decision and action(s) shall remain local, to involve the instructor(s) or academic supervisor(s) and, if desired, consultation with a third party from the faculty, the department/program head or associate head, or the Dean of Student Affairs. Instructors are free to discuss alleged violations informally with the student(s) thought to be involved, but should avoid revealing the identity of other students involved, if at all possible. Suspected violations that would result in a penalty should be handled by the instructor(s), in direct communication with the student(s) involved, within one week of discovery of the suspected infraction and imposition of a penalty.


After discussion with the student(s) involved and their response, the instructor(s) shall conclude, within a reasonable period of time and based on available evidence, whether the suspected violation(s) occurred. Instructors are encouraged to consult at this stage with their department/program head about the nature of the suspected violations, the nature of the evidence of these violations and the range of penalties under consideration. They may also choose to consult with the Dean of Student Affairs. If the conclusion is that the suspected violation(s) did occur, the instructor(s) shall also choose an appropriate penalty.

 

The most severe penalty available at this level of review and action shall be failure in the course or dismissal from a project, although instructors may also recommend a more severe penalty to the student's home department/program head, who retains the options to impose more severe penalties (e.g., including suspension or dismissal from the program) at this level (see Penalties for Graduate Student Academic Integrity Violations in CIT). Elements to consider include prior incidents of academic disciplinary action in a student's record, available from the Dean of Student Affairs. The department/program head may discuss the issue with a student and choose to convene a disciplinary hearing according to the procedures of the department/program. 

 

The student shall be notified immediately, and in writing, of this decision, the basis for this decision and (when applicable) the penalty imposed. This notification will come from the instructor and/or department/program head depending on the penalty involved. Students whose penalty is failure in the course in question will not be allowed to drop the course and should be so informed. Students should also be informed at this time of their right (and attendant procedures) for appeal (see Student Appeals).

 

Reporting of Initial Actions

A copy of the letter outlining the initial decision and action to the student(s) involved in cases of academic disciplinary violations should also be directed to the following parties:

 

  • Student's home department/program head
  • CIT Associate Dean of Graduate and Faculty Affairs
  • Dean's office of the college housing the course in which the violation(s) occurred (if different from CIT)
  • The head of the student's major department
  • The Dean of Student Affairs
  • The Provost

 


The Dean of Student Affairs will maintain the central record of academic disciplinary violations and actions. If the Dean of Student Affairs is aware of information on prior incidents of academic disciplinary actions in the student's record, he or she should communicate that information to the department/program head and give the department/program head the opportunity to impose an appropriate sanction.

 

Second-level Review and Action(s)

Normally, a second-level review of an initial decision and action follows from at least one of three sources: (1) appeal by the student(s) involved because the student deems the penalty inappropriate and/or believes that improper procedure has been followed, (2) recommendation by the instructor, home department/program/college that the student be permanently expelled from the university, (3) recommendation by the Provost for a review.

 

Where an appeal is made or a second-level action appears warranted, the Provost will determine what action should be taken. The Provost may decide to deny the appeal or waive the opportunity for a second-level action, to remand the case to the department/program head for additional consideration, to order a new or different penalty or to convene a Review Committee for additional investigation of facts and/or determination of appropriate sanctions.

 

Student Appeals

In general, students who want to appeal an academic disciplinary action must state in writing to the Provost their intention to do so within one week of the penalty date in question, and then must present their appeal to the provost no later than two weeks after said penalty date. Appeals must be in writing, with appropriate documentation.

 

If the Provost determines that a second-level review is warranted and that a Review Board should be convened, the Provost or his/her designee shall immediately form and convene a Review Board and designate a chair. The board will include faculty from CIT, a graduate student from CIT, the Dean of Student Affairs and others deemed appropriate by the Provost. If a student appeal and a review of a recommendation for second-level action occur at the same time, both shall be considered by this Review Board simultaneously. Where appropriate, it is expected that the instructor(s) from the course/project involved (or appropriate representatives designated by the department) will be available for participation or at least for consultation. The chair of the board shall inform the student(s) involved, in writing, of this step. Copies of this letter should go to:

  • The instructor(s) in the course in question
  • The department head of the course involved
  • CIT Associate Dean for Graduate and Faculty Affairs
  • Dean's office of the college housing the course in which the violation(s) occurred (if different from CIT)
  • The head of the student's major department
  • The Provost

 

The Review Board shall (a) review the facts of incidents involved and (b) make a recommendation about second-level action to the provost or his/her designee. The Provost shall then render a decision subject only to appeal to the president of the university.

 

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Penalties for Graduate Student Academic Integrity Violations in CIT

Upon the first academic integrity violation, in addition to the course-level action the student will be placed on academic probation and may be subject to one or more of the following additional actions as determined by the instructor and/or department head or program director: revocation of any financial award or position received through the college, department, or program; and, in cases where a first violation is particularly deplorable, a student may be expelled. Upon a second academic integrity violation, the student will be expelled from the university.

 

Penalties and limitations for students on academic probation may include:

 

  • Students on academic probation may have any scholarships and/or financial awards from the college/department/program suspended.
  • Students on academic probation are required to seek approval from the department/program head for all academic activities until they are removed from probation.
  • Students on academic probation may be denied admission to certain courses, as determined by the department/program head.
  • Students on academic probation are required to seek approval from the department/program head to take "Pass/Fail" courses or independent study courses.
  • Students on academic probation cannot be selected to receive new awards or scholarships.
  • Students on academic probation may not formally represent the college, department, or program as an officer or other position in a student club or campus organization.
  • Students on academic probation may be required to perform community service for the department, college, or program.

 

A student with an academic integrity violation may be removed from probation during a later semester. However, he/she may not hold an elected office or officially represent the college, department, or program in a campus organization for the duration of their program. Students have the right to appeal the department/program penalty, as described under Student Appeals.

 


(policy created 3/17/2010)