Appropriate conditions and opportunities for learning are important measures of the quality of an educational institution. The university assumes a number of essential responsibilities in order to achieve academic excellence and to preserve the ideals of academic freedom for students. As members of the academic community students similarly accept certain responsibilities.
The primary purposes of a university are to produce new knowledge and to share knowledge acquired from others. These purposes can be achieved only when intellectual property rights are recognized by everyone within the university. Thus academic integrity is essential; university citizens must take responsibility for their own work and give credit when using the work of others.
One effective way for an individual to maintain academic integrity is to accept and follow a code of honorable conduct. The Honor Code authored by the Academic and Leadership Development Committee of the Student Association is one such code:
As a student at Saginaw Valley State University:
I am committed to upholding a high standard of academic integrity in all of my work, inside and outside of the classroom. Out of respect for my peers, professors, institution, and self, I will complete all tasks honestly and to the best of my ability.
I am guided by my conscience as I work toward my educational and professional goals, and I expect my fellow students to practice that same moral judgment.
I take pride in my academic accomplishments and therefore will not give or receive unauthorized assistance on any assignment, project, exam, or other university requirement.
I seek to maintain the honor of a Saginaw Valley State University degree, and I will preserve its value throughout my professional career.
Academic integrity is undermined whenever one is dishonest in the pursuit of knowledge. Dishonesty takes many forms, including cheating, plagiarism, and other activities for undermining the educational process:
Cheating occurs whenever one attempts to gain an advantage through violation of rules regarding the relevant behavior. It should be assumed that collaboration is cheating unless explicitly authorized.
Plagiarism involves intentionally or unintentionally presenting another person’s expressions –ideas, opinions, illustrations, data, style–as one’s own expression.
Undermining the Educational Process occurs whenever one attempts to prevent another’s learning or subverts the recognized means by which learning occurs.
The first step to be taken by a faculty member should be a review of the evidence to ensure that there is sufficient reason to warrant a charge of academic dishonesty. This should be accomplished prior to imposing any academic sanction (e.g., failing a student for an assignment or a course) and/or referring the matter to the Office of Student Conduct Programs for adjudication.
To determine the course of action to be taken, faculty may elect to consult with a department chair, academic dean or the Office of Student Conduct
Programs. When the violation involves plagiarism faculty members are encouraged to employ all available resources (e.g., Turnitin.com, Google searches) in developing a set of evidence.
If the faculty member elects to impose an academic sanction (whether or not the faculty member also refers the matter to the Office of Student Conduct Programs), the faculty member is to advise the student of the sanction. If the student elects to appeal the academic sanction, the student is to initiate the Student Grade Grievance Procedure, which appears in the Policies and Procedures section of the Student Handbook. If the faculty member elects not to impose an academic sanction but refers the matter to the Office of Student Conduct Programs, the disciplinary process outlined in the Code of Student Conduct will be followed.
The Hearing Panel may impose sanctions upon any student determined to be accountable for violations of the Academic Integrity Policy. Sanctions are cumulative and may be increased based on a past disciplinary record, the severity of the violation, and the impact upon the academic community. There may be circumstances that are cause for exception as determined by the Hearing Panel.
Students have the right to appeal outcomes of hearings and/or sanctions imposed. Written appeals must be submitted within three class days following the written notification of the decisions reached by the Hearing Panel. Appeals will be reviewed jointly by the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Vice President for Student Affairs.
All cases concerning academic dishonesty must be recorded in the Office of Student Conduct Programs. Additionally, student grade grievance proceedings that occur due to academic dishonesty must be recorded in the Office of Student Conduct Programs. This means that faculty, academic chairs or deans must notify the Office of Student Conduct Programs when a student’s grade is changed for reasons of academic dishonesty.