Policy on Academic Integrity

The University of the Incarnate Word is strongly committed to the nurturing of academic excellence. The university expects its students to pursue and maintain truth, honesty and personal integrity in their academic work. The university expects that all submitted work must be the student’s original work unless sources are cited. Academic dishonesty, in any form, constitutes a serious threat to the freedoms, which define an academic community. The following definitions and guidelines have therefore been established to secure the maintenance of academic integrity at Incarnate Word.

  1. Forms of Academic Dishonesty (these include, but are not limited to:)
    1. Cheating on tests, examinations, or other class or laboratory work.
    2. Involvement in Plagiarism (appropriation of another’s work and the unacknowledged incorporation of that work in one's own written work offered for credit).
    3. Counterfeit work - including turning in as one's own, work that was created, researched, or produced by someone else or an artificial intelligence software program.
    4. Falsification of Academic Records - knowingly and improperly changing grades on transcripts, grade sheets, electronic data sheets, class reports, projects, or other academically related documents.
    5. Unauthorized Reuse of Work - the turning in of the same work to more than one class without consent of the instructor involved constitutes academic dishonesty.
    6. Theft - unauthorized use or circulation of tests or answer sheets specifically prepared for a given course and as yet not used or publicly released by the instructor of a course, or theft of completed tests.
    7. Collusion - involvement in unauthorized collaboration with another person to violate a provision of the Code of Academic Integrity.
    8. Facilitating Academic Dishonesty - intentionally or knowingly helping or attempting to help another to violate a provision of the Code of Academic Integrity.

    Instructors who are concerned that some form of academic dishonesty has occurred shall confront the student directly and may take the matter to the Dean of their College/School. Any member on the student body or the staff of the University of the Incarnate Word who is concerned that a student has engaged in some form of academic dishonesty should report the incident to the Dean of the College/School which oversees the course in question. The College/School Dean will then convene the College/School's Academic Honor Board and initiate the process of investigation outlined in II.B. below.

  2. Procedures for Investigating Claims of Academic Dishonesty and Assessing Sanctions
    1. Sanctions Assessed by Faculty

      Before any sanction by a faculty member is assigned, the instructor must meet with the student about the violation. Sanctions must be confirmed in writing to the student, copied to the Dean of the College/School, which the instructor is a member, and copied to the Provost. These records ARE NOT placed in the student's permanent academic file and will be destroyed when the student graduates or otherwise ceases his/her relationship with the university.

      1. When Guilt Is Admitted: If a student who is confronted by a faculty member for engaging in academic dishonesty openly admits to wrongdoing, the instructor will:
        1. Give the student an F for the assignment in question, and may
        2. Forward the case to the Academic Honor Board of the College/School to consider additional sanctions.
      2. When Guilt Is Not Admitted: If a student accused by a faculty member of academic dishonesty does not admit wrongdoing, his/her appeal should be made directly to the Dean of the College/School with course responsibility so that the Academic Honor Board can formally investigate the allegation and decide which appropriate action should be taken.
    2. Sanctions Assessed by the Academic Honor Board
    3. When cases alleging academic dishonesty are forwarded to a College/School Dean, he or she will convene an Academic Honor Board. The student (respondent) alleged to have engaged in academic dishonestly will be notified of the convening of the Board. Notices may be personally delivered to the respondent or by placing a notice addressed to the respondent’s Campus Mail Box or sent by certified mail the respondent’s home address. The Board will be comprised of two faculty members from the College/School selected by the Academic Dean and two students selected from a list of students previously identified by the College/School faculty. The College/School Dean will serve as chairperson of the Board; however, he/she will only vote in cases where the Board is split on any given decision.

      The respondent may request that a student or faculty member not sit in judgment if he/she feels that the vote may be biased or prejudiced as a consequence. Some substantiation of the claim may be required, and the final decision shall rest with the College/School Dean. The College/School Dean is responsible for any substitution to the Board in order to obtain a quorum of five members.

      A student (respondent) is presumed not to have engaged in academic dishonesty until proven guilty by the preponderance of evidence, or until guilt is admitted, or a simple majority vote of the Board members is reached. If the Board finds that the respondent engaged in academic dishonestly, the Board may impose sanctions. Sanctions may include:

      1. Receiving an “F” for the assignment in question,
      2. Receiving an “F” for the course,
      3. Academic suspension,
      4. Dismissal from the university, and/or
      5. Other action deemed appropriate.

      The decision of the Board will be communicated in writing to the student, as described in II. A.

      In order to assure a student's right to due-process, the procedure of formal inquiry by the Academic Honor Board will include:

      1. Securing a written statement describing the nature and circumstances of the alleged offense from the student, faculty, or staff member making the allegation.
      2. Securing a written statement describing the incident from the accused student.
      3. Interviewing separately the accused student, and the faculty/staff member alleging the dishonesty in order to clarify and to expand the written statements.
      4. Interviewing any witnesses or other persons claiming knowledge of the incident.
      5. Securing, examining, and retaining any physical evidence related to the incident.

      Using written statements, interviews, and available physical evidence, the Academic Honor Board will decide the validity of the alleged incident of academic dishonesty.

      If the academic dishonesty has been verified, the Academic Honor Board will make a determination of appropriate sanctions to be imposed and, in a written statement, inform the student in question of the decision.

      Pending the final action of the Academic Honor Board, the status of the student shall not be altered, nor his/her right to be present on campus, to attend classes, and to participate in university sponsored activities.

  3. Appeals of Disciplinary Sanctions Assessed by the Academic Honor Board

    Any student (respondent) who feels he/she has not been accorded justice by the Academic Honor Board may appeal to the Provost for review of the decision. If the Provost determines that there should be a review, he/she convenes a Committee on Academic Integrity which is comprised of the Dean of Campus Life, an elected member of the Faculty Senate, and an elected member of the Student Government Association (SGA). The Committee shall determine whether the process followed by the Academic Honor Board was fair and impartial and that adequate consideration was given to evidence and information presented.

    1. Timetable - Appeals to Academic Honor Board decisions must be submitted in writing to the Committee on Academic Integrity within ten (10) working days of the Board's decision.
    2. Following a review of the appeal, the Committee on Academic Integrity will determine whether to uphold, modify, or reverse the findings of the Academic Honor Board.
    3. The decision of the Committee on Academic Integrity shall be considered FINAL. A written statement shall be sent to the student (appellant) in question no later than three (3) days after the committee’s final decision is reached.