Frequently Asked Questions for Faculty
What are the University Policies?
University Policies about academic integrity are delineated in the University’s policies and procedures manual (i.e., the PennBook), Section IV of the Faculty Handbook.
As stated in Section IV. D of the Faculty Handbook, faculty have the discretion of dealing with academic integrity on their own or referring the case to the Center for Community Standards and Accountability for investigation. We strongly encourage you to refer all cases where you suspect a violation of the Code of Academic Integrity or at least to consult with CSA to better understand your options. Referring the case to the Center for Community Standards and Accountability allows you to maintain impartiality and objectivity in dealing with the student in question and, at the same time, ensures that all instances of academic dishonesty and misconduct are addressed in a consistent and fair manner.
What are the Disciplinary System Procedures?
The University’s disciplinary procedures are outlined in the Charter of the University of Pennsylvania Student Disciplinary System which can be found in the PennBook and on the Center for Community Standards and Accountability's web site. Some key aspects of the University’s disciplinary procedures can be found here.
How Can I Support Students During Difficult Times?
What to Do When You Suspect Cheating?
- Consult with appropriate colleagues, senior faculty or department chairs;
- Submit a case consult request to the Center for Community Standards and Accountability for preliminary advice (this is confidential and involves no commitment to submit a formal disciplinary case);
- Review the policies and procedures manual, i.e. the “Pennbook.”
If a student is found responsible for violating the Code of Academic Integrity, the disciplinary charter allows a faculty member to assign any grade the faculty member deems appropriate under the circumstances. If a student is found not responsible for the misconduct, faculty should assign a grade based on the student’s academic performance in the course. For additional information, see Faculty Authority to Assign Grades and Academic Integrity Policy.
Whether faculty refer the case to CSA or not, they are still responsible for determining the student’s grade. As Section IV.D. states: “Faculty members have the authority to make academic judgments in relation to their students and to make decisions in the interests of furthering their students’ education. Only the institution, acting through its formal processes, may discipline a student. Grades are not sanctions, even if they arise from a judgment that a student has violated a norm of academic integrity.”
How to Communicate Expectations to Your Students?
Effective ways of doing this are:
- referring to the Code of Academic Integrity in your syllabus and in the classroom; particularly during introductory classes and just before examinations or papers are due,
- emphasize requirements and standards of conduct with respect to completion of research, homework assignments, and examinations,
- provide specific examples of ways that students might violate the Code of Academic Integrity in the context of a particular assignment, (Negative examples are often helpful.),
- clarify the permissibility of using old examination questions and answers, lab reports, case studies, solutions manuals, internet resources such as GitHub, Cramster or Course Hero, outlines and study guides or materials prepared in collaboration with other students,
- clarify expectations with respect to permissible and impermissible collaboration—both for group work and individual work; repeat these expectations as assignments come due,
- specify whether papers must be entirely new work or whether duplications and alterations of students’ previous work are acceptable.
- educate students about plagiarism where appropriate [see resource section],
- explain to students that violations of the Code of Academic Integrity will be confronted if detected and referred to the Center for Community Standards and Accountability where appropriate,
- explain the grade consequence if found responsible for violating the Code of Academic Integrity
- particularize the importance and relevance of integrity and ethics to your discipline, wherever possible.
For a thorough and inclusive guide about encouraging academic integrity as well as tangible steps to take in preventing violations, see the University of Pennsylvania Center for Teaching and Learning’s website.
Center for Academic Integrity
The Center for Academic Integrity provides a forum to identify, affirm, and promote the values of academic integrity among students, faculty and administrators. Some of the information on the site is for members only. The public information is, however, useful.