Academic Integrity Policy and Procedures
Academic and intellectual integrity is expected of all individuals at the College of Coastal Georgia. The College expects students to be honest and present work that is only their own. Scholarship and fairness require that improper work be rejected and that violations be investigated and appropriate sanctions administered.
Academic dishonesty includes plagiarism, cheating, giving or receiving assistance not authorized by the instructor, using one's own prior work, or in any other way presenting work that is not that of the student to whom an assignment was made.
Cheating is using or attempting to use materials, information, or study aids not permitted by the instructor in exams or other assigned work. Cheating can occur by students obtaining materials for tests or assignments not authorized by the instructor, giving unauthorized aid to a student before or during an examination, taking an exam for another student, or submitting significant portions of the same work in two different classes without prior approval by both instructors.
Plagiarism is defined as representing another person's work (including a student's own prior work), ideas, data, or words as one's own or as original. It is expected that all work must properly credit sources of information. Instructors should explain to students their expectations with respect to sourcing and documentation.
Students may not sell papers or additional services that assist other students in their creation of academic work for course requirements. Students who are not enrolled in a particular course, but who assist students in completing work for a course, may still be found in violation of the student academic honesty policy.
The following process outlines the steps taken to resolve issues of academic dishonesty. This process is centered on the faculty member's right to manage the classroom environment and administer course grades as well as the student's right to due process if accused of misconduct.
It is important that at the start of every semester faculty state to the class and in the syllabus the importance of academic integrity. Examples of cheating or plagiarism should be given to students. Faculty should also include on their syllabi the description of the process of resolving questions of academic integrity and honesty. This description should include the sanctions the instructor will impose for academic dishonesty in his or her course if the accused student accepts responsibility and chooses to handle the matter internally. These penalties, however, may not include a final grade of F in the course in question. This penalty can be assigned only by the Conduct Board.
Classroom instructors initiate the academic integrity process. Upon suspicion of an instance of academic dishonesty, the faculty member must inform the student of his or her concerns through the Academic Integrity Incident Report (Appendix A) within five business days and ultimately file a copy of the Academic Integrity Incident Report with the Dean of Students, acting as Chair of the Conduct Board, within two business days after meeting with the student.
At the point that the faculty member shares his or her concern with a student, a student may accept responsibility for his or her actions and allow the faculty to levy a sanction that should be described on the course syllabus. In a case where a student accepts responsibility and the faculty member’s sanction, the Academic Integrity Report remains on file with the Dean of Students for future reference in case of a repeat offense by a given student. If the student does not accept responsibility, the faculty member advises the student that the incident will be referred to the Dean of Students and within one business day, the faculty member submits the Academic Integrity Incident Report to the Dean of Students and requests that the Dean take action.
It should be noted that if a student (complainant) initiates a report of academic dishonesty of another student to a faculty member, the faculty member is obligated to follow the same process as outlined above and submit a report to the Dean of Students.
In cases where a student (complainant) reports another student, the faculty member outlines the details of the incident as reported by the complainant along with any additional information the faculty member may have regarding the accusation. The complainant needs to be identified on the report and is permitted to submit a report that is attached to the Academic Integrity Incident Report.
Upon receiving the report, the Dean of Students schedules a date for a hearing. The student, faculty member, and, if appropriate, the complainant will receive a minimum of a three-day advance notification of the hearing date and time along with a copy of the report. At the hearing, the Dean of Students reads to the student the charges and the student presents his or her perspective on what happened. At that point, the Dean of Students and members of the Conduct Board may ask questions, first of the faculty member and second, of the student(s).
After questioning is completed, the Conduct Board goes into executive session to discuss the issue and then votes responsible or not responsible.
If the finding is responsible, the Conduct Board must decide a sanction. Sanctions may include one or all of the following:
- Academic warning - The Dean of Students sends a letter to the student (and a copy to the faculty member) stating that the student is found responsible for the alleged act. However, this finding is not used to determine the student's grade. A copy of the letter will be placed in the student's permanent file.
- Failing grade for the assignment - The Dean of Students informs the instructor that a grade of zero should be assigned to that part of the course in question. The final course grade is to be determined as described in the syllabus with the zero included in the grade calculation. This assigned grade of zero may not be appealed.
- Failing grade for the course - The Dean of Students instructs the faculty member to assign a course grade of F to the student(s) in question. This grade may not be appealed.
- Academic suspension - For repeat offenses, a student may be recommended for academic suspension. This recommendation will be sent to the Vice President for Student Affairs (VPSA), who will make the final decision on whether a student will be dismissed from the College. The decision of the VPSA may not be appealed to the President of the College.
A student may submit a letter of appeal to the VPSA within five business days of receiving a decision letter from the Dean of Students (on behalf of the Conduct Board). The appeal to the VPSA is not to rehear the matter, but rather must illustrate re-consideration of the sanctions based on missing evidence or the failure of the faculty or Conduct Board to follow the hearing process outlined above. No additional appeals are available once the Vice President for Student Affairs renders a decision.
Recordings of the hearing of the Conduct Board will be made and, if a grade adjustment or academic suspension is the resulting sanction, the results will be filed in the Office of the Registrar. All reports will be filed under the student's conduct record in the Office of Student Affairs.
A student found responsible for a violation of the academic integrity policy may not appeal the grade for that particular course under the Student Academic Appeal Policy. However, a final grade appeal that does not involve a violation of the academic integrity policy may be made to the appropriate academic dean according to normal procedures.