Additional Information for Faculty and Staff:
- What Instructors Can Do to Prevent Academic Dishonesty
- Assistance and Guidance in Investigating Misconduct
- Responding to Troubled or Disruptive Students
- Handling Classroom Disruptions
- Ethics, Rights and Academic (mis)conduct
- Faculty/Staff Guide on Responding to Sexual Assault and Dating Violence
What Instructors Can Do to Prevent Academic Dishonesty
- You can foster an atmosphere of trust with an open and frank discussion of values, academic integrity, and course expectations. The beginning of the semester and/or before the first exam or paper assignment are natural times to discuss these issues with students.
- Make clear your expectation that work submitted under a student's name must be solely the work of that student and be carried out in the manner prescribed. Feel free to refer students to the DoSL page on academic misconduct.
- Since there is wide variation among instructors as to the amount of collaboration on assignments permitted or encouraged, it is important to let students know your expectations regarding discussion and/or collaboration on assignments. Avoid speaking in general terms; instead, giving specific examples helps make the distinction between what is acceptable and unacceptable more clear to students.
- Discuss plagiarism and the rules of citation. This is particularly important for new students who may not be well grounded in the mechanics of citing sources or who may not understand that plagiarism is using another's ideas or exact words without credit. The Writing Center (263-1992) can provide you with a handout entitled "Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Acknowledging Sources" to duplicate and distribute to your students.
- Be clear that plagiarism rules extend to material found on websites and other electronic sources. To encourage proper citation practice, include a format for citing such sources on any style sheet handed out to students. (For more information, refer to the "Internet Citation Guides" web pages on the campus libraries' website.
- Make clear if you will allow students to submit work that has previously been submitted in another course.
- To reduce the temptation to cheat during exams, consider the conditions under which exams are given. Attention to seating, number and role of proctors, and the use of alternate versions of your exams may be useful. Instructors tell us that their presence at all exams helps reduce the incidence of cheating.
- Honest students are concerned and upset when they observe others cheating. An open discussion of the importance and value you place upon academic honesty will encourage students who observe misconduct to come to you to share their concerns and observations.
Assistance and Guidance in Investigating Misconduct
- A plain language summary of UWS 14-UW System Academic Misconduct Rules and Procedures;
- A sample format for the written report an instructor must provide if s/he believes a student has committed academic misconduct.
- Who to consult for more information
The discovery of cheating in the classroom is discouraging and unpleasant for instructors. Our own values of academic integrity and our view of the classroom as a locale of safety, integrity and respect can lead to intense personal reactions when it appears that a student violates this trust. While the majority of students are honest, the reality is that some students are tempted to and will cheat.
This site is designed to assist instructors in responding to or investigating academic misconduct. Instructors may also want to refer to the full text of the University of Wisconsin Systems Administrative Code Chapter on Academic Misconduct, UWS 14 (as approved by The Faculty Senate, The Board of Regents, and the Wisconsin Legislature) and the full text of our institutional procedures for implementing UWS 14 as adopted by the Chancellor.
Plain Language Summary of UWS 14 Process
UWS 14 is the chapter of the University of Wisconsin System Administrative code that regulates academic misconduct. UW-Madison implements the rules defined in UWS 14 through our own "Student Academic Misconduct Campus Procedures". UWS 14.03 defines academic misconduct as follows:
- Academic Misconduct Subject to Disciplinary Action
- Academic misconduct is an act in which a student:
- (a) seeks to claim credit for the work or efforts of another without authorization or citation;
- (b) uses unauthorized materials or fabricated data in any academic exercise;
- (c) forges or falsifies academic documents or records;
- (d) intentionally impedes or damages the academic work of others;
- (e) engages in conduct aimed at making false representation of a student's academic performance;
- (f) assists other students in any of these acts.
Examples include but are not limited to: using notes or a programmable calculator in an exam when such use is not allowed; using another person's ideas, words, or research and presenting it as one's own by not properly crediting the originator; stealing examinations or course materials; changing or creating data in a lab experiment; altering a transcript; signing another person's name to an attendance sheet; hiding a book knowing that another student needs it to prepare an assignment; collaboration that is contrary to the stated rules of the course, or tampering with a lab experiment or computer program of another student.
If it appears that a student in your class may be guilty of academic misconduct, as defined by UWS 14.03, you must promptly ask the student to meet with you informally to discuss your concerns.*
- Your request to meet with the student should indicate that you have questions about whether academic misconduct has occurred.
- During this meeting, explain why you believe the student may have committed academic misconduct and share the evidence you have.
- Remember this is an investigation and you should maintain an open mind. Give the student time during the meeting to respond and provide their perspective on the matter.
- If you conclude that no misconduct occurred or that no penalty is warranted, this meeting will end the matter.
- If you conclude that the student is guilty and that a penalty is warranted, you may choose from the following range of sanctions. You may impose more than one penalty.
- If the semester is ending and grades are due when 1) you have not completed your investigation, or 2) before the student's10 day period to request a hearing has expired, or 3) when a student has requested a hearing but it has not yet occurred, give the student an "I" (Incomplete) until the matter is closed and final. NOTE: Even if the recommended sanction is "removal from the course", students should continue in class and take all exams pending the decision of the hearing body.
*Note: If students not enrolled in your class are involved, or if you have reason to believe the student may have been involved in other incidents, or if you feel you could not give the student a fair hearing, you should contact the Dean of Students Office and ask for an investigating officer to be assigned to the case.
UWS Chapter 14 lists penalties as "a" through "j." T hey are grouped by level of severity and procedural process as follows:
- Group A
- a) An oral reprimand
- b) A written reprimand presented only to the student
- c) An assignment to repeat the work, to be graded on its merits
- Group B
- d) A lower or failing grade on the particular assignment or test
- e) A lower grade in the course
- f) A failing grade in the course
- g) Removal of the student from the course in progress
- h) A written reprimand to be included in the student's disciplinary file
- Group C
- i) University disciplinary probation
- j) Suspension or expulsion from the University
- Group A: Penalties a through c -
You can privately reprimand the student, either orally or in writing, and/or ask the student to repeat the work in which the misconduct occurred. Under the latter option, you must grade the work on its merits without making a deduction for the previous misconduct. No permanent record is made of the incident. The student does have the right to contest any penalty you impose, including these very mild ones. You must inform the student of the right to a hearing and you should keep some notes about the incident.
- Group B: Penalties d through h -
If you choose a penalty in this group, you must prepare a written report, (see sample report format below) summarizing the reasons for your belief that misconduct occurred, proposing one or more sanctions, and notifying the student that s/he has the right to request a hearing within 10 days. You must send or give a copy of your report to the student. Send two copies of the report to Student Advocacy & Judicial Affairs in DoSL who will forward one copy to the Dean of the student's college. SAJA will frequently recommend an additional disciplinary sanction of probation or suspension if the student has committed academic misconduct more than once or if the student is in a professional or graduate program. If you have decided to remove the student from the course, SAJA will file the course change form.
- Group C: Penalties i through j -
If you conclude that disciplinary probation, suspension or expulsion is warranted, the incident must be referred to SAJA in the Division of Student Life. Your report to the Dean of Students should include a description of the incident and specification of the sanction recommended. Send or give a copy of this report to the student. The Investigating Officer appointed by SAJA to follow through with the case will consult with you and will also meet with the student. A hearing will automatically be scheduled for these sanctions unless the student waives this right.
Student's Right to a Hearing
If the student wishes to contest any part of your report, he or she may request a hearing before the Academic Misconduct Hearing Committee. Requests must be made within 10 days of the instructor's oral or written decision. If the sanction you propose is probation, suspension or expulsion from the University, the case will go to hearing automatically, unless the student waives this right. In cases where the recommended sanction is suspension or expulsion, the student may choose to have the hearing before either the Academic Misconduct Hearing Committee or before a single hearing examiner designated by the Chancellor.
The instructor's role in the hearing will be that of a witness; you are not obliged to "prosecute" the case. At the hearing, the instructor, the investigating officer (if there is one), and the student will each be asked to present evidence and make a statement. The committee or examiner will listen to the evidence and arguments and decide whether academic misconduct has occurred and what the appropriate sanction should be. The committee or examiner is not limited to the sanction recommended by the instructor.
If the hearing committee or examiner prescribes suspension or expulsion, the student can appeal to the chancellor, who will review the record of the case. Ordinarily, campus decisions are final except that the Board of Regents may, at its discretion, grant a review of the record.
Sample Report on Academic Misconduct
Download a form letter in MS Word format.
Note: For use in penalties (d) through (h) only.
The typical written report is comprised of the following sections:
- Explanation of the facts supporting instructor's conclusion
- Disciplinary sanction being recommended
- Notification of the student's right to a hearing
- Notice of filing with the Associate Dean of Students and the academic dean
This report may either be delivered to the student in person or be mailed to his/her current local address.
For More Information
For assistance with implementing the academic misconduct policies and procedures, please contact the staff of Student Advocacy & Judicial Affairs staff in DoSL at (608) 263-5700 or at email@example.com. The on-call dean should be able to respond to your question or concern on the same day.