Academic Integrity

Academic honesty, being honest and truthful in academic settings, especially in the communication and presentation of ideas, is required to experience and fulfill this mission.

Academic dishonesty, being untruthful, deceptive, or dishonest in academic settings in any way, subverts the university mission, harms faculty and students, damages the reputation of the university and diminishes public confidence in higher education.

All members of the university community share the responsibility for creating conditions that support academic integrity. In particular:
  1. Students must abstain from any violations of academic integrity and set examples for each other by assuming full responsibility for their academic and personal development, including informing themselves about and following the university's academic policy;
  2. Faculty members must foster a climate that is conducive to the development of student responsibility. They should provide guidance as to what constitutes violations of the Academic Integrity Policy and educate students about the ethical and educational implications of their actions. For instance, syllabi must call attention to the Academic Integrity Policy. 
  3. Faculty members, furthermore, have the authority and the responsibility to make the initial judgment regarding violations of academic integrity in the context of the courses that they teach. They may impose sanctions up to and including failure of a course at their own discretion in cases involving a violation of Academic Integrity policies. In cases such as alleged plagiarism, it is important that faculty members distinguish between an intentional violation of the Academic Integrity Policy and a technical error or careless work. (Faculty members may find the Academic Integrity PowerPoint presentation from Dr. Kevin Blair, one of the co-chairs of the Academic Integrity Board, to be helpful in preparing their syllabi and reporting violations.)
  4. Deans of the various colleges, with the support of the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs (AVPAA) or his/her designee and the chair of the Academic Integrity Board (AIB), are responsible for ensuring that their faculty, particularly new faculty and part-time faculty, are aware of the university's Academic Integrity Policy and of their responsibilities in this regard, to maintain the integrity of the academic review process.
These efforts are supported by detailed guidelines and procedures that are designed to deal with violations to maintain the integrity of the institution and to ensure that university standards are upheld.

How do I report a violation?

If you are a faculty member:

  1. Document the violation: please make copies of the material submitted by the student (or students) and any supporting documents such as the material from which the assignment was plagiarized or the unauthorized material used for cheating on an exam or other assignment. Please save this material in a safe location so that it can be provided to the Academic Integrity Board upon request. 
  2. Decide on the sanctions to be imposed. The sanctions should follow the guidelines laid out in your syllabus regarding academic integrity and could include failure of the assignment and/or failure of the course.
  3. Write a brief description of the violation and the sanctions/penalty assigned to the student.
  4. Open the electronic reporting form through myNU and fill in the appropriate details. You will need to provide information about the student, the course, the date and type of the violation, and a brief description of the details surrounding the violation and the sanctions imposed.
  5. Review and send the form, which will automatically generate a copy to the student, the dean of the student's home college, your dean, and the AVPAA.

Once you have sent the report, the following things could happen:

  1. Nothing. The student accepts the sanction and does not appeal. A copy of the violation report is kept on file until after the student graduates.
  2. The student may appeal your sanction. If this happens, then one of the Academic Integrity Board co-chairs will contact you about setting up an appeal hearing. At the hearing, you will present your documentation and describe the violation, and the student will also make a statement and present evidence. The Board members will ask questions of both of you. Then you and the student will be asked to leave and the Board will make a decision and notify both you and the student as to their decision regarding the appeal.
  3. The student may require a mandatory hearing if s/he has committed more than one violation during her/his time at NU. If this happens, then one of the Academic Integrity Board co-chairs will contact you about setting up a mandatory hearing. At the hearing, you and the other instructor(s) who reported violations will present your documentation and describe the violations, and the student will also make a statement and present evidence. The Board members will ask questions of the student and the instructor(s). Then the instructors and student will be asked to leave and the Board will make a decision about whether or not additional sanctions are to be imposed on the student and notify the student afterwards.

If you are an observer (anyone other than the course instructor, including a student, staff/administrator, or another faculty member):

  1. The preference is always for the report to be first made to the professor/instructor, providing the instructor the opportunity to address the
    matter himself or herself
  2. If the observer is uncomfortable or unsure about what he or she has observed, he or she may contact one of the Co-Chairs of the AIB and have the
    opportunity to discuss, in confidence, his or her observations. It will then be up to the discretion of the AIB Co-Chair to determine next steps.
    Note: The Co-Chair who receives the observer report in these circumstances should consult with the other Co-Chair before taking further actions.
  3. Anyone who has made an Observer Report to an instructor and feels the situation/violation was not adequately addressed may also contact one of
    the AIB Co-Chairs, in confidence;
    a. The Co-Chair who receives the observer report in these circumstances should consult with the other Co-Chair and determine whether further actions are warranted. The Co-Chairs may also involve the AVPAA in their deliberations.
    b. The AIB Co-Chairs will investigate as they deem appropriate, and determine if there should be a Chair-Initiated Hearing based on the information circumstances uncovered.

As you know, all members of the university community share the responsibility for creating conditions the support academic integrity, and this reporting utility is designed to ensure that in so doing, students receive a fair and equitable process.  Any concerns with the use of this reporting tool, or questions about your current report, can be directed to either the Faculty Ombudspersons for Academic Integrity or the AVPAA.

What do I do if I receive an Academic Integrity violation notice?

If you have received an academic integrity violation notice and it is your first offense, you have two options:

  1. Accept the sanction. If you accept the sanction, you do not need to do anything. A copy of the violation report is kept on file until after you graduate in case further violations are recorded.
  2. Appeal your sanction. If you feel that you did not commit the violation and/or that the sanction was not appropriately imposed, you may appeal. Please contact one of the Academic Integrity Board co-chairs to set up an appeal hearing. You must file your appeal within ten (10) academic days of receiving the violation report. At the hearing, your professor will describe the violation and present evidence, and you will also make a statement and present evidence. The Board members will ask questions of both of you. Then you both will be asked to leave and the Board will make a decision and notify you and your professor as to their decision regarding the appeal.

If  this is NOT your first offense, or if any other additional academic integrity violation(s) occur during your time at NU after your first offense, you will be required to attend a mandatory hearing. (You may appeal any sanction you receive, but mandatory hearings are required whether if you choose to appeal or not.)

If a hearing is required, then one of the Academic Integrity Board co-chairs will contact you about setting up a mandatory hearing. At the hearing, the instructor(s) who reported violations will describe the violations, and you will make a statement and present evidence. The Board members will ask questions of the student and the instructor(s). Then the instructors and student will be asked to leave and the Board will make a decision about whether or not additional sanctions are to be imposed and notify you afterwards.

If you need help with setting up an appeal, if you have questions about the policies, or if you require assistance in preparing for a hearing, please contact either of the  Faculty Ombudspersons for Academic Integrity.