Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholastic and academic activity in a truthful, fair, and responsible fashion. Academic integrity is a guiding principle of Virginia International University and all members of the community are expected to adhere to the policies laid out in the academic catalog. Below is information regarding academic integrity found directly in the academic catalog:

 

The Code of Academic Excellence is a commitment by students to adhere to and build the reputation of the academic rigors and continual conduct focused on integrity and personal-academic growth.  The following statement is adopted by VIU and applies to all students at the Institution:
All Virginia International University students are expected to perform with integrity and respect for the high rigors of academic excellence espoused by VIU.  Academic integrity includes the maintenance of a learning environment where everyone is given an opportunity to succeed through their own efforts and violations to the Code of Academic Excellence are not tolerated by the learning community.

Academic Misconduct

Violations to the Code of Academic Excellence can ultimately lead to the improper evaluation of assessment tasks leading to unjust attribution of grades or course status.  Therefore, it is integral to monitor and evaluate any allegation of academic misconduct.  Forms of violation can include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Unauthorized use of material or improper collaboration
  2. Intended or unintended plagiarism
  3. Submissions of the same work for multiple courses
  4. Falsifying, purchasing or altering the work of others or representing others’ materials as one’s own work
  5. Unauthorized access to or the theft of the work of others

Each instance of alleged abuse of the Academic Code of Excellence will be evaluated and reviewed by members of the VIU learning community taking into consideration such factors as the student’s prior academic history.  Therefore, the listing above is not intended to be exhaustive and is merely meant to serve as a list of potential areas for violation.

Unfortunately, policies and procedures such as this exist because there are violations of the Code of Academic Excellence. In some instances, the mistakes are honest misunderstandings. For example, a student might forget to cite a reference in the proper manner. In other cases, the violations are more blatant, such as with the wholesale copying-and-pasting of another’s materials.

So what happens when you find an instance of academic misconduct? VIU has a formal process in place to which all faculty are encouraged to adhere.

Reporting and Resolving Academic Misconduct

VIU is committed to the immediate resolution of allegations of misconduct.  Wherever possible, if academic misconduct can be stopped prior to the occurrence of a violation, it is encouraged that members of the learning community hold each other accountable.  When necessary, students, instructors, administrators and staff members, or other external parties may report misconduct.  In doing so, it is important to understand both the scope of program oversight regarding allegations of misconduct and the adjudication process for allegations of misconduct.

  1. Scope of School/Program Oversight

    In cases where violations of the Code of Academic Excellence are suspected, the student, staff or faculty member shall notify the dean of the school or department in which the allegation took place.  Each school and department within the university has an appointed designee (“Program Designee”) who oversees and manages the adjudication process to completion.  This designee will either be the dean of the school or someone on the dean’s staff.  In the rare instance where the dean has a conflict of interest, a dean from another school will be made the de facto designee for the proceedings as selected by the Provost. 

  2. Adjudication of Allegations

    In the event that an instructor or colleague suspects academic dishonesty, he or she will follow the procedures outlined below in order to encourage a fair and equitable solution for any and all violations to the Code of Academic Excellence.  Consultation with the program designee (dean, chair, or director) is compulsory.  To verify if this is repeated misconduct, the first step in reporting every instance of academic misconduct is through consultation with the Program Designee, based upon which the instructor will follow the forthcoming procedures.

    As a gatekeeper for Academic Integrity, the Program Designee will determine if the offense constitutes a first, second, etc. violation. In instances where an egregiously serious offense is presented, the Program Designee may recommend resolution five.

    1. Resolution for the First Allegation of Misconduct:
      1. The instructor alleging misconduct must inform the student in writing of the violation and host a meeting between him/herself and the student whereby the student is given a verbal warning and a zero grade on the assignment with the option of resubmitting the work. 
      2. The instructor must submit a letter of allegation to the dean of the school or department to be placed in the university records. The dean of the school or department will provide the registrar with the signed letter of allegation in order to have it scanned into the student’s permanent file.
      3. Click here to view a sample form.

    2. Resolution for Second Allegation of Misconduct
      1. If a violation to the Academic Code of Excellence is alleged again for the same student a second time, the instructor shall inform the student in writing of the charges against violating the Code of Excellence & Academic Integrity Policy and that the allegation has been escalated to the dean’s office. 
      2. The instructor shall gather the original student documentation related to the incident (which includes the student’s work and plagiarism report from Turn-it-in and/or any supporting documentation) and submit it to the Program Designee.
      3. The Program Designee shall schedule a meeting with the student to discuss the allegation.
      4. During the meeting, the student is reminded of the Code of Excellence & Academic Integrity Policy.  The student is also shown the copy of the Code of Excellence & Academic Integrity Policy that was signed by him/her. 
      5. The Program Designee informs the student that he/she will receive a zero for the assignment with no option to resubmit the work.
      6. A copy of the student’s work is given back to the student, while the original work and case supporting documentation is kept in the student’s permanent file at VIU. The dean of the school or department will provide the registrar with the signed documentation in order to have it scanned into the student’s permanent file.

      7. Click here to view a sample form.
    3. Resolution for Third Allegation of Misconduct:
      1. If a violation to the Academic Code of Excellence is alleged again for the same student for the third time, the Program Designee shall send a written or electronic notice to the student explaining the nature of the allegation and inform the student that this matter will be handled by the school’s grievance panel, which consists, at minimum, of the dean and/or Program Designee, one faculty member, and the President or Vice President of the Student Union.
      2. During the grievance panel meeting, the Program Designee shall present documentation about all the instances of academic misconduct.  The panel will then discuss the violation and possible consequences of the violation.  Consequences of violations to the code can include but are not limited to:
        1. Failure of a course with the option to repeat the course.
        2. Failure of an internship or externship with the option to repeat.
      3. A formal meeting will be arranged between the dean and/or Program Designee and the student in which the verdict will be presented to the student in the form of a formal letter. A copy of this letter will also be provided to the Registrar’s Office where it will be added to the student’s permanent record. Appeals to decisions can only be made to the Institutional Grievance Committee. 
      4. At this time, the Program Designee will return a copy of the paper (with comments) to the student while keeping the original paper and supporting documentation in the university records.

      5. Click here to view a sample form.
    4. Resolution for the Fourth Allegation of Misconduct:
      1. If a violation to the Academic Code of Excellence is alleged again for the same student for the fourth time, a written or electronic notice shall be sent to the student explaining the nature of the allegation and informing the student that this matter will be handled by the Institutional Grievance Panel, which consists, at a minimum, of the dean and/or Program Designee, the Provost, and a designee from the Office of the President.
      2. During the Institutional Grievance Panel hearing, the Program Designee will provide documentation of all allegations of misconduct. The panel will then discuss the violation and possible consequences of the violation.  Possible consequences can include:
        1. Suspension from the school for a minimum of one semester
        2. Permanent expulsion from the university
      3. The student will be notified in writing by a letter from the Provost regarding the decision. Appeals to decisions can only be made to the Office of the Provost.
      4. At this time, the Program Designee will return a copy of the paper (with comments) to the student while keeping the original paper and supporting documentation in the university records.   

      5. Click here to view a sample form.
    5. Resolution of Allegation of Egregious Instances of Misconduct
      1. If a violation to the Academic Code of Excellence is alleged that is determined by the Program Designee as being an egregious violation of misconduct, a written or electronic notice shall be sent to the student explaining the nature of the allegation and informing the student that this matter will be handled by the Institutional Grievance Panel, which consists, at a minimum, of the dean and/or Program Designee, the Vice President of Academic Affairs, and a designee from the Office of the President.
      2. During the Institutional Grievance Panel hearing, the Program Designee will provide documentation of all allegations of misconduct. The panel will then discuss the alleged violation and possible consequences of the violation. Possible consequences can include:
        1. Failure of a course with the option to repeat the course.
        2. Failure of an internship or externship with the option to repeat.
        3. Suspension from the school for a minimum of one semester
        4. Permanent expulsion from the university
      3. The student will be notified in writing by a letter from the Vice President of Academic Affairs regarding the decision. Appeals to decisions can only be made to the Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs.
      4. At this time, the Program Designee will return a copy of the paper (with comments) to the student while keeping the original paper and supporting documentation in the university records.

The university does not excuse any violation of its policies on the basis that the student was not aware of these policies and their subsequent penalties and sanctions.

Below the description of each allegation is a sample form that the faculty member might use for the adjudication of the incident. Your specific school or department might have existing paperwork for documentation. Check with your dean or director to be sure prior to commencement of the process.

It is imperative that you as faculty members adhere to these procedures, specifically the provision of the documentation to the Registrar’s Office. It is possible for a student to be accused of cheating in courses in multiple schools and departments. If the documentation is kept within the school or department of the violation, then it is possible that the student will not receive the appropriate level of intervention. However, when the Registrar’s Office has all of the documentation, this issue created by natural institutional silos becomes mitigated.

The academic integrity system is designed to cater to the mix of cultures and the subsequent understandings of plagiarism and cheating that emerge in the mixing bowl that is VIU. However, faculty must take this process seriously. Academic misconduct devalues the degree both internal and external to the institution as it provides a means by which students might enter the workplace or academy unprepared for the rigors and expectations of their fields. At VIU we espouse the virtues of academic integrity and you as faculty are a seminal part of this process.