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Academic Integrity Policy and Procedures

Academic Integrity and Code of Academic Excellence

In the pursuit of academic excellence, it is the policy that all parties associated with Virginia International University (VIU) conduct themselves with a high level of honesty and responsibility in regard to academic scholarship. VIU is committed to the establishment of and adherence to high academic and integrity standards in order to foster reputations that students, faculty, staff, and alumni can be proud of. These reputations directly correlate to the value of the degrees conferred by the institution and are viewed with utmost importance. This requires that students understand the importance of integrity and adhere to the highest standards while in class or on internships, at work, and in continuing education.

The university commits to preparing students to be professionally and academically prepared for the rigors of the world of work. In order to ensure that high quality educational opportunities are offered and to ensure the rigors of academic excellence, VIU requires that students adhere to the Code of Academic Excellence.

Academic Integrity

Formal oversight of academic integrity is monitored by the entire VIU learning community including students, faculty, and staff of VIU. Suspected violations of academic integrity shall be directed to the appropriate School Dean or the Office of the Academic Affairs in writing.

Code of Academic Excellence

The Code of Academic Excellence is a commitment by the entire learning community to adhere to, sustain, and build upon the reputation of the university by continually focusing on academic integrity and rigor. The following statement is adopted by VIU and applies to all students at the Institution:

All Virginia International University learning community members 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 essential to monitor and evaluate any allegation of academic misconduct.  Forms of violation can include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Cheating and unauthorized use of materials: Cheating assumes taking advantage of people, materials, or other resources that are not your own and/or are not permitted. Unless otherwise instructed, students are expected to use their own ideas, work, and independent research for exams, projects, presentations, etc. The intentional or unintentional use of materials that are outside of the boundaries provided by the instructor or assignments is considered cheating.
  • Improper collaboration: Permission to collaborate on homework, assignments, projects, exams, etc. must be authorized by an instructor. When not explicitly granted permission for collaboration, students should assume that they are not permitted to collaborate. In the absence of authorization for collaboration, it is assumed that all submitted work is the result of the student’s own understanding and academic research. If submitted work is identical or overwhelmingly similar to another student’s work, particularly where individual variation would be expected, the instructor has reasonable suspicion to assume that misconduct has occurred.
  • Submission of material for multiple courses: Submission of work to a course (or even for publication) assumes that this material is new and/or full disclosure is made if the work has already been used/printed. This includes submission of assignments for multiple courses or journals. Submission of work for a class should be original work specifically for that course.
  • Fabrication, forgery, purchase, alteration or unlawful use of documents for academic advantage: Any form of lying, forgery, falsification, or unlawful use of data or other information is in direct violation of the Code of Academic Excellence. This can include, but is not limited to, lying to an instructor or administrator; misusing copyrighted information; purchasing, stealing, or misusing documents; or fabricating or falsifying results in order to achieve undue academic advantage.
  • Conspiring/attempting/intimidating others to commit academic misconduct: Any student who aids in another’s misconduct or attempts to intimidate another student to commit misconduct would be considered to be in violation of the Code of Academic Excellence. This would include, but is not limited to, (1) providing whole or partial work to another student who did not participate in and/or do the work, with a reasonable assumption that the information would be used in a manner consistent with misconduct; (2) attempting to cheat before the misconduct is discovered even if no cheating ultimately occurs; or (3) intimidating others, including threats and/or physical intimidation in order to take or misuse materials from another student.
  • Representing the work of others as one’s own work: Using the work of others and representing it as one’s own work, regardless of whether or not the individual whose original work was used knows of the use, is not permitted. Work submitted is assumed to be the work of the submitter (or submitters, in the case of approved group work).
  • Unauthorized access to the work of others: Hacking into accounts or stealing work from another in order to achieve an undue academic advantage is considered to be a violation of the Code of Academic Excellence. This includes unauthorized access to a computer, email account, portal, or other form of storage by an individual with the intent of stealing or copying another’s work.
  • Interference with the work of others: Intentionally harming, deleting, or altering the work of others to gain an undue advantage are acts that are considered to be inappropriate for scholars. These sorts of actions undermine the work of others and create an environment where the work of others is not valued. It is expected that scholars respect the work of others and not attempt to harm or destroy this work.
  • Plagiarism: Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, the intentional or unintentional use of the ideas of others without properly attributing them to the original owner/thinker. This even includes personally reusing your own ideas without properly citing them.

Each alleged violation of the Code of Academic 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.

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.

Scope of School/Program Oversight

Each School within the university has an appointed designee (“Program Designee”) who oversees and manages the adjudication process for allegations of misconduct. In cases where violations of the Code of Academic Excellence are suspected, the student, staff or faculty member shall notify the Program Designee of the School in which the allegation has taken place.  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 Chief Academic Officer.

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. Before taking any steps, the instructor who has identified an academic integrity violation must immediately contact the Program Designee (PD) of the School in which the violation has occurred in order to determine whether the student has shown previous academic integrity violations. The PD will verify with the Registrar and the heads of all Schools in which the student has taken classes to be sure.

As a gatekeeper for academic integrity, the Program Designee will determine if the offense constitutes a first, second, etc. violation. In instances where an egregious offense is presented, the PD may recommend that the steps for the first four possible allegations be skipped, moving directly to the procedures for an egregious violation described below. Instances are cumulative and are recorded in a student’s permanent file.

FIRST INSTANCE: Resolution for the First Allegation of Misconduct:

The instructor alleging misconduct must gather proof of the potential violation (e.g., a TurnItIn report, a side-by-side comparison of the student’s work against something found on the internet, or other proof), then inform the Program Designee. The PD will consult with the Registrar and PDs of the other Schools in which the student has taken classes to determine the total number of instances of academic integrity violations on file in the student’s record, and will share that information with the instructor. If this is the first documented instance, then the following procedures will apply:

  1. The instructor has the discretion to decide, according to the severity of the violation, whether the student should be given a grade of zero (0) on the assignment with no option to redo the work, or whether the student should have the option of resubmitting a revised version of the assignment that adheres to VIU’s Code of Academic Excellence in order to earn a reduced portion of the grade.
  2. The instructor must inform the student in writing of the violation and host a meeting between him/herself and the student to ensure that the student understands the problem and to discuss ways of avoiding it in the future. As part of this meeting, the instructor will also have the student sign two documents: VIU’s Academic Integrity Policy and an Academic Integrity Remediation Plan (First Instance) form.  The student will be strongly encouraged to visit VIU’s Writing, Research, and Media Center for further information and feedback on avoiding academic misconduct.
  3. The instructor must submit the signed Academic Integrity Remediation Plan and all supporting documentation providing evidence of the violation (e.g., TurnItIn report, side-by-side internet comparison) to the Program Designee.
  4. The Program Designee will send all of the documentation associated with the academic integrity violation to Academic Affairs and the Registrar so that copies can be maintained in the student’s permanent record at VIU.

SECOND INSTANCE: Resolution for Second Allegation of Misconduct

The instructor alleging misconduct must gather proof of the alleged misconduct (i.e., a TurnItIn report, a side-by-side comparison of the student’s work against something found on the internet, or other proof), then inform the Program Designee. The PD will consult with the Registrar and PDs of the other Schools in which the student has taken classes, then inform the instructor of the total number of instances of academic integrity violations on file in the student’s record. If this is the second documented instance, then the following procedures will apply:

  1. The instructor will award a zero, with no option to redo the assignment.
  2. The Program Designee will schedule a meeting with the student to discuss the allegation. In this meeting, the PD will provide a copy of the Academic Integrity Policy and will have the student sign an Academic Integrity Remediation Plan (Second Instance) form. During the meeting, the student will be reminded of the Code of Academic Excellence and Academic Integrity Policy, and will discuss the consequences of repeated violations (including a discussion about what would happen if a third and fourth instance were to occur). The PD will also inform the student that he/she will receive a zero for the assignment with no option to resubmit the work.
  3. Additional required remediation will be included in order to ensure that the student fully understands what academic misconduct is and how to avoid it.
  4. The student will meet with VIU’s Writing, Research, and Media Center for further information and feedback on avoiding academic misconduct.
  5. The Program Designee must submit the signed Academic Integrity Remediation Plan (Second Instance) form and evidence of the suspected violation (e.g., TurnItIn report, side-by-side internet comparison) to Academic Affairs and the Registrar so that copies can be maintained in the student’s permanent file at VIU.

THIRD INSTANCE: Resolution for Third Allegation of Misconduct:

The instructor alleging misconduct must gather proof of the alleged misconduct (i.e., a TurnItIn report, a side-by-side comparison of the student’s work against something found on the internet, or other proof), then inform the Program Designee. The PD will consult with the Registrar and PDs of the other Schools in which the student has taken classes, then inform the instructor of the total number of instances of academic integrity violations on file in the student’s record. If this is the third documented instance, then the following procedures will apply:

  1. The Program Designee will schedule a meeting with the student to discuss the allegation. In this meeting, the PD will provide a copy of the Academic Integrity Policy and will have the student sign an Academic Integrity Remediation Plan (Third Instance) form. During the meeting, the student will be reminded of the Code of Academic Excellence and Academic Integrity Policy, and will discuss the consequences of repeated violations (including a discussion about what could happen as a result of this third instance, as well as what would happen if a fourth instance were to occur). The PD will also inform the student that he/she will receive a zero for the assignment with no option to resubmit the work. The PD will 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 or more faculty members, and the Chief Academic Officer. The meeting of the School’s grievance panel should occur as soon as possible following the meeting with the student.
  2. During the grievance panel meeting, the Program Designee shall present documentation about all the instances of academic misconduct (the first, second, and current allegations).  The panel will then discuss the violation and possible consequences of the violation.  Consequences can include but are not limited to:
    1. Failure of the course with the option to repeat the course,
    2. Failure of the internship or externship with the option to repeat, or
    3. Suspension from the university for a minimum of one semester.
  1. 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 Academic Affairs and the Registrar’s Office, where it will be added to the student’s permanent record. Appeals to decisions can only be made to the Office of Academic Affairs. The PD will provide a copy of the letter outlining the requirements set forth by the School’s grievance panel, a copy of the signed Academic Integrity Remediation Plan (Third Instance) form, and evidence of the suspected violation (e.g., TurnItIn report, side-by-side internet comparison). A copy of the student’s work and supporting documentation will then be kept in the student’s permanent record at VIU.

FOURTH INSTANCE: Resolution for the Fourth Allegation of Misconduct:

The instructor alleging misconduct must gather proof of the alleged misconduct (i.e., a TurnItIn report, a side-by-side comparison of the student’s work against something found on the internet, or other proof), then inform the Program Designee. The PD will consult with the Registrar and PDs of the other Schools in which the student has taken classes, then inform the instructor of the total number of instances of academic integrity violations on file in the student’s record. If this is the fourth documented instance, then the following procedures will apply:

  1. The Program Designee will schedule a meeting with the student to discuss the allegation. In this meeting, the PD will provide a copy of the Academic Integrity Policy and will have the student sign an Academic Integrity Remediation Plan (Fourth Instance) form. During the meeting, the student will be reminded of the Code of Academic Excellence and Academic Integrity Policy, and will discuss the consequences of repeated violations (including a discussion about what could happen as a result of this fourth instance). The PD will also inform the student that he/she will receive a zero for the assignment with no option to resubmit the work. The PD will inform 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, one or more other Deans, one or more faculty members, the Chief Academic Officer, and a designee from the Office of the President. The meeting of the Institutional Grievance Panel should occur as soon as possible following the meeting with the student.
  2. During the Institutional Grievance Panel hearing, the Program Designee will provide documentation of all allegations of misconduct (the first, second, third, and current allegations). The Panel will then discuss the violation and possible consequences of the violation.  Possible consequences can include:
    1. Suspension from the university for a minimum of one semester, or
    2. Permanent expulsion from the university.
  1. The student will be notified in writing by a letter from the Office of Academic Affairs regarding the decision.
  2. 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. The Program Designee will provide a copy of the letter outlining the requirements set forth by the Institutional Grievance Panel, a copy of the signed Academic Integrity Remediation Plan (Fourth Instance) form, and evidence of the suspected violation (e.g., TurnItIn report, side-by-side internet comparison). A copy of the student’s work and supporting documentation will then be kept in the student’s permanent record at VIU. Appeals to decisions can only be made to the Institutional Grievance Committee.

EGREGIOUS VIOLATION: Resolution of Allegation of an Egregious Instance of Misconduct

The instructor alleging misconduct must gather proof of the alleged misconduct (i.e., a TurnItIn report, a side-by-side comparison of the student’s work against something found on the internet, or other proof), then inform the Program Designee. If the alleged violation to the Code of Academic Excellence is determined by the Program Designee to be an egregious instance of misconduct, then the following procedures will apply:

  1. The Program Designee will schedule a meeting with the student to discuss the allegation. In this meeting, the PD will provide a copy of the Academic Integrity Policy and will discuss the specific violation with the student, including why it was designated as an egregious violation. During the meeting, the student will be reminded of the Code of Academic Excellence and Academic Integrity Policy, and will discuss the consequences of egregious violations (including a discussion about what could happen as a result of this instance). The PD will also inform the student that he/she will receive a zero for the assignment with no option to resubmit the work. The PD will also inform 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, one or more other Deans, one or more faculty members, the Chief Academic Officer, and a designee from the Office of the President. The meeting of the Institutional Grievance Panel should occur as soon as possible following the meeting with the student.
  2. During the Institutional Grievance Panel hearing, the Program Designee will provide documentation of all allegations of misconduct, including previous allegations, if any. The Panel will then discuss the violation and possible consequences of the violation.  Possible consequences can include:
    1. Redesignation of the violation as instance 1, 2, 3, or 4 (if so, follow procedures as above),
    2. Failure of the course with the option to repeat the course,
    3. Failure of the internship or externship with the option to repeat,
    4. Suspension from the university for a minimum of one semester, or
    5. Permanent expulsion from the university.
  1. If the Panel deems that the allegation is egregious (and chooses any of the options corresponding to ii through v above), the student will be notified in writing by a letter from the Office of Academic Affairs regarding the decision. If the Panel chooses to redesignate this violation following option (i) above, the student will be notified in writing following the procedures outlined for instances 1-4 above.
  2. 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. The Program Designee will provide a copy of the letter outlining the requirements set forth by the Institutional Grievance Panel and evidence of the suspected violation (e.g., TurnItIn report, side-by-side internet comparison). A copy of the student’s work and supporting documentation will then be kept in the student’s permanent record at VIU.

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.