6.1 CBU’s Academic Integrity Policy

Academic Integrity Policy

1. Policy purpose

The objective of this policy is to promote academic integrity and the values associated with it at Cape Breton University. This document establishes a process to address student conduct that breaches the values of academic integrity. The policy outlines the roles of faculty, staff, students, and others in upholding the values of academic integrity and participating in the process to address student misconduct.

2. Policy scope

The policy addresses all forms of academic activity undertaken by students as part of their courses and programs.

3. Related policies and procedures

Charter of Academic Citizenship (expanded version)
“Appeals of Academic Decisions”
“Exam Policy”
“Code of Conduct for Non-Academic Infractions”
“Confidentiality and Privacy of Student Records”

3.1 Privacy of Student Records

All student information that is collected, assessed, shared, and/or reported as part of Cape Breton University’s academic integrity policy is subject to the requirements of its “Confidentiality and Privacy of Student Records” policy.

4. Promoting a culture of academic integrity

It is the responsibility of all members of the Cape Breton University community to understand and uphold the highest standards of academic integrity. We demonstrate academic integrity by conducting our work with careful attention to the ethics of our courses, programs, disciplines, and higher education as a whole. The university’s “Charter of Academic Citizenship” explains these ethical commitments and the associated values. The policy also identifies the roles and responsibilities of all members of the Cape Breton University community in the area of academic integrity and the processes, penalties, and rights in place for students who breach academic integrity.

5. Responsibilities

5.1 University

The University is responsible for:
• promoting academic integrity as a foundational value through policy, administration, and resources;
• ensuring that the “Academic Integrity” policy is communicated clearly and is easily accessible;
• supporting the creation of educational resources to assist faculty, staff, and students;
• collecting data on student academic integrity violations for reporting, disciplinary, educational, and policy purposes;
• providing a process through which students may appeal decisions related to academic integrity.

5.2 Students

Students are responsible for:
• reading, understanding, and acting in accordance with the “Academic Integrity” policy;
• reviewing course materials and seeking direction from appropriate faculty and staff to ensure an understanding of the expectations for academic integrity;
• engaging in learning opportunities dedicated to academic integrity within and/or outside of classes;
• submitting work created in line with the highest standards of academic integrity;
• appealing decisions related to academic integrity matters through the proper channels.

5.3 Faculty members

Faculty members are responsible for:
• educating themselves on the “Academic Integrity” policy and following the policy consistently and equitably;
• educating students on accepted practices for using knowledge and sources, and the reasons for those practices;
• clearly communicating expectations for the ethical completion of all course assignments, tests, and examinations to students;
• making ethical use of any tools for the discovery of academic misconduct;
• determining the appropriate response to breaches of academic integrity in consultation, where appropriate, with colleagues, department chairs, and/or Deans.

5.4 Department Chairs

Department Chairs are responsible for:
• educating themselves on the “Academic Integrity” policy and following the policy consistently and equitably;
• providing collegial guidance for faculty in their department on matters related to academic integrity and the seriousness of academic integrity breaches;
• assisting students with navigating the “Academic Integrity” policy, when appropriate.

5.5 Deans

Deans are responsible for:
• educating themselves on the “Academic Integrity” policy and following the policy consistently and equitably;
• consulting with faculty members and department chairs on academic integrity breaches;
• determining the level and penalty for breaches consistent with section 6;
• communicating with the Registrar’s Office and students about academic integrity breaches.

5.6 Appeals Committee of Senate

The Appeals Committee of Senate is responsible for:
• receiving student letters of appeal, gathering any required evidence, and reaching final decisions about the validity of findings of and/or penalties assigned for academic integrity breaches.

6. Academic integrity breaches

Cape Breton University recognizes three main types of academic integrity breaches: assignment misconduct, exam misconduct, and other unethical behaviours. Each type of academic integrity breach is defined and explained below. The university retains the right to evaluate other forms of academic integrity breaches not specifically mentioned in this policy and assess appropriate consequences.

6.1 Assignment misconduct

Students breach academic integrity when they seek to deceive readers about the truthful origins or nature of their work. Assignment misconduct at Cape Breton University is itself divided into two further categories:

6.1.1 Plagiarism

Students plagiarize when they represent the work of others as their own, including words, ideas, information, data, computer code, images, and all other intellectual or creative material. In specific terms, students plagiarize when they submit work that:
• appears to be original work when it is, in whole, or in part, drawn from other sources without full and clear acknowledgement;
• is copied from other students;
• was purchased from, or generated by, a third party or service;
• has been previously submitted and graded, in whole or in part, in another course.

6.1.2 Fabrication and Falsification

It is a violation of academic integrity to invent data, sources, quotations, or other material with the aim of presenting that material as genuine research or experimental results.
Fabrication is not a violation in assignments where invention is specifically called for, as in the creation of art works, hypothetical scenarios and the like.
Data of any kind, including quotations, may not be altered so as to be misleading in its use as evidence and results.

6.2 Exam misconduct

Students breach academic integrity when they unfairly represent their knowledge and ability as greater than it is. For the purposes of this policy, exam refers to any examination, test, quiz, or evaluation other than formal written assignments. Whether or not a take-home exam is a written assignment or an exam will be determined by the course instructor and communicated to students. Students commit exam misconduct when they:
• look at the work of another student in an effort to reproduce that student’s answer;
• ask for, or provide, answers to another student, and similar behaviour, during an exam, test, or quiz;
• make use of unapproved notes, references, communications, digital resources, or any other prohibited means of securing answers;
• obtain an unauthorized copy of an exam, text, or quiz in advance for the purpose of preparing answers ahead of time;
• facilitate the exam misconduct of another student.

6.3 Other unethical behaviour

CBU recognizes the existence of, and potential for, a range of other unethical behaviour. Other unethical behaviour is itself divided further into two categories. The university retains the right to evaluate other unethical behaviours not specifically mentioned here and assess appropriate consequences. If appropriate, some offenses may also be considered under Cape Breton University’s “Code of Conduct for Non-Academic Infractions.”

6.3.1 Offenses against other students

Students breach academic integrity when they intentionally impede the ability of other students to conduct their academic work.
Students may not deface, destroy or otherwise compromise the academic products of other students.
Students may not unduly interfere with other students’ ability to access course materials, resources, or equipment or access other students’ course work without the knowledge or consent of the student.

6.3.2 Offenses against the university

Students breach academic integrity when they intentionally compromise the valid and legitimate functions of academic supports and services.
Students may not fabricate credentials, nor may they make unauthorized alterations to academic documents or records.

7. Seriousness of academic integrity breaches

While all instances of academic misconduct undermine academic integrity, CBU recognizes that some transgressions may vary in level of seriousness and that a pattern of misconduct is more serious than a single transgression. The level of seriousness of a breach of academic integrity is determined by evidence of intentionality and pre-meditation. Breaches of academic integrity are therefore categorized into three levels. Assessments of exam misconduct must be conducted in a manner that is consistent with the university’s “Exam Policy”

7.1 Level 1

Level 1 breaches of academic integrity result from negligence serious enough to create the impression of deception or misrepresentation.
Breaches at this level:
• include assignment misconduct and exam misconduct;
• are addressed by the course instructor in consultation with faculty colleagues and/or department chairs, where appropriate;
• are not reported to the Dean;
• shall result in a grade penalty and/or additional work proportionate to the breach committed, but not a “0” on the assignment, exam, or in the course;
• must be resolved so that the student is provided with additional instruction on integrity matters.

7.2 Level 2

Level 2 breaches show an evident intent to mislead but are limited in scope and premeditation. Breaches at this level:
• include assignment misconduct, exam misconduct, and other unethical behaviours;
• are addressed by the course instructor in consultation with faculty colleagues, department chairs, and/or Dean, where appropriate;
• must be reported to the Dean for inclusion in the student’s academic record;
• will result in a significant grade penalty proportionate to the breach to a maximum of “0” on the assignment or exam but not in the course, and a formal letter from the Dean;
• must be resolved so that student is provided with additional instruction on integrity matters.

7.3 Level 3

Level 3 breaches demonstrate a flagrant and premeditated transgression of expressed rules and procedures related to academic integrity.
Breaches at this level:
• include assignment misconduct, exam misconduct, and other unethical behaviours;
• are addressed by the course instructor in consultation with faculty colleagues, department chairs, and/or Dean, where appropriate;
• must be reported to the Dean for inclusion in the student’s academic record;
• will result in a grade penalty of “0” on the assignment or exam, to a maximum of “0” in the course, and a formal letter from the Dean.

7.4 Discontinuation

Any student found to breach academic integrity on three separate occasions at Level 2 and/or Level 3 of seriousness will be discontinued from the university for a period of 12 months.
The student will not be permitted to register in any CBU courses, for credit, for 12 months as of the date of discontinuance, nor will CBU accept transfer credits from other institutions if they have been earned during that period. The notation for the discontinuation will appear on the transcript for the duration of the discontinuation.

8. Exceptions

Notwithstanding these guidelines, the Dean may exercise, in rare cases and on a one-time basis, discretion in cases where the first Level 2 or Level 3 transgression occurred during the student’s first year of study at CBU.
In the interest of fairness and consistency only, the Dean may, after consultation with the department chair, modify a penalty assigned to a student as part of a Level 2 and Level 3 breach of academic integrity.

Furthermore, the Dean may resolve an extraordinary and flagrant breach of academic integrity by setting aside the requirement for three breaches and discontinue a student immediately. This action must be approved by the Vice-President Academic and Provost.
Any actions taken by the Dean under this article must be documented for inclusion in the students’ confidential academic file.

9. Appeals

Consistent with the university’s “Appeals of Academic Decisions” policy, students have the right to appeal decisions made under sections 6, 7, and 8 of the “Academic Integrity” policy.

10. Record Keeping and Reporting

Academic integrity breaches at Level 2 and Level 3 of seriousness will be reported by the Dean to the Registrar’s Office for inclusion in the student’s confidential academic record.
The Registrar’s Office will provide the Vice-President Academic and Provost with a summary of academic integrity breaches on an annual basis.

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Academic Integrity Handbook by Donnie Calabrese; Emma Russell; Jasmine Hoover; and Tammy Byrne is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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