2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog

Academic Integrity Policy

Academic Integrity Board

The Academic Integrity Board is comprised of a minimum of four faculty members and one non-invested full time student. The function of the board is to consider evidence of academic dishonesty, determine guilt and confirm or assign new sanctions. Sanctions may include (but are not limited to) assignment failure, course failure, probation, or suspension from the University. The Board may request the testimony of witnesses including the student, the instructor, and other appropriate individuals.

The student may appeal an unfavorable decision by the board. Appeals are made first the to Vice President for Academic Affairs. The decision of the Vice President for Academic Affairs is final.

Academic Integrity Overview

Cumberland University considers any violation of academic integrity a significant offense and therefore subject to an appropriate sanction. Academic integrity violations at the University are classified into minor and major categories each with two levels of violation for a total of four levels of violations. Faculty make the distinction within their course syllabi of the characteristics that define the category of academic integrity violation for a particular course. The sanction levied is decided upon by the faculty member in consultation with the appropriate Program Director and/or School Dean. The University recommends sanctions intended as a general guideline for the University. Furthermore, extenuating circumstances may influence the imposed sanction, as degree of responsibility and experience of an individual student may be a factor in determining the appropriate sanction. For example a first-year student’s imposed sanction for a given violation may not be as severe as that imposed on a more experienced student (upperclassman or graduate student) for the same violation. All transgressions are recorded in the Advocate System. Faculty should notify their School Dean and the Office of the Registrar by email when there is an imposed sanction of "FC" (failure due to cheating).

Definitions of Academic Dishonesty

Academic Integrity Expectations - Academic integrity is violated by any dishonest act which is committed in an academic context including, but not restricted to the following:

A. Use of Sources
1. Plagiarism is the use of someone else's language, ideas, information, or original material without acknowledging the source.

a. Examples of plagiarism:

i. Paper is downloaded from an Internet source and/or obtained from a paper mill.

ii. Paper contains part or all of the writings of another person

(including another student), without citation.

iii. Paper contains passages that were cut and pasted from an Internet source, without citation.

b. While students are responsible for knowing how to quote from, paraphrase, and cite sources correctly, the ability to apply that information in all writing situations is an advanced literacy skill acquired over time through repeated practice. When a student has attempted to acknowledge sources but has not done so fully or completely, the instructor may determine that the issue is misuse of sources or bad writing, rather than plagiarism. Factors that may be relevant to the determination between misuse of sources and plagiarism include prior academic integrity education at Cumberland University and the program level of the student. Instructors are responsible for communicating their expectations regarding the use and citation of sources.

B. Course Work and Research

1. The use or attempted use of unauthorized aids in examinations or other academic exercises submitted for evaluation;

2. Fabrication, falsification, or misrepresentation of data, results, sources for papers or reports; in clinical practice, as in reporting experiments, measurements, statistical analyses, tests, or other studies never performed; manipulating or altering data or other manifestations of research to achieve a desired result; selective reporting, including the deliberate suppression of conflicting or unwanted data;

3. Copying from another student's work;

4. Actions that destroy or alter the work of another student;

5. Unauthorized cooperation in completing assignments or examinations;

6. Submission of the same written work in more than one course without prior written approval from both instructors.

C. Communications

1. Violating the confidentiality of an academic integrity investigation, resolution, or documentation;

2. Making a false report of academic dishonesty;

3. Dishonesty in requests for make-up exams, for extensions of deadlines for submitting papers, or in any other matter relating to a course.

D. Representations and Materials Misuse

1. Falsification of records, reports, or documents associated with the educational process;

2. Misrepresentation of one's own or another's identity in an academic context;

3. Misrepresentation of material facts or circumstances in relation to examinations, papers, or other academic activities;

4. Sale of papers, essays, or research for fraudulent use;

5. Alteration or falsification of university records;

6. Unauthorized use of university academic facilities or equipment, including computer accounts and files;

7. Unauthorized recording, sale, purchase, or use of academic lectures, academic computer software, or other instructional materials;

8. Unauthorized removal, mutilation, or deliberate concealment of materials in university libraries, media, laboratories, or academic resource centers

Academic Integrity Purpose

Academic integrity in the University should be promoted and protected. The purpose of this document is to record specific incidents of the violation of academic integrity, so that context is available for faculty consideration of addressing specific academic violations and in the event a student appeals a conviction to the Academic Integrity Board.

The following describes the appropriate use of this report.
  • When a violation of academic integrity occurs, faculty members should address the issue in a personal meeting with the student. The faculty member should use the Academic Integrity Violation Report form to document and describe the violation, the evidence that is available, and the action taken. Definitions of the categories of academic violation are below for reference. Both the faculty member and student should sign the form, indicating that action was taken. The student should note that they acknowledge the discussion and if they agree or disagree that the violation took place. Students will have the right to appeal any sanctions for academic integrity violations to the Academic Integrity Board (AIB).
  • The form will be filed in the ADVOCATE system. The Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dean of Students, and School Deans will have access to the documents following the same procedure as faculty.
  • Faculty members may request information regarding whether a student has an academic integrity violation form on file for purposes of investigating context for taking action on nominations for honor societies, awards, admissions, and campus leadership positions. The faculty member will receive from the Office of Dean of Students an answer either in the affirmative or negative. Faculty can request further information using the following procedure.
  • Faculty members with a documented legitimate educational interest may request to receive access to documents in a student’s file that pertain to academic integrity issues. A FERPA acknowledgement must be signed by the requester, and the file may not be removed from the office of Dean of Students nor can photocopies or other reproductions be made. Any and all access to the file will be logged.
  • The Academic Integrity Board may request records of violations for students who bring appeals, in order to provide context for academic integrity hearings.
  • Academic Integrity Violation Reports shall be filed before the submission of the final grade in the course.
Violations and Sanctions

Chart of violations and sanctions.

Other Consequences of Violating the Academic Integrity Policy
  • Consequences of an academic integrity violation may reach beyond the classroom and beyond the student’s time at Cumberland University. If the recommended sanction by the instructor or Academic Integrity Board is a failing grade for the course, a designation “FC” (failure for cheating) will be placed on the student’s transcript. The “FC” is non-replaceable and cannot be eliminated by retaking the course. Students are prohibited from withdrawing from a course to avoid receiving the “FC” on their transcript. The grade of "FC" is intended to acknowledge a student’s failure to uphold the values of academic integrity at Cumberland University. The grade of "FC" shall be treated in the same way as an "F" for the purposes of calculating grade point average (GPA) and determination of academic class standing. A student who receives a grade of "FC" will be considered to be on academic probation with the university for reasons of academic misconduct. Additional sanctions may be imposed by Student Affairs in regards to student conduct.
  • Note that no upper division student (having earned 60 credit hours prior to date of violation) found responsible for academic misconduct may receive honors at graduation.
  • There may also be specific impact for a student within their academic major or degree program based upon a finding of academic misconduct and the consequences of subsequent sanctions. Students are encouraged to discuss their involvement in an academic misconduct situation and its impact upon their academic major or degree program with their academic advisor.
  • When a violation occurs students are encouraged to discuss their situation with advisors, parents, coaches, and other mentors. To allow time for advisement there will be a 24-hour waiting period required before signing an academic integrity violation report, but not to exceed 5 business days.
Additional Information

Student Denial

If the student denies the allegation of academic dishonesty, the faculty member will report that this is the student's position on the "Academic Integrity Report Form." The matter will then be reviewed and a judgement rendered by the AIB.

Refusal to Sign

Refusal by the student to sign the academic integrity report form and/or denial of guilt will result in the case being automatically submitted to the AIC.

Course-Specific Expectations

A. The instructor of record (faculty) is responsible for determining and communicating course-specific academic integrity expectations. Instructors of record are responsible for stating course-specific expectations in writing, particularly those regarding use of sources and collaboration.

B. Students are responsible for consulting their instructors for any clarification needed on academic integrity standards, including those set forth in this policy and those that are course-specific.

C. Collusion is assisting or attempting to assist another in an act of academic dishonesty. Collusion is distinct from collaborative learning, which may be a valuable component of scholarly development. Acceptable levels of collaboration vary in different courses, and students are expected to consult with their instructor if they are uncertain whether their cooperative activities are acceptable.

Students Reporting Academic Integrity Violations

Every student is charged with the responsibility of acting in accordance with the standards of integrity established by the University, and ensuring that his/her fellow students also abide by these standards. As a member of the University community, if you have knowledge of a possible academic integrity offense, you should immediately contact the appropriate academic body (School Dean, faculty mentor or academic advisor) that will act as an academic integrity advisor. You do not necessarily need to disclose the course, the instructor, student suspect and/or other identifying details at this time. During this conversation, the advisor will explain the three criteria necessitating the action of reporting an academic integrity violation.

The three criteria are: 1) Act violating academic integrity (the incident is an action that violates academic integrity as outlined by the University), 2) Knowledge (the suspected student had knowledge that they were violating academic integrity as outlined by the University), and 3) Significance (the alleged violation will have a significant impact on the learning environment or grade of the suspect and/or others). The advisor will ask whether or not what you witnessed fits all three criteria. The advisor, however, will not tell you whether a case should be reported. If, after discussing the matter with an advisor, you still believe an honor offense may have occurred, you should report the case. Though the advisor will answer all questions, this decision solely belongs to the potential reporter. Calling upon the advice of an academic integrity advisor in no way binds you to report a case; however, it should be noted that academic integrity is the foundation of the University.

Student Reporting Policy

A. Students wishing to report academic integrity violations must file an Academic Integrity Violation Report Form with the Office for Academic Affairs. The report form can be obtained from any academic body from the University’s electronic Academic Affairs folder.

B. Every reasonable effort will be taken to protect the identity of the reporting student as is appropriate to ensure due process of the case and prevent undue repercussions for reporting.

Student Reporting Procedure

If a student witnesses a violation of academic integrity or otherwise has reason to believe that a violation has occurred, he or she may choose among several possible courses of action.

A. Talk with the suspected student urging him/her to report himself/herself to the instructor of the course or to the School Dean.

B. Discuss the observed action with the course instructor, not naming those involved, to obtain guidance and determine if an observed act merits action under the Academic Integrity Policy and course syllabus.

C. Report the incident directly to the course instructor with full details of the incident following the guidance of the instructor of making a formal report of academic integrity violation.

D. Submit a written report to the Office for Academic Affairs or Chair of the Academic Integrity Board (AIB). These bodies will follow-up with the course instructor allowing the collection of any evidence that can support the claim of academic integrity violation. If there is substantial evidence to warrant an academic integrity sanction, the course instructor will levy the appropriate sanction in accordance with the course syllabus and University policy. If the reporting student wishes to remain anonymous, the request will be honored as is appropriate to ensure due process of the case and prevent undue repercussions for reporting.

Academic Integrity Sanctions and Appeals

A student found guilty of academic dishonesty shall receive a sanction or sanctions deemed appropriate to the offense. Sanctions may include, but are not limited to, a formal letter of censure, a requirement to perform community service on or off the campus, a grade of “F” on the assignment in question, dismissal from the course with a grade of “FC" (failure cheating), suspension, and/or expulsion from the University. The Faculty and Academic Integrity Board will be guided by precedent in determining sanctions and recommended sanctions for the university found in the Academic Integrity Sanctions document. When a verdict of guilty is reached, a record of the offense, the sanctions, and the proceedings shall be kept permanently on file in the Dean of Student’s office.

Student Academic Conduct Code

The University admits students with the expectation that they have previously developed acceptable personal standards of conduct and ethics. Admission to Cumberland University carries with it special privileges as well as special responsibilities different from those enjoyed by and/or imposed on non-students. All students, residents, guests, staff, and faculty are expected to abide by the rules and regulations of the University. A disciplinary situation occurs when substantive violations of rules, regulations, policies, and guidelines or violations of local, state, and/or federal laws, rules, or regulations are reported to or discovered by appropriate University officials. Disciplinary procedures will be enforced for all substantiated violations. Student violations of Cumberland University policies, regulations, rules, and guidelines or a violation of local, state, and/or federal laws, rules, or regulations may lead to a non-renewal of or cancellation of current and future financial aid awards and to disciplinary sanctions as deemed necessary by appropriate Cumberland University officials.

University regulations go into effect when an individual matriculates and continues until the time of graduation or withdrawal. By the act of registration, the student agrees to accept standards and regulations reflected in this document and other publications of the University.

Academic Integrity - Cumberland University expects its students to pursue their academic work with honesty and integrity. The following are serious academic offenses that may result in sanctions up to and including expulsion:

  • Cheating in any form including facilitating another’s efforts to cheat.
  • Fabrication or falsifying documents, records, or credentials.
  • Unauthorized multiple submission includes simultaneous submission of the same piece of work in two courses without the prior approval of both instructors, as well as turning in any assignment for which one has already received credit.
  • Abuse of academic materials which includes stealing, infringing upon, destroying, losing, defacing, or damaging intellectual resources that belong to someone else.
  • Electronic dishonesty includes inappropriate access to network files, accounts, or resources, knowingly spreading viruses, disabling computer hardware or software, software piracy, and/or other forms of copyright infringement.
  • Receiving or giving assistance not authorized by the instructor in the preparation of any essay, laboratory report, examination, or other assignments included in an academic course.
  • Taking or attempting to take, steal, or otherwise procure in an unauthorized manner any material pertaining to the conduct of a class including, but not limited to, tests, examinations, laboratory equipment, and roll books.
  • Selling, lending, or otherwise furnishing to any unauthorized person material which can be shown to contain the answers to any examinations scheduled to be given at any subsequent date in any course of study offered by the University or any paper required as part of the academic requirements for any class taught at the University without authorization from the instructor.
  • Plagiarism or the representation of someone else's writing, computer program, or other creation as one's own.

It is the responsibility of all members of the community – students, faculty, staff, and administration – to familiarize themselves with the violations defined above. Students should help ensure that breaches of academic integrity do not remain undiscovered. Faculty must take responsibility for clearly defining, in course syllabi and assignments, the parameters of legitimate collaboration and any other areas in which boundaries of academic integrity may be unclear. The administration has a responsibility to assist in the fair and timely implementation of standards and sanctions.

Plagiarism - Plagiarism is the presentation of someone else’s words or ideas as one’s own. (See APA Manual, located in the reference section of the Vise Library). One of the most common forms of plagiarism is the paraphrasing of several phrases, sentences, or ideas in a paragraph with only one citation at the end of the paragraph resulting in confusion between the cited content and the researcher’s own words or ideas. Another common form is the practice of substituting words or phrases while retaining the original author’s form and structure.

Plagiarism in any form is one of the most egregious violations of professional ethics an author can commit. Submission of plagiarized material, even by accident or through ignorance, is a severe infraction of the professional ethical code and can result in expulsion from the program. To avoid plagiarism:

  • Cite sources within the text for all phrases or ideas that are quoted or paraphrased.
  • Cite sources within the text in the format delineated in the APA Manual.