The Office of Academic Affairs Frequently Asked Questions & Answers About Academic Dishonesty
Did you know?
"A study by The Center for Academic Integrity found that almost 80% of college students admit to cheating at least once during their educational career."
"According to a survey by the Psychological Record, 36% of undergraduates have admitted to plagiarizing written material."
"In a poll conducted by US News and World Reports, researchers found that 90% of students believe that cheaters are either never caught or have never been appropriately disciplined."
Facts about plagiarism
What is Academic Dishonesty at UMSL?
"Academic Dishonesty is any form of cheating, plagiarism or sabotage which results in students giving or receiving unauthorized assistance or receiving credit for work which is not their own."
What are the specific acts of academic dishonesty?
- Use of any unauthorized assistance in taking quizzes, tests, or examinations
- Dependence upon the aid of sources beyond those authorized by the instructor in writing papers, preparing reports, solving problems, or carrying out other assignments
- Acquisition or possession without permission of tests or other academic material belonging to a member of the University faculty or staff
- Knowingly providing any assistance to another student on quizzes, tests, or examinations.
- Use by paraphrase or direct quotation of the published or unpublished work of another person without fully and properly crediting the author with footnotes, citations, or bibliographical reference
- Unacknowledged use of material prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials
- Unacknowledged use of original work/material that has been produced through collaboration with others without the release in writing from collaborators
- Unauthorized interference with, modification of, or destruction of the work or intellectual property of another member of the University community
What can I do to avoid academic dishonesty?
- Make it very clear from the first day of class how you define cheating and plagiarism. Include this information in your course syllabus with your course objectives and expectations.
- Do not assume that all students know what plagiarism entails. Many students do not have prior experience writing or may have never been taught how to properly document sources. Teach them.
- Familiarize students on how to use the appropriate style and format of your discipline. Certain disciplines' styles may be unfamiliar to students who were taught in only one particular format.
What steps do I take if I suspect a student of academic dishonesty?
Should academic dishonesty be suspected, instructors must follow the steps listed below. Remember, all student information is confidential and should only be shared on an "educational need to know" basis. At any time, faculty members or instructors can contact Academic Affairs at (314) 516-5304 for advice on how to proceed on a specific case.
- In all cases of academic dishonesty, the instructor shall make an academic judgment about the student's grade on that work. For most cases, students receive either a "0" or "F" on the work in question.
- The instructor should send a written statement of the incident in question that includes the student's name, student's number, date of alleged incident, grade received for the work, documented evidence (i.e. internet article) as well as any other relevant information to the Associate Provost.
- The Office of Academic Affairs will investigate the reported student misconduct and give the student the opportunity to present a personal version of the incident or occurrence.
- The Primary Administrative Officer (Associate Provost) will then set forth a disciplinary sanction appropriate to the act of dishonesty and notify the student, the faculty member or instructor who initiated the charge, and/or all involved parties of the decision by mail.
- A record of the student's charge will also be kept in the Office of Academic Affairs.
A Note on FERPA
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 mandates that information contained in a student's education record must be kept confidential and outlines the procedures for review, release and access of such information. FERPA states that access to students' records will be granted only to those individuals who have been determined to have a legitimate educational interest. In part, the policy states that officials of the university may be given access to student education records on a "need-to-know" basis and that such assessment be limited to legitimate, educational interests. The Vice Provost for Student Affairs is the federal contact regarding our FERPA policy, and the Registrar is responsible for compliance documents.
Examples of inappropriate use of student records are:
- Accessing or reviewing a student's record without a legitimate, educational interest
- Releasing confidential student information (non-directory) to another student, University organization, and person who does not have a legitimate educational interest, or parents of a student without the student's written authorization on file in the Registrar's Office
- Leaving reports or computer screens containing confidential student information in view of others who do not have a legitimate educational interest in the data
- Discussing any information contained in the student record with individuals who do not have a legitimate educational interest in the information (need to know) on campus or outside of the university
Where can I find additional information?
There is a wealth of information that can assist in discovering and preventing academic dishonesty. A few websites are listed below. You may also contact Tanisha Stevens in the Office of Academic Affairs at (314) 516-5304 for any additional questions.
NEW!! My Gateway has a new plagiarism detection tool - TurnItIn.
Please look for announcements for training sessions.
Suggested Strategies for UMSL Faculty
UMSL Academic Dishonesty Procedure
Center for Academic Integrity
Collected Rules and Regulations
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
"Tools for Teaching"
A clever tutorial for students
Distinguishing plagiarism from bad writing