The University Record, October 10, 1994

LS&A to try new approach to handling cheating

By Mary Jo Frank

LS&A will try a new approach to handling student cheating, assuming a proposal from the College’s Joint Faculty-Student Policy Committee is approved at the November LS&A faculty meeting.

David Schoem, committee chair and assistant dean for undergraduate education, moved at the Oct. 3 faculty meeting that the section of the Faculty Code dealing with the academic judiciary be set aside Jan. 1, 1995–April 30, 1997 and replaced with procedures outlined in the Joint Faculty-Student Policy Committee’s “Review of the LS&A Academic Judiciary,” published in September.

The committee recommends that LS&A confront the problem of cheating through a comprehensive education effort and by making substantial changes in the way cheating cases are investigated and adjudicated.

That education effort would include distribution of a pamphlet on “Standards of Academic Integrity” to all faculty and students.

Students would be required to sign a “Commitment to Academic Integrity” statement as part of the undergraduate admissions process.

In addition, a one-page synopsis of the “Standards” pamphlet would be distributed to faculty, TAs and students in large enrollment introductory courses and to students when they declare their concentration.

Standards of academic integrity also should be discussed among faculty at appropriate departmental meetings and among TAs as part of TA training, according to the committee.

It also recommends that discussion of academic integrity issues be included as part of orientation and that aggregate statistics from judiciary proceedings be publicized at the start of each semester in the Michigan Daily, The University Record and LS&A Checkpoint Newsletter.

To clarify what constitutes cheating, the committee recommends that the College adopt the following definition:

“Cheating is committing fraud on a record, report, paper, computer assignment, examination or other work or other course requirement” (adapted from Duke Univer-sity).

Examples of cheating include:

  • Using unauthorized notes, study aids or information from another student or student’s paper on an examination or any other course requirement, including giving or receiving assistance from another student without the instructor’s permission.

  • Altering a graded work after it has been returned, then submitting the work for re-grading.

  • Allowing another person to do one’s work and to submit the work under one’s own name.

  • Submitting two copies of the same or nearly similar papers to two professors without prior approval ( from Duke).

  • Fabricating data in support of laboratory or field work (from Cornell University).

    The committee said plagiarism is a serious example of cheating that requires additional attention and explanation. It offered the following definition of plagiarism:

    “Plagiarism is taking someone else’s ideas, words or statements or other works as one’s own without proper acknowledgment.”

    Examples of plagiarism include:

  • word-for-word plagiarism—copying exactly from a text not one’s own (Cornell).

  • section-by-section plagiarism—lifting phrases from a text not one’s own (Cornell).

  • select-term plagiarism—lifting a special term from a text not one’s own (Cornell).

  • paraphrasing—using someone else’s ideas as if they were one’s own thought (Cornell).

  • borrowing facts, statistics, or other illustrative material, unless the information is common knowledge (from Indiana University).

    When professors allow and encourage collaboration, the committee recommends that instructors ask students to sign an acknowledgment sheet indicating those they worked with and the amount of time that was spent in collaboration.

    Faculty also are encouraged to include a statement of integrity in exams.

    To improve the judiciary structure and process for handling cases of cheating, the committee recommends LS&A:

  • Create a “case investigator” position to relieve faculty of the responsibility of investigating and prosecuting cheating cases.

  • Include a less formal administrative hearing as an alternative step within the judiciary process.

  • Consult LS&A Student Government for student representatives on the judiciary to encourage broader representation.

  • Assign a single person to determine sanctions for formal judiciary hearings to establish consistency in penalties.