Departure From Academic Integrity (DFAI)

Guidelines for investigation, decision making, referral and notification:

Academic Integrity is a commitment to the fundamental values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility. Academic Integrity concerns refer to issues that may involve a departure from those fundamental values. These are termed "Departures from Academic Integrity (DFAI)".

The following list provides examples of conduct that constitutes a Departure from Academic Integrity, but is not intended to be an exhaustive list:

  • Plagiarism
    Presenting another's ideas or phrasings as one's own without proper acknowledgement. Examples: copying and pasting from the internet, a printed source, or other resource without proper acknowledgement; copying from another student; using direct quotations or large sections of paraphrased material in an assignment without appropriate acknowledgement; submitting the same piece of work in more than one course without the permission of the instructor(s)
  • Use of unauthorized materials
    Examples: possessing or using unauthorized study materials or aids during a test; copying from another's test paper; using an unauthorized calculator or other aids during a test; unauthorized removal of materials from the library, or deliberate concealment of library materials.
  • Facilitation
    Deliberately enabling another's breach of academic integrity. Examples: knowingly allowing one's essay or assignment to be copied by someone else for the purpose of plagiarism; buying or selling of term papers or assignments and submitting them as one's own for the purpose of plagiarism.
  • Forgery
    Submitting counterfeit documents or statements. Examples: creating a transcript or other official document; creating a medical note.
  • Falsification
    Misrepresentation of one's self, one's work or one's relation to the University. Examples: altering transcripts or other official documents relating to student records; impersonating someone in an examination or test; submitting a take-home examination written, in whole or in part, by someone else; fabricating or falsifying laboratory or research data.

The Senate Policy on Academic Integrity Procedures – Requirements of Faculties & Schools (“Senate’s Academic Integrity Policy”) can be found here. The procedures developed by the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science are consistent with the Senate Policy and are outlined below.

Instructors, please note that the two forms that you require for cases of DFAI in your courses are included in Sections 1.3 and 1.8 below.

Any questions regarding these policies, procedures or forms, please contact the Associate Dean (Academic) at  engdemic@queensu.ca

Procedures:

1   Instructor guidelines:

1.1          The instructor has the responsibility to initiate the investigation. If at any point the instructor believes the case to be particularly serious, or complex, he/she shall refer the case to the Associate Dean (Academic) in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

1.2          Collection of evidence: 

To begin investigating a possible departure from academic integrity, the instructor should assemble all documents related to the case. These may include:

  • The work submitted by the student for academic credit
  • The sources from which the work submitted by the student is apparently derived
  • The instructions describing the nature of the work to be done
  • Any emails between instructor and student relating to the work
  • Any documents used by the instructor or his/her department stating policies on departures from academic integrity.
  • Statements from witnesses/proctors, etc.

1.3   Informing student in writing of the investigation:

An instructor who identifies a possible DFAI must complete the Notice of Investigation to a Student Regarding a Possible Departure from Academic Integrity and send it to the student. The Notice should normally be provided to the student within 10 working days of the instructor becoming aware of the possible DFAI.  

Instructors must complete the Notice and email it to the student1 as a password protected attachment or provide a hardcopy to the student. The Notice provides the student with all of the information required by the Senate’s Academic Integrity Policy and includes the following:

  • a space where the instructor must insert a summary of the allegations and the instructor’s basis for them
  • a statement advising the student that a copy of the work in question (“the Work”) will be made available for the student to view within 5 working days of the date on which the Notice was emailed to the student2.  (If the student is unable to view the Work on campus, the instructor must, upon the student’s request, email the Work to the student.  If the Work is to be emailed to the student, the instructor must password protect the Work before sending it as an email attachment)
  • a statement about the student's right to respond to the allegation in writing or in person.  The Notice will invite the student to attend an investigative meeting with the instructor, which will be scheduled within 10 working days of the date on which the Notice is emailed to the student (If possible, the Notice should state the date and time of the meeting.)
  • a statement that if the student does not wish to respond to the Notice by attending the investigative meeting, he/she may provide a written response to the instructor and that the written response must be received by the instructor within 10 working days of the date on which the Notice was emailed to the student
  • a statement about the student's right to be accompanied by one person for support and/or advice if he/she chooses to attend the investigative meeting and information about the availability of advice and support from the Office of the University Ombudsman
  • a note that the student must inform the instructor not less than 2 working days before the meeting if he/she intend to bring an advisor to the meeting, who the advisor will be, and the advisor’s relationship to the student (e.g. friend, parent, dispute resolution advisor from the Ombudsman’s Office, etc.)
  • a statement about the fact that the student cannot drop the course once he/she has received a Notice
  • a list of possible sanctions if a finding of DFAI is made

1.4   Initial meeting between instructor and student: 

The initial meeting, while investigatory, is not intended to be a legal proceeding.  The meeting may be convened by telephone, if necessary.

At the meeting, the instructor and student will discuss the allegation(s), the basis for the allegation(s), and the instructor’s supporting evidence.  This meeting is the student’s opportunity to respond and state his/her position with respect to the allegation(s) and the supporting evidence.

Although a student is permitted to bring one advisor or support person to the meeting, the student is expected to respond directly to the instructor concerning the allegation(s) of a DFAI.  An advisor/support person is not permitted to assume the role of advocate on behalf of the student during the meeting.  Legal counsel is not normally permitted to attend the meeting.

The student may provide additional information/documents to the instructor in advance of the meeting or may present such information at the meeting.

During the meeting the instructor will review with the student the possible sanctions if a finding of DFAI is made.

1.5   Instructor decision possibilities:

Following the conclusion of the investigation, the instructor can make one of the following decisions:

  • a decision that there has been no DFAI.  If this is the case, all documents related to the investigation, including the Notice and all email correspondence between the student and instructor related to the investigation, will be destroyed.  The student will be informed of the decision in writing (See Section 1.8 below)
  • a decision that there has been a DFAI

If the student’s response (written or oral) includes new information that could, if validated, clear the student of wrongdoing, the instructor must follow-up on that information before making a decision.

1.6   Notification of Associate Dean (Academic), Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science:

If the instructor makes a finding that a DFAI has occurred, prior to making a decision about the appropriate sanction the instructor must contact the Faculty’s Associate Dean (Academic) to determine if there has been any previous DFAI finding(s) in respect of the student.

If no previous DFAI finding(s) has been made against the student, the instructor has the authority to determine the sanction.  The student and Associate Dean (Academic) are to be notified of the instructor’s decision through the reporting mechanism outlined in Section 1.8.  

If a previous DFAI finding has been made against the student, the sanctioning process must be referred by the instructor to the Associate Dean (Academic) in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science (see Section 2).

1.7   Possible sanctions that can be imposed by the instructor:

The instructor should consult Section 2.3 of the Senate’s Academic Integrity Policy titled Factors to Consider when Assigning a Sanction, before making a decision about the appropriate sanction.

If the case arose in a Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science course, but this is not the Student’s home Faculty, the instructor must consult with the student’s home Faculty Office about the appropriate sanction before deciding on a sanction (See Senate Policy, Appendix B).

The instructor has the authority to impose the following sanctions:

  • an oral or written warning; and/or,
  • a requirement that the student attend and educational program/workshop; and/or,
  • a requirement that the student submit a revised or new piece of work; and/or,
  • a partial or total loss of marks for the originally submitted piece of work; and/or,
  • a reduction of the final grade in the course, which may include failure of the course

1.8   Completing the Decision and Reporting form which notifies the student of the decision:

The instructor must report the result of the investigation, and the sanction(s) (if any) on the form Report on the Findings of a Possible Departure from Academic Integrity (DFAI)

This form is to be completed within 10 working days of the conclusion of the instructor’s investigation.  The Reporting Form must be emailed to the student, as a password protected attachment, or must be provided in hardcopy to the student.

The Reporting Form contains information about the student’s right to appeal the decision.

The Reporting Form will be placed in the student’s Faculty file.

If the instructor made a finding of a DFAI, then a copy of the Reporting Form, as well as the original Notice, must also be provided to the Associate Dean (Academic).  

2   Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science Guidelines for dealing with Referred cases:

2.1   Reasons for referring a case to the Faculty Level:

Cases of DFAI are to be referred to the Associate Dean (Academic) in the following circumstances:

  • a review of the student file indicates (as per Section1.6 above) that a previous finding of DFAI has been made regarding the student.  If the Associate Dean (Academic) is the instructor in the course in which the case arose, this referral shall be to the Dean.  The Dean may undertake the sanctioning process, or, the Dean may refer the sanctioning process to an alternate Associate Dean in the Faculty.
  • an instructor feels, at any point in the investigation, that the case is particularly serious or complex, in which case, the Associate Dean (Academic) will assume responsibility for investigating the matter.

2.2   Informing the student:

The student must be notified in writing (“Referral Notice”) by the Faculty Office that the case has been referred to the Associate Dean (Academic).  This should normally be done within 10 working days of the date on which the instructor decided to make the referral and must include the reason for making the referral (See Section 2.1 above).

2.3   Referral because of previous DFAI finding

When a case has been referred to the Associate Dean (Academic)3 because the instructor made a finding of DFAI and the student’s record contains a previous finding of DFAI, the Associate Dean’s role is limited to determining the appropriate sanction in the matter.  This will require the Associate Dean (Academic) to familiarize him/herself with the instructor’s findings and reasons therefor, but does not include investigation by the Associate Dean (Academic).

If the case arose in a Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science course, but this is not the Student’s home Faculty, the instructor must consult with the student’s home Faculty Office about the appropriate sanction before making any decision with respect to sanction (See Senate Policy, Appendix B).

The Associate Dean (Academic) has the authority to issue a decision regarding sanction in accordance with the range of sanctions outlined in Section 1.7 above.  The Associate Dean (Academic) will issue a decision regarding sanction in accordance with Section 1.8 above.

2.4   Referral of serious/complex case

If the instructor referred the case to the Associate Dean (Academic) because the instructor determined that the case is particularly serious or complex, the Associate Dean (Academic) will assume responsibility for investigating the matter.

The Associate Dean (Academic) will first meet with the instructor and separately with any witnesses.  These meetings should normally be completed within 10 working days of the date on which the matter was referred to the Associate Dean (Academic).

Everyone invited to such a meeting with the Associate Dean (Academic) must be notified, in writing, of the date and time of the meeting.  The written invitation will advise the individual that:

  • he/she may bring one advisor or support person to the meeting
  • he/she must inform the instructor not less than 2 working days before the meeting who the advisor will be and the advisor’s relationship to the individual (e.g. friend, colleague, parent, Ombudsman’s advisor, union representative, etc.)

legal counsel is not normally permitted to attend the meeting

2.4.1   Investigation meeting with the student:

Within 10 working days after concluding the meeting(s) with the instructor and any witnesses, the Associate Dean (Academic) will provide the student with written notice of the investigation, which shall contain all information required in Section 1.3 above.

2.4.2   Decision of Associate Dean (Academic):

Following the conclusion of the investigation the Associate Dean (Academic) can make one of the decisions described in Section 1.5 above.

2.5   Possible sanctions imposed by Associate Dean (Academic):

The Associate Dean (Academic) should consult Section 2.3 of the Senate Policy titled Factors to Consider when Assigning a Sanction, before making a decision about the appropriate sanction.

If the case arose in a Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science course, but this is not the Student’s home Faculty, the instructor must consult with the student’s home Faculty Office about the appropriate sanction before making any decision with respect to sanction (See Senate Policy, Appendix B).

The Associate Dean (Academic) has the authority, without consulting SCAP, to impose the sanctions listed in Section 1.7 above.

2.5.1   Finding of DFAI - Serious penalty warranted:

In severe or egregious cases, the Associate Dean (Academic) may make one of the following recommendations to the Senate Committee of Academic Procedures (“SCAP”):

  • that the student be required to withdraw from the University for a specified period of time (Sanction #6 in the Senate Policy)
  • that the student’s degree be rescinded4 (Sanction #7 in the Senate Policy)
  • that a notation be made on the student’s Internal Academic Record or Official Transcript (Sanction #8 in the Senate Policy)

The Associate Dean (Academic) must consult with the SCAP before determining whether to recommend either of the above sanctions.

The 3rd occurrence of a DFAI for a particular student will automatically result in the case being referred to the Faculty Operations Committee to determine if a recommendation for any of the above sanctions is appropriate.

2.6   Completing the Decision and Reporting form which notifies the student of the decision:

The result of the investigation and the sanction(s) (if any) must be reported on the Reporting Form, in accordance with the procedure set out in Section 1.8 above.

3   Appealing a Decision regarding a Departure from Academic Integrity:

The student has the right to appeal a finding that he/she engaged in a DFAI.  

More details on the Appeals process can be found in Section 4.4 of the Senate Policy

Appeals will be heard by, and according to the appeal procedures of, the student’s Home Faculty.

For students registered in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science:

  • an appeal from an instructor’s decision will be heard by an Associate Dean in the Faculty who has was not involved with investigation or the decision; this will normally be the Associate Dean (Academic), except in circumstances described in Section 2.1 above.
  • An appeal from the decision of an Associate Dean (or the Dean, as the case may be) will be heard by a panel of 3 members of the Faculty Operations Committee who have had no prior involvement with the case.

The first appeal of an academic integrity decision shall be by way of a hearing de novo5.  Any subsequent appeal, including an appeal to the University Student Appeal Board, will take the form of a review of the prior decision (it will not be a hearing de novo), the grounds for which shall be limited to those listed in Section 4.4 of the  Senate Policy on Academic Integrity Procedures – Requirements of Faculties and Schools. 



[1] All communications that are emailed to a student must be sent to the student’s @queensu.ca email address.

[2] The problematic portion(s) of the Work should be identified for the student.  Material made available for viewing should also include other relevant documents, if any; for example, the source/original work in the case of an allegation of plagiarism.  All personal information of any other person must be redacted from materials made available for viewing.

[3] All references to the Associate Dean (Academic) in section 2 and 3 include a reference to the Dean or an alternate Associate Dean appointed by the Dean, as applicable.

[4] http://queensu.ca/secretariat/policies/senate/policy-rescinding-degrees

[5] “De novo” refers to a proceeding that starts over; it is one that “wipes the slate clean” as if no previous process has occurred.

 

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