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Academic Integrity Guidelines

These guidelines pertain to academic integrity issues related to student-faculty interactions in the classroom and other academic contexts within the Swanson School of Engineering. This document outlines Student Conduct and Faculty Conduct.

The integrity of the academic process requires fair and impartial evaluation on the part of faculty and honest academic conduct on the part of students. Students are expected to conduct themselves with a high level of responsibility in the fulfillment of their course of study. It is the corresponding responsibility of faculty to make clear to students those standards by which they will be evaluated and the resources permissible for use by students during their course of study. The educational process is perceived as a joint faculty-student enterprise that will involve professional judgment by faculty and may involve, without penalty, reasoned exception by students to the data or views offered by faculty.

Consistent with these considerations (and without limiting their scope and application in their entirety to the academic programs of the University), faculty and students are directed to observe established guidelines on academic integrity. The Swanson School of Engineering Academic Integrity Policy is embedded below; the University's Academic Integrity Guidelines are available here.

 

Effective September 2005; reprinted February 2009.

The University policy contains a set of principles which shall be applicable to each of the academic units (including the Swanson School of Engineering) throughout the University. A student desiring information about an academic unit's specific procedures and the makeup of its Academic Integrity Hearing Board may obtain a copy of the procedures and other necessary information from either the SSOE Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or in the Office of the Dean of the academic unit in which a particular course is taught (e.g. the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences). Additional information or guidance may be obtained from the Office of the Provost. Copies of this document and guidelines for academic units should be distributed by the deans to all instructional staff in each academic unit.

 

Preface to the University Academic Integrity Policy Guidelines[i]


Provided here are Academic Integrity Policy Guidelines based on the 1983-86 document which was initially approved by the Board of Trustees on the recommendation of the University Senate Council.  The original document evolved from and represented careful deliberation among staff, Senate committees, and student leaders of the University.  The purpose of this document is to clarify and codify the rights and responsibilities that are inherent in traditional faculty-student relationships and to reflect procedural modifications that were approved, effective January 1, 1989, by the Chancellor.

In following the Guidelines, the faculty members of each academic unit of the University are expected to adapt them to the circumstances of their own academic unit.

The Guidelines are designed to assure due process, equity, and prompt and objective review by third parties, with appropriate appeals procedures.  There is a general intent to maintain confidentiality, to avoid unnecessary formality, and to resolve issues at the lowest possible level.

Faculty have a particular interest and responsibility in assuring that the Guidelines are adhered to, by virtue of their profession and their role as academic officials of the University.  Any failure to follow these Guidelines would be harmful to the whole University community.

All members of the University community have access to advice and interpretation regarding these Guidelines.  Students may consult with the Campus Judicial Coordinator, faculty may consult with their dean or academic unit hearing officer, and any individual may ask for any other guidance they need from the Office of the Provost. 

In general, we seek to preserve the traditional freedoms and duties associated with academic endeavors.  The University should work to preserve the rights and responsibilities of faculty and students in their relationships with one another.  Just as faculty and students must be free to seek truth and to search for knowledge with open minds, they must also accept the responsibility that these activities entail, maintaining the highest standards of integrity, mutual respect, and honest inquiry. 

Historical Background

In March 1965, the Senate Council approved a policy statement on the subject of academic integrity.  It was there declared, in language that is as true and vital today as then, that: 

The University of Pittsburgh seeks excellence in the discovery and dissemination of knowledge. Excellence in scholarship cannot be achieved in situations which are contaminated by dishonest practices. All members of the University community are obligated to adhere strictly to the highest standards of integrity in study, research, instruction, and evaluation. 

It is presumed that those who instruct and administer observe such standards of integrity. Administrators and senior faculty members are presumed further to encourage these standards among their junior colleagues.  Students are presumed to accept the concept of academic integrity and to seek to live by it but they may need continuing clarification of the concept and guidance in its observance. Particularly, students need the assurance that those who work honestly will not suffer thereby in comparisons with the dishonest. Those who cannot or will not adopt the concept and practices of academic honesty do not belong within the University.

These principles are reaffirmed.

In  February  1974,  the Senate Committee on Tenure and Academic Freedom reported to the Senate Council, recommending a general statement on academic integrity as follows:

The integrity of the academic process requires fair and impartial evaluation on the part of faculty, and honest academic conduct on the part of students. To this end, students are expected to conduct themselves at a high level of responsibility in the fulfillment of the course of their study.  It is the corresponding responsibility of faculty to make clear to students those standards by which students will be evaluated, and the resources permissible for use by students during the course of their study and evaluation. The educational process is perceived as a joint faculty-student enterprise which will perforce involve professional judgment by faculty and may involve--without penalty--reasoned exception by students to the data or views offered by faculty.

Consistent with these considerations (and without limiting their scope and application in their entirety to the academic programs of the University), faculty and students are directed to observe the following guidelines:

1.  Faculty should meet and students should attend their classes when scheduled, faculty should be available at reasonable times for appointments with students, and both parties should keep such appointments, faculty and students should make appropriate preparations for classes and other meetings, students should submit their assignments in a timely manner, and faculty should perform their grading duties in a timely manner.

2.  The general content of a course or other academic program should be described with reasonable accuracy in catalogues or other written documents available to students.  The content, objectives of, and standards for evaluation (including the importance to be assigned various factors in academic evaluation) in a course should be described by the faculty member at the first or second class meeting, preferably in a written hand-out.

3.  Integrity of the academic process requires that credit be given where credit is due. Accordingly, it is unethical to present as one's own work the ideas, representations, or words of another, or to permit another to present one's own work without customary and proper acknowledgement of sources. The limits of permissible assistance available to students during a course or an academic evaluation should be determined by the faculty member and described with reasonable particularity at the first or second class meeting, or well in advance of an evaluation, so as to allow for adequate student preparation within the permissible limits.

4.  All academic evaluations should be based upon good-faith professional judgment, in accordance with applicable standards; factors such as race, color, religion, sex, national origin, political affiliation, and activities outside the classroom that are unrelated may not be considered in matters of academic evaluation, academic assignments, or classroom procedures, nor shall reasoned views expressed by students during the course adversely prejudice any students.

5.  University records, which shall contain only information reasonably related to educational purposes, shall be considered a matter of privacy not to be released except with student consent, or as may be permitted by law; provided, that any student shall be permitted to review his or her own personal record, except for its confidential contents (such as the recorded comments of counseling personnel).

6.  The faculty of each academic unit shall establish rules implementing these principles, and procedures pertaining to the investigation and redress of grievances.

The above Guidelines cannot be fulfilled in the University of Pittsburgh as a whole unless they are fulfilled in each and every academic unit. University-wide Guidelines of implementation as outlined above are accordingly appropriate as an expression of a common understanding and dedication. These principles are presented in some detail in the two model codes of this statement, which deal with student and faculty responsibilities, respectively. Each academic unit is required to adopt regulations conforming to these documents. The development of exact procedures remains sufficiently flexible to provide proper discretion on the part of the individual faculty; however, such procedures must be designed to assure fair and orderly review of particular cases and should adhere closely to the language of the attached codes. 

The dean of each academic unit will be responsible for furnishing to the Provost the regulations and procedures adopted by the faculty and any amendments. The codes of each academic unit will be reviewed to ensure reasonable conformity with the principles and procedures of the attached model codes. The dean shall also assure that all full-time and part-time students and faculty are informed about the existence and availability of the applicable regulations and procedures.

In cases that involve a student registered in one academic unit, but in which the faculty member involved holds his or her appointment in another academic unit, the jurisdiction shall be held by the academic unit which offered the course (usually the academic unit in which the faculty member is appointed).  Remedial action benefiting the student must be approved by the dean of the academic unit in which the course is offered. However, in offenses involving academic integrity, only the dean of the academic unit in which the student is matriculated can suspend or dismiss the student from the University. In cases that cross academic unit boundaries, consultation between the appropriate administrative officers may be appropriate.

[i] The SSOE Academic Integrity Policy was approved June 15, 2020