College Academic Integrity Policies and Procedures
- Statement of Policy
The University’s ability to achieve its mission depends upon the quality and integrity of the intellectual work performed by all of its faculty and students. All members of the University at all times must take full responsibility for the integrity and basic honesty of the expression and communication of their thoughts.
Violations of academic integrity encompass a wide range of activities, including, but not limited to unauthorized assistance, misrepresentation, fabrication, unauthorized reuse of academic work, and misuse of instructional content. Given the high ethical standards and expectations for integrity in the fields where our alumni work, the College of Health and Human Development does not tolerate violations of academic integrity policy and supports appropriate sanctions consistent with University policies and procedures.
HHD expects students to act with integrity in all their academic efforts.
HHD expects faculty to provide an academic environment that regularly communicates high standards of integrity, to take reasonable steps to anticipate and deter violations of academic integrity in all assignments, to report all violations of academic integrity in their classes and to provide students in each course they teach with a statement clarifying the application of University and College academic integrity policies.
- The College of Health and Human Development Academic Standards Committee
The College of Health and Human Development Academic Standards Committee (HHD-ASC) is the committee charged with responsibility for maintain academic standards in HHD, including playing the primary role in upholding academic integrity. The committee includes at least one faculty member from each HHD academic department, in addition to HHD undergraduate and graduate student volunteers. All HHD-ASC members receive training on academic integrity policies and procedures from the HHD Academic Integrity Coordinator. The HHD-ASC is the primary body involved in making decisions in Academic Integrity Reviews. A panel of 3 members (2 faculty and 1 student) from the HHD-ASC participate in Academic Integrity Reviews and make decisions about whether a student is responsible for a violation and what sanction is appropriate. The HHD-ASC also assists the Associate Dean of Undergraduate and Outreach Programs on other academic matters, including, but not limited to, grade adjudication and resolution of class problems, including academic freedom conferences.
The HHD Academic Integrity Coordinator is responsible for the operations of the HHD-ASC and for the HHD Academic Integrity Policies and Procedures. The HHD Academic Integrity Coordinator provides training to members of the HHD-ASC, conducts Academic Integrity Reviews and Sanction Reviews, reports academic integrity outcomes to appropriate university offices, assists students and faculty with understanding university and college policies and procedures, and provides a fair academic integrity process for faculty and students.
- Addressing a Suspected Violation
The academic integrity process in the College of Health and Human Development begins when a course instructor discovers or learns of a suspected violation of academic integrity. In consultation with the HHD Academic Integrity Coordinator and/or department academic program leaders (department head and/or program leader/professor-in-charge), the instructor should gather the information and/or documentation regarding the suspected violation. This may include instructions provided to students about what behaviors represent a violation of academic integrity for the course or assignment, assignment(s), exam(s), or other material submitted by the student(s) in question, documentation provided by plagiarism or proctoring courseware, etc.
If the instructor believes there is sufficient information to warrant notification and discussion with the student, they should contact the student. In communicating with the student, the instructor should not make an accusation. Communication should simply indicate that the instructor has a serious concern about the student’s academic work in the class and a meeting is needed as soon as possible.
- Academic Integrity Meeting
The College of Health and Human Development recommends that initial meetings between student and instructor regarding suspected violations of academic integrity should be held in-person, if possible. A department/program leader may also attend the meeting, if the student or instructor would like to have a third-party in attendance.
Zoom or Teams meetings are also acceptable, although both student and instructor should ensure that no other individuals can overhear the meeting. If necessary, the initial meeting may be held by phone. If the meeting is not in-person, the instructor will need to share any documentation with the student during or prior to the meeting. Only if an instructor is unable to arrange a meeting with the student after repeated attempts, may the instructor move forward to file an academic integrity form without having met with the student.
If there are multiple students involved in a suspected violation, meetings should be held separately with each student. If the violation involves group work submitted for evaluation by 2 or more students, then all students in the group are responsible for a violation, unless the instructor determines otherwise. Through assignment procedures or the academic integrity meetings, an instructor may choose to determine that an individual student or subset of students are responsible for the violation, but the instructor is not required to do so and may file academic integrity violation forms for all group members.
At the initial academic integrity meeting, the instructor should describe the suspected violation that they believe has occurred and share a copy of any documentation or information regarding the suspected violation with the student. The instructor should not share the names of any other students that they may believe to be involved verbally or on documentation, as that violates student confidentiality. Instead, if necessary, other students should be referred to with conventions, such as “Student A”, “Student B”, etc.
The instructor should also give the student an opportunity to share their perspective on what has occurred. Consistent with the university’s emphasis that “…academic integrity is best taught and reinforced by faculty as an element of the teaching and learning process…”, HHD encourages instructors to treat this meeting as an opportunity to discuss a student’s actions in light of the expectations for integrity at Penn State and in their future endeavors.
The instructor should inform the student that they may not drop the class, unless the instructor communicates that they have decided not to submit an academic integrity form to the university. If the student drops the course or withdraws from the course during the academic integrity process, the Registrar will administratively re-enroll the student in the course.
The instructor should also inform the student of their rights regarding the academic integrity process, provide the link to the HHD academic integrity web pages and encourage the student to review university and college academic integrity policy and procedure pages.
After discussing the suspected violation with the student and in consultation with the HHD Academic Integrity Coordinator and/or academic department/program leaders, the instructor should make a final decision on whether they believe an academic integrity violation has occurred.
If the instructor has determined that a violation has occurred, the instructor should consult the University's Sanctioning Guidelines, and determine an appropriate sanction, in consultation with the HHD Academic Integrity Coordinator and/or academic department/program leaders. Faculty can propose two types of sanctions, academic and University-level administrative sanctions.
Academic sanctions include a wide range of actions that would result in the modification of grades for assignments or a course and are proposed by the instructor.
University-level administrative sanctions may be proposed by the instructor. All recommendations for University-level administrative sanctions will be reviewed by a panel of the HHD Academic Standards Committee. If approved, they are forwarded to the appropriate university office, who makes the final decision on whether these sanctions are applied to the student.
Normally, it is preferable to propose only academic sanctions, relying on the assignment of grades and course or program-related sanctions to support the learning process, rather than requesting additional University-level administrative sanctions, which are only appropriate for repeated, extreme or egregious academic integrity violations.
- Submitting an Academic Integrity Form
After meeting with the student and making the decision about the violation and sanction, the instructor member should organize the documentation to be submitted regarding the violation. This should include a copy of the course syllabus (including any guidance on academic integrity policies in the course) and a copy of the assignment/exam/paper that is involved in the violation (including any specific guidance on academic integrity policies for the assignment/exam/paper). The instructor should also provide a brief summary describing the violation.
With documentation prepared and a proposed sanction determined, the instructor should use the University’s online academic integrity system to formally report the suspected violation: https://ai.la.psu.edu/. When submitted, both the student and the HHD Academic Integrity Coordinator will be notified that an academic integrity form has been filed.
- Student Response to an Academic Integrity Form
After receiving the email notification of the Academic Integrity Form, the student will have five business days to respond through the online academic integrity system. From the time the student meets with the instructor until this response deadline, students are strongly encouraged to consult with the HHD Academic Integrity Coordinator to understand the process and their rights. The student may select one of the following options:
1. The student may accept the charge and sanction as presented by the instructor by responding to the online notification.
If the student accepts responsibility for a violation and the proposed sanction, and the student has no prior academic integrity violations, and the instructor has not recommended University-level administrative sanctions, then the College of Health and Human Development’s Academic Integrity Coordinator will finalize the case and notify the Office of Student Accountability and Conflict Resolution of its outcome. The instructor will be notified to apply the sanction to the student’s academic work. All persons involved will be notified to destroy all records related to the case.
If the student has any prior academic integrity violations or the instructor has recommended University-level administrative sanctions, then HHD will initiate a sanction review, even if the student has accepted responsibility for a violation and the proposed sanction.
2. The student may contest the charge and/or sanction.
In response to the notification that an instructor has filed an academic integrity violation, a student may respond that they are not responsible for violating academic integrity or they may acknowledge that they were responsible for an academic integrity violation, but believe the sanction is too severe.
If the student decides to contest either the charge or the sanction, the online academic integrity system will give the student an opportunity to submit any documentation or information that they believe is relevant to the situation. The system then gives the instructor an opportunity to submit a response and/or additional documentation or information. After the instructor’s response, the student is given an additional opportunity to respond and/or submit additional documentation or information. Following this, the HHD Academic Integrity Coordinator will provide both student and instructor with access to documentation submitted and initiate the process for an Academic Integrity Review Panel to make a decision on whether a violation has occurred and, if so, the appropriate sanction.
3. The student may choose not to acknowledge or respond.
If the student chooses not to acknowledge and respond to the Academic Integrity Form when received, the academic integrity process will continue and the student will be held responsible for the violation and receive the proposed sanction.
- Paper Review Procedures
A meeting for a paper review may be held in-person, through Zoom or Teams, or by phone.
HHD Academic Integrity Review Panel members are given access to the documentation submitted by the instructor and the student at least 72 hours prior to the meeting.
At the start of a paper review meeting the HHD Academic Integrity Coordinator meets with the HHD Academic Integrity Review panel members and summarizes the suspected violation, including the issues in dispute between the student and instructor, and answers any questions from the panel members.
In the paper review, the coordinator then asks the panel to discuss and determine whether the student is responsible for the violation. The coordinator does not participate in the discussion, except to take notes and to respond to questions from the panel regarding the policy, procedures or documentation.
- Full Hearing Procedures
A full hearing may be held in-person or through Zoom/Teams.
HHD Academic Integrity Review Panel members are given access to the documentation submitted by the instructor and the student at least 72 hours prior to the meeting.
At the start of a full hearing the HHD Academic Integrity Coordinator meets with the HHD Academic Integrity Review Panel members and summarizes the suspected violation, including the issues in dispute between the student and instructor, and answers any questions from the panel members. The instructor and the student are not present for the summary during a full hearing
At a full hearing, the instructor and the student are then admitted to the meeting. The student may also have an advisor chosen by the student who is a staff, faculty or student member of the University community admitted to the hearing. The advisor may support and consult with the student during the full hearing, but may not otherwise participate in the meeting. Neither family members nor legal counsel (unless part of the University community) may attend the full hearing.
The student is first given the opportunity to present additional relevant information and documentation, or to have other individuals present information to the panel. The panel members and the instructor are both given the opportunity to question the student and any individuals providing information on behalf of the student to the panel.
Following the student’s presentation and questioning, the instructor then has an opportunity to present additional relevant information and documentation or to have other individuals present information to the panel. The panel members and the student are both given the opportunity to question the instructor and any individuals providing information on behalf of the instructor to the panel.
Following the presentation of additional relevant information by the student and the instructor, the panel members, student, or instructor may request an opportunity to ask additional questions to the student or instructor. The HHD Academic Integrity Coordinator, in their role directing the hearing, can permit this additional period for open questioning that is fair and focused on relevant evidence for a reasonable time period. The HHD Academic Integrity Coordinator determines when to close the period for open questioning, and then gives the student, followed by the instructor, an opportunity for a closing statement.
After closing statements are made, the student, student’s advisor (if present), and instructor leave the full hearing, and the HHD Academic Integrity Coordinator and the panel initiate the panel discussion. The coordinator asks the panel to discuss and determine whether the student is responsible for the violation. The coordinator does not participate in the discussion, except to take notes and to respond to questions from the panel regarding the policy, procedures or documentation.
- Panel Discussion Procedures for Paper Reviews and Full Hearings
Through a robust discussion, the panel will examine all documentation/information provided and seek to achieve a consensus on the question of whether the student is responsible for an violation. If the panel members are not able to achieve a consensus after a reasonable period of discussion, any member of the panel or the HHD Academic Integrity Coordinator may call for a formal vote to be taken on the question of the student’s responsibility. The panel will then decide by majority vote whether the student is responsible for an academic integrity violation. In the case of one or more members of a panel choosing to abstain from a vote, a student cannot be held responsible for the violation unless at least two members of the panel vote that the student is responsible for the violation.
If the panel decides by consensus or majority vote that the student is responsible for a violation of academic integrity, the HHD Academic Integrity Coordinator presents them with information on the student’s prior academic integrity violations, if any. The panel then initiates a sanction review.
Following the decisions on the violation and sanction, the HHD Academic Integrity Coordinator will prepare a brief summary of the panel’s decisions and send the summary to the student, the instructor, and the Office of Student Accountability and Conflict Resolution in a timely manner following the HHD Academic Integrity Review. The summary will include information directing the instructor to apply the sanction as determined by the panel. All persons involved will be notified to destroy all records related to the case.
- Sanction Review Procedures
A sanction review is conducted during all paper reviews and full hearings when a student contests an academic integrity sanction, and in any situation when the instructor has recommended University-level administrative sanctions or the student who has accepted responsibility for a violation and its sanction is found to have any prior academic integrity violations.
The HHD Academic Integrity Coordinator will conduct a sanction review using a panel of the HHD Academic Standards Committee which has been convened for a paper review or full hearing or, in cases where a student has accepted responsibility for a new violation and sanction, a separate panel is established when the student has prior violations or the instructor has recommended University-level administrative sanctions. The panel convened for sanction review may determine the following:
- whether the recommendation for University-level administrative sanctions will be recommended to the appropriate university office
- whether the original academic sanction should be increased or decreased
- whether to assign an XF transcript notation when the instructor has proposed an academic sanction that would result in an "F" grade in the course. The panel of the HHD Academic Integrity Review Panel determines the duration of the transcript notation (up to two years) and any conditions required for earlier removal.
- For egregious violations or multiple violations in courses required for the completion of a degree program, the HHD Academic Integrity Review Panel may also remove the student from their academic program
The panel examines all documentation/information provided and seeks to achieve a consensus on the appropriate academic sanction for the student’s actions. If the panel members are not able to achieve a consensus after a reasonable period of discussion, any member of the panel or the HHD Academic Integrity Coordinator may call for a formal vote to be taken on the question of the appropriate sanction. The panel will then decide by majority vote on the appropriate sanction. In the case of one or more members of a panel choosing to abstain from a vote, at least two members of the panel must vote to support a sanction different from the one proposed by the instructor. Otherwise, the sanction proposed by the instructor will be applied.
When a student contests an academic integrity violation and/or sanction, the decisions of the Academic Integrity Review Panel are final, except in cases when the panel has approved the application of an XF sanction or the removal of the student from their academic program or has recommended a University-level administrative sanction. Decisions and appeals on University-level administrative sanctions are addressed by the appropriate university office.
When either of the other two sanctions are approved by the panel as academic sanctions, the student may appeal the sanction to the Dean of the College. The student appeals these sanctions by sending email communication through their Penn State email account to the Dean and the HHD Academic Integrity Coordinator requesting a review of the sanction. The student should explain in the email or an attached document why the sanction should be changed. The Dean may choose to meet with the student before making a final decision.
- Student Rights in Penn State and HHD Academic Integrity Processes
The student has the right to:
- Discuss their view of the incident with the instructor
- Receive a completed copy of the Academic Integrity Form that indicates both the alleged violation and the recommended sanction, if the instructor decides to submit the form to the university
- Review all evidence and documentation submitted by the instructor regarding the claim that the student committed an academic integrity violation
- Seek advice from any individual they choose during the academic integrity process
- Choose an adviser who is an administrative, faculty or student member of the University community to participate in any academic integrity review
- Choose not to acknowledge and return the Academic Integrity Form when received. Note that if the student does not acknowledge and return the form, the academic integrity process will continue and the student will be held responsible for the violation and receive the proposed sanction
In addition, with respect to HHD Academic Integrity paper reviews and full hearings, the student has the right to:
- Attend a full hearing, if they have requested one,
- Present relevant information and documentation for a paper review or full hearing
- Have adequate time to prepare for a paper review or full hearing
- Question the instructor or other individuals attending a hearing regarding the information and documentation presented by them
- Withdraw the decision to contest at any time prior to the panel’s decision
- Reporting and Record Keeping
The HHD Academic Integrity Coordinator will report to the appropriate university office all cases in which the student accepted responsibility for the charge(s), all cases in which the student has not signed the Academic Integrity Form, as well as all cases in which the student was found to be responsible through the HHD academic integrity review process. Following final reporting of a case to the appropriate university office, the college and all participants in an academic integrity case will destroy all records related to the case. The college will retain only general data to help assess timeliness, consistency, rate of offenses, etc.