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Special Circumstances

Troubled Students: Know Your Limits

Tips for Referring Troubled Students provides information on where to direct a student if you are concerned about his mental health or wellness.

Academic Integrity

Office of Student Conduct is responsible for the implementation of the Student Conduct & Discipline and the Regents' Rules and Regulations. There is information on this page about reporting a suspected violation and the discipline process.

Library Information and Tutorials for Students

In addition to helping students understand plagiarism, copyright, fair use, and other such concerns, these Web pages provide faculty with information that they can use in teaching students more about these issues:

  • Plagiarism 1, 2
  • This guide gives some resources on copyright and fair use for the UTA community. This is only a guide to resources, not a legal document.

Syllabus Insert

All syllabi must contain the following student pledge and statement:

Academic Integrity: Students enrolled in this course are expected to adhere to the UT Arlington Honor Code:

I pledge, on my honor, to uphold UT Arlington’s tradition of academic integrity, a tradition that values hard work and honest effort in the pursuit of academic excellence.

I promise that I will submit only work that I personally create or contribute to group collaborations, and I will appropriately reference any work from other sources. I will follow the highest standards of integrity and uphold the spirit of the Honor Code.

UT Arlington faculty members may employ the Honor Code as they see fit in their courses, including (but not limited to) having students acknowledge the honor code as part of an examination or requiring students to incorporate the honor code into any work submitted. Per UT System Regents’ Rule 50101, §2.2, suspected violations of university’s standards for academic integrity (including the Honor Code) will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct. Violators will be disciplined in accordance with University policy, which may result in the student’s suspension or expulsion from the University.

Academic Integrity and Scholastic Dishonesty

Students are expected to uphold and support high standards of personal honesty and integrity. It is the policy of the University to enforce these standards by following fair and objective procedures in instances of alleged dishonesty, cheating or other academic misconduct. Students found responsible for dishonesty in their academic pursuits are subject to sanctions that may lead to disciplinary probation, temporary suspension, or even expulsion from the University.

What Is Academic Integrity? Academic integrity is defined as being a firm adherence to five fundamental values: honesty, truth, fairness, respect, responsibility.

It is the policy of the University that if a student chooses to act in an academically dishonest way, he or she will be held personally accountable for that choice and any consequences that follow. The official definition of academic dishonesty includes but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, and collusion on an examination or an assignment being offered for credit. Each student is accountable for work submitted for credit, including group projects. The Office of Student Judicial Affairs defines the key terms in the definition of academic dishonesty in the following manner:

Cheating

  • Copying another’s test or assignment.
  • Communication with another during an exam or assignment (i.e., written, oral or otherwise)
  • Giving or seeking aid from another when not permitted by the instructor
  • Possessing or using unauthorized materials during the test
  • Buying, using, stealing, transporting, or soliciting a test, draft of a test, or answer key

Plagiarism

  • Using someone else’s work in your assignment without appropriate acknowledgement
  • Making slight variations in the language and then failing to give credit to the source

Collusion

  • Without authorization, collaborating with another when preparing an assignment

Clearly, it is better to take steps to promote academic integrity than to respond to instances of academic dishonesty. However, despite your efforts you may have to respond to situations where you feel academic dishonesty has taken place. The following provides describes how to proceed.

Responding to Academic Dishonesty

Procedures regarding allegations of academic dishonesty must be followed carefully. The process begins with a discussion with the student regarding the alleged act of dishonesty. This should be done in discreetly and in private. If you determine that the student was not acting dishonestly, the process comes to an end. If you remain convinced that he or she violated rules of academic honesty then you should complete and submit either of two different forms to Student Judicial Affairs depending on whether the student admits to or denies the allegation. If the student admits to the accusation, you may use the form to indicate what academic penalties you feel should be imposed. If the student denies any wrongdoing, the case will be heard before Judicial Affairs and that office will determine what consequences, if any, should be applied. A student who has denied your charge should be given a grade of incomplete in your course until Judicial Affairs decides the matter.

You should not impose any sanctions on a student you suspect of academic dishonesty without following the prescribed procedure.

See a schematic overview of the process. Details and forms may be obtained by accessing the Student Conduct website.

Ways to Promote Academic Integrity and Discourage Dishonesty

Faculty and staff members in their respective roles can educate students regarding the importance of academic integrity and/or implement strategies that discourage scholastic dishonesty. Your attitude and response to scholastic dishonesty creates a climate that can either foster or inhibit dishonesty. What you do is very important. Ignoring an incident implies that scholastic dishonesty is accepted. Below are some strategies to employ:

General Academic Practices

  1. Stress the importance of academic integrity in course syllabi. Include test-taking rules (e.g., no books, no caps, ID required) and clearly detail behaviors you consider scholastically dishonest that others may not (e.g., one paper submitted for credit in two different courses; students who work together on a lab or take-home assignment). A general statement for syllabi follows: Policy on cheating—students who violate University rules on scholastic dishonesty are subject to disciplinary penalties, including the possibility of failure in the course and dismissal from the University. Since dishonesty harms the individual, all students, and the integrity of the University, policies on scholastic dishonesty will be strictly enforced.
  2. Discuss scholastic dishonesty policies, procedures, and possible penalties on the first class day.
  3. Take action against all involved, including those who assist, when evidence of scholastic dishonesty exists.
  4. Assign a small percent of the final grade to activities that cannot be closely controlled (e.g., take-home exams, lab reports, homework assignments).
  5. Do not give answer manuals to graders.
  6. Personally deliver the final course grades to the proper administrative official.

Classroom Exams

  1. Advise students in advance that restroom use during the test is not permitted and that silence will be enforced.
  2. Do not use the same exam twice, including different sections of the same course.
  3. Develop alternate test forms (i.e., same items and response options but one or both are presented in a different order).
  4. Print the same test using different type fonts so that it looks like different test forms are used.
  5. Assign more than one number to each question (e.g., the first question might be numbered 8/6) and break students into groups (e.g., odd and even on the basis of the last digit in their social security number) and ask that they record the answers using their group’s designated question number.
  6. Include a statement like the following on exams and answer sheets if students are not permitted to retain them: Any test file that includes this document was developed with stolen materials. Stealing this document or using it prior to an examination is cheating and will be dealt with as such.
  7. Do not use students to type/duplicate exams.
  8. Secure exams/answers in a locked cabinet.
  9. Put different forms of the test on different colors of paper and distribute them so that the colors alternate.
  10. Check desks and the surrounding area for notes and other unauthorized materials.
  11. Staple scratch paper to the answer sheets before distributing them to the students.
  12. Ask that backpacks, notebooks, etc. be put in a designated area or not be taken to class.
  13. Check photo Ids when students enter the test site, ask that they be placed on the desktop for verification during the exam, or put students’ names on exams and answer sheets and give test materials to them after checking the names against the IDs.
  14. Separate students or assign seats.
  15. If blue books are used, ask students to write on different lines (e.g., every third line) for specific pages or require them to bring the booklets at the beginning of the semester and distribute them on the exam day.
  16. Mark each computer-readable answer sheet with an identifier that is not accessible to students (e.g., rubber stamp with the department address) to prevent them from bringing in sheets with “crib notes.”
  17. Number the tests and answer sheets and ask students to sign both to prevent copies from being taken out of the testing area.
  18. Remain in the classroom during the exam and use additional proctors.
  19. Walk around and occasionally stand at the rear of the room since students will want to know where the professor is and turn around before cheating.
  20. Do not permit students to grade their own exams.
  21. Request that students leave their test papers so that the answer sheets can be collected in row sequence.
  22. Ask students to return both the exam and the answer sheet.
  23. Advise that some answer sheets will be photocopied before being returned so that students cannot subsequently change their answers and claim grading errors.
  24. Develop a computer program to identify identical answers (e.g., same errors, sequence of items).

Research/Term Papers

  1. Define the term “plagiarism” and proper documentation of sources.
  2. Request that the department purchase catalogs from term-paper services so that suspicious titles/papers can be checked to determine if they have been purchased. Even if your department lacks access to term-paper checking services, check passages of student papers on Google by searching for whole phrases or sentences within quotation marks. Advise students that these checks for misrepresentation will be made.
  3. Keep a copy of all papers submitted and maintain a filing system by topic to check for papers submitted more than once. Advise students of this practice.
  4. Notify the class that if authorship is questioned, you will query the student to determine familiarity with the topic.
  5. Require an early outline, progress report, or tentative bibliography with library location numbers; do not permit late topic changes; accept only originally typed papers—no photocopies; and require notes and rough drafts to discourage the use of “paper mills”.
  6. Randomly select papers and check citations. (This should be noted in the syllabus and the selection of papers should occur in the classroom to avoid complaints of bias.)

Preventing Plagiarism, Cheating, and Collusion

One educator recommends group work, presentations, discussions, peer review, retention and display of former student work, assigning work that cannot be plagiarized, and – proctored exams. For specifics, see this blog.

Disruptions in the Classroom

Behavior Intervention Team is a resource for faculty to address the needs of students who are experiencing significant behavioral disturbances. It provides a systematic response to students whose behavior is disruptive to themselves or the environment, or who may be in violation of UT Arlington Code of Conduct.

Highly Motivated Students

How do I keep highly motivated and/or outstanding students engaged/provide future opportunities for these students?

Differently-Abled Students

Americans with Disabilities Act for Faculty and Staff

ADA Office on Campus

From GTA Handbook:

Disability Accommodations

As a UT Arlington educator/teacher, you are required by law to provide "reasonable accommodations" to students with disabilities. All who teach are also responsible for informing students about their right to request reasonable accommodations by posting a statement on the syllabus.  

         Students are primarily responsible for informing GTAs and faculty of their need for accommodation and in providing the proper documentation of the need. Information regarding specific diagnostic criteria and policies for obtaining academic accommodations can be found at www.uta.edu/disability.

If you have any questions you may contact the Office of Students with Disabilities located at 102 University Hall. They can be reached by phone at 817-272-3364. Their webpage is http://www.uta.edu/disability/resources/ada.php. More information for facutly and staff can be found at http://www.uta.edu/hr/ada/.

For Syllabus

Americans with Disabilities Act: [Suggested language] The University of Texas at Arlington is on record as being committed to both the spirit and letter of all federal equal opportunity legislation, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). All instructors at UT Arlington are required by law to provide "reasonable accommodations" to students with disabilities, so as not to discriminate on the basis of that disability. Any student requiring an accommodation for this course must provide the instructor with official documentation in the form of a letter certified by the staff in the Office for Students with Disabilities, University Hall 102. Only those students who have officially documented a need for an accommodation will have their request honored. Information regarding diagnostic criteria and policies for obtaining disability-based academic accommodations can be found at www.uta.edu/disability or by calling the Office for Students with Disabilities at (817) 272-3364.