To Report a Suspected Case of Academic Misconduct
It is the job of one associate dean in each college to guide students through the process and to advise faculty who have questions. If you suspect that a student has engaged in academic misconduct, you should report it to Lynn Breyfogle (first-year students and sophomores) or Rich Robbins (juniors and seniors) if the student is in Arts and Sciences and to Karen Marosi if the student is in Engineering. Since Bucknell has an established policy for dealing with cases of academic misconduct, it is very important, both from the university's standpoint and from a legal standpoint, that all faculty members follow the policy.
You are encouraged, but not required, to talk with the student before bringing the case to the associate dean so that you can resolve any questions or discrepancies and to be certain that your suspicion is not based on a misunderstanding or miscommunication. Any information you receive in meeting with the student can be included in your packet of information. If you feel that there is sufficient evidence to present the case without meeting with the student, you may choose to send your case directly to the associate dean. It is worth noting that students prefer being notified of charges by the professor rather than by a dean they may not know.
Reporting suspected academic misconduct
The packet of information you prepare for the associate dean should include the following:
- a letter addressed to the associate dean containing the following:
a. an explanation of the charge
b. a paragraph that reveals how the student is currently doing in the course
c. a description of any discussion you had with students about academic misconduct or a statement about it on your syllabus
a. in the case of illegal collaboration or copying, a copy of each student's assignment or exam
b. in the case of plagiarism, a copy of the student's paper and a copy of the sources you have discovered with the plagiarized material highlighted on both pieces of evidence (see note below)
c. if you observe a student engaging in academic misconduct, an account of what you saw and any corroborating evidence
- a copy of the assignment
- a copy of your syllabus including a statement of how much the assignment is worth in terms of the course grade
- a short statement describing the student's current grade in the course (this and #4 help the Board of Review understand the effect on the student’s grade of the penalties they are considering)
- an assessment of the quality of the student's work on the assignment or paper. The Board must assign penalties that are consistent for similar kinds of cases, but they can take the faculty member's assessment into consideration when they make a decision.
After the associate dean receives your letter, she will write the student a letter stating that he or she has been charged with academic misconduct. The letter asks the student to come and see the associate dean to talk about the charge, the evidence provided, and the procedures that will be followed. Please note that the student may read your letter at this meeting. After the meeting, the associate dean writes up a short summary of the meeting and the student writes a letter to the associate dean detailing the events that led up to the alleged act of academic irresponsibility. Once the file is complete, Jennifer Derk in the Registrar’s Office sets up a Board of Review hearing.
Finding evidence of plagiarism
Faculty may use a tool called SafeAssign, located in Blackboard (thru June 2013), or TurnItIn, which is integrated with Moodle.
If you suspect a student plagiarized a print source, you are the best person to look for the source because you are familiar with the literature in your field. This does take time, but if we support a campus culture that sends a strong message about how we will deal with academic misconduct, this kind of search shouldn’t be necessary very often. Refer to Plagiarism Detection at Bucknell for additional information.
The faculty member has the option to attend the hearing and in that case, the chairperson of the Board panel will ask the faculty member for questions or comments at the appropriate time. After the hearing, the Board secretary reports the Board’s decision to the associate dean who in turn reports the decision in writing to the student and to the faculty member.