Q: What do I need to do to report a suspected case of academic misconduct?

A: Please see "To Report a Suspected Case of Academic Misconduct" for a detailed response.

Q: Reporting an incident of academic misconduct seems like a lot of work. Why shouldn't I just handle it myself?

A: There are two really good reasons why faculty should use the system. The first is that students who are found responsible of a second or third offense get much harsher penalties, but if they're not "in the system", we don't know about them. We particularly want to discourage serial cheating. The second reason is that because the University has an established policy for dealing with allegations of academic misconduct, a faculty member who doesn't use the system risks a lawsuit (against the individual, not Bucknell) if a student thinks s/he has been treated unfairly by the faculty member.

Q: What if I think a student did something that technically constitutes academic misconduct — like forgetting to cite a source — but I don't think the student should be penalized? Do I have to report it to the dean?

A: When a student commits a minor offense and you believe it was done through ignorance, you may decide that educating the student is a more appropriate response than sending the case to the associate dean. However, if you feel that a penalty has to be imposed, you need to send the case to the dean. Because Bucknell has an established policy and procedures, only the Board of Review on Academic Responsibility has the legal authority to assess penalties.

Q: It's time-consuming to look for evidence if I suspect a student plagiarized. Can I get help to do that?

A: Faculty may ask students to submit their assignments through TurnItIn in Moodle. Both services check essays for similarities to electronic sources.

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 may take time, but if we want our students to take academic responsibility seriously, we need to enforce consistently the University's policies.

Q: What if one of my students or teaching assistants observes another student cheating?

A: The student should report the incident to you so that you can investigate. If you feel that charges need to be filed, the letter to the dean should come from you.

Q: Is a faculty member who brings charges against a student permitted to be present at the hearing?

A: By recommendation of the Committee on Instruction following its review of the procedures of the Board of Review (Fall 2000), the faculty member may be present at the hearing. The faculty member should inform the appropriate associate dean so that the hearing can be scheduled accordingly. The faculty member may not cross-examine the student directly, but the Chair of the Board panel will ask the faculty member at an appropriate time whether s/he has comments or questions.

Q: How will I know what the Board decides?

A: After the hearing, the Registrar, who serves as secretary to the Board of Review, will tell the associate dean the decision of the Board. The associate dean will then write you a letter.

Q: If the incident occurs at the end of the semester, what should I do about giving the student a final grade?

A: If a case cannot be adjudicated before final grades are due, the associate dean will give the student an "administrative incomplete". The faculty member will be asked to fill out a change of grade form (available in the dean's office) after the Board makes its determination.

Q: Do these penalties go onto the student's permanent record?

A. All the files relating to academic misconduct cases are kept in the Registrar's Office, separate from the student's academic files. If the penalty imposed is less than an F in the course, the file is shredded upon graduation unless the student is a senior, in which case it is retained for one year after graduation and then shredded. If the penalty is an F in the course, suspension, or expulsion, the file is kept indefinitely. The files are confidential, but if someone who has a "right to know," such as a prospective employer, an education certification board or a graduate school admissions officer, asks us about a particular student's academic responsibility record, we are required to reply. For students who receive a reprimand outcome, a letter of reprimand is not part of the student's permanent record and will not be reported to entities external to the University as a finding of responsibility or imposition of adverse disciplinary action. A letter of reprimand remains in a student's file until graduation, when it is removed. Reprimands are taken into account in determining penalties in the event of future violations of academic conduct regulations.

Q: Is there any information available to the University community about the number and kinds of cases that are adjudicated?

A: The Registrar maintains a list of the kinds of cases and the penalties assigned as Board of Review statistics in Banner Web, which is accessible to anyone with a Banner password. The list is updated every year (includes spring and fall semesters).