• Academic Integrity

    This policy can be found in the following documents:  Tiger Paw Student Handbook, Handbook for Faculty and Professional Staff, General Catalog, and Graduate Catalog.

    Academic integrity is one of the highest values held by the University of West Alabama. Academic integrity compels everyone in the University community–faculty, staff, and students alike–to conduct his or her work with honesty, transparency, and honor. In all academic courses, a commitment to academic integrity entails working within the established codes and respecting intellectual property and its proper use. The enforcement of the academic integrity policy, then, is intended to protect the integrity of the University as well as the honor and standing of its students.

    Academic dishonesty is defined as any attempt made by a student that potentially could have given them an ill-gained advantage in any academic pursuit that would not have been available if left solely to the student’s own abilities and performance. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating, assisting in cheating, plagiarism, theft or possession of examinations or other unauthorized class materials, submitting the same assignment in more than one course without the instructors’ consent, knowingly furnishing false academic information (such as falsified transcripts or excused absences, especially medical documents) to the University, altering or attempting to alter a grade or information on any University record, misrepresenting oneself to submit work for another student, or enlisting someone else to submit work falsely for oneself.

    Plagiarism is defined as the failure to document properly all materials from sources, published or otherwise, that are included in an essay, research paper, examination, or other assignment. This includes items such as definitions of particular terms taken from a research source. Incidents of plagiarism include quoting or paraphrasing without properly crediting the author, using the syntax of a source document in a paraphrase without significant modifications, or incorporating the ideas of another without attribution by standard documentation. The actual words of a published or online source must be cited properly and enclosed in quotation marks according to the documentation style of the appropriate academic discipline. Failure to do so is plagiarism. Paraphrased material must also be documented accurately and appropriately and must represent the student’s own words and own unique sentence structure. Failure to do so, again, is plagiarism. Finally, material which is carelessly or incompletely paraphrased is also regarded as an incident of plagiarism. It is the responsibility of the student to learn these academic conventions and abide by them. Further information about using sources and citations may be found via the Julia Tutwiler Library Home Page (http://library.uwa.edu/). This same page provides information on avoiding plagiarism in any of the style manuals given in the links.

    The University of West Alabama reserves the right to use electronic means to detect and help prevent plagiarism. By enrolling at UWA, students agree to have course documents submitted to www.Turnitin.com or other means of electronic verification. All materials submitted to Turnitin.com will become source documents in Turnitin.com’s restricted access database, solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism in such documents. Students may be required by instructors to submit individually course documents electronically to Turnitin.com.

    In instances where a faculty or staff member believes a student has committed or assisted in an act of academic dishonesty, the student is consulted to determine if the matter can be resolved. Following consultation with the student, if the faculty member believes an act of academic dishonesty has been committed and that punitive action is warranted, the matter is referred to the Academic Integrity Committee in writing in the form of an Academic Dishonesty Incident Report, which is available in the Handbook for Faculty and Professional Staff. The faculty member may also include a recommendation for possible disciplinary action consistent with those listed in accordance with the University Student Code of Conduct.

    In a case of determination of academic dishonesty related to a specific class assignment, such as an act of plagiarism or cheating on an exam, the faculty member must notify the student and explain the nature of the charge and the nature of the punishment to be imposed. The faculty member is authorized to choose from the following options for such an offense:

    • Having the student rewrite the assignment, with or without a grade penalty
    • Giving the student an “F” or a zero for the assignment or a portion of the assignment
    • Giving the student an “F” for the course, if justified by the seriousness of the offense
    Should the professor feel the incident needs further action, he or she may refer the student to the Academic Integrity Committee by filing an Academic Dishonesty Incident Report Form detailing the infraction with the Chairperson of the committee. 

    A student accused of academic dishonesty is afforded due process and has the right to request a hearing, in writing, to the Dean of their College, who will in turn refer the matter to the Academic Integrity Committee. All students charged have the right to have legal counsel present during that hearing. In adjudicating the case, if the Academic Integrity Committee finds the student guilty, it may impose the following action(s):
    • No further action
    • Written reprimand
    • Disciplinary suspension for one or more semesters
    • Expulsion
    • Other penalties as appropriate
    A decision rendered in a hearing by the Academic Integrity Committee will be conveyed in writing to the student, the accusing professor, and the Provost. The student may appeal the decision in writing to the Provost no later than five working days after being notified of the committee’s decision. Assistance of legal counsel is also a right of the student during the appeals process.

    Cases of academic dishonesty will be pursued under this policy regardless of when they are discovered, and grades and diplomas may be rescinded as a result.

    October 14, 2008; Rev. April 24, 2009; November 13, 2012; January 8, 2016; January 17, 2017