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Procedures for Dealing with Alleged Breaches of Academic Honesty

Academic Honesty Policy


1. Responsibility for dealing with matters of academic dishonesty

1.1 Any breach of University standards of academic honesty will be dealt with in accordance with the principles set out in the Framework for Academic Honesty, the Academic Honesty Policy, these Procedures and/or Statute 10 Student Conduct and Discipline.

1.2 Any responsibility, power or authority assigned to a Head of School (or equivalent), Executive Dean or Provost in accordance with these Procedures may be exercised by a person(s) designated by the relevant Officer to act on his/her behalf for the purpose of these Procedures.

2. Principles for dealing with an alleged breach of academic honesty

2.1 Any case of alleged breach of academic honesty will be dealt with by procedures which ensure:

  1. equity;
  2. consistency;
  3. procedural fairness;
  4. timely resolution of the case; and
  5. achievement of appropriate and effective outcomes.

2.2 The University may use text matching software or other tools to assist in identifying cases of breach of academic honesty, provided that students are notified in the Unit Outline of the availability of such tools to students for self-evaluation and, if relevant, of the intended use of any such software or tools in management of the unit.

2.3 In any case in which a Lecturer in Charge, Course Coordinator, Head of School (or equivalent), Executive Dean or other University officer has an oral communication with a student regarding a matter arising under the Academic Honesty Policy and/or these Procedures, that officer will make a written note of such communication and retain it within an appropriate secure file(s).

2.4 In any discussions or interviews in which a student participates during any process under the Academic Honesty Policy or these Procedures, the student may, at his or her discretion and with prior written notice to the relevant officer, be accompanied by one other person, other than a person with a qualification in law, whom the student designates as his/her support person for this purpose. A support person will act in the role of a neutral observer; such other person will not act in the role of advocate or spokesperson on behalf of the student, except with the specific prior permission of the Head. A support person may not be a person who was involved in, associated with, or alleged to have been involved in or associated with, the alleged breach of academic honesty.

3. Notification of possible breach

Where any member of staff, other than a Lecturer in Charge, detects or is made aware of the possible occurrence of academic dishonesty, the staff member will report the matter:

  1. in the case of detection by a member of academic staff, to the Lecturer in Charge of the unit;
  2. in the case of detection by any other member of staff, to the staff member’s supervisor who may refer the matter to the Lecturer in Charge or relevant Head of School (or equivalent).

4. Identification of academic dishonesty

4.1 Where a Lecturer in Charge detects or is made aware of the possible occurrence of academic dishonesty, the Lecturer in Charge will arrange a consultation/email communication with the student to further investigate the matter and should advise the Head of School (or equivalent).

4.2 If the Lecturer in Charge is satisfied that the student did not act inappropriately or dishonestly, they should first consult with the Head of School (or equivalent) and then provide the student with relevant feedback and counselling.

4.3 If the Lecturer in Charge has sufficient evidence to conclude that the student has acted inappropriately or dishonestly, they are to:

  1. contact the Manager, Student Centres, to obtain information from the student’s (electronic) personal file and/or the central repository of breaches of academic honesty regarding any written warnings related to previous occurrences of possible academic dishonesty;
  2. consider all available factors listed in Section 7;
  3. determine appropriate course of action in consultation with, or refer the matter to, the Head of School (or equivalent).

4.4 Where the student’s personal file and/or the central repository of breaches of academic honesty contains no written warning related to a previous occurrence of academic dishonesty and the current breach is a minor breach, the Lecturer in Charge should:

  1. counsel the student by explaining referencing guidelines, providing a copy of the Academic Honesty Policy and the Code of Practice for Academic Honesty and referring the student to services such as the Academic Skills Unit or Library for assistance;
  2. adjust the student’s mark in the relevant assessment task to take account only of work which is in line with principles of academic integrity and with the Academic Honesty Policy; and
  3. issue a written warning about the consequences of breaching University policy on assessment and academic honesty. The letter should include advice that an investigation of further possible occurrences of academic dishonesty will take into consideration any previous warning that has been issued. A copy of any warning letter should be:
    1. signed and dated by both the student and the Lecturer in Charge;
    2. retained by both the student and the Lecturer in Charge;
    3. recorded on the central repository of breaches of academic honesty; and
    4. forwarded by the Lecturer in Charge to the relevant Team Leader, Student Centre for addition to the student’s personal file and to the Head of School (or equivalent) for information.

4.5.1 The Lecturer in Charge will immediately refer to the Head of School (or equivalent) any matter on which they have sufficient evidence to conclude that:

  1. there is at least one previous record related to a previous academic dishonesty occurrence; or
  2. the current academic dishonesty occurrence is not a minor breach.

4.5.2 In doing so the Lecturer in Charge will provide a report on investigations undertaken and all relevant materials, viz:

  1. the examination paper or work submitted by the student for assessment; and
  2. evidence of the basis on which the allegation is based, for example:
    1. the Examination Supervisor’s report and any associated evidence;
    2. reference to and preferably copies of other resources which are considered to have been plagiarised; (a printout from any internet site is appropriate, in case that site is subsequently changed); or
    3. evidence of collusion or recycling;
    4. evidence from text matching software or other detection tools;
    5. any explanations and/or admissions that the student may make with respect to the relevant behaviour;
  3. information about any other written warnings related to possible previous occurrences of academic dishonesty found on the student’s personal file or the central repository of breaches of academic honesty.

5. Hold on results while any allegation of academic dishonesty is investigated

In any case in which an allegation of academic dishonesty is referred to the Head of School (or equivalent), Executive Dean or Provost, the student cannot withdraw from the unit and no result can be finalised for the unit until the investigations under these Procedures are completed, the decision is communicated to the student, and the time for appeal has elapsed.

6. Consideration of any allegation of academic dishonesty by a Head of School (or equivalent) or Executive Dean

6.1 The responsible officer to whom any allegation of academic dishonesty has been reported will, within 10 working days of receiving the allegation, initiate such investigations as considered appropriate.

6.2 If the responsible officer considers that the evidence does not support the allegation, the student and the Lecturer in Charge, other relevant officers and any other complainant will be advised accordingly and no further action will be taken.

6.3 If the responsible officer considers that the allegation has substance, they will notify the student in writing of the nature of the allegation/s and provide the student with a copy of the Academic Honesty Policy, these Procedures and the Framework for Academic Integrity and with the opportunity to prepare and submit a written response. Unless otherwise specified in the particular case, the student’s response should be lodged within 20 working days of notification by the Head of School (or equivalent) or Executive Dean.

6.4 The responsible officer may also request the student to attend an interview or provide the student with the opportunity to request an interview to discuss the allegation.

6.5 The responsible officer will make a decision on the matter within 20 working days from the receipt of a response from the student, or, if no response is received, the due date for a response from the student.

7. Factors taken into account in determining action to be taken where allegation of academic dishonesty is proven

The following factors will be taken into account in determining the gravity of an act of academic misconduct and determining action to be taken and/or penalty to be imposed:

  1. the nature of the academic dishonesty;
  2. the extent of the academic dishonesty;
  3. the experience of the student;
  4. any explanations and mitigating circumstances provided by the student;
  5. any previous record of academic dishonesty on the part of the student; and
  6. whether the breach is a minor breach of the Academic Honesty Policy, defined as a relatively small or insignificant breach of the student’s academic honesty obligations. The breach has minimal effect on the overall result for that assessment task, and is not indicative of a broader pattern of behaviour. As a consequence, the breach does not provide the student with a significant unfair advantage, and a proportionate response by staff would maintain the University’s academic reputation.

8. Action which may be taken by the Head of School (or equivalent)

8.1 Following investigation of the allegation, the Head of School (or equivalent) may take one or more of the following actions:

  1. dismiss the case with no further action, other than counselling the student;
  2. issue a written warning to the student;
  3. require the student to resubmit the work for assessment or to undertake additional and/or remedial work in substitution for the work submitted;
  4. require the student to undertake another form of assessment in lieu of the assessment work in question;
  5. apply a fail grade to the work, or part thereof, submitted for assessment;
  6. impose a maximum grade for the unit (eg a maximum grade of Pass) and/or downgrade the final grade overall in the unit;
  7. apply a fail grade overall in the unit;
  8. refuse, cancel or annul credit for any unit;
  9. refer the matter to the relevant Executive Dean if the Head of School (or equivalent) considers that awarding a fail grade in the unit is insufficient to deal with the matter.

8.2 If a student has been found guilty of academic dishonesty on more than one occasion, the Head of School (or equivalent) will refer the matter to the relevant Executive Dean.

9. Action by Executive Dean

9.1 In the event of an allegation of academic dishonesty being referred by a Head of School (or equivalent) to the relevant Executive Dean, the Executive Dean will undertake such further investigation of the case as is considered appropriate.

9.2 Following consideration of the case the Executive Dean may take one or more of the following actions:

  1. dismiss the case;
  2. apply a fail grade overall in the unit(s);
  3. refuse, cancel or annul credit for any unit(s);
  4. impose some lesser academic penalty;
  5. terminate the student’s enrolment in the course and exclude the student from the University for a period of up to one semester from the date of termination; or
  6. refer the matter to the Provost if the Executive Dean considers that one or more of the above penalties is insufficient to deal with the matter.

10. Action by the Provost

10.1 In the event of an allegation of academic dishonesty being referred by an Executive Dean to the Provost, the Provost will undertake such further investigation of the case as is considered appropriate.

10.2 Following consideration of the case the Provost may take one or more of the following actions:

  1. dismiss the case;
  2. refer the matter to a Discipline Committee under Statute 10 Student Conduct and Discipline;
  3. terminate the student’s enrolment in the course and exclude the student from the University for a period of up to two semesters from the date of termination; or
  4. impose some lesser academic penalty.

11. Notification and recording of decisions

11.1 Following determination of a case by a Head of School (or equivalent), Executive Dean or the Provost, the relevant officer will advise the student in writing of:

  1. the process undertaken during the investigation;
  2. the decision reached;
  3. the reasons for the decision; and
  4. the available avenues of appeal.

A copy of the advice to the student will be provided to all relevant officers which may include the Executive Dean, the Head(s) of School (or equivalent), the Course Coordinator, the Lecturer in Charge and the relevant Team Leader, Student Centre.

11.2 The relevant Team Leader, Student Centre will upload the report on the confidential (electronic) Breaches of Academic Honesty file. Further access to the report is limited to the Manager, Student Centres and the Manager, Enrolments, Fees and Scholarships. A cross reference will also be included on the student’s personal file and the decision will be recorded on the central repository of breaches of academic honesty.

12. Implications of termination or exclusion

Where a student’s enrolment has been terminated or the student has been excluded under these Procedures, the following provisions apply:

  1. where the exclusion or suspension does not exceed two weeks, the student may resume studies after the expiry of the nominated period of exclusion;
  2. where the exclusion exceeds two weeks, the student may not resume studies, after the expiry of the nominated period of exclusion, without first obtaining the approval of the Course Coordinator;
  3. where the period of exclusion is greater than one standard study period, in order to be considered for re-enrolment, the person must first submit an application for readmission which will be determined by the relevant Executive Dean after consultation with the Breaches of Academic Honesty file;
  4. if the student subsequently re-enrols, no credit may be granted for any studies or other learning or practical experience undertaken at this University or elsewhere during the period of exclusion or suspension.

13. Avenues of appeal1

13.1 A student may appeal:

  1. to the Executive Dean against the decision of a Head of School (or equivalent);
  2. to the Provost against the decision of an Executive Dean; or
  3. to the University Appeals Committee against the decision of the Provost.

13.2 Any such appeal will be handled in accordance with the Student Appeals Policy and Procedures.

14. Related documents

These Procedures should be read in conjunction with the following:

  1. Academic Honesty Policy
  2. 2013 Academic Regulations
  3. Assessment Policy
  4. Assessment Procedures
  5. Framework for Academic Integrity
  6. Glossary of Terms
  7. Research and Professional Doctorate Degree Regulations
  8. Statute 10 Student Conduct and Discipline
  9. Student Appeals Policy

1 See Policy on Review by the University Visitor of Unresolved Appeals or Complaints by Students.

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