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Academic Integrity

Academic Integrity Policy

Policy Code: LT1943

Purpose

The University recognises that academic integrity is essential to excellence in learning, teaching, research and scholarly endeavour. Federation University is committed to honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and also responsibility in academe and is committed to promoting a culture of academic integrity for students and staff. Federation University also understands that academic integrity is vital to employers and the community and accordingly regards academic integrity as a critical element.  

This policy describes the University’s principles for promoting, supporting and upholding high standards of academic integrity. It outlines how the University will concentrate on deterring academic misconduct through educative approaches that clearly articulate the University’s expectations of staff and students.

This policy does not limit intellectual/academic freedom provided that academic/teaching staff and students comply with the University’s principles for promoting, supporting and upholding high standards of academic integrity.

Scope

This policy is concerned with all breaches of academic integrity, which includes (but is not limited to):

  • Plagiarism
  • Contract cheating
  • Examination cheating
  • Duplicate submission
  • Fabrication
  • Impersonation
  • Academic Fraud
  • Solicitation and promoting the breach of academic integrity
  • Collusion
  • Non-compliance with examination instructions/requirements

This policy applies to all Federation University students and staff (HE and VET) including those at partner organisations as is consistent with our contractual arrangements. It mandates a framework to support our shared academic principles and behavioural expectations of all members of the University’s academic community which are in addition to any professional codes of conduct and employment or enterprise agreements.

Additional policies and procedures need to be adhered to regarding the conduct of research.  These cover ethics, data management, research integrity and misconduct.

Legislative Context

  • Federation University Australia Act 2010
  • Statute 5.3 – Assessment
  • Statute 6.1 – Student Discipline
  • Regulation 6.1 – Student Discipline
  • Regulation 6.1.1. - Plagiarism
  • The Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015

Definitions

Term Definition
Authorship The state or fact of being the writer or creator of a particular article, document, book, or piece of literary work.
Academic fraud This is a form of academic dishonesty and occurs when a person makes a false representation to gain an unfair advantage.
Academic honesty The principle that academic work is original and authentic and completed only with the assistance allowed.
Academic integrity Academic integrity is the honest and respectful engagement with the scholarships of learning, teaching, research and community. It is an essential moral code to be upheld by the academic community inclusive of staff and students.
Academic misconduct Conduct that conflicts with the principles of academic honesty and academic integrity and leads to an unfair advantage. Types of academic misconduct include: plagiarism, contract cheating, examination cheating, duplicate submission, fabrication, impersonation, academic fraud, solicitation and promoting the breach of academic, collusion and non-compliance with examination instructions/requirements.
Bias(ed) Inclination or prejudice for or against one person or group of people, especially in a way to be considered unfair.
Breach An act or omission which is likely to have the effect of obtaining an advantage by unfair or unauthorised means.
Cheat/Cheating Cheating is a generic term used to describe an act of academic misconduct through which a student attempts to gain an unfair advantage in admission to or the assessment process for a course.
Collusion The unauthorised act of a student presenting work, which is the outcome of directly working with others, as their own
Conflict of interest A conflict of interest arises where there is a divergence between the individual interests of a person and their professional responsibilities such that an independent observer might reasonably conclude that the professional actions of that person may be unduly influenced by their own interests. This can include actual, perceived or potential conflicts of interest.
Contract cheating Contracting/allowing another person or using artificial intelligence to complete part or all of an assessment or examination. Contract cheating includes paid and unpaid arrangements made through a third party, which includes friends/family.
Copyright

Copyright in Australia is governed by the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (the Act). This legislation gives the owner of copyright in literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, sound recordings, films and broadcasts exclusive rights to use those works.

The types of uses include the right to:

  • reproduce/copy a work
  • to publish
  • to perform in public
  • to communicate the work to the public via electronic means - including making it available online or sending via email

This means that permission needs to be obtained from the owner of copyright before anyone can do any of the abovementioned acts.

Corrupt conduct Includes improper use of influence or position and/or improper use of information or other improper acts or omissions of a similar nature
Dishonest conduct Behaving in an untrustworthy, unfair, deceitful, fraudulent or insincere manner; unethical behaviour.
Duplicate submission Resubmitting or largely reusing previously assessed work as new work without permission from the lecturer/tutor.
Exam cheating

Includes:

  • Accessing/obtaining an advance copy of an examination paper unless otherwise authorised, e.g. a ‘seen’ paper.
  • Communicating with or copying from, another person/s during an examination.
  • Bringing into, or receiving during an examination, unauthorised material/information.
Impersonation Pretending to be another student and completing an assessment task/exam on their behalf.
Intellectual property (IP) IP covers the wide range of intangible property that is the result of creative and intellectual effort of individuals or organisations
Misrepresentation Occurs when a staff member/student presents an untrue statement about attendance or participation in practical, performance or professional learning activities, or includes citations to non-existent or incorrect sources or does not disclose any information or matter where there is a duty to disclose such information or matter.
Natural justice Refers to the requirement to provide an avenue of response and fair procedural process for the student where they may be subject to an adverse consequence.
Partner Providers An approved educational institution that delivers University programs/courses as part of an agreement with Federation University Australia.
Plagiarism The presentation of work/s by another person/s as one’s own work by failing to properly acknowledge those person/s. Proper acknowledgement means to clearly identify which parts of a work originate from which source.
Research Integrity Integrity in research includes a commitment to the search for knowledge and understanding, to the recognised principles of research conduct, to the honest and ethical conduct of research, and to the honest and open dissemination of results.
Solicitation Occurs when a student or external agency requests, offers, encourages, induces or advertises for another individual/student to contract, commission, pay, procure, or complete on their behalf, assessment tasks or other items that are likely to result in their use for the purpose of cheating, misrepresentation and/or plagiarism. A student who willingly assists another to circumvent the purpose of assessment through solicitation, cheating, misrepresentation or plagiarism (for example by willingly sharing their own work, giving them access to their own work or advertising the availability of their own work or someone else’s work) is also breaching academic integrity, and may be subject to disciplinary action
Staff member Any person who is an employee of the University at the time of the alleged incident(s). This includes full-time, part-time, sessional or casual staff.
Student

A person enrolled in a formal program of learning in an educational institution and/or a workplace setting.

 

Transparency Refers to the rights of the student to be informed about their rights and choices under policy and procedures as well as decisions and actions taken relating to their matter or other people who may be informed about the matter. It also refers to the rights of the student to be provided and have explained the policy and procedure as it applies to any informal or formal actions taken by the university relating to the matter.

Policy Statement

Federation University’s academic integrity values align with the Universities Australia (2017) definition of academic integrity to act ‘with the values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility in learning, teaching and research’. Academic and professional standing for staff and students requires the upholding of these values University-wide. There are different types of breaches of academic integrity (i.e. academic misconduct) and this policy is concerned with conduct not limited to: plagiarism, contract cheating, exam cheating, collusion, duplicate submission (recycling work), fabrication, and misrepresentation.

Please note: Research integrity and misconduct are governed by the Research Integrity Policy and the Research Integrity & Misconduct Procedure.

Principle Demonstrated by:
The University uses clear, educative approaches to communicate the importance of academic integrity requirements to students and academic/teaching staff. It explains that failure to maintain academic integrity is considered academic misconduct

Educating students about the University’s expectations regarding academic integrity and why it is important.

Educating students about how they might be approached to breach academic integrity by agencies such as contract cheating firms or other students.

Providing guidance and clarity for students about what online tools are recommended for academic skills development versus those that breach academic integrity.

Educating students adequately and consistently in how to correctly research, present and reference their work in an Australian educational environment.

Providing academic/teaching staff with information about academic integrity.

Providing academic/teaching staff with information about: warning signs that may indicate academic misconduct and detection strategies.

The University adopts preventative strategies that mitigate the risk of academic misconduct

Being committed to continuously monitoring advances in technology, understanding how these increase the risks of students engaging in academic misconduct and continuously reviewing detection methods.

Fostering a student culture that values academic integrity.

Encouraging students to make every effort to avoid academic misconduct by taking responsibility for understanding what constitutes academic misconduct and assessment/ examination requirements.

Providing students with clear avenues through which to report solicitation or suspected incidents of academic misconduct.

Role modelling academic integrity to students.

Designing assessment tasks that reduce opportunities for breaches of academic integrity.

Ensuring security of student-submitted assessment/examination materials.

The University is vigilant in detecting cases of academic misconduct

Educating academic/teaching staff about detection strategies.

Encouraging academic/teaching staff to report suspected incidents to their School’s Academic Integrity Officer for further investigation.

The University manages academic misconduct in a consistent and transparent manner that supports students to avoid reoccurrences.

Upholding the principle of natural justice by providing the student with adequate information regarding a suspected breach prior to a hearing to allow them to contest the charge.  

Accepting a balance of probabilities test to substantiate a case of academic misconduct.

Adopting an educative approach where appropriate, particularly for unintentional and first incidences.

Maintaining confidential central records of students’ academic misconduct so that all previous breaches can be identified.

Having reporting mechanisms in place that enable identification of hot spot cohorts for which further targeted, preventative action needs to be taken.

Academic Misconduct / Plagiarism Disciplinary Process

  1. The University currently has separate processes for dealing with plagiarism as one type of academic misconduct and all other types of academic misconduct.
  2. Plagiarism should be dealt with through the Student Plagiarism Procedure.
  3. Non-plagiarism types of academic misconduct should be dealt with through the Academic Misconduct section of Regulation 6.1.
  4. Academic misconduct includes behaviours and actions defined in Regulation 6.1 plus in this policy.
  5. In cases where it is initially unclear whether a breach is plagiarism or another type of academic misconduct and/or a combination of the two, it is recommended that these initially be processed as academic misconduct until a full investigation/hearing has been completed.
  6. On investigation, a charge may be changed from plagiarism to academic misconduct and vice-versa. The principle of natural justice should be upheld.
  7. Records of upheld charges should be sent to central records for retention.
  8. Contract cheating should be dealt with through the Academic Misconduct section of Regulation 6.1 and not via other disciplinary processes.
  9. In most cases, the University is alerted to allegations of instances of plagiarism or other types of academic misconduct by the student’s teacher who completes a Plagiarism Report (or equivalent) and forwards to the School’s Academic Integrity Officer.
  10. However, there may be circumstances in which the University is alerted to a possible breach by a non-academic member of staff or a student. These should be forwarded to the School’s Academic Integrity Officer who should complete a Plagiarism Report (or equivalent) on their behalf.
  11. While Regulation 6.1 provides the Dean (or delegate) with a range of penalties depending on the nature of the academic misconduct, the University views contract cheating as a particularly serious breach of academic integrity and as such:
    1. the penalty for the first instance of contract cheating will be failure for the course. Where a student is found to have committed contract cheating across multiple courses within the same study period, they will be failed for all courses in which they committed contract cheating.
    2. repeat instances of contract cheating will be referred to the Student Discipline Committee to determine the penalty.
  12. Academic Integrity Officers will provide quarterly reports to Academic Board indicating the number of academic misconduct incidents for their School and the penalties.
  13. Academic Board will monitor (i) the frequency of academic misconduct and (ii) the consistency of penalties across the University and take/advise further preventative action as appropriate.

Responsibility

  • Academic/teaching staff and students are responsible for ensuring they comply with this Policy and uphold and promote high standards of academic integrity.
  • Deans, Heads of Schools and Executive Directors/Directors are responsible for monitoring the academic integrity of academic/teaching staff and students, and actioning complaints and/or allegations of breaches.
  • Academic Board is responsible for monitoring the implementation, outcomes and scheduled review of this policy and its accompanying procedure.
  • Chair, Academic Board is responsible for maintaining the content of this policy as delegated by Academic Board.
  • Academic Secretariat is responsible for the administration support for the maintenance of this policy as directed by the Chair, Academic Board.

Promulgation

The Academic Integrity Policy will be communicated throughout the University community in the form of:

  • An Announcement Notice via FedNews website and on the ‘Recently Approved Documents’ page on the ‘Policies, Procedures and Forms @ the University’ website to alert the University-wide community of the approved Procedure.

Implementation

The Academic Integrity Policy will be implemented throughout the University via:

  • Information Sessions; and/or
  • Training Sessions
  • Embedding in preparatory programs for students
  • Embedding materials in staff induction programs
  • Development and advertising of Moodle Shell resources