Academic Integrity

Academic Misconduct Procedure

Policy code: LT2062
Policy owner: Dean, Learning and Teaching
Approval authority: Academic Board
Approval date: 25 July 2022
Next review date: 25 July 2025

Purpose

This procedure supports the University’s Academic Integrity Policy by detailing the process for reporting, investigating and penalising incidents of academic misconduct by students. It will ensure incidents are dealt with consistently, fairly and transparently.

Scope

This procedure applies to all Federation University higher education students including those at partner organisations. It also applies to students studying vocational education and training programs. Matters of research integrity and misconduct, including those relating to Higher Degree by Research students, are dealt with in the Research Integrity Policy and the Research Integrity and Misconduct Procedure.

Legislative Context

  • The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 (TEQSA Act)
  • Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021
  • Regulation 2.4 - The Student Discipline Committee
  • Regulation 6.1 – Student Discipline

Definitions

A list of definitions relevant to this procedure is contained within the Academic Integrity Policy.

TERM DEFINITION
Academic Integrity Officer
  • The Academic Integrity Officer of the relevant student’s Institute/School/Federation TAFE; or, in the absence of such an officer -
  • The member of staff with responsibility for administration of a relevant program or course
Academic Staff
  • The member(s) of staff at the relevant Institute/School/Federation TAFE who suspect or detect academic misconduct in a particular case
Balance of probabilities A standard of evidence that establishes, on the evidence, that one (or more) acts of academic misconduct more likely than not to have occurred.
Member of the University community A current or former member of staff or student.
SEAS Student Experience and Administration Services

Actions

Reporting Academic Misconduct

  ACTIVITY RESPONSIBILITY STEPS
A Reporting academic misconduct Any member of the University community/public
  1. Academic misconduct includes (but is not limited to): plagiarism, resubmitting/recycling previously assessed work, cheating, contract cheating, collusion, payment or receiving of bribes, fabrication, fraud and facilitating academic dishonesty.
  2. Refer to the Academic Misconduct Determination Guide for assistance in determining the severity of academic misconduct.
  3. Any member of the University community/public may report a student or former student for suspected academic misconduct at any time.
  4. Discuss with the relevant Academic Integrity Officer prior to making a report. The Academic Integrity Officer will advise whether there are grounds for reporting.  
  5. Refer to this webpage for the contact details of Academic Integrity Officers https://federation.edu.au/staff/governance/academic-board/academic-integrity.
  6. Academic staff should complete the Academic Misconduct Report Form and email it to their Academic Integrity Officer.
  7. Other members of the University/public may contact the Academic Integrity Officer with relevant information that will enable the Academic Integrity Officer to complete the Academic Misconduct Report Form.

Investigating and Notifying Students of Academic Misconduct Report/Penalty

  ACTIVITY RESPONSIBILITY STEPS
A. Investigating academic misconduct Academic Integrity Officer or nominee
  1. Investigates of the Academic Misconduct Report and determines whether there are grounds for a penalty.
  2. The administrative nominee contacts SEAS via registrar@federation.edu.au and refers to the student records management system to determine the student’s record with respect to academic misconduct (if any).
  3. The severity of the alleged academic misconduct and the student’s record of academic misconduct (if any) will be relevant to:
    1. the penalty  (see the Academic Misconduct Determination Guide for assistance in determining the severity of academic misconduct).
    2. which University body will conduct a hearing should the student wish to contest the allegation(s)  (see below).
B. Notifying the student Academic Integrity Officer or nominee
  1. Within 10 business days of receiving the Academic Misconduct Report, the Academic Integrity Officer (or nominee) notifies the student of the report, the proposed penalty, the student's right to contest the penalty and the name of the University body which will hear their case should they wish to contest it.
  2. The notification should include all material supporting the report.
  3. The student may respond to the allegation(s) in writing to contest it or them at least one business day prior to the hearing date. Any evidence which the student intends to rely on during the hearing must also be submitted at least one business day prior to the scheduled hearing.
  4. A hearing may be in person, by phone or by video link.
  5. The Institute, School or Federation TAFE (as appropriate) will conduct most hearings.
  6. In the following circumstances the hearing will not be conducted by the Institute, School or Federation TAFE and the Academic Integrity Officer will refer the allegation(s) of academic misconduct to the Student Discipline Committee:
    1. Students with a record of at least two previous cases of proved academic misconduct; and
    2. Allegations which, if established, might in the opinion of the Academic Misconduct Officer be sufficent to warrant a penalty of exclusion (refer to the Academic Misconduct Determination Guide for assistance in determining the severity of alleged academic misconduct).
  7. For Institute, School, Federation TAFE hearings: the Academic Integrity Officer notifies the student using the (1) Academic Misconduct Notification Letter Template.
  8. For Student Discipline Committee hearings: the Academic Integrity Officer/nominee notifies the student using the (2) Academic Misconduct Hearing SDC Notification Template and sends a copy to the Student Discipline Committee Secretary.
C. Requesting a hearing Student
  1. The student may request a hearing which request must be made within 10 business days of being notified.

Conducting Institute, School or Federation TAFE Hearings

  ACTIVITY RESPONSIBILITY STEPS
A. Confirming details of hearing Academic Integrity Officer or nominee
  1. Within five working days of receiving a hearing request, the Academic Integrity Officer notifies the student of the Institute’s, School’s or Federation TAFE’s hearing details using the (3) Academic Misconduct Hearing Details Confirmation Letter Template.
  2. Students must be given at least 10 business days' notice of the hearing.
B. Conducting the hearing Academic Integrity Officer
  1. Hearings may be conducted in person or via phone/video link and may be recorded if a student has provided verbal consent.
  2. Students have the right to be accompanied by a support person (but not a lawyer or anyone  with legal training).
  3. The matter may be referred to the Student Discipline Committee if additional information is obtained that increases the apparent severity of the academic misconduct (see above for the relevant circumstances in which this will occur).  
  4. The Academic Integrity Officer should provide details of academic integrity information/services the student can access in order to meet the University’s expectations.

Conducting Student Discipline Committee Hearings

  ACTIVITY RESPONSIBILITY STEPS
A. Confirming details of hearing Student Discipline Committee Secretary
  1. For Student Discipline Committee hearings, the Student Discipline Committee Secretary notifies the student of the hearing date in accordance with Regulation 2.4 – The Student Discipline Committee.

Advising Student of Hearing Outcome: Penalty or No Penalty

  ACTIVITY RESPONSIBILITY STEPS
A Confirming penalty without a hearing being conducted by the Institute, School or Federation TAFE Academic Integrity Officer or nominee
  1. If the student does not respond to the notification and/or does not request a Institute/School/Federation TAFE hearing, the penalty specified in the original letter will apply.
  2. Send the student the (4) Academic Misconduct Penalty Confirmation Letter Template confirming that the penalty will be actioned.
B. Advising student of penalty following a Institute, School or Federation TAFE hearing Academic Integrity Officer
  1. Within 10 business days of the  hearing, the student must be notified in writing of:
    1. the outcome ie. whether or not a penalty will be imposed or whether the matter will be referred to the Student Discipline Committee
    2. reasons for the decision
    3. avenues for appeal (if applicable)
    4. academic integrity information/services they can access in order to meet the University’s expectations.
  2. Depending on the outcome of the hearing, the Academic Integrity Officer sends the student the:
C. Advising student of penalty following a Student Discipline Committee Hearing Student Discipline Committee Secretary
  1. Advises the student of the penalty as well as all relevant stakeholders (eg. Academic Integrity Officer and SEAS) so that they can record and implement the penalty. 

Appealing A Hearing Decision

  ACTIVITY RESPONSIBILITY STEPS
A Appealing a decision made by an Institute, School or Federation TAFE hearing decision Student
  1. Decisions made at hearings which are conducted by an Institute, School or Federation TAFE may be appealed to the University Appeals Committee as per the Appeals to the University Appeals Committee Procedure.
  2. In accordance with that Procedure, the student can only appeal to the University Appeals Committee if (1) they have obtained new evidence that was not known at the time of the Institute/School/Federation TAFE hearing or (b) if an irregularity in procedure has occurred.
  3. The student must lodge an appeal within 10 business days of the Institute’s/School’s/Federation TAFE’s decision.
B. Appealing a Student Discipline Committee hearing decision Student
  1. A student may appeal a decision of the Student Discipline Committee through Council as per Regulation 2.4 – The Student Discipline Committee.

Recording and Implementing Penalties

  ACTIVITY RESPONSIBILITY STEPS
A. Recording penalty Academic Integrity Officer or nominee
  1. Completes Academic Misconduct Report Hearing Outcome Form
  2. Advises SEAS and updates student records management system.
B. Implementing suspension penalty SEAS
  1. If a suspension penalty is imposed, the student's study plan is updated. Students cannot enrol during the suspension term.
C. Implementing exclusion penalty SEAS
  1. If an exclusion penalty is imposed, the student’s enrolment in their program is cancelled. A student will need to re-apply for enrolment when the exclusion period has ended.

Monitoring Academic Misconduct

  ACTIVITY RESPONSIBILITY STEPS
A Providing Institute/School/Federation TAFE reports to Academic Board Academic Integrity Officers
  1. Academic Integrity Officers will provide quarterly reports to Academic Board indicating the number of academic misconduct incidents for their Institute/School/Federation TAFE and the penalties.
B Monitoring academic misconduct trends across the University Academic Board
  1. Academic Board will monitor academic misconduct trends across the University and take/advise further preventative action as appropriate.

Responsibility

  • Academic Board (as the Approval Authority) is responsible for monitoring the implementation, outcomes and scheduled review of this procedure.
  • Dean, Learning and Teaching (as the Document Owner) is responsible for maintaining the content of this procedure as delegated by the Approval Authority.

Promulgation

This procedure will be communicated throughout the University via:

  1. A FedNews announcement and on the ‘Recently Approved Documents’ page on the University’s Policy Central website.
  2. Distribution of e-mails to Executive Dean of Institute/Dean of the Global Professional School Pro Vice-Chancellor, VET/CEO Federation TAFE University staff.
  3. Documentation distribution, eg. posters, brochures.
  4. Notification to Institutes/Schools/Federation TAFE

Implementation

This procedure will be implemented throughout the University via:

  1. A FedNews announcement and on the ‘Recently Approved Documents’ page on the University’s Policy Central website.
  2. Staff induction sessions.

Records Management

Title Location Responsible Officer Minimum Retention Period
Academic Misconduct Report Form and associated paperwork where allegations are proven and the student is permanently excluded or expelled from the course or institution SEAS Chair, Academic Board 15 Years after final decision.
Academic Misconduct Report Form and associated paperwork where the allegations are proven and the student is penalised or sanctioned (including temporary suspension) but is not excluded or expelled. SEAS Chair, Academic Board 7 years after final decision.