Integrity Violation Processes
As a member of the Smeal community, it is your duty to aspire to the highest ethical standards and to hold others accountable to them. Penn State and the Smeal College of Business have processes in place to hold students accountable for academic integrity.
The purpose of these processes is to understand the incident at hand and to clarify the situation. Students who are being reviewed should know that they are welcome to have an advocate present for them throughout the process and that the primary contacts for each process are available to answer questions throughout the process. Students should rest assured that confidentiality is of the highest importance during and after the process.
How it works: Academic Integrity Process
Note: The Penn State Smeal MBA and Executive MBA Program are governed by a separate process.
The instructor investigates and gathers information to determine if an academic integrity violation has occurred.
If the instructor believes a violation has occurred, the instructor determines the appropriate academic sanction. Any potential disciplinary violations and sanctions should be discussed with the Associate Dean prior to moving forward with any academic integrity violation.
Meeting with the Student
The instructor completes the University Academic Integrity Form (“AIF”) and meets with the student to discuss the allegation and sanction.
The student may choose to accept the terms set forth on the AIF or contest the allegation and/or sanction. The decision will be indicated on the form. The student may take up to five business days to communicate the decision. Students failing or refusing to participate in the process will be deemed “not contesting” the terms set forth on the AIF.
The instructor delivers the AIF to the college’s academic integrity Records Coordinator.
The Smeal College Records Coordinator is Monica Snyder, 202 Business Building.
If the student accepts the instructor’s terms, the matter proceeds to the enforcement phase.
If the student contests the allegation and/or the academic sanction, the matter is referred to the Academic Integrity Committee (which comprises three faculty members and two students). The instructor and student will submit written narratives regarding the allegation (and/or sanction), documents, witness statements and other information in support of the narrative. There are no live hearings or presentations.
Upon the committee’s review of the information provided, it can make any of the following determinations: First, it can find the instructor’s information and sanction are consistent with university policy in identifying and addressing an academic integrity violation. Second, it can find that the information does not support the allegation that a violation occurred. Third, it can find that a violation occurred but that the sanction should be increased or decreased based on the information provided to the committee. The decision of the committee is final. There are no further appeals.
In the event the committee determines that no violation occurred, the matter concludes and no information related to the allegation will be present in the student’s record. The instructor and student will be informed of the committee’s decision. Otherwise, the matter moves to the enforcement stage.
In cases in which the terms of the AIF have been accepted by the student or in the event of a finding against the student by the Academic Integrity Committee, an inquiry will be made to the Office of Student Conduct to determine if the student has had a prior academic integrity violation.
If there is no prior violation, the instructor applies the academic sanction. The AIF is delivered to the Office of Student Conduct by the Records Coordinator.
If there has been a prior violation, the matter restarts at the Meeting with the Student phase with the college academic integrity officer functioning in the role of the instructor. Academic integrity officer will consult with the instructor regarding the alleged violation and alternate sanctions with respect to the prior violation history. The student’s prior history will not be revealed to the academic integrity committee during any initial review of a contested case.
In contested matters, the instructor and student will be informed of the committee’s determination that a violation occurred. An inquiry will be made to the Office of Student Conduct to determine if the student has had a prior academic integrity violation. If there is no prior violation, the instructor will apply the academic sanction. The AIF is delivered to the Office of Student Conduct by the Records Coordinator. In consultation with the college academic integrity officer, the committee may revise the sanction in light of information regarding previous violation(s). The instructor and student will be informed of the determination made by the committee. The instructor will apply the academic sanction. The AIF is delivered to the Office of Student Conduct by the Records Coordinator.
How it Works: Academic Integrity Violation Process for Penn State Smeal MBA and Executive MBA Students
The following process applies to all students enrolled in the Penn State Smeal MBA and Executive MBA Programs. The process includes these steps:
1. Students, faculty, or staff members can file an academic integrity report with the Academic Integrity Officer. The role of the Academic Integrity Officer is to facilitate the academic integrity process; it is not to be a decision maker. The Academic Integrity Officer attends and facilitates reviews and appeals to ensure that the proceeding is handled according to guidelines, questioning is fair, and that all parties understand their roles and what is required of them.
2. The Academic Integrity Officer will contact the accused student to notify him or her that a report was filed.
3. The Academic Integrity Officer will review the alleged violation report and determine if there is probable cause to send the case to a Review Board; the Academic Integrity Officer may work with an elected student in the program who shares responsibility for the promotion of academic integrity within the program. If the Academic Integrity Officer finds that there is probable cause to move the case forward, the case will move to a Review Board, otherwise no further action is taken.
4. The Review Board is appointed by the Academic Integrity Officer and consists of two students from the accused student’s program of study and one faculty member. Students and faculty members who participate in a Review Board are volunteers who have undergone training related to the academic integrity process. The Review Board will be chaired by the Academic Integrity Officer as a non-voting member; there will also be a recorder present to document the process. The Review Board can question the accused student, the faculty member involved, and any witnesses.
5. The findings of the Review Board can warrant three results: 1) the student will be cleared; 2) a violation will be confirmed and a sanction will be imposed; or 3) when egregious violations have occurred, the case will be referred to Penn State’s Office of Student Conduct. For all outcomes, a report will be filed with the Academic Integrity Officer of the College.
6. If the accused student chooses to contest the sanction, an Appeals Board will review the decision of the Review Board. The Appeals Board will be appointed by the Academic Integrity Officer and will consist of three students from the accused student’s program of study and two faculty members. The findings of the appeal can warrant three results: 1) the student will be cleared; 2) the sanction will be confirmed and imposed; or 3) the sanction will be modified and imposed. For all outcomes, a report will be filed with the Academic Integrity Officer of the College. There is no appeal from the decision of the Appeals Board except in the case where the sanction is dismissal from the program. Dismissal from the program may be appealed to the Dean of the College whose decision is final.
All cases that proceed to an investigation and beyond are included in the disclosure notice that is released at the end of each semester. No identifying information is utilized in the notice to ensure that confidentiality is maintained.
Dennis Sheehan, Faculty Director, MBA and Executive MBA Programs