Procedures for Dealing with Plagiarism

  1. Common Definitions of Plagiarism
  2. Procedures
  3. Academic Consultations
  4. Academic Honesty Board

Common Definitions of Plagiarism

The following definitions of minimal, substantial, and complete plagiarism are adapted with permission from Westmont College.

Minimal plagiarism is defined as doing any of the following without attribution:

    • Inserting verbatim phrases of 2-3 distinctive words or inserting small parts of media, software, or other materials
    • Substituting synonyms into an original sentence rather than rewriting the complete sentence
    • Reordering the clauses of a sentence
    • Imitating the sentence, paragraph, or organizational structure, or writing style of a source or using a source's line of logic, thesis or ideas

Substantial plagiarism is defined as doing any of the following without attribution:

    • Inserting verbatim sentences or longer passages from a source or inserting significant parts of media, software, or other materials
    • Combining paraphrasing with verbatim sentences to create a paragraph or more of text
    • Repeatedly and pervasively engaging in minimal plagiarism
    • Reusing or modifying a previously submitted paper (e.g., from another course) for another assignment without obtaining prior approval from the instructors involved

Complete plagiarism is defined as doing any of the following:

    • Submitting or presenting someone's complete published or unpublished work (paper, article, or chapter, media, software, or other materials)
    • Submitting another student's work for an assignment, with or without that person's knowledge or consent
    • Using information from a campus file of old assignments
    • Downloading a term paper from a web site
    • Buying a term paper from a mail order company or web site

Extreme plagiarism is defined as doing any of the following:

    • Repeatedly plagiarizing on minor assignments while avoiding grades that lead to automatic dismissal
    • Patently denying evidence that has been reviewed by the faculty and supporting staff
    • Profiting from plagiarism
    • Stealing material through illicit or coercive means
    • Responding in a disrespectful and abrasive manner to a charge of plagiarism that has been reviewed by the faculty and supporting staff

The PPP focuses on substantial and complete plagiarism, although minimal and extreme are included to demonstrate the scope of the program.


Procedures

If preventative measures fail, faculty members will be asked to consult with the Academic Advising Center to determine the type of plagiarism that has occurred using the common definitions and receive assistance completing the Plagiarism Review Form (available from any of your WorldClassRoom course pages.

The Academic Advising Center will follow up with the student to take a plagiarism tutorial or to hold an academic consultation with the student.

Using the definitions provided above, the following actions will be used to address incidents of plagiarism:

  • Minimal Plagiarism: These incidents will most commonly be addressed exclusively within the course. Repeated minimal plagiarism may be treated as substantial at the faculty member's discretion.

  • Substantial Plagiarism: In addition to being addressed within the course, the instructor may use the PPP to have the student complete a plagiarism tutorial. If the student has already completed the tutorial as documented by the PPP, Academic Advising Center will organize an academic consultation.

    Third offenses, and second offenses that are documented as complete plagiarism, are reported to the appropriate academic dean as a code violation, which may warrant referral of the case to the Academic Honesty Board (see summary on page 8) for a hearing on potential suspension or dismissal.*

  • Complete Plagiarism: In addition to being dealt with in the course, the instructor may use the PPP to have the student complete a plagiarism tutorial AND participate in an academic consultation. Second offenses are reported to the appropriate academic dean as a code violation, which may warrant referral of the case to the Academic Honesty Board (see summary on page 8) for a hearing on potential suspension or dismissal.*

  • Extreme Plagiarism: Incidents of extreme plagiarism are reported immediately to the appropriate academic dean for a decision on further action. Faculty need not include the Academic Advising Center, but it is recommended to provide a second opinion and to prepare any additional documentation for the academic dean.

*It is likely that academic deans will not pursue further action for graduate students as course failure already triggers academic dismissal or probation.


Academic Consultations

Academic Consultations, employed as described in the next section, are mandatory reviews of the consequences of another offense.

For undergraduate students:

Consultations will be facilitated by the Academic Advising Center and will include the academic department chair (and campus director or designee if applicable). In addition, the Student Success Committee or International Student Success Committee should be notified in the cases when the consequences (for example, failing the course) will place the student in academic jeopardy. The appropriate committee can provide additional referrals if necessary and may be able to identify if the student is exhibiting other behavioral issues that should be considered.

This mechanism of notification will address the behavioral aspect of plagiarism (as it is not strictly an academic violation but also a violation of behavioral code) and in extreme cases, the chair can then decide to report the case to the appropriate academic dean as a code violation, which may warrant referral of the case to the Academic Honesty Board for a hearing on potential suspension or dismissal.

For graduate students:

Consultations will be facilitated by the Academic Advising Center and will include the department chair and the campus director or designee if applicable. Academic Advising will notify the appropriate department chair of consultations for students in the department, but due to the dispersed nature of graduate programs, chairs may determine that they do not wish to involve themselves.

Unlike undergraduate dismissals, behavioral dismissals may not be warranted for graduate students due to the nature of the probation and dismissal policies tied to graduate students. If a student receives a deficient grade due to plagiarism, the penalties are as follows:

Before advancement to candidacy (12 core hours completed, does not include prerequisites), if students receive a single grade of C, they will automatically be placed on academic probation, limited to 1 class per term, and notified via mail. If students receive a second grade of C or a single grade of F (or ZF, in the case of Incompletes that are converted after one year), they will be dismissed from the program.

After advancement to candidacy, a student who receives three C grades, a combination of a C and an F, or two F grades will be dismissed from the program.

The Academic Advising Center will also have the ability to forward a plagiarism case to the appropriate dean for further action if necessary. An example of a case where this may be necessary would be the repeat offender who has already been through the plagiarism tutorial, may have multiple issues documented, but whose final offense may yield a grade for the course that does not result in dismissal. In cases like these, the Academic Advising Center will reserve the right to request that a dean consider whether the case is a code violation, which may warrant referral of the case to the Academic Honesty Board for a hearing on potential suspension or dismissal.

Students who are dismissed have the right of appeal with one exception: students who are conditionally admitted (based on an undergraduate cumulative GPA of 2.0 to 2.49999) will be dismissed with no right of appeal if they receive any grade lower than a B- prior to advancement to candidacy. However, they may appeal for readmission after the passage of one calendar year, as may students who are denied reinstatement.

In the case of students who appeal for reinstatement or readmission to the Graduate Council, a recommendation (much like that requested from the site director, instructor, or dean) can be provided by Academic Advising Center detailing each student's progress with the PPP.

Given this, it may not be necessary to utilize consultations with department chairs since academic probation and dismissal policies for graduate students are more limiting than for undergraduate students.


Academic Honesty Board

The purpose of the Academic Honesty Board is to hear cases involving charges of student violations of the policies pertaining to academic dishonesty, including plagiarism and cheating, in cases that might involve suspension or expulsion.

For complete details on the Academic Honesty Board, please visit the Student Code of Conduct and Judicial Procedures section of the Student Handbook:

http://www.webster.edu/student-handbook/conduct.html