XXI. Academic Integrity
Standards of honesty in the academic world derive from the nature of the academic enterprise itself. Scholars use writing both to record and create knowledge, and students are invited into the academic enterprise through an intellectual conversation that occurs primarily in writing. Through contributing to this academic conversation, students develop their intellectual skills. Since academic dishonesty violates the basic principles of the conversation, it cannot be tolerated under any circumstances. Accordingly, Drew University has established standards of academic integrity and procedures governing violations of them. These basic standards apply to all work done at Drew. Students are expected to study and comply with these principles as stated below.
A. Categories of Academic Dishonesty
The categories of academic integrity apply to information that is presented orally, in writing, the computer, in format ranging from the most informal comment to a formal research paper or a dissertation. These standards apply to source material gathered from other people, from written texts, from computer programs, from the internet, or from any other location.
Plagiarism: Plagiarism is the act of appropriating or imitating the language, ideas, or thoughts of another and presenting them as one’s own or without proper acknowledgment. This includes submitting as one’s own a thesis, a paper, or part of a paper written by another person, whether that material was stolen, purchased, or shared freely. It also includes submitting a paper containing insufficient citation or misuse of source material.
Duplicate Submission: Submitting one work in identical or similar form to fulfill more than one requirement without prior approval of the relevant faculty members is a breach of academic integrity. This includes using a paper for more than one course or submitting material previously used to meet another requirement.
Cheating on Examinations: Cheating on examinations by copying material from another person or source or by gaining any advance knowledge of the content or topic of an examination without the permission of the instructor is another breach of academic integrity. In the case of take-home examinations, the guidelines under collaboration (below) apply; failure to follow those guidelines constitutes academic dishonesty.
False Citation: Listing an author, title, or page reference as the source for obtained material, when the material actually came from another source or from another location within that source, is a breach of academic integrity. This includes attributing fabricated material to a real or fictitious source.
B. Basic Requirement for Acknowledging Sources
Quotation: All quotations, however short, must be identified as such. In written texts they must be placed in quotation marks or be clearly indented, and the complete source must be cited either in the text or in a footnote or endnote.
Paraphrase: Any borrowed material that is summarized, restated, or reworked must be cited as such, whether it is used in written or oral form. The paraphrased material must be clearly indicated by a signal phrase (including the author’s name) at the beginning and a page citation or footnote/endnote marker at the end. Students should take careful notes when reading and researching so that they properly acknowledge sources and produce them upon request. Lapse of time or substantial reworking of researched material does not eliminate the obligation to give due recognition.
Collaboration: If a student has collaborated with another person or group of people and used research data gathered by others or significant ideas developed in collaboration (via notes, conferences, conversations, e-mail communications, etc.) as part of a paper or assignment, the extent and nature of the contribution must be clearly indicated. Students collaborating on an assignment must give proper acknowledgment both to the extent of the collaboration and to any team member whose specific ideas or words played a significant role in the development of the thesis, the argument, or the structure of the finished work. Unless a paper or assignment is collaboratively authored (and acknowledged as such), the presentation of the ideas, the interpretation of the data, and the organization of sentences and paragraphs should be original and should differ significantly from those in the papers or assignments of others who have collaborated on the research.
Material in the Public Domain: While facts and concepts borrowed from a source should be properly acknowledged, certain well-known facts, proverbs, and famous quotations are regarded as in the public domain and their source need not be cited. That the First World War started in 1914 does not require citation, nor does “To be or not to be” call for citation of its exact whereabouts in Hamlet. What constitutes “public domain” varies according to discipline; if in doubt, students should consult the instructor.
Bibliography/Works Cited: All sources consulted in preparing a paper or assignment are to be listed in the bibliography or works cited list, unless other instructions are given. While in some disciplines works listed in the bibliography may not necessarily be directly referred to in the paper or notes, all sources included in the works cited list must appear in the paper. Simply listing a work in the bibliography or works cited list does not remove the obligation to give due recognition for specific use in the body of the paper.
Forms of Reference: If individual departments or instructors require that a particular style be used for quotations, footnotes, endnotes, bibliographies, etc., students should be made aware of that requirement. For most theses and dissertations, students will be asked to follow the guidelines to be found in The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), 15th ed. (University of Chicago Press, 2003) or the version of CMS in A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (Turabian), 7th ed. (University of Chicago Press, 2007). Otherwise, for standard forms students may consult The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (MLA), 6th ed. (Modern Language Association of America, 2003) in the humanities, or the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA), 5th ed. (American Psychological Association, 2001) in the social sciences.
C. Examples of Plagiarism
The following examples, from Rebecca Moore Howard’s “A Plagiarism Pentimento” (Journal of Teaching Writing, Summer 1993), are provided to help prevent any misunderstanding. Please read and analyze them carefully.
Davidson, Robert. Genesis 1-11. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973.
“Such ‘story myths’ are not told for their entertainment value. They provide answers to questions people ask about life, about society and about the world in which they live” (10).
Misuse of Source (1)
Specifically, story myths serve as answers to questions people ask about life, about society, and about the world in which they live, not for entertainment purposes.
This is an example of plagiarism as defined above (XXI.A). The student copied words and phrases from the original without acknowledging their source. Although the student has rearranged some phrases and made minor stylistic changes, this version still follows the basic wording and structure of the original while the student repeats ideas as if they were his or her own.
Misuse of Source (2)
Davidson explains that story myths answer questions people ask about life, about society and about the world that we live in (10).
Less obviously, this example is also classified as plagiarism. Although the student cites the source of the ideas, he or she presents Davidson’s exact words as if he or she authored them. As is often the case in such plagiarism, where the words are changed, the changes render the material less clear (shifting from “people” to “we” for example).
D. How to Avoid Unintentional Plagiarism
Unintentional plagiarism is also a breach of academic integrity and may be punished accordingly. Unintentional plagiarism, also known as patchwriting, occurs when students depend too heavily on textual material to make a point rather than making the point themselves and using the text to support it. The second example of plagiarism above is an example of patchwriting; it may be rewritten in several different ways:
Misuse of Source (2)
Davidson explains that story myths answer questions people ask about life, about society and about the world that we live in (10).
(a) Rewritten with Correct Citation
Davidson explains that “story myths” answer “questions people ask about life, about society and about the world in which they live” (10).
As Davidson explains, the importance of “story myths” is in their relevance to the everyday lives of their readers (10).
(c) Use of Paraphrase and Quotation in a Paragraph
“Story myths” are powerful because they deal with phenomena that people cannot understand in any other way. As Davidson explains, story myths have direct relevance to the everyday lives of their readers by “provid[ing] answers to questions” (10).
In the rewritten version of the plagiarized sentence (a), the student has quoted all of the words that came directly from Davidson. Although this is an acceptable sentence, obviously such extensive quotation would not be acceptable throughout a research paper. In the sample paraphrase (b), the writer has maintained and correctly cited the essential idea in Davidson’s sentence, but the articulation of that idea is original, very different from the source. This is an example of an appropriate use of source material. In the final example (c), the writer has used Davidson’s analysis to support a point he or she is making about the role of “story myths,” and combined paraphrase and quotation to show how Davidson supports the assertion. This is the most common way to use source material in academic papers.
Notice that in all three examples the writer introduces the source material with a signal phrase naming the author and marks the end of the use of that source material with a parenthetical page reference (a footnote or endnote would be equally appropriate). Although the exact method of citation varies across the disciplines, the purpose—to mark the beginning and end of material drawn from another source—remains the same.
E. Policy on Academic Dishonesty
The University holds academic honesty and scholarly integrity to be indispensable to genuine learning and true scholarship.
1. Breaches of academic honesty and integrity are inimical to the learner or scholar personally and are infringements of the mutual faith and trust essential to the academic enterprise.
2. Examples of such breaches are: cheating on examinations or papers; misrepresenting the nature and extent of one’s research; offering work done by others as one’s own; plagiarism–employing words and/or ideas originating with others without proper acknowledgment; improperly providing information, papers or projects to others; falsifying the nature or results of one’s research.
3. It is the explicit policy of the Graduate Division of Religion never to accept the same paper for more than one course without the clear, written, and prior consent of all instructors involved.
All members of the academic community, faculty and students, are obliged, by that membership, to report observed instances of presumed academic dishonesty to the Dean.
a. Sanctions are provided for demonstrated breaches of academic honesty or
b. Where dishonesty has been determined, sanctions may range from
requiring an assignment to be redone, to automatic failure for a course, to dismissal from the University.
F. Procedures for Dealing with Alleged Academic Dishonesty
1. Instructors or others suspecting plagiarism shall report alleged cases of academic dishonesty to the Associate Academic Dean. Students should help to maintain the standards of the University by reporting all cases of academic dishonesty that they observe.
2. When a charge of academic dishonesty is brought, the Associate Academic Dean shall notify the student, and convene an Academic Integrity Committee. The Academic Integrity Committee shall be chaired by the GDR Chair and shall also include one faculty member from the Academic Standings Committee, the Convener of the student’s Area (these three constituting the voting members), the reporting instructor, the student’s adviser, and, should the student desire it, one other person of the accused student’s choosing, usually a member of the University community. When the GDR Chair is the student’s adviser or the reporting instructor, the Associate Academic Dean shall chair the committee. Other substitutions or additions to the committee shall be made as necessary in the case of overlapping roles or possible conflicts of interest.
3. The student may request, and shall be granted, up to a week to prepare his or her response before being called before the Committee. In the first stage of the hearing, both the faculty member bringing the charge and the accused student shall be present and each shall make an oral statement to the Committee and answer any questions. At this stage, either may ask to address the Committee without the other’s being present and will be granted the right to do so.
4. The student, the reporting faculty member, and the student’s adviser shall be asked to wait outside the room while the voting members of the Committee discuss the case, and any of the three may be called back into the room to answer questions. At the end of their deliberations on the case, the GDR Chair, the Academic Standings Committee member, and the student’s Area Convener shall vote on the charge.
5. A decision of guilt or innocence shall be based on a preponderance of the evidence in the case. Other factors, however, such as any prior accusations or any mitigating circumstances, may be taken into account in the determination of the penalty.
6. In all cases, both the student and the faculty member bringing the charge may appeal the decision, as described below. All documents relating to the case shall be placed in the student’s file in the GDR Office, where they will remain so long as the file exists.
7. The procedures apply retroactively for dissertations accepted in good faith by the Graduate Division of Religion toward completion of a degree, but later suspected of being plagiarized in part or in full.
G. Penalties for Academic Dishonesty
The individual merits of each case are weighed by the Committee, which determines the penalty accordingly. The Committee considers the purpose both of the hearing and the penalty to be educational; penalties are determined with that in mind.
The maximum penalty is a failing grade for the course or comprehensive examination and a suspension for one semester from the Theological School. Other penalties may include, but are not limited to, denial of some or all honors conferred by the University, and loss of credit for the assignment or the course. When the Committee finds that a violation has occurred, a letter stating the Committee’s ruling will be placed in the student’s permanent file in the Registrar’s Office. Any such letters will be a part of the record in subsequent cases and appeals.
The maximum penalty is expulsion from Drew and/or the revocation of a degree issued by Drew.
I. Appeal Process
1. Decisions of the Academic Integrity Committee may be appealed only if new evidence has been found, or if the original hearing overlooked specific evidence, or committed procedural errors.
2. The GDR Steering Committee is the final appeals board for cases of academic dishonesty. The appeal, whether sought by the faculty member who brought the charge or by the student, must be submitted in writing. On the basis of the written appeal, the Steering Committee may decide to hear the case or to uphold the original decision if no new evidence has been presented, if no evidence has been shown to have been overlooked, and/or if no procedural errors have been shown to have occurred. Whatever its decision, the Steering Committee must provide reasons in writing to both parties. If the Steering Committee agrees to hear the case, it has the right to reverse the decision of an earlier hearing.
3. When any member of the Steering Committee believes he or she should not hear the matter under appeal because of a possible conflict of interest, that member may be excused.
4. During the hearing of the appeal, the faculty member who brought the original charge will provide information and answer questions. The student may be accompanied and advised by a member of the faculty of his or her choice and will also provide information and answer questions.
5. Decisions will be based on a preponderance of the evidence and will be provided in writing to both parties.[return to contents]