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  • E. Academic Standards
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1. Students’ Freedom of Expression and Inquiry At its meeting of January 21, 1974, the Committee on Faculty Affairs approved the following statement for inclusion in the Faculty Handbook:

The professor in the classroom and in conference should, consistent with the nature of the course, encourage free discussion, inquiry, and expression. Student performance should be evaluated solely on an academic basis, not on opinions or conduct in matters unrelated to academic standards.

Students should be free to take reasoned exception to the data or views offered in any course of study and to reserve judgment about matters of opinion, but they are responsible for learning the content of any course of study for which they are enrolled.

Students should have protection through orderly procedures against prejudiced or capricious academic evaluation. At the same time, they are responsible for maintaining standards of academic performance established for each course in which they are enrolled.


2. Review of a Grade Although the individual faculty member is the sole judge of students’ academic performance in a course, students have a right, consistent with the statement printed above, to be informed of the basis for the evaluation of their academic performance in courses of instruction.

The Dean of the Faculty and the Dean’s Advisory Council have established the following procedure for students who desire a review of an instructor’s evaluation of their academic performance in a course: The student should first discuss the matter with the instructor in the course, who should endeavor to explain the basis for his or her evaluation of the student’s academic performance. If the student finds this to be unsatisfactory, he or she may request that the division director (or department chair) convene a meeting of the instructor, student, and division director (and/or chair), at which the instructor will explain the standards and criteria used in evaluating the student’s academic performance in the course in question. At this meeting, the student may present reasons why he or she feels that the evaluation was incorrect or improperly made. The final responsibility for evaluating students’ academic performance in a course, however, rests with the instructor.

If the division director (or department chair) finds that there is reason to believe that the instructor’s evaluation of the student’s academic performance was prejudiced or capricious, the division director (or chair) should immediately bring the matter to the attention of the associate dean of the faculty for such action as the associate dean finds appropriate.

Grades appearing on a student's academic record may normally not be changed after one semester from the end of the term in which the grade was awarded. Under extraordinary circumstances, grade changes beyond one semester but before graduation may be approved by the associate dean of the faculty.


3. Academic Dishonesty In May 1999, the Colgate University Board of Trustees approved a new Academic Honor Code that went into effect in the Fall semester, 2000:

At Colgate University, we believe honesty and integrity are fundamental in a community dedicated to learning, personal development, and a search for understanding. We revere these values and hold them essential in promoting personal responsibility, moral and intellectual leadership, and pride in ourselves and our University. As Colgate students, we will represent ourselves truthfully, claim only work that is our own, and engage honestly in all academic assignments. Since articulated standards and expectations can influence attitudes, and because each of us shares the responsibility for maintaining academic integrity, we are committed to upholding the Academic Honor Code.

Along with the code, the reporting procedures and an outline of the forms of academic dishonesty as defined and recognized by the University discussed below can also be found in the Colgate Student Handbook 2007–2009. A separate Academic Honor Code booklet, which is distributed to first-year students through the first-year seminars and can also be obtained through the office of the Dean of the College, contains the Academic Honor Code, articles on college-level writing and academic honesty, and other information.

Upon matriculation to Colgate, students sign a statement agreeing to abide by the Academic Honor Code. Students are responsible for knowing and understanding the procedures associated with the University’s Academic Honor Code and the definitions of academic dishonesty as recognized by the college. Each first-year seminar at Colgate devotes at least one class period to a discussion of the University policy on academic dishonesty. In addition, all instructors are strongly urged to inform their students in advance, preferably in writing, of their specific policies and procedures concerning examinations, especially “take-home” exams, as well as papers, tests, laboratory assignments, and other academic exercises in a course.

Under the provisions of the Honor Code, faculty may choose to offer self-scheduled examinations. Self-scheduled final examinations are administered under the direction of the Office of the Associate Dean of the Faculty.

Members of the Colgate community who misrepresent themselves or their work, or who suspect another of such misrepresentation are expected to acknowledge their concerns to the instructor in the class or to their academic or administrative adviser. A student who observes what may be academically dishonest behavior on the part of another student is expected to share that concern with the other student in a timely fashion. If the observer and the other student determine that no violation of the academic honor code has occurred, no further action is required. However, if either student believes that an academic honor code violation may have occurred, the student observed is expected to self-report the incident immediately to the instructor in the class or to his or her academic or administrative adviser. Self-reporting does not constitute an admission of responsibility but is an essential step, necessary to prevent misunderstanding and apprehensions. Within three class days, the observer will also contact the Associate Dean for Administrative Advising to insure that the self-report has indeed taken place. The instructor will review the elements of the complaint, and if the instructor believes that the academic honor code has been violated, he or she will contact the university Judicial Officer, who will convene a University Student Conduct Board hearing as outlined in the Student Handbook.

Colgate University defines academic dishonesty as any attempt to misrepresent one’s performance on any academic exercise submitted for evaluation. Departments, at their option, may further clarify this general definition in writing (and distribute this clarification in courses in that department), and a violation of the department’s statement shall be considered a violation of the academic dishonesty policy of the University as a whole. In any situation where a student questions the appropriateness of representing a work as his or her own, it will be the student’s responsibility to raise the question with the instructor. Ignorance of University policy concerning academic dishonesty shall not be a defense in any Conduct Board proceeding.

Colgate University recognizes four forms of academic dishonesty: cheating, fabrication (of data or sources), facilitating academic dishonesty, and plagiarism. They are defined in the Student Handbook. All students are urged to read these definitions carefully to gain a complete understanding of behavior that the University considers academically dishonest. Ignorance of the definitions will not be seen as a defense in University Conduct Board proceedings.

Cheating is defined as attempting to use prohibited materials, information, or study aids in any academic exercise. To prevent possible claims of cheating, there should be strict adherence to the following guidelines:

1. Faculty members should state, in advance, their policies and procedures concerning examinations and other academic exercises. Students should request such information if a faculty member neglects to offer it.

2. It is especially important that clear guidelines be established and followed concerning the use of “take home” examinations.

3. Students completing an “in class” or “take home” examination should assume that any external assistance (e.g., books, notes, calculators, conversations with others) is prohibited unless specifically authorized by the instructor.

4. Substantial portions of the same academic work may not be submitted for credit or honors more than once without the permission of the instructor(s).

5. Students must not allow others to conduct research or prepare any work for them without advance authorization from the instructor. This comment includes, but is not restricted to, commercial term paper companies and files of past papers.

Fabrication is defined as the attempt to falsify or invent without authorization any information or citation in an academic exercise. To prevent possible claims of fabrication, there should be strict adherence to the following guidelines:

1. “Invented” information may not be used in any laboratory experiment or other academic exercise without notice to and authorization from the instructor. It would be improper, for example, to analyze one sample in an experiment and covertly “invent” data based on that single experiment for several more required analyses.

2. A student should acknowledge the actual source from which he or she obtains cited information. For example, a writer should not reproduce a quotation found in a book review and indicate that the quotation was obtained from the book itself.

Facilitating academic dishonesty is defined as attempting to help another to commit an act of academic dishonesty. For example, if a student gives another student a specific answer to a homework assignment and knows that such assistance was either prohibited or would not be acknowledged, he or she is facilitating academic dishonesty.

Plagiarism is the act of using another person’s work without clearly acknowledging the debt to the original source. This includes the borrowing of words, ideas, images, tables, charts, etc., from, books, articles, web pages, interviews, television shows, films, songs, or any other medium.1 To avoid plagiarizing, students must always provide a specific citation to the original source in each instance of borrowing from another’s work. In addition, they must

    • always use quotation marks when phrases or sentences are borrowed directly and
    • put summaries and paraphrases in their own words (because merely rearranging someone else’s words in order to avoid using quotation marks is neither honest nor good scholarship).

Students are expected to consult with their professor if they have questions about proper scholarly procedures or what might constitute plagiarism on a particular assignment.

Colgate expects all students to understand what plagiarism is and to produce work that is both honest and meets the high standards expected for scholarly discourse. Ignorance is not an excuse and any failure to acknowledge sources properly constitutes plagiarism. Nevertheless, plagiarism in an assignment may vary in extent – ranging from an isolated instance to being pervasive throughout an assignment — and in intent — ranging from some level of disregard for proper scholarly procedures to a clear and obvious intent to deceive.

Colgate’s procedures for handling cases of plagiarism and sanctions depend on the nature of the offense. Instances of plagiarism that are less serious are normally handled directly by the faculty member for the course with a penalty in the form of an appropriate grade reduction on the particular assignment. In such cases, faculty must turn in a form, signed by the student, which remains on file in the office of the Dean of the College through the student’s career at Colgate and is used to inform decisions on any later complaints of academic dishonesty against the student. Students who are dissatisfied with the resolution proposed by the faculty member may choose to exercise their right to a Conduct Board hearing. Cases where plagiarism in an assignment is egregious or where it seems likely that the student’s work exhibits academic dishonesty in the form of an intent to deceive are referred to the Student Conduct Board for a hearing. The usual standard is that if a student makes no obvious attempt to provide a citation or source for any significant borrowed material, then there is a presumption that the student has committed an act of academic dishonesty. If the Board determines that the nature of the plagiarism in the assignment and the evidence presented in the hearing warrant a finding of academic dishonesty, then the minimum penalty will be failure in the course and either warning or probation. If the Board determines that plagiarism has occurred but the plagiarism does not constitute academic dishonesty, then the penalty in first-offense cases will be warning. If a warning is issued, then the faculty member will determine the appropriate penalty for the particular assignment. In the event that the Conduct Board finds the student not responsible, i.e., that plagiarism has not occurred, then the faculty member will grade the assignment without imposing any penalty.






The precise forms for providing citations (whether, for example, to use in-text citations or footnotes) vary across academic disciplines. Students are expected to consult with their professor about the type and form of citations expected on a particular assignment.



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