Student Academic Integrity

Guilford Technical Community College (GTCC) is an academic community with its fundamental purpose being the pursuit of learning and student development. Consistent with this purpose and in order to uphold and support standards of personal honesty and integrity for all members of the college community, it is the policy of GTCC to enforce standards for academic integrity of our programs and courses. Conduct that violates standards of academic honesty and integrity is subject to academic disciplinary action. This conduct includes cheating, fabrication and falsification, plagiarism, abuse of academic materials, and complicity in academic dishonesty. Any student who violates these standards is subject to academic sanctions.

Procedure

It is the expectation of the college that students maintain absolute integrity and high standards of individual honor in their academic work. Violations of this policy will result in sanctions as determined by the primary investigator for the case. Academic conduct records are part of a student’s master record and will be kept on file in the Office of Student Services.

  1. Cheating – the use or attempted use of unauthorized materials, information, notes, study aids, or other devices in any academic exercise. This includes the unauthorized communication of information during an academic exercise
  2. Fabrication and Falsification – Fabrication is inventing or counterfeiting information for use in any academic exercise. Falsification is altering academic information.
  3. Plagiarism – the presentation of another person’s work that is not common knowledge without proper acknowledgement of the source.
  4. Abuse of academic materials - Destroying, stealing, or preventing access to books, equipment, or any other institutional instructional resources. Misuse of online learning resources may fall under this category. At instructional personnel’s discretion it may also be investigated under a different academic integrity category or referred to the Community Standards director for investigation under the Student Code of Conduct.
  5. Complicity in academic dishonesty – aiding or attempting to help another person in her or his own academic dishonesty

  1. Instructional personnel noticing infractions of the standards of academic integrity, or receiving reports of such behavior, are usually responsible for investigating the matter and determining outcomes accordingly. Non-instructional personnel noticing academic integrity infractions should report them to the relevant instructional personnel or to the Community Standards Office. Faculty members will most often be considered the instructional personnel for investigating allegations - especially for situations of cheating, fabrication/falsification, and plagiarism. Other employees such as librarians may be considered instructional personnel in certain situations such as alleged abuse of academic materials in a library setting. Employees who are unsure of their instructional personnel status should consult their supervisors.
  2. Any employee who observes behavior that may include illegal acts should alert Campus Police. With the approval of the vice president of Student Services, a Community Standards Office employee can investigate a student under this policy in light of a special circumstance (e.g. when academic misconduct in a prior semester is alleged or when an instructional employee has left the college).
  3. The first step in investigating a possible academic integrity infraction is discussing the matter privately with the student involved. This can mean briefly removing a student from a classroom for a confidential conversation. If it is not possible to discuss a situation with a student immediately then the instructor is required to reach out to the student in writing to schedule a meeting during office hours within three (3) instructional weekdays. The purpose of the conversation is to notify the student of what is alleged and to provide an opportunity for the student to respond to the allegation.
  4. Once an instructor has given the student a chance to respond, any other evidence can be considered. This could include confiscated cheat sheets, video footage if available, and witness statements from other students or employees. The first thing to determine is whether or not the student is more likely than not to have engaged in one of the types of misconduct described above. If the answer is “no” then the process stops with the student being informed that she or he is not in violation.
  5. If it does appear more likely than not that the student engaged in one of the five types of academic integrity violations then she or he will be found in violation and must be assigned appropriate sanctions in response. An instructor has discretion to choose the sanction or combination of sanctions that, in her or his expert opinion, satisfactorily addresses the behavior without being more punitive than necessary. Instructors are advised to consider factors such as the nature and seriousness of the offense, the injury or damage resulting from the misconduct, the student’s prior disciplinary record, the context used by the student in deciding to engage in the behavior, and the student’s attitude and demeanor subsequent to the violation. The sanctions that may be applied include one or more of the following items:
    • Formal written warning
    • Required completion of an educational assignment related to the behavior
    • Mandated referral to college support services for an educational conversation
    • Required resubmission of the assignment or retaking of the test
    • Reduced grade (including F) for the assignment or test
    • Reduced grade (including F) for the course
    • Temporary dismissal from class
    • Dismissal from class for the remainder of the term
  6. In cases when the act of academic dishonesty is particularly flagrant, having import beyond the specific course in which the violation occurred (e.g., the outright or attempted theft of materials or equipment) or when there is a pattern of dishonesty which seems to be undeterred by imposing lesser penalties, the college faculty or staff member may institute proceedings leading to disciplinary suspension from the college. The college faculty or staff member, may with approval of the immediate supervisor, refer the case to the Community Standards Office for consideration under the Student Code of Conduct. The Community Standards Office will assume the investigative lead at that time.
  7. When a student is found in violation of the academic integrity policy and assigned sanctions, the matter must be documented by the instructional personnel who make the determination. This is accomplished by completing the online Student Academic Integrity Violation Report available in the Campus Applications section of MyGTCC (the portal). Completed reports are received by the Community Standards Office which will manage the process of notifying students in writing of their outcomes and receiving their appeals. Instructional personnel will submit the documentation within five (5) instructional weekdays of opening the investigation.
  8. Program-specific regulatory requirements may differ from this policy: regulations may otherwise define academic misconduct and they may suggest or require sanctions which differ from the standard options provided above. Nothing in this policy shall be construed to limit a program’s ability to comply with regulations governing a program area. In cases in which an employee must adhere to such regulations, this shall be documented in the comments section of the electronic Academic Integrity Violation Report. Academic administrators are further required to provide details of program specific regulatory requirements in a public student handbook, an operation’s manual, or a similar program-specific resource.

  1. A student wishing to appeal an academic integrity decision (which cannot include suspension) must do so to the department chair or program director (depending on the program) within five (5) instructional weekdays from the date she or he was found in violation. If the student believes that more time will be needed to determine whether or not to appeal, the college’s Chief Academic Officer may grant a deadline extension. Appeals are submitted via the Student Academic Integrity Violation Appeal on the college’s public website. A student may request on this form that, at this first level of appeal, punitive sanctions be placed in abeyance pending the appeal’s outcome.
  2. If the issue remains unresolved after presenting her or his formal written appeal to the department chair or program director, the student may continue the appeal to the next appropriate academic administrator using the process outlined in part a of this list. The administrative chain of command will be different depending on the college program and other factors (e.g. credit vs. non-credit). The Community Standards Office can clarify for a student who the next appropriate administrator is.
  3. The ultimate academic appeal will be to the senior vice president of Instruction or the vice president of Workforce & Continuing Education depending upon the administrative chain of command. The decision of the senior vice president of Instruction or the vice president of Workforce & Continuing Education will be final.
  4. Each college employee who receives an academic integrity appeal request from a student will have five (5) instructional weekdays in which to respond. A student who receives an appeal result and remains unsatisfied will have five (5) instructional weekdays in which to continue the appeal.
  5. A student wishing to appeal disciplinary suspension that resulted from an academic integrity referral to the Community Standards Office must use the appeal process in the IV-3.1.1Student Code of Conduct
Document Revisions
Adopted 02/20/2014
Revised 12/03/2019

Revisions to policy pending Board approval on 08/25/2020