Academic Integrity Campaign launched  

New Academic Code of Conduct bolstered by outreach efforts

By Karen Herland

Every year, hundreds of students are charged with academic misconduct. Many students claim they were unaware their behaviour was inappropriate. “With the Academic Integrity Campaign, students will be better informed and hopefully, they won’t plead ignorance,” said Vice-Provost Academic Programs Danielle Morin.

Between 2002 and 2005, the number of charges of academic misconduct rose fairly steadily, by about 60 per cent, although it dropped off in 2006 (the last year for which figures are available). Most surprising is that charges against graduate students have jumped significantly, from two to two dozen.

Morin and Special Projects Manager Rami El-Cheikh have consulted with Advocacy and Support Services and the academic deans and reviewed material gathered from other universities to develop the multi-level campaign. It aims to ensure that students know how to research and present their papers properly, and how to avoid suspicion of misconduct during exams.

The campaign was instigated after a lengthy senate-mandated review of the Academic Code of Conduct. After being evaluated and reworked by three committees, a revised Academic Code of Conduct was adopted in May 2007. Student Union representatives agreed to the Code once they were assured that students would be well informed of the changes.

The Academic Integrity Campaign will be launched in late September, “after students have registered for their classes and settled in,” Morin said. Students will be able to visit a website ( that will outline the parameters of academic misconduct and potential penalties. Information will also be integrated into student orientation sessions, promoted at information tables and explained in class.

Students who use their portal will be prompted to take an academic integrity quiz. The prompts will reappear until the student can answer the questions with ease.

Morin said that the primary reasons students are charged with academic misconduct are:

• Taking material directly off of the web.
• Working collaboratively on projects intended as individual works.
• Bringing unauthorized material (like cell phones or sophisticated calculators) that might contain answers into exams.

Generally, the professor is the first arbiter. If she or he feels that academic integrity has been compromised, the suspicion is formally sent to the associate dean, who is the code administrator. The code administrator meets with the student and decides if the charge is upheld. If it is, the student may lose full or partial marks for the course, or be required to take additional credits.

Students can appeal this decision to a larger academic hearing panel that includes student and professor representatives and is chaired by a lawyer. This panel’s decision is final, except for possible procedural challenges.

Morin was the JMSB code administrator for three years and strongly believes that students should be made more aware of their responsibilities with respect to the Code.

She expects to evaluate the campaign’s success by monitoring the number and type of misconduct cases that arise in the future.


Concordia University