Georgetown University
Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
GRADUATE BULLETIN
ACADEMIC RULES AND REGULATIONS
Academic Year 2014-15

Previously published Graduate Bulletin rules and regulations are superseded by this document
Last revised:  August 4, 2014

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Click to download a complete PDF copy of the Graduate Bulletin  (approx. 75 pages, 350KB).

 

VI. ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: POLICIES & PROCEDURES

    A.  Definition of Academic Integrity

The Center for Academic Integrity, of which Georgetown University is a member, defines academic integrity as “a commitment, even in the face of adversity, to five fundamental values:  honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility.” A PDF copy of a booklet prepared by the Center, The Fundamental Values of Academic Integrity, can be downloaded free of charge at this link: http://www.academicintegrity.org/icai/resources-2.php

These values form the bedrock of all scholarship.  Students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences are expected to be guided by these values and to maintain the highest standards of academic integrity in pursuit of their educational goals.

    B.  Responsibility for Academic Integrity

All graduate students are responsible for educating themselves about the proper practices for conducting scholarly work and procedures for documentation in their field of study.  Documentation procedures are outlined in a number of standard guides, most of which can be found in Lauinger and Dahlgren libraries.  However, since methods vary among different disciplines, students should seek guidance from their department or program about proper and improper approaches to scholarly documentation.  Specific questions about which references need to be documented and how attribution should be made may be directed to the course professor, the thesis advisor, or the Director of Graduate Studies.

Faculty have a special responsibility to mentor graduate students in the standards of academic integrity appropriate to their disciplines. The Graduate School urges faculty to take appropriate opportunities to teach standards of academic integrity and techniques of scholarly documentation, and to report to the Dean suspected cases of academic misconduct.

    C.  Violations of Academic Integrity: Academic Misconduct

Academic  misconduct  is  any  action  or  failure  to  act  that  violates  the five  principles  listed above.  Academic misconduct may include, but is not limited to, the following:

●    Plagiarism

●    Cheating
●    Fabrication of data
●    Fabrication, alteration, or misrepresentation of academic records
●    Facilitating academic dishonesty
●    Unauthorized collaboration
●    Misuse of otherwise valid academic work
●    Misuse of academic resources
●    Depriving others of equal access to academic resources

Plagiarism is the presentation of someone else’s ideas, writings, or statements as one’s own.  Plagiarism is a serious breach of academic integrity, and anyone who is found to have committed plagiarism will be subject to disciplinary action.

Paraphrase is the act of putting someone else’s ideas into one’s own words.  The use of paraphrase can be an acceptable practice under some circumstances if it is used sparingly and if the original text is properly acknowledged.  Unacknowledged paraphrase, like plagiarism, is a serious breach of academic integrity

Any improper use of sources may constitute plagiarism.  Every quotation from another source, whether written, spoken, or electronic, must be bound by quotation marks and be properly cited.   Mere citation alone is not sufficient when a scholar has used another person’s words.  Similarly, every paraphrase or summary (a more concise restatement of another's ideas) must be properly cited.  A bibliographic entry alone is not sufficient to avoid the imputation of plagiarism for unacknowledged paraphrase or summary of another person’s ideas.

Cheating is the use or attempted use of unauthorized materials, information, or study aids in in-class examinations, take-home examinations, or other academic exercises.

Fabrication of data is the falsification or invention of data, research results, citations, or any other information used in examinations, papers, experiments, or other academic exercises.

Fabrication, alteration, or misrepresentation of academic records includes, but is not limited to, the falsification or invention of such records as resumes and CVs, transcripts, letters of recommendation, grade reports, and examination report forms.

Facilitating academic dishonesty is the assistance or attempted assistance of another to commit an act of academic dishonesty.

Unauthorized collaboration is a form of academic misconduct.  Unless the responsible faculty member has explicitly authorized students to work collaboratively on a particular project, all academic work must be the student’s own.  Students who participate in joint projects or collaborative exercises are expected to make themselves aware of and to adhere to their instructor's expectations for individual contributions to the joint effort as well as any purely individual work to be prepared and submitted for assessment.

Misrepresentation or misuse of otherwise valid academic work is a form of academic misconduct.  For example, a paper submitted to satisfy the requirements for one course may not be submitted to satisfy a requirement for a second course without explicit permission of both instructors.

It is a violation of academic integrity to misuse academic resources, or to attempt to deprive other scholars, whether students or faculty, of equal access to academic resources, whether those resources are tangible (e.g., library or laboratory materials) or intangible (e.g., access to online or other electronic resources).

The Graduate School reserves the right to use all legal means, including submitting student work to electronic search engines, such as Turnitin.com, to investigate allegations that graduate students have engaged in academic misconduct.  Students themselves are encouraged to use Turnitin.com to check their own work for improperly documented content. 

Academic misconduct in any form is a serious offense against the academic community in general and against Georgetown University in particular.  Students who are found to have violated standards of academic integrity will be subject to academic penalties.  These penalties may include, but are not limited to, transcript notations, suspension or dismissal from the University, or revocation of degrees already conferred.

    D.  Procedures for Adjudicating Alleged Violations of Academic Integrity
            1.  Jurisdiction

Cases of alleged academic misconduct by any student directly matriculated in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences shall be adjudicated by the Dean of the Graduate School through the procedures outlined below.  The Dean of the Graduate School is the only person authorized to impose sanctions on a Graduate School student for violations of academic integrity committed in connection with a Graduate School program.

Academic integrity cases of graduate students in the McDonough School of Business (MSB) will be adjudicated by a separate academic integrity system administered by MSB. Full information is available at: http://intranet.msb.edu/mba/

Students who are matriculated in dual-degree programs, in which a Graduate School program is pursued concurrently with that of another Georgetown University academic unit (e.g., the Law Center or the Medical School), will generally be subject to the academic disciplinary procedures of the Graduate School when the alleged violations of academic integrity occur within the Graduate School sequence of the dual degree program.  When the alleged academic misconduct occurs within the other academic unit’s sequence of a dual degree program, the matter will generally be adjudicated by the other unit.  However, the Graduate School retains the right to impose sanctions on graduate students who have been found to have violated standards of academic integrity by another academic unit, and to adjudicate any case that the other academic unit chooses not to pursue.  Similarly, findings of academic misconduct by the Graduate School under its own procedures will be reported to the other academic unit. 

Cases of alleged academic misconduct on the part of Georgetown University Graduate School students who are enrolled in a course at another university, e.g., through the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area, will be adjudicated at Georgetown and will be subject to the authority of the Dean of the Graduate School at Georgetown.  

Cases of alleged academic misconduct by graduate students who are enrolled at Georgetown as visitors from another Consortium university will be adjudicated at Georgetown and will be subject to the authority of the Dean of the Graduate School at Georgetown in so far as their Georgetown transcript is concerned.  If the student is found responsible for academic misconduct, in addition to authorizing any transcript notation, the Dean of the Graduate School will provide the evidentiary materials and findings to the University Registrar for transmittal to the Registrar at the student’s home institution per the policies of the Consortium.  Under those policies, the home institution may undertake its own investigation and impose its own sanctions.

Students matriculated in graduate programs offered by other Georgetown University schools (e.g., the School of Continuing Studies) do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Dean of the Graduate School.  Cases involving these students shall be adjudicated by the academic unit in which their program is housed.

 

            2.  Reporting Allegations of Academic Misconduct

Anyone who has reason to believe that a graduate student has engaged in academic misconduct is urged to report such information in writing, along with any supporting evidence, to the Dean of the Graduate School.  Allegations of academic misconduct may be brought to the Dean’s attention at any time in the student’s academic career, even after the student’s graduation, regardless of when the alleged incident occurred.  Communications regarding allegations of academic integrity are confidential and are to be shared only on a need-to-know basis. 

If the allegations concern a course for which a grade has not yet been posted, the faculty member shall not submit either a letter grade or an “Incomplete” until the allegations have either been adjudicated or dismissed.  In the interim, the faculty member should write to the University Registrar to explain that no grade has been submitted because of a pending investigation of alleged academic misconduct.  The Registrar will post a grade of “NR” (“No Report”) pending final resolution. 

            3.  Standing Committee on Academic Integrity

The  Dean  will  appoint  a  Standing  Committee  on  Academic  Integrity  (henceforth,  the  "Standing Committee”).  The Standing Committee will be composed of:

●    Fifteen (15) faculty, appointed to staggered 3-year terms.

●    Eight (8) Graduate School students, at least two (2) of whom are pursuing the Ph.D.  Each student will be appointed to a one-year term with the possibility of reappointment for a second term.

●    One Graduate School associate dean, who will serve as the non-voting Investigating Officer.

●    One non-voting ex officio member of the University Research Integrity Committee, to be appointed by the Chair of the University Research Committee.

Faculty representatives on the Standing Committee will be drawn from the full range of the Graduate School’s degree programs, both master’s and doctoral, on both the Main Campus and the Medical Center.   The Dean shall designate a faculty member of the Standing Committee  to serve as Chair. 

The  Standing  Committee  will meet at the beginning of each academic year to familiarize the members with standards of academic integrity expected of Graduate School students, the type of violations brought before the Committee, and the range of sanctions that may be imposed on those found responsible for academic misconduct.    Unless circumstances warrant otherwise, the Committee’s subsequent business, including the assignment of adjudication committees, will be conducted without meeting as a group.

 

            4.  Transmittal of Allegations and Decision to Investigate

When an allegation of academic misconduct is received by the Dean, the Dean’s Office will notify the student that an allegation has been received and that the Chair of the Standing Committee will assign an Adjudication Committee to review the allegations.  The notice will include a copy of the allegations and a list of the members of the Standing Committee.  The student will be informed that he or she has three (3) business days to do either or both of the following:

a.   Submit a written statement concerning the allegations that he or she wishes the Adjudication Committee to consider when making the initial decision about whether the allegations merit investigation.  The student is encouraged to make any such written submission at this stage short, preferably no longer than one page.  If the Adjudication Committee determines that investigation and further adjudication of the allegations are warranted, the student will be given the opportunity to submit an additional written response.

b.   Indicate his or her objection to having any specific member of the Standing Committee serve on the Adjudication Committee.  If the student has concerns about any member of the Standing Committee serving on the Adjudication Committee, the student must notify the Chair in writing of the good faith basis for the objection within the three-day period.

After the student has been notified and had an opportunity respond, the Dean’s office will refer the allegations and any response submitted by the student to the Chair of the Standing Committee for assignment to an Adjudication Committee.  In doing so, the Chair will consider any objection to membership submitted by the student, but the final decision regarding the membership of the Adjudication Committee will rest with the Chair.

An Adjudication Committee shall consist of two faculty and one student member of the Standing Committee.  A Standing Committee member who is teaching a course or mentoring a thesis in which academic misconduct has been alleged may not serve on the Adjudication Committee handling that case.

Each member of the Adjudication Committee will be given a complete copy of the allegations, supporting materials, and any written response to the allegations materials submitted by the student.  As soon as reasonably possible, the newly-appointed Adjudication Committee will caucus to review these materials.  As its first responsibility, the Adjudication Committee will determine whether the allegations could reasonably constitute a violation of the Standards of Academic Integrity.

If the members of the Adjudication Committee determine that the allegations do not constitute a violation of the Standards of Academic Integrity, they will return the materials to the Chair, who will return them to the Office of the Dean with a recommendation that the allegations be dismissed. All materials received will be securely destroyed and both the student and the individual alleging academic misconduct will be informed that the case has been closed.   No record of the allegations will appear in the student’s records.

If the Adjudication Committee determines that the allegations do warrant further investigation and adjudication, the members will so notify the Chair, who will notify the Dean.

The Office of the Dean will send written notice to the student that an investigation has been initiated.  This notice will include the names of the Standing Committee members who have been appointed to the Adjudication Committee.  The student will be informed that he or she has five (5) business days to (a) request an opportunity to meet with the Adjudication Committee and (b) to submit a written response to the allegations, not to exceed ten (10) typewritten pages.  A copy of this response will be provided to each member of the Adjudication Committee.

At the discretion of the Dean, a representative from the Office of University Counsel may serve as an advisor to the Standing Committee or any Adjudication Committee.

            5.  Investigation of Allegations by the Adjudication Committee

Having determined that the facts as alleged could constitute a violation of the standards of Academic Integrity, the Adjudication Committee will initiate an investigation.  The Committee may supplement the information it initially receives with any information that it deems necessary.  Since the purpose of this investigation will be to make determinations of fact, it will be interrogatory rather than accusatorial in both format and approach.

If specialized knowledge is deemed necessary to investigate a case, the Adjudication Committee may ask the Dean to appoint an appropriate expert to assist the Adjudication Committee in its investigation.  The expert will serve as a consultant to the Adjudication Committee and will neither deliberate with the Adjudication Committee nor vote.  Copies of any materials provided to the Adjudication Committee by such an expert will also be provided to the student.

If the student so requests, the Committee will meet with and question the student.  The student may also propose relevant witnesses from which it would like the Committee to hear.   If the student wishes to propose witnesses, the student must submit their names in writing to the Adjudication Committee, along with their relationship to the student, if any, and the nature of their testimony.  The Committee will decide whether to hear from these witnesses.  

Because the meeting between the Committee and the student is fundamentally an academic proceeding, not a legal one, the student is expected to represent himself or herself, and to speak on his/her own behalf.  The student may not be represented by counsel, nor may anyone participate in the meeting who is not a material witness.  The student may be accompanied by one person, such as a friend or family member, but that individual may not participate in the proceedings.  Should that person also be an attorney, he or she has a professional obligation to so inform the Committee in advance, in which case the Committee reserves the right to have a representative from the Office of University Counsel present. 

The Committee may also interview additional witnesses and/or review any additional material that it believes would be helpful or relevant to its decision-making process.  The student against whom the allegations are brought shall have the right to be present as an observer to all witness interviews conducted by the Adjudication Committee.  Interviews conducted by the Adjudication Committee may be recorded at the discretion of the Graduate School.

            6.  Determination of Responsibility for Academic Misconduct

The Adjudication Committee will determine by simple majority vote whether it believes the student is responsible for academic misconduct and whether it will recommend that sanctions be imposed on the student.  The Adjudication Committee will deputize one of its members to report its determination of responsibility and any recommended sanctions in writing to the Dean of the Graduate School.

Upon receipt of the Committee’s report, the Dean of the Graduate School may:

●    accept the findings and recommendations of the Adjudication Committee; or

●    refer the case back to that Adjudication Committee for further investigation or more detailed written explanation of its findings and recommendations; or

●    reject the Adjudication Committee’s findings and/or sanctioning recommendations and explain the rationale for accepting a different interpretation of the facts and/or imposing different sanctions.

The Dean of the Graduate School will provide the student against whom the allegations have been made with a written statement of the final decision and, as appropriate, any recommended sanction. 

A one-page summary report of the facts of the case and its outcome will be provided to the Standing Committee.  These summaries will be maintained in a sanction precedent file by the Graduate School, and will contribute to the   body of precedent to guide future adjudication committees in establishing appropriate sanctions for comparable violations of academic integrity.

            7.  Sanctions

The Dean’s letter imposing sanctions for academic misconduct will become part of the student’s permanent file.

If the misconduct involves a course, the following notation will be placed on the student’s transcript under the relevant course:  “Student found responsible for academic misconduct in the above course.”

Sanctions recommended by the Adjudication Committee may include but are not limited to suspension or dismissal from the University and revocation of degrees already granted.

Sanctions that may be imposed directly by the Dean of the Graduate School include but are not limited to:

a.   Suspension, to be noted on the transcript as “Suspension for Academic Misconduct”;

b.   Dismissal, to be noted on the transcript as “Dismissal for Academic Misconduct";

c.   Revocation of previously awarded degrees, to be noted on the transcript as “[Degree] revoked for Academic Misconduct.”

Such transcript notations will remain a permanent part of the student’s record under the following circumstances: 

a.   if the sanctions include a recommendation that the student receive a grade of “F” in the course in which the misconduct was committed.

b.   if the misconduct involved the comprehensive or qualifying examinations, or qualifying papers that are required to achieve doctoral candidacy.

c.   if the student was suspended or dismissed for the misconduct.

All other students found to be in violation may, after one year from the date of posting of the notation, petition the Dean of the Graduate School to have the notation removed.  The petition must articulate the lessons that the student has learned from this experience and must be supported by a letter of justification from the student’s Director of Graduate Studies.  No petition for the removal of a notation connected with a second finding will be approved.  In cases of a second finding of violation, the first finding’s notation will be reposted to the transcript permanently. The decision whether to grant the petition for notation removal rests with the Dean and is final.

The student’s department or program must comply with any sanctions communicated to them by the Dean of the Graduate School.  The Dean of the Graduate School is the only person authorized to impose sanctions on a Graduate School student for violations of academic integrity committed in connection with a Graduate School program.  The department or program shall not impose additional penalties.

Regardless of the sanctions that may be recommended by the Adjudication Committee and/or imposed by the Dean, if a student is found to have violated academic integrity in a graded activity, the faculty member involved may fail the student or reduce the student's grade, for either an assignment or for the entire course, at his or her discretion.  If, however, the student is found not to have violated academic integrity, the faculty member shall not penalize the student for academic misconduct.

            8.  Appeals

A student who has been found responsible for academic misconduct shall have the right to appeal those findings as well as any sanctions that may have been imposed. 

Appeals of findings or sanctions will be considered only if the student is able to demonstrate either that new evidence has become available since the case was considered by an Adjudication Committee and/or that he or she was harmed by substantial procedural irregularity in the process. Such requests must be filed within 30 days of the date of the Dean’s letter imposing penalties and must include a description of the grounds for appeal. Dissatisfaction with the decision is not in itself sufficient grounds to warrant granting an appeal.

A student whose sanctions include termination from a degree program should refer to Section III.G.2. Termination for Findings of Academic Misconduct

The Dean of the Graduate School will determine whether there are sufficient grounds for appeal.

If the Dean determines there are not sufficient grounds for appeal, the student will be so notified in writing. Such a determination shall be final.

If the Dean determines that there are sufficient grounds for an appeal, the case will be sent back to the original Adjudication Committee for further investigation.  In extremely rare cases in which personnel changes or allegations of substantial procedural irregularities make it impossible or impractical to reconvene the original Adjudication Committee, a new Adjudication Committee may be convened.