Academic Misconduct Procedure
This procedure outlines the University’s management of allegations of academic misconduct by students as referenced in the Student Code of Conduct, Examination Requirements, Learning, Teaching and Assessment Policy, and the Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, in order to maintain the academic and research integrity and standing of the University.
All students undertaking study or research with James Cook University in respect of all actions and activities (including inaction or inactivity) relating to the conduct of academic work. Academic Misconduct may occur with:
- assignments, essays and other forms of course or subject assessment that are not invigilated;
- practicums or placements;
- examinations, tests and other forms of assessment that are invigilated;
- research activities including seeking ethical and other clearances required prior to commencing research, collecting, storing and disclosing data, using the intellectual property of others, data analysis and reporting;
- theses and other work presented as part of higher degrees by research, honours and other postgraduate awards.
Except as otherwise specified in this procedure, the meaning of terms used in this procedure are as per the Student Code of Conduct. Other terms used in this procedure may also be found in the Policy Glossary.
The Code of Conduct defines Academic Misconduct as conduct on the part of a student that attempts or succeeds to obtain unfair academic advantage through misrepresentation, plagiarising, colluding, falsification, cheating, use of social relationships with academic staff or any other breach of academic integrity for their own gain or the benefit of others.
Instances of Academic Misconduct include:
a) cheating, collusion and plagiarism (including self-plagiarism);
b) making a false representation as to a matter affecting a student as a student;
c) tampering, or attempting to tamper, with examination papers, scripts, class work, grades or academic records;
d) breaching the examination requirements in an attempt to disrupt an examination or to gain an academic advantage;
e) failing to abide by reasonable directions of a member of academic staff in relation to academic matters, including directions regarding individual responsibility for the submission of assessable work;
f) the improper use of University facilities, information or the intellectual property of others without permission;
g) acquiring, or attempting to acquire, possess, or distribute examination materials or information about assessment without approval;
h) impersonating another student, or arranging for anyone to impersonate a student, in an examination, assessment task, prerequisite or assessment hurdle;
i) submitting any document or file that the University requires of the student to meet academic requirements (eg. medical certificate or other supporting documentation, placement evaluations) which has been altered, fabricated, or, which fraudulently attempts to certify, confirm or authorise the information it contains;;
j) altering a group’s submission for assessment without the participating students’ consent;
k) failing to comply with a penalty imposed under this procedure; or
l) any other acts or omissions not included in a) - k) above which in the opinion of the Chair of the Academic Board reasonably represents Academic Misconduct or a breach of the Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.
Any person; including staff, students, members of the University community or public; may refer an instance of suspected Academic Misconduct to the University.
1. Process for referring suspected Academic Misconduct – all coursework students
1.1 All relevant materials associated with the suspected Academic Misconduct must be provided to the University, regardless of the nature of the allegation. The following Policy breaches may be referred to the Student Code of Conduct for resolution and where it is alleged Academic Misconduct is the conduct breached:
1.2 Allegations of academic misconduct related to invigilated examinations conducted by Student Services as part of the formal examination period will be referred to the Director, Student Services. Allegations of academic misconduct related to all other assessment will be referred to the relevant Academic Head.
1.3 The Director, Student Services, or Academic Head will, within 10 university working days of receiving the referral, conduct a preliminary evaluation of the allegation and determine an appropriate action based on the evidence provided. If the Head is the academic staff member in charge of the subject, the College Dean shall adopt the ‘one up rule’ and undertake the delegation.
1.4 Within the 10 day period allowed at 1.3:
- The Director, Student Services or Academic Head will dismiss the matter if the evidence is insufficient, or the allegation(s) is deemed to be unfounded or trivial, and send written advice of the dismissal and reasons for the dismissal to the referring person; and provide advice to the student where appropriate, or
- If sufficient detail and evidence is available to enable an allegation(s) to be put to the student the Academic Head may do so under clause 3 below – noting:
- matters which are deemed to be Minor or Moderate in severity as specified in appendix 2 of the Student Code of Conduct will be considered and decided by the Academic Head at clause 3 ; or
- matters of a Serious nature, as specified in appendix 2 of the Student Code of Conduct, will be considered and decided by the Dean of the College at clause 3.
2. Process for referring suspected Academic Misconduct – postgraduate research students
2.1 Suspected Academic Misconduct by a Research Higher Degree student in relation to any assessment, thesis presentation or other assessable work contributing towards Awards of the University administered by a College shall be referred to the relevant Academic Head (as the authorised delegate). If the Academic Head is on the Advisory Panel, the College Dean shall adopt the ‘one up rule’ and undertake the delegation.
2.2 Suspected Academic Misconduct in relation to a research higher degree administered by the Research Education Subcommittee shall be referred to the Dean, Graduate Research (as the authorised delegate). If the Dean, Graduate Research, is the Principal Supervisor of the student against whom the allegation is made, the Provost shall perform the delegation of the Dean, Graduate Research Studies.
3. Responsibility of the authorised delegate or person considering the allegation
3.1 The person considering the allegation (ie Academic Head or Dean) will within 15 university working days of receiving the allegation, notify the student in writing that an allegation of Academic Misconduct has been made against them. The student will be provided with sufficient detail, including supplying any evidence provided, to enable them to understand the precise nature of the allegation, and to properly respond to it
3.2 A student who receives notice of allegation(s) is required to respond in writing within 10 university working days and will subsequently attend a hearing with the authorised delegate (ie Academic Head or Dean). The hearing will be scheduled as soon as practicable, by the relevant College or Divisional office, but will not be sooner than ten working days after the allegations have been sent, in order to allow sufficient time for the student time to seek advice and/or support.
3.3 A student may be assisted by a support person or representative (such as a JCUSA Student Advocate) to prepare a written response to the allegation(s) and/or when attending the hearing with the authorised delegate, but may not be legally represented. An administrative support person will attend the hearing to record the discussion and outcomes (see clause 6 below).
3.4 If the student does not respond within ten (10) working days of the notification, or otherwise fails to engage in the process, this does not halt the misconduct process, and the authorised delegate will move to clause 3.6.
3.5 The authorised delegate considering the allegations and the student response will then determine whether the allegation is proven or not proven on the balance of probability, after considering:
- the materials provided by the person alleging the Academic Misconduct weighing up the sufficiency and reliability of various evidence;
- any oral and/or written testimony provided by the student or evidence relevant to the allegation.
3.6 Within ten (10) working days of the hearing, the authorised delegate (ie Academic Head or Dean) will notify the student of the decision regarding the allegations and, if the decision is that Academic Misconduct did occur, the penalty applied (as per appendix 2 of the Student Code of Conduct). The outcome letter must contain detail of the considerations made in determining the matter, reasons for the decision, and information about the students’ rights of appeal. The outcome letter must also be communicated as appropriate to the relevant College or Divisional office and/or to examinations staff in Student Services for any record keeping or other actions required.
3.7 Where any allegation of Academic Misconduct has been proven, in addition to any action imposed under the relevant clauses, the student must be offered counselling by the Academic Head or Dean of the importance of maintaining high levels of academic integrity in Australian universities and advice on the possible consequences of any further Academic Misconduct.
3.8 Where instances of second or repeat offences of academic misconduct are proven the authorised delegate will consider the application of more serious penalties as specified in appendix 2 of the Student Code of Conduct.
4. Appeal against a University decision
4.1 A student who remains dissatisfied with a University decision regarding misconduct should refer to the Student Review and Appeal Policy and Procedures.
5. External Appeal
5.1 A student who remains dissatisfied after the internal appeal process has been completed can make a formal complaint to an external body including the Queensland Ombudsman, the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland or the Australian Human Rights Commission.
6. Keeping records regarding Academic Misconduct
6.1 All misconduct related matters will be documented consistent with University records policies. Notes and documentation must be kept at all stages of the misconduct process including records of hearings, discussions, and precautionary actions proposed or taken. These documents may be used in Appeal processes.
6.2 All records and notes produced and documents considered must be stored using TRIM in an appropriate and confidential file in line with University policy.
6.3 Where the allegation of Academic Misconduct against the student is proved:
- the outcome letter, including details of the type of Academic Misconduct and the penalty imposed shall be recorded on the student record using TRIM; and
- the existence of a proven allegation of Academic Misconduct will be noted on the student’s record on the Student Management System. This information will not appear on the official transcript of a student’s academic record unless the seriousness of the offence warrants public or professional disclosure.
7.1 The proceedings of any allegation of Academic Misconduct shall be treated as confidential and in the strictest privacy.
Related policy instruments
Date for next review
|19-3||10/07/2019||11/07/2019||Minor amendment to clarify responsibilities regarding para 1.4||Director, Student Services|
|19-2||06/06/2019||06/06/2019||Amendments to clarify responsibilities and timeframes, include post-graduate coursework and clarify record keeping requirements.||Director, Student Services|
Vanessa Cannon, Chief of Staff
|Contact person||Director, Student Services|