Academic Affairs

Board of Trustees Policy

Subject: Student Academic Code of Ethics

Number: 3.3

Date: June 2019

Supersedes: May 2011, fall 2002


Purpose

In the pursuit of knowledge and higher education, members of the academic community, specifically students enrolled in credit and non-credit programs, at Montgomery County Community College must maintain a constant commitment to academic ethics. The College cultivates an environment that fosters critical thinking and learning, and in order to safeguard the integrity of the institution, students are expected to follow the policies of the College. Students who practice academic honesty demonstrate respect for the educational process and support the accomplishments of fellow students, while upholding the College’s reputation. Therefore, it is expected that students will participate in a culture of academic honesty.

The Academic Code of Ethics and other College policies, such as the Student Code of Conduct and Acceptable Use of Technology Policy, create an integrated ethics policy for the College. With respect to these policies, some programs may have additional expectations students are required to meet. Students who do not adhere to all codes are subject to the consequences outlined in each respective policy.

Policy

By enrolling at the College, students agree to abide by this Student Academic Code of Ethics and to understand, value, and demonstrate academic honesty.

Assignments include, but are not limited to, hardcopy or electronic papers, homework, exams, laboratory exercises, projects, clinical experiences, performances, exhibits, and presentations.

Academic honesty includes, but is not limited to, the following.

Presenting verifiably accurate information and respecting documentation
  • Truthfully conveying the results, data, or conclusions for any assignment, without embellishment or misrepresentation.
  • Authentically sourcing and conveying information or quotations.
  • Respecting academic documentation, signatures of college personnel, institutional seals and all other records of achievement and activities.
Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Presenting work of one’s own, crediting any and all sources used to create it.
    • Representing any and all sources used accurately, with the proper citation.
    • Accurately and completely reproducing direct quotes from another’s work without altering the meaning, using quotation marks and proper citation.
    • Rewording (paraphrasing) ideas and concepts found in other sources with integrity, crediting the original authors with the proper source citation.
  • Submitting a student’s own single piece of work only once, unless an instructor has given permission.
    • Submitting the same paper or assignment during the same term to two instructors only if both instructors have given permission.
    • o Submitting a previously graded paper, assignment, or speech to a different instructor only if the current instructor has given approval.
Avoiding Cheating
  • Ethically completing one’s own exams and assignments.
    • Only submitting one’s own work, never copying answers from another person or submitting another person’s work as one’s own.
    • Completing assignments individually unless instructed to collaborate with others.
    • Never using any unauthorized resources during an exam or while completing assignments. Unauthorized resources include, but are not limited to, notes, electronic devices, solution manuals, sentence generators/translators, Cliff’s Notes, tutorial services or anything not permitted by the instructor or proctor.
  • Maintaining the fairness of assessment materials and methods.
    • Neither stealing, nor having in one’s possession without permission from the instructor, any exams, materials, or property belonging to faculty, staff, or another student.
    • Rejecting offered answers to exam questions or other assignments, without permission from the instructor.
  • Refraining from aiding and abetting the cheating of others.
    • Allowing a student to complete their own assignments, excluding collaborative learning assignments or joint assignments approved by the instructor. Some examples of cheating may include, but are not limited to, doing another student’s assignment or writing or re-writing a major portion of a student’s assignment.
    • Never giving a student answers to exam questions or to other assignments.
    • Never taking an exam or a class for a student, nor having another person take an exam or a class for the student.
Consequences for Violations of the Code of Ethics

Options for dealing with academic dishonesty are at the discretion of faculty. Instructor-imposed consequences for the student may include one or more of the following.

  • Requiring the completion of academic ethics training.
  • Repeating the assignment with a grade penalty.
  • Receiving a failing grade for the assignment.
  • Receiving a lower course grade.
  • Receiving a failing grade for the course.
  • Suspension from clinical settings.
  • Receiving an academic integrity flag within the College's retention software system.
  • Receiving an XF grade for the course, a notation of academic misconduct on the student’s transcript. After one year, the student may appeal to have the grade changed to an F if they have not committed any subsequent violations of the Code of Ethics, by filling out the XF-to-F Grade Appeal Form. Note: Requests for XF-to-F Grade Appeal prior to Fall 2019 will be reviewed on a case by case basis by the Academic Progress Committee. Students using that form will have to:
    • Demonstrate completion of Curriculum Committee-approved academic ethics training.
    • Submit a personal essay on the importance of academic honesty.
    • Provide a note from a faculty member, coordinator, or dean testifying to the student’s commitment to academic honesty.
  • Other appropriate consequences.

The Vice President of Academic Affairs/Provost may impose additional consequences in extenuating circumstances. Before imposing consequences, the Vice President of Academic Affairs/Provost will consult with the faculty member and appropriate administrator/s, and clinical site representatives, if applicable. These consequences may include one or more of the following.

  • Being expelled from the student’s program.
  • Being expelled from the College permanently or for a limited period of time.

Procedures

The following process must be completed in consecutive order within the published parameters. Students may follow the College’s appeal process if they dispute an ethics violation. The Academic Progress Committee will then hear the appeal.

Initial Steps – Violation and Notification

Step 1: Instructor notifies student of violation.

Step 2: Student and instructor meet to discuss violation.

  • The student has five (5) business days* after being notified of a violation to request a meeting with the instructor. The student should contact the instructor to schedule the meeting. Students should bring supportive documentation to this meeting.
Appeal Process

If the student and instructor are unable to reach a resolution, the student may appeal. Use of the Ethics Violation Appeal Form is required.

Step 1: Student, instructor, and dean/director meet

  • If the student is unable to resolve the matter with the instructor, the student has five (5) business days* after the meeting with the instructor to request a meeting with the instructor and dean/director who oversees the course discipline. The student should contact the dean’s office to schedule the meeting. Students should bring all supportive documentation to this meeting.

Step 2: Student files appeal documents

  • If the student is unable to resolve the matter with the instructor and dean/director, the student can ask for a formal hearing to appeal the violation and/or consequence of the violation; the student must complete the Student Information section of the Ethics Violation Appeal Form and submit other supportive materials to the division dean who oversees the course discipline within two (2) business days* of the student, instructor, and dean/director meeting. While filing an appeal, the student is entitled to remain in the course (unless in a clinical setting) with all student rights intact until the hearing is completed and a final decision is reached. Students may not present paperwork at the hearing that was not originally submitted during the appeal process; however, the Vice President of Academic Affairs/Provost may request additional documentation.

Step 3: Instructor files appeal documents

  • Once the Student Information section of the Ethics Violation Appeal Form is received by the dean, the dean will ask the faculty member to contribute to Section Two of the Ethics Violation Appeal Form and submit other supportive materials to the division dean within two (2) business days* of the request. Faculty may not present paperwork at the hearing that was not originally submitted during the appeal process; however, the Vice President of Academic Affairs/Provost may request additional documentation.

Step 4: Dean files appeal documents

  • The dean will complete Section Two of the Ethics Violation Appeal Form, submitting all attachments along with the supportive materials to the Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs within two (2) business days* of receiving the instructor’s contribution for Section Two of the Ethics Violation Appeal Form.

Step 5: Appeal hearing

  • The Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs will assemble an Academic Progress Committee to hear the violation appeal within five (5) business days* of the filing of the complete appeal packet. The Committee will be comprised of two full-time faculty members, a student representative, and an Academic Affairs administrator, none of whom will be from the division where the complaint originated except in the case of an English student accused of plagiarism.
  • Prior to the meeting, the Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs will electronically distribute to all involved parties the completed Ethics Violation Appeal Form, including supporting paperwork.
  • At the hearing, the student and faculty will have an opportunity to further present their positions and address questions by the Committee and Vice President of Academic Affairs/Provost. The student is permitted to bring one (1) guest to the hearing who will serve as an observer.
  • The Committee will have two (2) business days* from the end of the hearing to submit to the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost a committee signed evidence-based recommendation.

Step 6: Final decision

  • The Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost will review the appeal paperwork, hearing notes, and the Committee’s recommendation. Within five (5) business days* of receipt of the Committee recommendation, the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost will send the written appeal decision to the student with copies to all parties involved. This decision is final.
  • The Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs will destroy document copies associated with the Academic Code of Ethics appeal. A permanent record of the proceedings, including hardcopy of the final written decision of the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost, is kept in a confidential file in the Office of Academic Affairs.

*Business day is defined as day of College operation with classes in session (fall, spring, winter and summer) excluding weekends.