This document sets out the basic University of Maryland Graduate School, Baltimore policy and procedures for dealing with the various forms of student academic misconduct primarily in course work. Such misconduct involves significant breaches of integrity which may take numerous forms such as, but not limited to, those listed below:
- Fabrication: The intentional and unauthorized generation or altering of data, information, citation, or result in an academic exercise.
- Falsification: The intentional and unauthorized altering of any information, citation, or result in an academic exercise.
- Plagiarism: The intentional or knowing representation of the words, ideas, or work of others as one’s own in an academic exercise. The appropriation of the language, ideas, or thoughts of another and representation of them as one’s own original work.
- Cheating: The intentional or attempted use of unauthorized material in an academic exercise.
- Improprieties of Authorship: Improper assignment of credit or misrepresentation of material as original without proper referencing of the original authors.
- Facilitating Academic Dishonesty: The intentional or knowing assistance or attempted assistance of another student to commit an act of academic misconduct.
Student misconduct in research and scholarly work falls under the purview of the University of Maryland Baltimore County document, “Policy and Procedures Concerning Misconduct in Scientific Work,” or the University of Maryland Baltimore document, “Policy and Procedures Concerning Misconduct in Scholarly Work.”
All graduate students of the UMGSB are subject to the standards of academic integrity required by the UMGSB and standards of academic integrity specific to a graduate program approved by the Graduate School. For example, the Masters in Science Nursing programs have additional standards. Students are also subject to the possible penalties for academic misconduct described in this document. Students must also observe any additional standards announced by faculty members for particular courses.
Each faculty member is responsible for maintaining academic integrity in his or her courses and has the authority, using proper procedures and reasonable judgment, to determine whether a student has engaged in academic misconduct. The faculty member must decide whether the misconduct involves a less-serious infraction susceptible to resolution by informal methods or a more-serious infraction requiring severe and stigmatizing penalty, such as suspension or expulsion. Once the faculty member has made an initial determination of academic misconduct, he or she shall initiate the process explained below. The faculty member should make initial determination of academic misconduct within two weeks of the infraction, if possible, and the entire process should be completed within 90 days, if feasible.
I. Less-Serious Infractions
Examples of infractions that can be considered less serious are:
- minor instances of plagiarism or cheating on examinations or papers required for a course
- minor fabrication or falsification of data for a laboratory report for a course
- facilitating academic dishonesty by students in an academic exercise
After identifying academic misconduct and providing written notification and obtaining written authorization from the Associate Dean or the Dean’s Designee, the faculty member has authority to resolve less serious cases of academic misconduct by means of informal methods such as warning, counseling, additional assignments, or grading. A typical penalty that has been exacted has been to assign a zero grade for the exercise and to compute the course grade including the zero grade for the exercise. The student may be reprimanded by the instructors, and the Graduate School can send letters of reprimand with the threat of dismissal should there be further occurrence. Such informal methods shall not be considered to be severe or stigmatizing. Confidential records of authorized informal actions shall be kept by the Associate Dean or the Dean’s Designee for use of the Graduate Council Grievance Committee*. The GCGC may release only general statistical summaries of such information and may not release identifying information.
Having made an initial determination of academic misconduct involving a less serious infraction and having consulted the Associate Dean or the Dean’s Designee for authorization, the faculty member shall observe certain rights of the student: the faculty member shall notify the student in writing within five days, if feasible, of the initial determination of academic misconduct and shall provide the student an opportunity within five days of notification to give explanation. Should the student fail to offer an explanation within the time frame, seek an extension for a good faith reason, or make a written request to the Associate Dean or the Dean’s Designee for a full hearing before the GCGC, the informal action shall become final.
The faculty member’s informal action shall be final and conclusive and not subject to appeal within the University System of Maryland on grounds related to academic misconduct.
II. More-Serious Infractions
Infractions that can be considered as more serious include:
- major instances of plagiarism or cheating on examinations or papers for a course
- fabrication or falsification of data for publication, thesis, or dissertation
- a pattern of, or repeated occurrences of, less-serious infractions
Having made a final determination of more-serious academic misconduct, the faculty member shall notify the student in writing within five days, if feasible. The student shall have an opportunity within 10 days to respond and give an explanation to the faculty member before the determination of more serious academic misconduct can be made final by the faculty member.
After making an initial determination of an instance of more-serious academic misconduct requiring severe and stigmatizing penalty, the faculty member shall within five days send a letter to the Associate Dean or the Dean’s Designee. The faculty member’s letter shall describe the academic misconduct and recommending suspension, probation, expulsion, or other action commensurate with the seriousness and circumstances of the misconduct. The faculty member shall send a copy of the letter to the student, to the graduate program director, and to the department chair. The Associate Dean or the Dean’s Designee will notify the registrar, if appropriate, to prevent the student from dropping the course, thereby evading a penalty. The letter to the student shall include a copy of this policy. The faculty member shall also make reasonable efforts to preserve any evidence that might be needed by the GCGC in the event of an appeal by the student.
III. Appeals and Hearings
When the faculty member has filed with the Associate Dean or the Dean’s Designee a letter establishing academic misconduct requiring severe or stigmatizing penalty, the student shall have the right to a hearing before the GCGC. The student must file a written request for a hearing with the Associate Dean or the Dean’s Designee within 10 days of notification. When a student requests a hearing in a case involving severe or stigmatizing penalty, the UMGSB administration shall provide facilities and personnel requested by the chair of the GCGC for the purpose of providing due process. If the faculty member recommends suspension or expulsion, the GCGC shall (unless the student waives the right to a hearing) automatically conduct a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence of misconduct, or history of misconduct, to justify suspension or expulsion.
Upon its notification of a hearing request, the Dean of the Graduate School will appoint a three-person committee from among members of the GCGC. The GCGC should conduct an investigation, gather evidence, and interview witnesses to determine the facts. The investigation shall include a statement from the faculty member, describing the situation and action, a statement from the student including reason for the hearing request, and all statements by witnesses. The Associate Dean or the Dean’s Designee shall circulate the statements to GCGC members, noting that confidential items must be kept in a secure location. The GCGC shall also obtain any additional information requested by the faculty member, the student, or the committee members. If requested by the chair of the GCGC, the Associate Dean or the Dean’s Designee shall provide the GCGC the record of academic misconduct of any student requesting a hearing. The GCGC should, if necessary, hold a pre-hearing meeting of committee members to discuss the investigation. Copies of all items of evidence should be sent to the faculty member and the student or, if the evidence cannot be copied, the Associate Dean or the Dean’s Designee should arrange for the evidence to be inspected by these parties at a convenient time.
The GCGC shall then schedule a hearing, conducted by the chair of the GCGC, allowing sufficient time, including continuations if necessary, for the committee to be satisfied that further inquiry would turn up no new material. If feasible, the hearing should be scheduled within 30 days of the GCGC’s notice of a hearing request. At least three members of the GCGC must attend a hearing to form a quorum. Hearings will be held in closed session and will be tape recorded. Accidental erasure of the tapes, failure of the recording equipment, or poor quality of the recording will not be grounds for appeal. The faculty member and the student shall attend the hearing. Witnesses may be present at the hearing only during their own testimonies except with the permission of both the student and the chair of the GCGC. Legal counsel for the student or the university may be present at the hearing in an advisory role. Legal counsel shall not function as an advocate. The student shall have the right to state his or her case, to offer explanations and interpretations of each item of evidence and testimony, and to ask questions of the faculty member and witnesses. The faculty member may offer interpretations of the evidence and testimony and ask questions as necessary. Each committee member may ask questions. The proceedings of the hearing are to be confidential and are not to be discussed outside the hearing.
Those members of the GCGC who were present throughout the hearing shall discuss the case in closed session as soon as possible after the conclusion of the hearing. They then vote whether to uphold the faculty member’s initial determination of academic misconduct. When a faculty member’s recommendation of suspension or expulsion is involved, the GCGC also votes whether to uphold the recommendation. No votes in absentia shall be counted.
The GCGC shall send its findings and recommendations in writing to the Associate Dean or the Dean’s Designee within 10 days of the hearing, if possible. (A dissenting opinion may be submitted and filed by any GCGC member.) The Associate Dean or the Dean’s Designee will act upon the recommendations of the report and notify the student, the faculty member, and other necessary parties of the results of the determination. If the GCGC determines that the faculty member acted improperly or mistakenly in his or her initial determination of more serious academic misconduct, it may recommend that the Associate Dean or the Dean’s Designee expunge the notice of academic misconduct or attach a letter of explanation to the notice. The GCGC may, in its report to the Associate Dean or the Dean’s Designee, include other penalties. While the GCGC may not impose grade alterations based on the content of the student’s work, it has the authority to uphold the grade sanctions recommended by the faculty member if the student is found to have engaged in academic misconduct. The Associate Dean or the Dean’s Designee’s notification letter shall direct the student to the Dean of the Graduate School should he or she want to appeal the decision. The GCGC shall also send the Dean of the Graduate School the various documents and records used as evidence in the case.
The student has the right to appeal to the Dean of the Graduate School. The appeal must be in writing and must be filed within 10 days of receiving the GCGC report. The Dean will review the GCGC report and may uphold the decision, reverse the decision, modify the decision or penalties, or refer the case back to the GCGC. In any case, the decision of the Dean of the Graduate School is final.
The Dean of the Graduate School shall maintain a confidential file of academic misconduct communications which shall constitute the student’s record of academic conduct. The Dean of the Graduate School may place appropriate notations on the student’s transcript and provide the academic misconduct record of any student to outside institutions making inquiry appropriate under the federal Buckley Amendment laws.
*The GCGC is composed of three graduate faculty members from each campus, University of Maryland Baltimore and University of Maryland Baltimore County. GCGC members may be members of the Graduate Council and are appointed by the respective deans of the Graduate School to a term of two years. The initial appointment of one year for two members assures continuity of membership on the committee. Monthly meeting times will be set for the GCGC and any grievances that are filed will be heard at these times. Additional meeting times may be scheduled as needed. When a grievance is filed, all parties of the grievance and the members of the GCGC will be asked if there would be a conflict of interest with members of the committee or with any party filing the grievance. The Dean of the Graduate School will select three members of the GCGC who have no conflict of interest with any party affected by the grievance to serve on a panel to hear the case. Two members of the panel will be from the campus of the person filing the grievance. A panel may be augmented by two Graduate Student Association members of the Graduate Council (or other selected students) for the deliberation of academic misconduct grievances. The GCGC panel will serve as an informal fact-finding body, taking written statements from all participants and interviewing witnesses. The investigation may take the form of a hearing in which statements from all participants may be reviewed and the participants questioned. Legal counsel may be present at the hearing in an advisory role, but shall not function as an advocate. Every consideration will be taken to insure the confidentiality of witnesses. The GCGC panel will deliberate in closed session and make its recommendations to the Associate Dean or the Dean’s Designee. Original documents of the proceedings and records of the hearing will also be submitted to the Associate Dean or the Dean’s Designee.
(Approved and adopted by the Graduate Council, September 1993; revised July 23, 1998; revised Nov. 25, 2002.)