2019-2020 Graduate Academic Catalog

Academic Integrity Policy

Approved by Board of Trustees, December 17, 1997

Approved by Academic Affairs Committee, November 5, 1997

Approved by Faculty Assembly, May 20, 1997

Revised by FAAP and AAC, May 2009

Revised by FAAP and AAC, April 2019

The Academic Integrity Policy applies to all graduate and undergraduate students enrolled at Lesley University, including but not limited to, courses, practica, seminars, studio courses, field placements and institutes as well as participating in other educational experiences.

I. Statement of Principles

Academic honesty and integrity are essential to the existence and growth of an academic community. Every member of the Lesley community is responsible for fostering a culture of academic honesty, and for maintaining the integrity and academic reputation of Lesley University.

A commitment to preserving and encouraging high standards of academic honesty may be demonstrated in many ways. At a minimum, each member of the Lesley community is charged with honoring and upholding the University's policies and procedures governing academic integrity as set forth below.

II. Prohibited Conduct

No Lesley student will knowingly perform, attempt to perform, or assist another in performing in any act of academic dishonesty. The term "knowingly" means that the student knows that the academic work involved will be submitted for academic credit or advancement. It is still an act of academic dishonesty even if the student is not clear that the act was a violation of the University's Academic Integrity Policy.

Examples of Acts of Academic Dishonesty

Academic dishonesty comes in many forms. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, taking or attempting to take any of the following actions. The following list is not meant to be exhaustive and a student may be accused and found responsible of violating the University's Academic Integrity Policy for an offense not enumerated below.

  • Abuse of Academic Materials: Intentionally or knowingly destroying, stealing, or making inaccessible library or any academic resource materials, or student work.

    Examples: Stealing or destroying library or reference materials needed for common academic exercises; hiding resource materials so that others may not use them; destroying computer programs or files; stealing, destroying or sabotaging another student's academic work, computer software, computer programs, or experiments.

  • Cheating: Use and/or solicitation of use if unauthorized materials, information, notes, study aids or other devices in any academic exercise. This definition includes unauthorized communication of information during an academic exercise.

    Examples: Copying from another's paper, or receiving unauthorized assistance, such as texting, during a quiz or examination; copying reports, laboratory work, computer programs or files; soliciting and/or sending a substitute to take an examination; unauthorized collaboration on a take-home exam.

  • Complicity/Unauthorized Assistance: Intentionally or knowingly permitting to attempting to permit another to commit an act of academic dishonesty. Giving or receiving assistance in connection with any examination or any other academic work that has not been authorized by a faculty member.

    Note: During examinations, quizzes, lab work and similar activities, students are to assume that any assistance (books, notes, calculators, digital devices, conversations with others) is unauthorized unless a faculty member has specifically authorized it.

    Examples: Knowingly allowing another to see or copy from a student's paper, or through text messaging, during an examination; giving or receiving answers to an examination scheduled for a later time; completing academic work for another or allowing another to complete an academic exercise for the student; collaborating on an academic work knowing that the collaboration is not authorized; submitting a group assignment or allowing that assignment to be submitted representing that the project is the work of all the members when less than all of the members assisted in its preparation.

  • Fabrication and Falsification: Falsification is a matter of altering information; fabrication is a matter of inventing or counterfeiting information for use in any academic exercise.

    Examples: Inventing or altering data or research results; fabricating research processes to make it appear that the results of one process are actually the results of several processes; false citation of a source; falsifying attendance records in class or at practicum or internship sites for the student at issue or someone else; having another falsify attendance records on a student's behalf; falsifying material relating to course resignation or grades; falsification; forgery, or misrepresentation of academic records or documents including admissions materials, transcripts and/or practicum or internship documentation; communication of false or misleading statements to obtain an academic advantage or to avoid academic penalty.

  • Lying/Tampering/Theft: Giving false information in connection with the performance of any academic work or in connection with any proceeding under this Policy.

    Examples: Giving false reasons (in advance or after the fact) for failure to complete academic work or to attend an examination; altering academic work after it has been submitted and seeking a re-grading as if it were original work submitted; damaging computer equipment or programs in order to prevent the evaluation of academic work; giving false information or testimony in connection with an investigation or hearing under this Policy; any unauthorized removal or inspection of material related to academic work (exams, grade records, forms, data, answers) from a faculty member's office or computer.

  • Multiple Submissions: The submission of substantial portions of the same academic work (including oral reports) for credit more than once without prior written authorization.

    Examples: Submitting the same paper for credit in two courses without both instructors' prior permission; making minor revisions in a paper of report (including oral presentations) and submitting it again is if it were new work.

  • Plagiarism: Presenting the work of another as one's own (i.e., without proper acknowledgment of the sources.) Plagiarism may occur in verbal, written, or creative production formats.
    It is recognized that appropriation and overt references to other artworks are legitimate practices in contemporary art, and that the generic distinction between such creative strategies and plagiarism can become indeterminate. Therefore, allegations of plagiarism in the studio areas will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. In case of such a controversy, the decision of the Academic Integrity Committee will be deemed final.

    Examples: Utilizing a commercial writing service; obtaining and submitting papers done by another as one's own work; using facts, figures, graphs, charts or other information without acknowledgement of the source; copying work found on the internet and submitting it as one's own.

III. Student Responsibility

Students are full members of the academic community and, as such, are obligated to uphold the University's standards for academic integrity. Students should take an active role in encouraging others to respect these standards.

Upon enrollment, each Lesley student is automatically subject to the requirements and standards of the Academic Integrity Policy and each student has a duty to become familiar with it. All students, including on-campus, visiting, off-campus and online, are responsible to respect these standards.

Ignorance of what constitutes an act of academic dishonesty cannot be used as a defense when facing a concern of academic dishonesty. Students are responsible for learning how to document sources and what constitutes plagiarism.

Lesley faculty and the staff of the Center for Academic Achievement can provide help in understanding acceptable models for academic research. When in doubt about the proper use of source material, students are expected to seek guidance. Students should also seek assistance by using the library tutorials found in the self-service portal around writing citing, and avoiding plagiarism (see: research.lesley.edu/c.php?g=677501&p=4774695).

Every student should keep notes, rough drafts, sketches, and a copy of each finished paper. If students wish to submit one piece of work for more than one course, they must request and receive written permission to do so from all instructors in the courses involved.

Any student who has direct knowledge and/or evidence of academic dishonesty by another student should meet with the faculty member responsible for that course, the Associate Dean of the student's School, or a member of the Committee on Academic Integrity in the student's school.

IV. Faculty Responsibility

Lesley faculty are responsible for setting academic standards, for awarding academic credit, and for conferring degrees when those standards are met. Inherent in these responsibilities is a duty to preserve and transmit the values of academic integrity through example in their own academic pursuits and through the learning environment that faculty create for students. The University expects that its faculty will instill a respect for academic integrity and will take measures to discourage academic dishonesty (See Advice to Faculty found in the Faculty Handbook).

All faculty members are expected to follow the policies stated in this Policy when academic dishonesty is suspected. Every member of the Lesley faculty, must ensure that student work submitted to them for academic credit is authentic as well as consistent with established academic standards. The conferring of a grade in a student's work includes judgment by the faculty member that the student's work is free from academic dishonesty. Grades may be adversely affected by academic dishonesty.

Faculty are strongly encouraged to talk with their immediate supervisor and/or Associate Deans whenever they have questions about a student's work or the terms of this Policy.

V. Process

Step 1: Allegation of Academic Dishonesy

If a faculty member has reason to believe that a student has engaged in academic dishonesty they shall promptly discuss the matter with the student and will consider whether the student has violated the Policy. The faculty member then has the following options:

A. If a faculty member determines that no act of academic dishonesty has occurred, the matter shall be considered closed and shall not be reported further.

B. If the faculty member is unsure as to whether a violation has occurred,they will consult with the Associate Dean responsible for such matters or their immediate supervisor for review and discussion. In case of cross-school registration the Associate Dean must ultimately refer the matter for determination to the Associate Dean where the student is enrolled.

C. If the faculty member is persuaded that an act of academic dishonesty has occurred, they will report in writing their findings with appropriate supporting materials and a list of possible witnesses promptly to the Associate Dean for review and possible referral to the Academic Integrity Committee. The faculty member may enter SIP (Still in progress) instead of a grade if the case occurs at the end of a term or semester. In case of cross-school registration the Associate Dean must ultimately refer the matter for determination to the Associate Dean where the student is enrolled.  

Step 2: Referral to Chair of Committee on Academic Integrity Committee

Upon receipt of a report or allegation of academic dishonesty from a faculty member, the Associate Dean or the faculty co-chair of the Committee on Academic Integrity of the student's School will inform the student in writing of the allegations against the student and refer to the student to the appropriate sections of the written Academic Integrity Policy that have been violated. The student will meet (in person, by telephone, or otherwise) with the Associate Dean and/or faculty co-chair of the Committee to review the nature of the allegation, review supporting materials, and to afford the student an opportunity to respond to the allegations.

A. If the student admits culpability or otherwise does not contest the allegation of academic dishonesty, the Associate Dean and faculty co-chair may decline to refer the matter for hearing by the School's Committee on Academic Integrity and may recommend an appropriate sanction upon the student to the Dean. The Associate Dean will report the recommendation and disposition of the matter to the School's Committee on Academic Integrity for purposes of maintaining a record of the incident.

B. If the student denies the accusation that they have violated the Policy, the Associate Dean and faculty co-chair will request from the student a written response to the allegations with any relevant support for the student's position and a list of possible witnesses. The response will be submitted by the student within an appropriate timeframe determined by the Associate Dean. The Associate Dean and faculty co-chair will then send the written statements from both the student and faculty member to the School's Committee on Academic Integrity referring to the matter for hearing in accordance with the policies and procedures set forth below.

Committee on Academic Integrity

The chairs of the Committee on Academic Integrity will coordinate a gathering of the academic integrity committee and invite the faculty and student of concern.

Step 3: Notice to Student

The Committee on Academic Integrity will give at least five (5) days' notice to a student of the committee's intent to hold a hearing on a report of academic dishonesty. Notice will be provided in writing and will include a summary of the allegation(s), the date and time of the hearing, a copy of the policy and hearing procedures, and notification of the student's right to bring a member of the Lesley community as an advisor/supporter.

Prior to the hearing date, the student may be asked by the Associate Dean to meet in order to obtain additional information about the allegation(s). The meeting may take place in person, by telephone, or otherwise.

No student will be permitted to withdraw from a course in which they have an allegation of an act of academic dishonesty until the case has been investigated and resolved.

Continued Enrollment Pending Resolution: A student may continue to attend class and to participate in University activities pending administrative resolution. However, while a question of academic misconduct is under investigation, a student may not graduate or receive a transcript without prior written approval of the Dean.

Step 4: Committee Hearings

The hearing process used by each school's Committee on Academic Integrity is intended to provide participants with a timely, fair, and orderly system for investigating and resolving allegations of academic dishonesty.

Committee hearings will be fact-finding in nature, and the focus will be to investigate the allegation. Each committee member shall have one vote and a majority vote will be required for any decision. The committee will consider information and arguments presented, make findings of fact, determine whether the student did engage in academic dishonesty, and, if so, recommend sanctions.

Committee Membership: Each school will have in place a Committee on Academic Integrity that is responsible for holding hearings into allegations of academic dishonesty consistent with these policies and procedures. Each school's committee will be composed of no less than three and no more than five members. The majority of committee members will be from the faculty. At least one will be a representative of the Dean's Office. Each school will determine committee terms in line with their school governance. Terms will be staggered. Student representation and voting privileges on the school-based committee will be at the discretion of each school.

Timing: The committee will make all reasonable effort to hold its hearing within thirty (30) working days from the date the report of academic dishonesty is referred to it for investigation and disposition. Allegations made at the end of the spring semester and during the summer semester may be investigated and reviewed by the committee within the first two months of the following fall semester. The committee should adjust the timeline for specific student needs.

Evidence: Formal rules of evidence do not apply in committee hearings. Committee members may consider as evidence any supporting materials that, in their discretion, contribute to their objectives of discovering the truth and resolving the allegation of dishonesty. Committee members may also exclude evidence that, in their discretion, is repetitious, irrelevant, or not of value to their deliberation. The faculty member alleging academic dishonesty is responsible for presenting materials supporting the allegations. The student is responsible for presenting any materials to support a defense.

Appearance before Committee: The student, affected faculty member, and witnesses who are members of the Lesley community are expected to meet with the committee in person unless compliance would result in significant and unavoidable personal hardship. If necessary, the student, referring faculty member, and witnesses may meet with the committee by telephone or by other methods deemed appropriate by the committee.

Witnesses: In conjunction with their initial written statements regarding the allegations, the student and the referring faculty member may submit a list of names of witnesses that committee members may question to obtain evidence. The committee will interview the witnesses it deems relevant. Witnesses are expected to give truthful testimony. During the hearing, committee members will summarize the witnesses' statements and provide each with an opportunity to respond to the statements made by the witnesses.

Assistance: Students may not be accompanied by an attorney in the hearing, but they may be accompanied by an administrator or faculty member from the Lesley community to advise them. The role of the Lesley representative is limited to conferring with and advising the student. The advisor is not permitted to argue, make statements, or question witnesses. The committee or student may request the participation of members of the Center for Academic Achievement, the Office of Disability Services, the Office of University Technology, or other such offices as appropriate.

Confidentiality: Committee hearings are closed to the public, and all present at the hearing will consider all the information presented as confidential.

Failure to Appear: If the student fails to appear after proper notice, the committee may reach its conclusion and set an appropriate sanction based on the evidence that is before it. A student who fails to appear at the hearing either in person, by telephone, or otherwise may not appeal the decision(s) of or the sanction(s) imposed by the committee unless there was an extreme emergency that caused their failure to appear.

Rendering a Decision: The committee may take any investigatory action that it deems appropriate. The committee will deliberate in private and will render a decision by majority vote. The committee will only render a decision that a violation has occurred if it is satisfied that a violation has been shown by clear and convincing evidence.

The Committee's Report: Upon conclusion of its deliberations, the committee will prepare a written report containing a summary of the allegation(s) of academic dishonesty, the student's response, the committee's findings (including its evaluation of the credibility of the student and witnesses), the evidence that supports its findings, and its recommendation for sanctions if the allegation is credited. The report will be forwarded to the school Dean within two (2) weeks of the final hearing.

Step 5: Determining Sanctions for Academic Dishonesty

All acts of academic dishonesty diminish the integrity of the University and will be addressed accordingly. Lesley reserves the right to impose any sanction for academic dishonesty that, in its discretion, it finds to be fair and appropriate. Sanctions may include, but are not limited to any one of the following or a combination of the following:

  • Formal warning;
  • Reduced grade including a failing grade for the assignment;
  • Reduced grade including a failing grade for the entire course;
  • Forfeiture of student leadership positions, and/or restrictions on participation in University activities;
  • Academic probation;
  • Suspension;
  • Expulsion

A formal warning consists of a written reprimand for violation of acceptable standards of academic conduct. This action takes formal notice of the student's academic misconduct and provides a formal warning that a further act of academic misconduct will result in far more severe action. A formal warning will not be noted in a student's transcript but will be noted in files of the Dean's office.

In appropriate cases, a student may be allowed to perform community service as part of a sanction imposed under this Policy. If that a student accepts a community service alternative, the Dean of the student's School will approve the terms and duration of such service.
Note: When the sanction is a lowered or failing grade is imposed, this grade may not be grieved through the School's grade grievance procedure.

The following factors will be considered when determining the appropriate sanction(s):

  • The nature and seriousness of the offense;
  • The impact or damage to the University, the School, the program, or to others as result of the misconduct;
  • The student's motivation, state of mind, and class status at the time of the incident;
  • The student's prior academic and disciplinary record at the University;
  • The student's response, attitude and demeanor after the violation;
  • The student's appreciation of the nature and severity of his/her academic dishonesty;
  • Any mitigating circumstances;
  • The penalties which have been imposed in similar prior cases.

Step 6: Decision of the Dean

The school Dean will review all reports and recommendations of the committee and the documentation upon which the recommendations are based. If the student disagrees with the recommendations and believes that there is additional information that was not available to the committee and therefore not considered by it, they may submit this information in writing to the Dean within five (5) days of receipt of the recommendations. The Dean will notify the student, referring faculty member and the committee in writing of a decision within fifteen (15) working days, excluding holidays and Lesley University vacation days. The decision of the Dean is final.

Record Keeping: Committee records will be maintained for seven (7) years by the school's Office of the Dean. A copy of the committee's report will be placed in a confidential file as part of the permanent file of each student who is found responsible of academic misconduct. The report will not be shared without a FERPA waiver signed by the student.

VI. Lesley University Policy and Advisory Group on Academic Integrity

Every five years the Lesley university-wide Academic Advisory Committee (AAC) will monitor and review, with the Associate Deans, to review the academic integrity policy and process. The Associate Deans will monitor the implementation of this policy in all schools, educate the Lesley community about academic integrity, recommend changes to the policy, and develop measures to prevent academic dishonesty at Lesley University.