As instructors, we do our best to educate students about academic integrity. We put an academic integrity statement in our course outline, demonstrate best practices through various ways of modelling proper norms within the field (such as citing our resources in our slides). Additionally, we teach our students how to study, we share with them resources available to them for their studies, we break down bigger assignments into smaller ones to promote academic integrity and deter cheating. However, departures might still occur, and we find ourselves suspecting some forms of departure in the students' work.
(For Instructors) What to do when we suspect an academic integrity departure?
The Academic Integrity Procedures - Requirements of Faculties and Schools identifies steps to follow when we suspect an academic integrity departure. Following the steps is crucial for dealing with suspicions and ensuring procedural fairness.
- First of all, you need to do a preliminary investigation to determine if your suspicions are strong. For example, if you suspect plagiarism, take a closer look at the work and explore if your suspicions are verifiable. Sometimes, Turnitin might flag quoted areas as plagiarism. If you find that your thoughts are not verifiable, or not grounded based on the balance of probabilities, dismiss the case. You don't need to take any further action.
- Second, if your suspicions stand, you need to investigate the case formally. For doing so, you fill out a Notice of Investigation form (NOI) and follow the procedures. This guide (Word 143 KB) outlines the processes.
Note: In most cases, the course instructor manages allegations of academic integrity departures. AT faculties and schools, academic integrity leads provide further assistance and information to the instructors if needed.
Forms and Templates
The Academic Integrity Procedures require specific information to be shared with the student during an investigation. To meet these requirements, standardized forms are used. While not required, instructors may also find it helpful to use the email templates below when contacting the student at different stages in the process.
Instructors are encouraged to consult their faculty or school's academic integrity administrator and/or academic integrity website to see if their school or faculty has customized versions of the forms to be used during an investigation.
If their school or faculty does not have customized versions of the forms, instructors are asked to use these forms, which have been designed to be in compliance with the Senate’s Academic Integrity Procedures – Requirements for Faculties and Schools.
Email accompanying a Notice of Investigation (Word 27 KB)
Email accompanying the Finding form (Word 27 KB) (for cases where instructor decides the remedy/sanction)
Email accompanying the Finding form (Word 27 KB) (for cases where the instructor refers the case to the Faculty/School for sanctioning)