Academic Integrity

The Center for Academic Integrity (CAI) defines academic integrity as a commitment, even in the face of adversity, to five fundamental values: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility. From these values flow principles of behavior that enable academic communities to translate ideals into action.

Academic integrity provides the foundation for learning, teaching, research and service at Queen's University. Its 5 fundamental values enable instructors, students and staff to contribute to a community of knowledge dedicated to the freedom of inquiry and open exchange of ideas that characterizes the educational environment at Queen's.

Any behaviour that compromises these values is considered a departure from academic integrity and may be subject to the remedies and sanctions as established by the Faculty of Arts and Science.

A departure from academic integrity is any form of academic dishonesty that could result in you, or others, gaining an unearned advantage over other students. It compromises and violates the University's core values of academic integrity. If you aren’t sure whether something is acceptable or not, always ask your instructor.  Here are some examples of departures from academic integrity – this is not an exhaustive list:

Departure from Academic IntegrityExamples

Plagiarism
Presenting another's ideas or phrasings as one's own without proper acknowledgement

  • Copying and pasting from the internet, a printed source, or other resource without proper acknowledgement
  • Copying from another student
  • Using direct quotations or large sections of paraphrased material in an assignment without appropriate acknowledgement
  • Submitting the same piece of work in more than one course without the permission of the instructor(s)
 Use of unauthorized materials
  • Possessing or using unauthorized study materials or aids during a test
  • Copying from another's test paper
  • Using unauthorized calculator or other aids during a test
  • Unauthorized removal of materials from the library, or deliberate concealment of library materials 

Facilitation
Enabling another's breach of academic integrity

  • Making information available to another student
  • Knowingly allowing one's essay or assignment to be copied by someone else
  • Buying or selling of term papers or assignments and submitting them as one's own for the purpose of plagiarism 

Forgery
Submitting counterfeit documents or statements

  • Creating a transcript or other official document 

Falsification
Misrepresentation of one's self, one's work or one's relation to the University

  • Altering transcripts or other official documents relating to student records
  • Impersonating someone in an examination or test
  • Submitting a take-home examination written, in whole or in part, by someone else
  • Fabricating or falsifying laboratory or research data 
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When an instructor sees evidence in your work that suggests that a departure from academic integrity may have taken place, it is the instructor’s responsibility to investigate the situation. These are the steps that will be followed:

1. You should receive a written notice of the potential departure from academic integrity.

The first step is to bring the matter to your attention. Using a Notice of Investigation; form letter, the instructor will inform you of the following:

  • the information on which the investigation is based (you should be supplied with all documents related to the investigation);
  • the possible sanctions as outlined in the Academic Integrity Regulation;
  • your right to respond to the investigation in writing, in person or via a video meeting

You may not drop the course while an investigation is under way. However, there is no mechanism on SOLUS to prevent you from doing so before the academic drop date. Therefore, the Associate Dean (Academic) has the authority to reinstate you in the course pending a decision on the investigation. If the outcome of the investigation results in a finding of a departure from academic integrity, the course will remain on your record (or, if dropped, it will be reinstated at that time).

2. You should have the opportunity to respond to the Notice of Investigation

It is important that you respond to the investigation. If you don't respond, your instructor will make a decision on the available evidence, without the benefit of hearing from you.

You may choose to respond either by:

1) submitting a written response to the instructor, or

2) meeting with your instructor to discuss the matter.

If you prefer to respond in writing, please sign your response and send it to your instructor no later than seven days after receiving the Notice of Investigation. If you prefer to meet, you must contact your instructor within 7 days of receiving the Notice of Investigation to arrange a mutually agreeable time.

In advance of the meeting or in preparing your written response, you should:

1) review the evidence provided by the instructor

2) collect all drafts and related materials relevant to the particular piece of work at issue

You may contact the Office of the University Ombudsperson for information about student rights and responsibilities and guidance on policy and procedure (www.queensu.ca/ombuds). Also, consider talking the matter through with someone whose advice you trust and value (e.g. parents, a close relative, friend, counselor, etc.).

Take these steps into consideration when estimating the time it will take you to prepare your response, whether it is in writing, in person, or both.

Whether meeting in person or responding in writing, you need to provide the instructor with a detailed explanation of your side of the story, including how the information in question came about, and your line of thinking in preparing the work the way you did. If relevant, provide copies of earlier drafts of your work and other documentation. If you meet in person, you may also choose to prepare something in writing to leave with the instructor, along with copies of drafts and other relevant documentation.

To accompany you to the meeting, you may invite an advisor such as a friend, advocate, or legal support person of your choice. Please let the instructor know in advance if a support person will be with you at the meeting. The support person’s role is to support you, not to answer questions on your behalf. You can ask for a break in the meeting to talk to your support person

In some cases, the instructor may invite the Chair of Undergraduate Studies, or other departmental delegate, to chair the meeting and provide guidance on the procedures related to departures from academic integrity.

Investigations may be resolved at this early stage.

3. A decision will be made on the case.

After considering the available evidence and your explanation, the instructor will make a decision within 21 days of meeting with you.

  • If the instructor is satisfied with your explanation and determines that there are no grounds for a finding of departure from academic integrity, all documents related to the case, including any recordings of remotely proctored exams, will be destroyed and the instructor will inform you that the investigation has been dropped.
  • If the instructor believes that there is evidence that a departure from academic integrity has taken place, the instructor will make a finding of departure from academic integrity and will also determine an appropriate sanction or remedy. Up to this point, a record of previous departures from academic integrity is not relevant in making a finding of a departure from academic integrity.
4. The instructor will determine a remedy or sanction.

Where there is a finding of departure from academic integrity, the instructor is expected to assign an appropriate remedy or sanction that reflects the extent and severity of the departure. After the finding is made, the instructor may consult the Undergraduate Chair, Department Head or departmental delegate concerning the matter of an appropriate sanction. Also you can expect the instructor will contact the Office of the Associate Dean (Academic) to determine if there have been any previous departures from academic integrity. In the case of a second finding, or multiple findings, a more severe sanction may be warranted.

The range of remedies or sanctions that the instructor can impose include:

  • rewriting or revising the assignment
  • the completion of other work
  • a low mark as is judged necessary
  • a failing grade (down to a grade of zero) in the course. If the penalty amounts to a failure in the course, the student may NOT drop the course regardless of the drop deadlines.

Findings are categorized as Level I or Level II. Factors which would lead to a Level II finding include the following (only one factor needs apply): 

  • a departure that involves an essential component of the course for which a failing grade would normally result in a failure in the course
  • an upper-year student who has taken several previous courses in the discipline (for instance, a fourth-year student in a concentration course)
  • previous departure(s) from academic integrity (the instructor would refer the new case to the Associate Dean (Academic)
  • significant and unacknowledged use of one or more sources
  • additional misconduct involving forgery, facilitation, etc.
  • direct negative effect on other students (e.g. stealing another student's paper, assignment, laboratory)

If a finding is classified as Level I AND there is no other finding of departure from academic integrity on your record, then the finding will remain in a sealed file and only be consulted if you have a further finding of departure from academic integrity. If there are no further departures from academic integrity, the Level I finding will be destroyed on your graduation.

If a finding is classified as Level II (regardless of whether it is a first finding or a subsequent one), the finding will be held in your main file in the Office of the Associate Dean (Academic). This file will be retained for 10 years after your graduation.

This file is confidential; it is used for internal purposes such as preparing for academic advising appointments. In rare cases, some American Law Schools, Medical Schools and Police Academies will ask the Associate Dean (Academic) if an applicant has any departures from academic integrity on record. In this case, we would seek your permission to share the information before responding to the request. If you did not give permission, the Faculty Office would respond that the applicant had not given permission to share that information.

5. The instructor will inform you in writing of the decision and remedy (or sanction).

If, in the instructor's assessment, the finding warrants a sanction within the scope of those available to the instructor (Section 4 above), the instructor will inform you in writing of the following:

  • the details of the decision or finding of departure from academic integrity, using the Finding of Departure from Academic Integrity form
  • the remedy or sanctions
  • the right to appeal the finding and/or the penalty to the Associate Dean (Academic)
  • the deadline for appealing to the Associate Dean (Academic)
  • the availability of the Office of the University Ombudsperson for information about student rights and responsibilities and guidance on policy and procedure (www.queensu.ca/ombuds). 

A copy of the Finding of Departure from Academic Integrity form and all related documentation will be forwarded to the Associate Dean (Academic). Instructors will retain a copy of all documents related to the case in the event you appeal the finding, but to maintain your confidentiality, no documents (deleted text here) will be retained in Departmental student files.If the departure occurred in a remotely proctored exam, the video recording of the exam will be retained by the Faculty Office for as long as the rest of the documentation is retained. See the FAQs for information on how long documents and recordings will be retained.

6. In some cases, the instructor will refer the sanction associated with a finding or departure from academic integrity to the Associate Dean (Academic).

If the matter appears to warrant a sanction more serious than the instructor may impose, the instructor may refer the case to the Associate Dean (Academic) who has the authority to impose a heavier sanction than the instructor can impose. The Associate Dean (Academic) may impose sanctions ranging from those noted above to a recommendation to Senate that the student be required to withdraw from the University. If your case is referred to the Associate Dean (Academic), the instructor must advise you, in writing, of:

  • the details of the finding of departure from academic integrity, using the Finding of a Departure from Academic Integrity form;
  • the evidence on which the finding is based (you should be supplied with all documents related to the investigation);
  • the reason for referral
  • the possible penalties
  • the right to respond; and
  • the availability of the Office of the University Ombudsperson for information about student rights and responsibilities and guidance on policy and procedure (www.queensu.ca/ombuds)

Instructors will retain a copy of all documents and any video recordings related to the case, to be able to participate in the Associate Dean's investigation and in the event you appeal the finding, but to maintain your confidentiality, no records will be retained in Departmental student files.

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Academic integrity is a concept used to support learning, teaching, research and service within Arts and Science, throughout Queen's and at a wide range of institutions across Canada and the United States. The website for the Center for Academic Integrity offers the widest range of online resources for the study and practice of academic integrity, but the following links offer some basic sources of policy and practice in the Faculty of Arts and Science and at Queen's:

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There are two levels of appeal for matters related to academic integrity in the Faculty of Arts and Science:

(i)  The Office of the Associate Dean (Academic); and

(ii)  The Academic Integrity and Conduct Panel.

If an instructor has made a Finding of a Departure from Academic Integrity and assigned a sanction, the student has the option of appealing the finding or sanction or both (using Form A).  This appeal will be made to the Associate Dean (Academic). 

See Appeal Regulation 2.2 for information.

Appeal Form A [pdf]

If the Associate Dean (Academic) has made a Finding of a Departure from Academic Integrity and assigned a sanction, the student has the option of appealing the finding or sanction or both (using Form B).  Further, if the student has appealed an Academic Integrity Finding and/or sanction assigned by the instructor to the Associate Dean (Academic) and the student is not satisfied with the outcome of that appeal, the student may appeal the Associate Dean’s decision regarding the finding or the sanction or both to the Academic Integrity and Conduct Panel (after receiving the decision of the Associate Dean). This appeal will also be made using Form B. 

See Appeal Regulation 2.3 for information:

Appeal Form B [pdf]

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Have questions about Academic integrity at Queen's University? Find out more about the process, what is expected and see the frequently asked questions relating to Academic integrity at Queen's.