Trinity University
Faculty and Contract Staff Handbook

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(6)    Instructional Policies, Responsibilities, and Guidelines












(Amended by the Faculty May 3, 1996; December 19, 1997; March 20, 2009)

For a summary of recent changes to this chapter, see Chapter 9A: Summary of Recent Revisions to this Handbook.

Contents of this page: 

  1. Violations of Academic Integrity (Cheating; Counterfeit Work; Falsification of Academic Records; Falsification of Data or Creation of False Data; Plagiarism; Theft; Unauthorized Reuse of Work)

  2. Procedures (Process; Appeal; Committee on Academic Integrity; Classification of Penalties; Publication of Annual Report of Academic Integrity Violations)

  3. Amendments

Following the implementation of the Academic Honor Code for undergraduate students, the Academic Integrity Policy applies specifically to graduate students at Trinity University.

Academic integrity is fundamental to the pursuit of free inquiry and the free exchange of ideas. Intellectual honesty is an essential component of intellectual development. Trinity University expects that all members of its academic community will act with honesty and integrity in academic relationships and with consideration and concern for the academic community and its members.

The academic integrity principle, broadly stated, means students have done or have prepared the work or research in or out of class that bears their names and that they have given proper acknowledgment for the use of materials and sources.

The Academic Integrity Policy has been developed to provide students and faculty with guidelines to determine what behaviors violate the academic integrity principle and procedures for dealing with behaviors alleged to be in violation of the academic integrity principle. These procedures guarantee due process to all members involved in cases of alleged violation of academic integrity and protect the rights of faculty and students involved in such cases.


(The following definitions are not meant to be comprehensive or exclusive.)

A.    Cheating
Attempting to use or using unauthorized material or information as study aids in any academic exercise. Visually or verbally receiving or giving information during tests, quizzes, and examinations when not specifically allowed by the instructor, is a form of unauthorized assistance and is defined as cheating.

B.    Counterfeit Work
Includes work turned in as one’s own that was created, researched, or produced by someone else. Turning in a report of another’s research, submitting a paper researched or written by someone else, having someone else take a test, and submitting joint projects as solely one’s own, are all forms of counterfeit work and are unacceptable.

C.    Falsification of Academic Records
Knowingly and improperly changing grades on transcripts, grade sheets, electronic data sheets, related documents, academic reports, tests, and projects is an act of academic dishonesty.

D.    Falsification of Data or Creation of False Data
Is considered an act of academic dishonesty in research or experimental procedures.

E.    Plagiarism
Includes presenting as one’s work the work of someone else without properly acknowledging the source (for example, specific class assignments or submissions to campus publications). Plagiarism is theft—using words and ideas of another person as if they were one’s own. Exact copying should be enclosed in quotation marks and be appropriately documented in footnotes or endnotes that indicate the source of the quotation. Paraphrasing, when the basic sentence structure, phraseology, and unique language remain the same, is also plagiarism. When in doubt about these matters, it is the student’s responsibility to seek guidance from the instructor of the course.

F.    Theft
Communicating all or any part of tests or answer sheets, specifically prepared for a given course and as yet not used or publicly released by the instructor of a course, and theft of completed tests constitutes academic dishonesty (see Chapter 6B  Section XIII: Examination Security).

G.    Unauthorized Reuse of Work
Turning in the same work to more than one class without consent of the instructors involved constitutes academic dishonesty.


All stages of the academic integrity process—charges, appeals, hearings, and record-keeping—are to be conducted in strict confidentiality. As the sole exception to this principle, faculty members are encouraged to consult their departmental chair or program director when determining whether a violation of academic integrity has occurred and when deciding which of the available penalties shall be assessed.

A.    Process

A member of the faculty who discovers in a student’s work or conduct what she or he judges to be plagiarism or another act of academic dishonesty will deal with the matter as follows:

The faculty member specifies the charge and assigns a penalty (see Section II.D: Classification of Penalties) to the student in writing. The faculty member also sends a copy of the letter marked confidential to the departmental Chair and the Vice President for Faculty and Student Affairs. A copy of the faculty member’s letter reporting the offense will remain in a confidential file specifically created for this student and kept in the Office of Academic Affairs. The file will be destroyed upon the student’s graduation or four years after the student’s withdrawal from the University.

If the Vice President for Faculty and Student Affairs determines that this case constitutes a repeated offense for the student, the Vice President for Faculty and Student Affairs will so advise the faculty member and administer a penalty appropriate for a repeated offense.

Students charged with academic dishonesty may not change their registration in a course in which the charge is pending, or in which a finding of academic dishonesty has been made.

B.    Appeal

If the student wishes to contest the faculty member’s action, the student can appeal to the Commission on Graduate Studies (see the University Curriculum Council Bylaws, Chapter 2B, Article IV.A) for a confidential hearing which will bring together Commission, professor, and student. The procedure in this instance is for the student to state his/her grounds of appeal in writing and send it marked confidential to the Vice President for Faculty and Student Affairs, who will send a copy to the faculty member involved and notify the Chair of the Commission on Graduate Studies. This appeal must be initiated by the student within ten days of the faculty member’s written charge. A timely date for the hearing agreeable to all participants will be arranged by the Vice President for Faculty and Student Affairs.

For the purposes of this hearing, the voting members of the Commission will include the faculty representatives on the Commission as well as the Registrar or his or her designee. The appellant may also request the Graduate Student Association to appoint one graduate student to participate in the hearing with full voting privileges. No student or faculty member who belongs to the department in question may participate in the Commission's deliberation or decision-making.

The Commission will hear the testimony from the student and from the faculty member and, on the basis of such testimony, determine whether the faculty member’s charge was justified. The faculty member and the student are required to attend the hearing. The student may bring an individual from within the University community to the hearing whose role is primarily advisory, but who may speak when invited to do so by the committee Chair.

The Commission will determine whether the faculty member’s charge should stand or be reversed, and will make its recommendation to the Vice President for Faculty and Student Affairs, who will make the final decision. The Vice President for Faculty and Student Affairs will simultaneously report the decision in writing to the student, the faculty member, the Chair of the Commission on Graduate Studies, and the President of the University. In turn, the Chair of the Commission on Graduate Studies will orally inform all committee members of the Vice President’s decision.

If during the appeal process a student presents manifestly counterfeit evidence in his/her defense, he/she will be considered guilty of a separate violation of academic integrity. The Chair of the Commission on Graduate Studies would make the charge on behalf of the committee. This charge may be appealed to the Vice President for Faculty and Student Affairs.

Further appeal can be filed by the student to the President of the University within ten days of the decision by the Vice President for Faculty and Student Affairs. Pending final action on the charges, there shall be no alteration to the status of the student or to his/her right to be present on the campus, to attend classes, and to participate in University-sponsored activities. Notice of the final disposition of the case shall be given in writing to the Vice President for Faculty and Student Affairs, the student, the faculty member, and the Chair of the Commission on Graduate Studies. In turn, the Chair of the Commission on Graduate Studies will orally inform all committee members of the President’s decision. In cases of non-concurrence with committee decisions either by the Vice President for Faculty and Student Affairs or the President of the University, the Chair of the Commission on Graduate Studies shall be provided with a written explanation of the non-concurrence action.

C.    Classification of Penalties

The faculty member must select the penalties described in 1., 2., or 3. below. In the case of repeated offenses, the Vice President for Faculty and Student Affairs will impose additional and increasingly severe penalties described in 4., 5., and 6. below.

1.    A grade of F (zero credit) on the paper, examination, or assignment;

2.    Reduction of final course grade by a full letter grade;

3.    A grade of F for a course, effective immediately.

4.    Disciplinary dismissal from the University for at least one semester following the semester in which the offense has occurred;

5.    Immediate disciplinary dismissal from the University for not longer than the remainder of the current and the following semester;

6.    Permanent disciplinary dismissal from the University.

The Vice President for Faculty and Student Affairs, in consultation with the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, also may deny the student’s right to participate in University-sponsored activities..


The following procedure will be followed if at any time the faculty, Graduate Student Association, or administration believe that an amendment to the Academic Integrity Policy is necessary.

A.    Whichever group wishes to propose an amendment must present it in writing to the Faculty Senate, along with a statement outlining the reasons for the amendment.

B.    When the Faculty Senate has approved an amendment to the Academic Integrity Policy, the Faculty Senate will submit the amendment as a motion for consideration at a stated meeting of the Academic Faculty Assembly; the Faculty Senate will circulate the proposed amendment in writing to the Academic Faculty at least fourteen (14) days prior to the meeting at which it will be considered. The Academic Faculty Assembly must approve the amendment by a majority vote.

C.    The Graduate Student Association must pass a Resolution of Adoption of the amendment by a majority vote.

D.    The administration must approve the amendment.

E.    If the amendment receives a favorable vote from the Academic Faculty Assembly, the Graduate Student Association, and the administration, it shall become a part of the Academic Integrity Policy.

F.    The Board of Trustees will be advised of any amendment to the Academic Integrity Policy.

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This page was last modified on 06/01/12

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