What is Academic Integrity?

The benefit to society of a university education relies on a simple trust: that those who have been accredited by a reputable institution (such as Carleton University) possess the knowledge and understanding their degrees represent. Academic Integrity is a term used to describe the ideals that foster, facilitate, and protect this trust.

As part of Carleton University’s mission to serve the greater good of society through higher education, the Office of the Dean of Science (ODS) is responsible for promoting and protecting Academic Integrity in Carleton’s Faculty of Science. This goal depends on the help of everyone in the Carleton Science community to collectively foster a culture of integrity. Faculty, students, and staff are all encouraged to review their rights and responsibilities under the Academic Integrity Policy of Carleton University.

What is academic misconduct?

We know most students don’t start off the semester planning to take short-cuts in their courses. We hear from students who are balancing work and school, managing family pressures, feeling ill, and who have too many assignments due at the same time. While these stressors are a difficult part of university-life (and beyond), they are not excuses to abandon the integrity of your work. There are many resources on campus to help you navigate these challenges.

The term Academic Misconduct broadly encompasses any breach of the Academic Integrity Policy of Carleton University. This includes a wide range of behaviours and actions such as unauthorized collaboration, contract cheating, plagiarism, falsified documents, and failure to follow examination procedures. You should discuss the expectations for academic integrity with each of your course instructors, to ensure you have a clear understanding. Please see the Academic Integrity Policy Section VI for more information on possible breaches of the policy.

What are the consequences of academic misconduct?

“Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is destructive to the values of the university, and risks harming the university’s reputation as place of learning and innovation. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to those students who pursue their studies honestly.” – Carleton University Registrar

Academic Integrity is taken very seriously at Carleton University (as it is with Universities across Canada and around the globe). So, breaches of the Academic Integrity Policy result in serious consequences. The list of possible sanctions can be found in Section VIII of the Academic Integrity Policy. The sanctions applied in any given case will depend on several factors, including the severity of the offence, and any prior records of misconduct at the university.

Standard sanction guidelines

In the Faculty of Science, sanctions for misconduct under the Academic Integrity Policy of Carleton University will normally be applied as follows:

  • A first offence will result in a grade of zero on the work(s) associated with the misconduct, and a deduction of up to three (3) grade points from the final course grade (e.g. a grade of B could be reduced to a C).
  • Any subsequent offences will result in increasingly severe sanctions ranging from:
    • A final grade of F in the course.
    • Suspension from studies for up to three (3) semesters.
    • Expulsion of enrollment from the University.

Note: These sanctions are provided here as guidelines only; more severe sanctions may be applied as appropriate (e.g., in the case of cheating on an examination).

What is the process of academic misconduct review?

When a student submits work that is alleged to be the result of academic misconduct, an administrative investigation is launched to review the evidence and determine a suitable remedy. Below are the main steps of this process.

Process of an Academic Misconduct Investigation

  • Step 1: Instructor believes misconduct has occurred, and forwards all relevant details to the ODS
  • Step 2: Student is notified that a review of their work is pending
  • Step 3: Dean of the Faculty of Science reviews the documentation
  • Step 4: Student receives an Allegation Letter by email, documenting the claims and evidence
  • Step 5: Student provides a written statement responding to the evidence provided
  • — Either party may request a meeting between student, dean, (and ombuds) to discuss further
  • Step 6: Dean considers all statements and evidence and renders a decision
  • Appeal: Student has the right to appeal the decision

Responding to an Accusation

If you have been accused of a breach of the Academic Integrity Policy of Carleton University, don’t panic. You will receive notice from the Office of the Dean of Science with specific instructions to follow. Be sure to read all correspondence fully, and seek clarification where necessary.

Students are encouraged to seek the advice of the university’s Ombuds Services. Ombuds Services is knowledgeable about Carleton University policies (including the Academic Integrity Policy) and is well placed to advise you of your rights. They are independent of the academic bodies that will be reviewing your case, and are free of charge.

Once your case has begun review, you will be provided with evidence and asked to provide a written statement regarding it. You should be clear and direct in your response, and you are encouraged to provide any supporting evidence you may have. You may, if you wish, request a meeting between yourself, the Dean, and an Ombudsperson to discuss the allegations. If you do not respond to the email within five (5) working days, or if you refuse to attend a requested meeting, the Dean will decide based on the available evidence.

About the Decision

The Dean will consider the statements and evidence from both you and your instructor, and may request additional information from either, in the process of their investigation. It is the goal of such an investigation to determine objectively whether there is sufficient evidence to support the allegation of misconduct. They will decide based on a thorough assessment of all accounts, whether or not you have violated the Academic Integrity Policy of Carleton University, and if so, will determine a fair and consistent sanction.

About the Appeals Process

You have the right to appeal the decision and/or the sanction(s) imposed to the Senate Student Academic Integrity Appeals Committee. Appeals of the Academic Integrity Policy are administered by the Assistant Registrar, Central Academic Records.

Filing an Appeal

To request an appeal, you must fill out an online appeal application form within ten (10) days of the decision. The appeal must contain a concise statement that identifies the specific grounds for the appeal. You are advised to consult with the Ombudsperson or the Assistant Registrar, Central Academic Records for assistance in completing your appeal documentation.

Appeal Decision

The Committee will notify you and the original decision-maker in writing within ten (10) days of the Senate Committee meeting to review the appeal application. Decisions of the Senate Student Academic Integrity Appeals Committee are final.

Where can I get more information?