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All students in the McKelvey School of Engineering are expected to conform to high standards of conduct. Faculty, students and administrative staff all share the responsibility of ensuring the honesty and fairness of the intellectual environment at Washington University in St. Louis.
Allegations of academic dishonesty are taken seriously by the engineering school and by the university because they have the potential to undermine the bonds of trust and honesty between members of the community, and by extension our educational mission.
McKelvey Engineering Academic Integrity Policy
This statement on student academic integrity is intended to provide guidelines on academic behaviors which are not acceptable. Engineering courses typically have many problem sets assigned as homework. You are not allowed to collaborate when solving homework problems, performing lab experiments, writing or documenting computer programs, or writing reports unless the instructor specifically states otherwise.
It is dishonest and a violation of academic integrity if:
- You turn in work which is represented as yours when in fact you have significant outside help. When you turn in work with your name on it, you are in effect stating that the work is yours, and only yours.
- You use the results of another person's work (exam, homework, computer code, lab report) and represent it as your own, regardless of the circumstances.
- You request special consideration from an instructor when the request is based upon false information or deception.
- You submit the same academic work to two or more courses without the permission of each of the course instructors. This includes submitting the same work if the same course is retaken.
- You willfully damage the efforts of other students.
- You use prepared materials in writing an in-class exam except as approved by the instructor.
- You write on or make erasures on any test material or class assignment being submitted for re-grading.
- You collaborate with other students planning or engaged in any form of academic dishonesty.
- You turn in work, which is represented as a cooperative effort, when in fact you did not contribute your fair share of the effort.
- You do not use proper methods of documentation. For example, you should enclose borrowed information in quotation marks; acknowledge material that you have abstracted, paraphrased or summarized; cite the source of such material by listing the author, title of work, publication, and page reference.
This list is not intended to be exhaustive. To seek clarification, students should ask the primary course instructor.
All undergraduate and graduate (master's and DSc) students in engineering fall under the above AI policy. For undergraduate students, this policy exists as a supplement to the university's Undergraduate Student Academic Integrity Policy. PhD students believed to be in violation are referred to The Graduate School for adjudication.
All AI policies exist as an extension of the university's Student Conduct Code to which all students are held. Links to all discussed policies can be found in the quicklinks.
McKelvey Engineering AI Team
Upholding our policies on Academic Integrity is the responsibility of all McKelvey faculty, staff, and students.
Overseeing the AI process is Academic Integrity Officer (AIO), Laura Setchfield, Assistant Dean and Registrar. Dean Setchfield manages the intake of all AI cases and works with students as they move through the hearing process.
The McKelvey AI team is supported at the university level by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards as well as the Office of General Council.
Undergraduate Student Support
The AIO is supported by Undergraduate AI Student Liaison, Kris Campa, Assistant Dean in Engineering Undergraduate Student Services. Dean Campa is available to meet with students, answer questions, and act as a support person during AI hearings as needed.
Associate Dean for Undergraduate Students, Chris Kroeger, is also available to discuss AI concerns with undergraduate students. Dean Kroeger acted as the school's AIO for many years. From time-to-time he will stand in as AIO.
Graduate Student Support
The AIO is supported by Graduate AI Student Liaison, Holly Stanwich, Director of Graduate Student Affairs. Ms. Stanwich is available to meet with students, answer questions, and act as a support person during AI hearings as needed.
McKelvey Engineering AI Process
Reporting a case
When an instructor or other complainant suspects that a student may have violated the Academic Integrity Policy they should contact the McKelvey Academic Integrity Officer (AIO). The following steps outline the general procedure (for all students except those pursuing the PhD).
- At their discretion, the complainant (typically the instructor) making the allegation may attempt to meet with the respondent (the student) to discuss the incident and determine if there is an acceptable explanation for the apparent violation of the Academic Integrity Policy. The AIO is available to facilitate any such meetings.
- The complainant should submit the case to the McKelvey AIO. Prior to submitting a case, the complainant should be convinced that it is more likely than not a violation occurred. Submission should take the form of an email to the AIO that includes the following elements: an explanation of the alleged violation, a copy of the syllabus and/or the course's AI/collaboration policy, the suggested grade penalty should the student admit to the violation of be found in violation, a copy of the assignment or exam, and any other evidence in support of the allegation (i.e., copies of any materials that led the complainant to conclude that a violation has occurred). Also included should be the names of proctors, course assistants, or other witnesses who may be involved. Please note, the evidence submitted as part of the initial allegation should be compelling, but does not constitute the final evidence packet. If a hearing is requested, there will be another opportunity to submit evidence.
- Once the case has been received by the AIO, they will send the student a charging letter that includes the allegation, a link to the AI policy (including which sections might be at issue), the hearing procedures, and the supporting evidence submitted by the complainant. This letter allows the student to either request a hearing with a McKelvey AI panel, or admit to violating the policy and accept the sanction and grade penalty. The student will generally be given five business days to respond and may request additional time.
- A complainant may, at any time, contact the AIO in order to withdraw an allegation should evidence emerge that calls in to question whether or not the violation occurred, or if they become convinced that the more likely than not standard has not been met. The AIO will follow-up with the student with a formal notification that the charge has been dismissed.
The purpose of the hearing is to determine if a violation of the academic integrity policy occurred. Students are considered to be innocent (not in violation of the policy) unless and until sufficient evidence is presented to indicate it is more likely than not a violation occurred. The AIO will be present and oversee the hearing. The determination of violation will be made by a panel of two faculty members and one student.
Prior to the hearing all participants will receive final evidence packets from the AIO. Because the purpose of the hearing is to determine if a violation occurred, these packets will only contain documents pertaining to the facts of the case. Members of the panel will not be aware of the proposed grade penalty and will not know of any previous AI violations unless this information is shared by the student during the course of the hearing. Members of the panel are asked to focus on the case and evidence at hand.
During the hearing, the complainant will be given an opportunity to state their case to the panel. The student will then be given full opportunity to state their case to the panel. Members of the panel will be allowed to ask questions of both parties. Witnesses may be called and questioned by the panel and/or parties. The complainant and then the student may each make brief closing statements.
Either party may have a support person in attendance. Support persons may not address the panel.
After the hearing, the panel will decide by majority vote if an academic integrity violation occurred. The standard of evaluation used by the panel will be preponderance of evidence. That is, enough evidence exists to make it more likely than not that the student's actions were not (or were) in violation of the academic integrity policy. The decision of the majority of the panel will be communicated in writing to both parties.
At McKelvey Engineering we adhere to a three-strike sanctioning system. This is meant to allow for personal growth between each violation.
- A first violation will result in a grade penalty determined by the course instructor.
- As with a first violation, a second violation will result in a grade penalty determined by the course instructor. Additionally, the student will be referred to the Student Conduct Board for further sanctioning. A second violation typically results in a one-year suspension.
- As with any violation, a third violation will result in a grade penalty determined by the course instructor. Additionally, the student will be referred to the Student Conduct Board for further sanctioning. A third violation typically results in expulsion from the university.
In all three cases above, a record of the violation is uploaded to the student's academic file and university conduct record. The violation will be reported if appropriate inquiries are made concerning the student's academic record (e.g., application to graduate school).
Q: Is this a violation of AI policy?
A: When in question, always ask for clarification on AI policy. You can ask the instructor or a member of the AI team listed above. If you feel you may have crossed a line, please reach out. We can recommend next steps.
Q: Can I appeal the outcome of my case?
A: Once you have been found in violation at the school level, you may only appeal on the grounds of (1) unfair process/hearing, or (2) unfair sanction. Appeals are heard by the OSCCS Board Chair who will recommend next steps.
Q: Why am I going before the Student Conduct Board when my case was already heard by the school?
A: The University Student Conduct Board is the only body that can suspend or expel a student for conduct related reasons. Because the recommended sanction for second and third violation are suspension and expulsion, respectively, you will need to go before the Student Conduct Board. In this case, the SCB hearing is a sanctioning hearing. The determination of violation has already been made by the school.
Q: My instructor is claiming I've violated the Academic Integrity Policy. I've tried reaching out, but the instructor will not talk to me.
A: It is your right to contest the allegation, and there is a process in place for doing that. Talk to the AIO and they can help liaise with the instructor. While some instructors are willing to discuss AI cases with students, they are under no obligation to do so.