Frequently asked questions
Who can I contact for assistance if I suspect there is a case of academic dishonesty in my class?
Contact Arlette Stewart, Academic Integrity Coordinator at 778-782-7075 for case consultation. Arlette can provide assistance on policy and procedure, questions on how to submit a report, best practices for exam security, and appeal procedures.
Furthermore, your departmental academic integrity advisor is an experienced faculty member who can assist you with academic integrity matters. Speak to your Chair to find out who the academic integrity advisor is for your unit.
Who is covered under the Student Academic Integrity policy?
Both undergraduate and graduate students are covered under student academic integrity policy, s10.01. Also included are people applying for admission to the University, visiting exchange students, special audit students, and people enrolled in a non-credit program or course at the University.
I have found my lecture slides and notes on a website. What can I do to prevent this material from being used without my permission?
The SFU Copyright Office can provide assistance should your own copyrighted teaching materials be used without permission. Contact the Copyright Office with any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
A student states that she is unable to attend the final exam due to having to travel for an SFU athletic event. What accommodations, if any, should I be making for the student athlete?
SFU student-athletes who are required to travel as part of their athletic obligations should provide their instructor a Missed Class Time letter at the start of the term. This should allow the opportunity for the student and instructor to look at dates impacted, and determine if alternate arrangements can be made throughout the term. If they cannot be, the student should be advised to choose another class (within the first week when they are still able to add/drop). The onus is on the student to initiate a conversation with the instructor. The practice for the student should be to follow up again within 1-2 weeks of travel to finalize arrangements.
There are a number of options an instructor can pursue for making up an exam (final or otherwise). The student can write the exam before leaving, or after their return. If the exam needs to be taken more closely to when the rest of the class is writing, the exam can be proctored by a member of the Athletics staff (often the Coach) while on the road. The faculty would communicate directly with the Coach to arrange pick up, exam instructions, etc. The Coach would return the completed exam upon return to campus.
In certain instances, the exam could also be arranged to be written at the visiting institution. Dr. Peter Ruben, the SFU Faculty Athletic Representative, can also help to accommodate this option.
If you would like to discuss a particular situation or additional options, please do not hesitate to reach out to either the NCAA Program Coordinator (778-782-3454) or to the Faculty Athletic Representative, Dr. Peter Ruben (email@example.com).
The Centre for Online and Distance Education has a special policy for student-athletes: they do not allow midterms and exams to be written while the student is on the road, and instead will reschedule and test within three business days of the student’s return. Students are required to email firstname.lastname@example.org at least two weeks prior to the scheduled test date to notify them of the need to reschedule and confirm which team they are on. Students who contact the Centre for Online and Distance Education AFTER the exam has occurred, will not be allowed to reschedule.
What are the principles of natural justice?
Administrative tribunals such as the University Board on Student Discipline abide by the principles of natural justice that guide the decision making process. A fair process is more likely to lead to a fair outcome. The three principles of natural justice are the right to be heard, the right to have unbiased adjudicators and the right to reasons for the decision.
What is procedural fairness?
Instructors are expected to follow the rules of procedural fairness in their decision making process. In cases where academic dishonesty is suspected, a fair process supports the likelihood that a culture of academic integrity will be fostered. Elements of procedural fairness include:
- Responding in a timely manner: Instructors should contact students within two weeks of becoming aware that an infraction may have occurred as well as submit an Academic Incident Report shortly after imposing any consequence on the student.
- Student’s right to be heard: Provide the student the information that leads you to believe an infraction has occurred and allow the student to explain their version of events.
- Whoever hears must decide: The first level of decision making is at the instructor level, so it has to be the instructor, not a TA, who assesses the information and makes a decision. For higher levels of decision making (Chair), the same principle applies.
- The right to reasons: The students should be given a clear and understandable explanation for the decision made by the decision maker.
- The right to appeal: The student should be informed that they have the right to appeal the decision, that they have 3 weeks to submit an appeal and directed to the Academic Integrity website for further information on the appeals processes.
What factors should I take into consideration when determining a penalty?
The policy requires that when determining any penalty for academic dishonesty you MUST take the following factors into consideration:
- The extent of the academic dishonesty
- Whether the academic dishonesty was deliberate
- The importance of the work in question
- Whether or not it was an isolated incident or part of repeated acts
- Any other mitigating or aggravating circumstances
What is the role of the support person in academic disciplinary matters?
An academic disciplinary meeting can be a stressful event and a support person can provide emotional and moral support to the student. A support person is largely present to observe the process. He/she can demonstrate support by taking notes during the meeting and interjecting briefly to facilitate clarification about process.
A support person does not act as an advocate or a representative who will speak on behalf of the student. Any response to the allegations presented in a disciplinary meeting should be made by the student only. Normally, a support person does not speak at the meeting.
The Student Academic Integrity policy states that a support person may accompany a student to any meeting concerning academic disciplinary matters. For impartial and confidential assistance about disciplinary matters, students may also consult the University Ombudsperson.
I am considering an oral exam. What should I know?
Oral exams can be an excellent way to ensure academic integrity is maintained. An excellent resource is the Leeds Metropolitan University Guide to Oral Assessment.
If conducting an oral exam, best practice includes: (1) providing students with a rubric that has explicit criteria, (2) have sufficient questions on the exam to increase reliability, (3) embed interaction through pre-planned probing questions that can test the upper limits of the student’s knowledge, (4) take notes and audio record if possible, and (5) prepare students ahead of time as most undergraduates will be unfamiliar with the nature of oral exams. If audio recording the exam, ensure that students provide consent and use the standard collection notice as shown below. Video recording is not recommended.
Standard Collection Notice (sample; please provide the relevant information in the areas indicated)
The information on this form is collected under the authority of the University Act (R.S.B.C. 1996, c.468), [cite also any applicable administrative policies approved by the University's Board of Governors; other provincial or federal legislation or regulation; binding legal contracts such as collective agreements; etc.]. It is related directly to and needed by the University [describe why (i.e. the purpose) the information is needed]. The information will be used [must describe all uses and be specific]. If you have any questions about the collection, use and disclosure of this information please contact [Position Title, Business Address, Business Phone Number].