New FD grade a student’s record of shame

April 30, 2009

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Is there a grade worse than F?

There is now at SFU: It’s called FD–failed for academic dishonesty–and it’s the last thing you would ever want on your transcript.

The new grade is one of several significant and extensive changes recently approved by senate and the board of governors to toughen the university’s policies on academic dishonesty and student misconduct. The changes are the result of a university-wide, three-year investigation by SCAISLE—the Senate Committee on Academic Integrity in Student Learning and Evaluation. SCAISLE was created in the fall of 2005 following the release of a report by a university task force on academic dishonesty and integrity issues, which was prompted by a series of incidents in different faculties involving academic dishonesty.

"The idea was to create a fair, consistent, and effective policy on academic integrity matters across the university that would be enthusiastically embraced by students, faculty and administrators alike and that mirrored a zero-tolerance approach both in theory and in practice," says SCAISLE chair Rob Gordon, who directs the School of Criminology.

"And we believe the combination of policies, procedures and strategies we’ve come up with will do that."

Effective May 1st, the new S10 (S for "Student") policies include:
  • S 10.01, the Code of Academic Integrity and Good Conduct, which updates and clarifies the university’s expectations of its students around academic honesty and personal conduct in university activities. It introduces explicit prohibitions against such things as hazing, bullying, disclosing confidential information and possessing firearms on a campus.
  • S 10.02, Principles and Procedures for Student Discipline, which establishes disciplinary processes and guidelines governing how those processes are to be undertaken.
  • S 10.03, the University Board on Student Discipline, and S 10.04, the Senate Committee on Disciplinary Appeals, which provide the terms of reference for the two bodies.

"We now have a single student code of conduct that covers both academic integrity and good-conduct issues," says Gordon. "We also have a network of faculty-member academic integrity advisors across all academic units, and an academic integrity coordinator who is an assistant registrar.

"And we’ve created a reporting system with a central record keeping mechanism so we can better detect multiple offenders across campuses and departments.

"The FD grade will be available to department chairs who feel that a student’s behavior warrants a severe penalty, usually because they are repeat violators, A chair may also request the imposition of more severe penalties through the University Board on Student Discipline such as suspension and the rescinding of a degree."


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Crystal B

I'm not at SFU (yet) but as SFU is the only school in Western Canada that offers my postgrad program; it is encouraging to know that the playing field has been levelled a bit. Now all we need is for the rest of the country to follow suit.


This is not a first nor is it new as far as I know. At McGill University we have an equivalent grade that indicates a failure with a breach of academic integrity. Students are certainly under the impression that such a mechanism exists at McGill and I know that it is very effective in preventing breaches of our Student Code of Conduct. I recall hearing about 'a final grade of E' being used as punishment for plagiarism.


Students should beware of essay scammers, most of them are listed at http://www.essayscam.org/Forum/


Brilliant! Next, we can hit cheaters on the head really hard with a hammer. And if that doesn't work, we can modify the system to allow us to hit them with two hammers. After all, if punishment proves ineffective, then more punishment will certainly work.


Point taken, Louise! Why bother punishing cheaters at all! Why, I'm sure a doctor who cheated his way through med school would be just as good as one who worked hard and actually learned the material they're asked to learn.

Maria Lopez

Hello, my name is Maria and I would like to know which is the difference between to get F or getting a FD?


Just one question: How are they able to distinguish incorrect formats of notation of quotation and plagiarism?

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