Review/Revised Date: 8/23/2021
Category: Enrollment Management
Policy Owner: Provost
The purpose of this Code is to support our academic mission and to maintain and promote academic integrity. All students in attendance at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (the “University”) are expected to pursue all academic endeavors with integrity, honor, and professionalism and to observe standards of conduct appropriate to a community of scholars.
These principles apply to all student academic work, whether in-person or virtual, and work conducted in labs, internships/externships, or clinical assignments.
This applies to all undergraduate, graduate, professional, and all other academic activities within the University although more specific codes, policies, and procedures apply in some schools (e.g., professional schools). University students are expected to abide by the core values of honor and integrity set forth in UAB’s creed, The Blazer Way which states “I hold myself accountable to represent our unique community with honor and integrity.” All students are expected to be familiar with the Academic Integrity Code and abide by it. By their continued enrollment at the University, students reaffirm their pledge to adhere to the provisions of the Academic Integrity Code.
The UAB Academic Integrity Code replaces the previous UAB Academic Honor Code.
Many students have learning activities in health care clinical settings and other non-classroom settings where behavior is governed by additional rules of conduct, such as site-placement work rules and policies, applicable laws, and professional codes of conduct. Compliance with such rules of conduct is part of a student’s education at the University. Violations of such rules by students are handled at the school or college level and may be addressed using some of the same processes and sanctions used in this Code for academic integrity issues. A student may also be subject to other relevant processes and sanctions as defined by these additional non-University rules of conduct. Non-academic matters may be addressed in the Student Conduct Code.
Academic misconduct by students includes any act of dishonesty in academic-related matters (hereafter referred to as “academic dishonesty”), including knowingly or intentionally providing help or attempting to provide help to another student to commit an act of academic misconduct. Academic misconduct is generally defined as the use or provision of unauthorized assistance with the intent to deceive an instructor or other person assessing student performance. Academic misconduct includes, but not limited to, each of the following acts when performed in any type of academic or academic-related matter, exercise, or activity.
Using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, including but not limited to materials, information, study aids, the work of others, or electronic device-related information, any of which have not been approved by the instructor, as well as unauthorized assistance from third parties including a commercial service or engaging another person (whether paid or unpaid); sharing answers for either a take-home or in-class exams unless specifically and explicitly allowed.
Assisting, knowingly helping, supporting, conspiring, or colluding with others to engage in any form of academic dishonesty, including but not limited to two or more students that work together to produce individually submitted work without permission of the appropriate faculty member.
Claiming as your own ideas, words, data, computer programs, creative compositions, artwork, etc., done by someone else. Examples include improper citation of referenced works, the use of commercially available scholarly papers, failure to cite sources, or copying another person’s ideas.
Resubmitting your own previously submitted work without proper citation and permission from the current instructor to whom the original work was subsequently submitted.
Presenting as genuine, any invented or manufactured citation, data, or material.
Falsifying, altering, or incorrectly defining the contents of documents or other materials related to academic matters, work pertaining to schedules, prerequisites, and transcripts, or misrepresenting facts about oneself for the purpose of obtaining an academic advantage or for the purpose of academically injuring another student.
As applicable to this code, the following definitions are used relative to individuals or groups.
The following definitions may be used regarding sanctions.
Academic misconduct undermines the purpose of education. Such behavior is a serious violation of the trust that must exist among faculty and students for a university to nurture intellectual growth and development. Academic misconduct violations may result in a range of punitive sanctions up to and including expulsion.
Suspected violations discovered after a course or other academic exercise has ended are subject to this policy with resolutions that can include updating academic records as appropriate. If a student is found responsible for a violation just prior or any time after graduation, and the imposed sanction could make the student ineligible to earn or retain their degree, the degree may be revoked if already awarded.
For cases that are in-progress at the start of a semester, a student will be allowed to enroll and continue through completion of the semester unless sanctions are imposed during the semester that affect continued enrollment. If an academic misconduct case is underway during a student’s final semester, the awarding of the degree may depend upon the resolution of the case.
Academic misconduct cases shall be resolved in the school or college that is the home for the course in which the alleged action took place. Unless otherwise provided in Section III-E, the process is coordinated by the Academic Integrity Coordinator (referred herein as “Coordinator”) for the school or college who is designated by the dean. A school or college may have more than one Coordinator. In schools or colleges that have an alternate academic integrity policy (Section III-E), such policy must not be less restrictive than this University policy and must be approved by the dean. In all cases, the final place for any appeal of a decision relating to academic misconduct will be with the dean of the school or college that is the home for the course in which the alleged misconduct took place unless otherwise provided in Section III-E.
Unless an alternate academic integrity policy is applicable as described in Section III-E, on an annual basis, deans, or their designees, will convene an Academic Integrity Hearing Board for their school or college by appointment and/or election composed of three students and four instructors/faculty members/course managers. The membership of the board will populate three-person Academic Integrity Hearing Panel(s) when needed (Section III-G-5). The chair of the Hearing Board will be designated by the dean. Related procedures developed by the Dean, or a designee, may include procedures for rotation by Board members on the three-person hearing panels, each consisting of one student and two instructors/faculty members/course managers. The Chair of the Hearing Panel will be appointed by the Board. The Coordinator, or a designee, shall be present for any deliberations of a Hearing Panel as a non-voting procedural advisor to the chair of a Hearing Panel. The Coordinator is not permitted to offer an opinion about the credibility of any individual or on the issue(s).
The University seeks to resolve all reports of academic misconduct as promptly as reasonably possible. Best efforts will be made to follow the time frames described below. In calculating time periods, “business days” do not include weekends or UAB Holidays. All time frames may be extended by the applicable Dean or their designee when necessary to ensure the integrity and completeness of the investigation, accommodate the availability of witnesses, accommodate delays by the parties, account for University breaks or vacations, account for disability-related accommodations, or address other legitimate reasons, including the complexity of the investigation (such as the number of witnesses or a large volume of information provided by the parties) and the severity and extent of the alleged conduct. An extension of the time frames and the reason for the extension should be shared with the parties in writing.
The applicable standard for evaluating whether a violation did or did not occur under this policy is “a preponderance of the evidence.” That is, a Hearing Panel must find that a student’s actions, more likely than not, constituted a violation of this policy.
The school or college primarily responsible for delivering the course maintains responsibility for reviewing and issuing academic penalties, even if the course is designated in some way as providing honors credit(s) that satisfies requirements of the Honors College. The Dean of the Honors College shall designate the appropriate school or college for all courses offered directly by the Honors College (including without limitation its Honors College seminars as well as courses in Honors College programs such as the Global and Community Leadership Honors Program, University Honors Program and the Science and Technology Honors Program, however titled).
When a school or college finds an Honors College student has committed, or has not contested, academic misconduct, the Honors College shall be notified and will conduct its internal processes that may lead to dismissal from the Honors College.
Resolution of charges against a student for research misconduct pursuant to the Policy Concerning the Responsible Conduct of Research and Other Scholarly Activities shall be handled as provided therein, except in cases in which the conduct of a student occurred as part of an assignment in a particular course, then the Research Integrity Officer shall refer the imposition of the investigation and all penalties to the Academic Integrity Coordinator of the school or college home to the course in which the alleged action took place (Section III-B). Misconduct associated with courses that include non-thesis research, thesis research, non-dissertation research, dissertation research or similar research-related courses are considered research misconduct rather than academic misconduct.
The school or college primarily responsible for delivering the course maintains responsibility for reviewing and issuing academic penalties, even if the course is designated as a graduate level course. The Dean of the Graduate School shall be authorized to designate the appropriate school or college for all courses offered by the Graduate School.
When a school or college finds a graduate student has committed, or has not contested, academic misconduct, the Graduate School shall be notified to allow response through its internal processes that may lead up to expulsion.
For dual degree graduate students whose academic misconduct occurs in one of their two schools, the procedures of the school in which the infraction occurred should be used.
For a professional student who has committed, or has not contested, academic misconduct, the appropriate professional school shall respond through its internal processes that may lead up to expulsion. If a professional student has committed academic misconduct outside of the professional school (e.g., Graduate School), then the procedures of the school or college in which the infraction occurred will be used.
Students who commit acts of academic misconduct may demonstrate their commitment to academic integrity by reporting themselves in writing to the instructor or other member of academic leadership in their school or college. Students may not exercise the self-referral resolution process more than once during their enrollment at the University. Schools and colleges shall have procedures in place for all faculty and other instructors to report student self-referrals to the Coordinator for resolution.
If the Coordinator has no evidence, report, or record of the self-referring student’s act of academic misconduct prior to the self-referral, the Coordinator will notify the instructor of the course in which the incident occurred, in order to consult on the matter, in advance of a meeting arranged by the Coordinator between the Coordinator and the student. The Coordinator will notify the instructor of the course in which the incident occurred of the meeting’s outcome. The Coordinator will maintain a record of the self-reported misconduct as a student’s first offense. If the Coordinator determines that academic dishonesty had been reported or was suspected at the time of the student’s self-referral and admission, the matter will be resolved in accordance with the procedures specified in this Code for resolving academic misconduct allegations (Section III-G). The student’s self-referral and admission may be considered a mitigating circumstance for purposes of imposing sanctions.
In all cases where a student self-referral is accepted, the student will be required to successfully complete an educational course, as contemplated in the “Guide to Evaluating Severity of Academic Misconduct” (Section IV, Table 2). In addition, at the discretion of the course instructor, the student may have to repeat the assignment, complete additional assignment(s), or the grade for the academic exercise in question may be reduced to a zero, by one or more letter grades, or to an “F.” If a sanction of course failure, suspension, or expulsion is sought, then the procedures in Section III-G must be employed.
Any member of the University community (including faculty, staff, teaching assistants, or students) who has knowledge of or who has witnessed an apparent act of academic dishonesty is expected to report to the incident to the Academic Integrity Coordinator (“Coordinator” hereafter) of the school or college and is also expected to report such incidents of suspected academic misconduct directly to the relevant faculty, instructor(s) of record, or course managers (collectively referred to as “instructors” hereafter).
Sanctions (including grade reductions) specified in this Code (Section IV) for academic misconduct should not be imposed without following procedures described herein.
An overview of the process for resolution of academic misconduct is shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1. Flow of Resolution of Academic Misconduct
Instructors are encouraged to discuss the suspected academic misconduct with the student(s) involved. Doing so may correct errors or misunderstandings. If an instructor determines during this preliminary discussion that no academic misconduct occurred, the matter will then be closed, and no disciplinary record created.
If the instructor determines suspected academic misconduct may have occurred, the instructor shall confer with the Coordinator in their school or college to proceed with a charge(s) of academic misconduct. This consultation determines whether a student-instructor Resolution Agreement can be authorized (III-G-3) or the matter referred to the Coordinator for resolution (III-G-4). If the student has a prior record of academic misconduct or if the possible sanctions include suspension or expulsion, the matter is automatically referred to the Coordinator and a Resolution Agreement is not an option.
Upon submitting a charge of academic misconduct, the reporting party shall also submit all evidence to the Coordinator for review. The Coordinator will determine whether sufficient evidence has been provided and reasonable basis exists for concluding that an act of academic misconduct may have occurred. The Coordinator may consult with other appropriate persons as necessary. If such reasonable basis is not found by the Coordinator, the matter will then be closed, and no disciplinary record created. The Coordinator shall promptly notify the instructor of this disposition.
The Coordinator retains discretion to initiate proceedings described below without a faculty referral when sufficient evidence warrants a charge of academic misconduct. Also, the Coordinator may initiate a charge on behalf of an instructor if an instructor is on extended leave or otherwise unavailable.
With the authorization of the Coordinator, instructors may enter into a Resolution Agreement with a student (a) who has no prior record of academic misconduct at the University and (b) who acknowledges responsibility for academic misconduct.
Instructors who wish to enter into a Resolution Agreement with the student shall send notice of the academic dishonesty accusation and of a proposed meeting to the student’s official University email address. If the student fails to respond to the instructor’s email within five business days, or if the student fails to attend the meeting with the instructor, the instructor shall refer the case to the Coordinator for disposition, noting the student’s failure to respond.
A Resolution Agreement with the instructor acknowledges the academic misconduct, documents how the pending case should be resolved, and contains the following elements:
Sanctions in cases resolved between instructors and students may range from a written reprimand to a failing grade on an assignment or the course depending on the severity of misconduct (Section IV). Resolution Agreements, however, are not an option when the sanction is suspension or expulsion. Acceptance of responsibility by an accused student may be considered by an instructor as a mitigating factor in the sanctioning process. The student must sign the document to accept the Resolution Agreement, or it will be forwarded to the Coordinator for resolution as described below in Section III-G-4.
A record of the signed agreement by both the student and instructor will be retained by the instructor, student, and the Coordinator in accordance with UAB’s Records Retention Policy. All cases resolved by a student’s authorized Resolution Agreement with a referring instructor shall be final and conclusive and not subject to further review.
All resolution agreements completed between instructors and students must be promptly reported to the appropriate Coordinator by the instructor to allow the University to maintain records to establish the student history of academic misconduct.
If the outcome of the meeting of the instructor with the Coordinator (III-G-2) is to refer a Charge of Academic Misconduct to the Coordinator for resolution, the Coordinator must determine among two paths for resolution after placing the student on academic hold. Depending on the criteria described below, the charge may be resolved through a Conference with the Coordinator or by a hearing with an Academic Integrity Hearing Panel.
If there is a reasonable basis to proceed with a charge, the Coordinator will promptly direct the University Registrar to place a hold on the student’s account indicating that the student cannot withdraw from the course in which the academic misconduct is alleged to have occurred until the misconduct resolution process is complete. This also applies when such a charge is made prior to the course Add/Drop deadline. At resolution, the procedures regarding withdrawals in Section III-G-6 are applicable.
Withdrawal from all courses by Full-Term Withdrawal or Medical Withdrawal will be addressed on an individual basis by the student’s school or college of origin and does not preclude adjudication of an academic misconduct charge by the procedures herein and could affect potential future enrollment.
A student will not be allowed to initiate a leave of absence from the University while an academic integrity case is pending. The Coordinator will work with students facing medical, family, or other personal emergencies on a case-by-case basis to facilitate resolution of their cases.
If a student inappropriately withdraws while an academic integrity case is pending, the withdrawal action will be reversed, and the adjudication process will go forward with or without the student’s participation.
Resolution of a charge of academic misconduct may be through a Conference with the Coordinator except in cases that must be adjudicated through an Academic Integrity Hearing Panel.
An Academic Integrity Hearing Panel must review cases of students with any prior findings of academic misconduct, all cases that may result in suspension or expulsion, or any case the Coordinator may refer due to complexity, a contested case, or conflicts of interest.
A Conference with the Coordinator is a meeting between the Coordinator and the accused student and is intended to resolve the charge(s) and determine sanctions (if any). The conference can be held electronically or virtually if the student or the Coordinator is not available for an in-person meeting. The Coordinator may invite the referring instructor to participate in the conference. Students, teaching assistants, and support staff who can offer information relevant to the case may be invited as participants in the conference.
If the Coordinator determines that a charge(s) will be referred to an Academic Integrity Hearing Panel, then a panel is constituted from the school or college Academic Integrity Board in which the academic dishonestly is alleged to have occurred, as described in Section III-B-1.
In the event that it is the Coordinator that brings the charges, directly or on behalf of an instructor, the case is referred to an Academic Integrity Hearing Panel, and the Chair of the Academic Integrity Hearing Board, in consultation with the Dean or designee, shall appoint a different Coordinator to serve as a non-voting procedural advisor to participants of the Academic Integrity Hearing Panel. This Coordinator may come from outside the School in which the alleged misconduct occurred.
If an instructor is unable or unwilling to present the charges at a hearing, the Dean or designee will appoint a faculty, staff, or administrator to assume that role.
All correspondence regarding academic integrity cases will be provided to students using the official email address assigned to them by the University. Students are responsible for regularly checking their University-provided email address. Copies may also be sent by the Coordinator via regular mail to the last campus address provided by the student to the University.
The Student(s) will be notified of the following procedural protections provided either in a Conference with the Coordinator or in an Academic Integrity Hearing Panel.
After notice of charges is sent, if a student fails to attend a scheduled hearing or conference, the Coordinator will document that the student did not accept responsibility for the charge(s). All relevant evidence will then be considered by the Coordinator or a hearing panel to resolve the case without the student. The student(s) will be notified of the case outcome and any determination of sanctions.
If the student has any disability-related needs with respect to the conference or hearing, they should be discussed with Disability Support Services as soon as the hearing is scheduled, and any resulting request for accommodation should be provided to the Coordinator as soon as possible prior to the conference or hearing date.
Cases involving multiple students will normally be heard together if more than one student is alleged to have jointly engaged in one or more acts of academic misconduct. These cases will only be combined with the written consent of the students. Students who seek a separate conference or hearing must provide a written justification for their request, sent to the Coordinator at least five business days before the scheduled proceeding. If related cases are not heard jointly, the Coordinator conducting the Conference or the Chair of the Academic Integrity Hearing Panel conducting the hearing may consider all relevant statements, materials and other evidence presented at an earlier proceeding in any subsequent proceeding related to the same case.
The Coordinator will conduct the conference, and the Chair of the Academic Integrity Hearing Panel will conduct the hearing. The Coordinator will participate in a hearing as a procedural advisor, as provided in this Code.
Both accused students and the University have a right to present evidence, supporting witnesses, and other information pertinent to the matter under investigation. Questions of relevance; the role and availability of witnesses; the use of written statements; and the timely conduct of proceedings will be determined by the Chair of the Hearing Panel for hearings or the Coordinator for conferences.
The standard of proof in conferences and hearings shall be “preponderance of the evidence” as described in Section III-D.
Findings and sanctions in a hearing, if any, will be determined by majority vote. If by such vote the hearing panel finds the accused responsible for academic misconduct, the sanctions shall be determined (Section III-G-6) and applied as appropriate. Findings and sanctions in a conference, if any, will be determined by the Coordinator.
If a student is found not responsible for academic misconduct by either conference or hearing, the matter will then be closed, no disciplinary record created, and the student will be notified of outcomes as described below.
Accused students may be accompanied by one advisor of their choice in the conference or hearing. The advisor may be an attorney. The student must notify the Coordinator at least two business days in advance of their intent to be accompanied by an advisor and if the advisor is an attorney. The advisor may privately consult with the student during the conference or hearing but may not question witnesses or otherwise directly participate in a conference or hearing. The student shall speak on their own behalf. Any fees charged by the advisor are the sole responsibility of the student. The Chair of the Hearing Panel in a hearing or the Coordinator in a conference may remove or dismiss an advisor or any other person who disrupts the proceedings or otherwise fails to abide by specified limitations on their participation.
After conferences or hearings, the accused student(s) will be provided a brief written statement of the findings and any sanctions imposed within five business days.
The Coordinator at the school or college where the offense occurred shall, in writing, promptly notify the Coordinator of the student’s home school or college (including the Honors College and the Graduate School) of any finding of academic misconduct and the sanction imposed or recommended. The Coordinator at the home school shall notify the dean and/or appropriate department chair of the finding.
All cases resolved by a Conference with the Coordinator shall be final and conclusive and not subject to further review.
Findings from an Academic Integrity Hearing Panel of academic misconduct may be appealed in writing to the Dean of the school or college where the case was heard within five business days upon receipt of the notification of the findings. The appeal review will be limited to consideration of findings of fact, recommended sanctions, or any written response from the accused student citing prejudice or procedural error. The Dean may uphold the panel findings and sanctions, or the Dean may return to the Academic Integrity Hearing Board for reconsideration if determined that a significant procedural error or prejudice against the charged student by any panel member may have influenced the outcome. Prejudices include, but are not limited to, conflicts of interest, biases, or undue pressure or influence that precluded a fair and impartial hearing. The case may be returned to the original hearing panel or reheard before a different panel, as specified by the Dean. The Dean will provide a statement supporting or denying the appeal request within five business days to the Coordinator and the accused student.
As described above in Section III-G-4a, the student charged with academic misconduct is placed on academic hold preventing withdrawal from the course. If the student is found not to have engaged in academic misconduct, the academic hold is released by the Coordinator. The student can either remain in the course or withdraw from that course even if the withdrawal period has expired.
If the student is found responsible for academic misconduct, they will not be allowed to withdraw from the course at any time. A grade of “Incomplete” will be immediately assigned by action of the Coordinator through the Registrar. At the end of the semester, the “Incomplete” will be replaced with the student’s earned grade (which may be “F”) or the grade per sanction.
To determine the appropriate sanctions relative to the infraction, the “Guide to Evaluating Severity of Academic Misconduct” (Section IV) is used. Sanctions for academic misconduct can range from a reprimand to a sanction as severe as suspension for a definitive time or expulsion.
Suspensions or expulsions for academic misconduct apply throughout the University and are not limited to the school or college where an incident may have occurred or where the student is enrolled. Suspensions and expulsions are recorded on the student transcript. A student suspended from a UAB school or college for academic misconduct will have a hold placed and will not be permitted to enroll in another UAB school without that school’s permission. After one semester, a student on suspension may appeal for reinstatement, although specific limitations or procedures may apply in some schools or college.
Records documenting investigations and/or disciplinary actions taken against students charged with academic misconduct shall be entered into the university’s student conduct system and will also be maintained by the school or college for as long as required pursuant to the University’s Records Retention Policy.
This section is designed to aid the decision-makers in evaluating the severity of academic misconduct and in considering the appropriate sanction to impose under the UAB Academic Integrity Code. These are guidelines only. This guide uses the terms “minor,” “moderate,” and “major” as related to offenses. The decision-maker should check the University-designated student records system to determine if the student has received prior penalties for academic misconduct. A minor offense in one category counts as the first minor offense in any category. For instance, if one commits a minor offense in cheating and then plagiarizes at a later time, the plagiarism is considered a second offense.
In general, minor offenses involve errors in judgment that, in the decision-makers professional opinion, violate academic integrity, such as:
• Minor Misrepresentation example: A student copies part of the work of another student exactly on an assignment on which collaboration is allowed but copying is not.
• Minor Cheating example: A student is caught glancing at another exam, but there is no evidence of premeditation or collaboration between those students
• Minor Plagiarism example: A student indicates that source of information is not original but does not provide citation.
In general, moderate offenses are unpremeditated dishonest acts that usually directly affect only one student, such as:
• Moderate Misrepresentation example: A student paraphrases or copies a sentence (or two) without citing the source or provides an improper citation.
• Moderate Cheating example: A student cheats, or facilitates the cheating of another, on an examination (in cases where there is no evidence of premeditation). A student tries to gain an advantage in an exam by removing reserved materials from a lab or library to have additional study time at home.
• Moderate Plagiarism example: A student paraphrases or copies a portion of a document without citing the source or provides an improper citation.
In general, major offenses are premeditated dishonest acts or dishonest acts that directly affects the offenders and/or other students’ grades, such as:
• Major Misrepresentation example: A student poses as, or facilitates another posing as, someone else during an exam.
• Major Cheating example: A student cheats or facilitates the cheating of another on an examination in a way that is premeditated (e.g., using a cheat sheet, a prearranged system of sharing answers, or some similar method that was planned in advance).
• Major Plagiarism example: A student places his/her name on a written assignment he/she did not write.
Table 1 provides examples of violations with considerations helpful in determining sanctions. The following is not comprehensive and represents only a few examples of the academic misconduct.
Table 2 provides guidance on sanctions relative to severity and repeated offenses.
Related Policies and Procedures