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Student Academic Integrity procedure

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Procedure is effective from 23 January 2023.

(2) This Procedure includes the following schedule: Schedule A: Outcomes for Student Breaches of Academic Integrity.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(3) This Procedure sets out the processes for maintaining student academic integrity standards at Deakin University.

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Section 3 - Scope

(4) This Procedure applies to students of the University as defined in the Student Academic Integrity policy at Section 6 – Definitions, and to all other learners or individuals that submit scholarly work for assessment by or through the University.

(5) Where students conduct research, they must also comply with the  Research Conduct policy  and the  Research Integrity Breaches procedure.

(6) This Procedure applies to staff in relation to the promotion of student academic integrity standards and the detection and management of allegations of breaches of student academic integrity.

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Section 4 - Policy

(7) This Procedure is pursuant to the Student Academic Integrity policy.

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Section 5 - Procedure

Student education and support

(8) The University provides education to students on:

  1. the importance of academic integrity
  2. student responsibilities under the Policy
  3. how students can meet these responsibilities.

(9) Students complete compulsory student academic integrity training at the beginning of their enrolment, and teaching staff reinforce and further develop students’ understanding and skills in academic integrity within the context of unit learning.

(10) Additional information and resources supporting student academic integrity is approved by the Office of the Dean of Students, is available on the current students’ website and is referenced in unit sites. This information includes a statement on academic integrity standards, sources of support and outcomes that may apply if student academic integrity standards are breached.

Staff education and support

(11) All staff, including sessional academic staff, complete a compulsory student academic integrity training module on appointment, and every two years subsequently.

(12) Faculties ensure that new teaching staff are supported in the application of their student academic integrity training, and all staff are reminded at least annually about policy requirements regarding academic integrity standards including in assessment design.

Detection of student academic integrity breaches

(13) All staff have responsibility for detecting potential breaches of student academic integrity standards.

(14) The Office of the Dean of Students maintains a repository of information that supports staff in understanding and maintaining currency of their knowledge of detection techniques.

(15) The University also uses software to aid in the detection of possible breaches of student academic integrity standards, including but not limited to text-matching software, language analysis software, metadata investigation software and remote supervision software.

Academic Integrity Committees

(16) Each Faculty Board, or the equivalent for Institutes established outside a Faculty, establishes an Academic Integrity Committee (the Committee) to receive and determine allegations of breaches of academic integrity standards for students enrolled in units offered by the Faculty or Institute.

(17) The members of an Academic Integrity Committee are members of staff identified by the Faculty Board as suitable for that committee, with a senior academic staff member as Chair.

(18) Academic Integrity Committee members are provided with relevant training by the Office of the Dean of Students, and other areas as appropriate.

(19) The Academic Progress and Integrity team within the Office of the Dean of Students supports the work of Faculty Academic Integrity Committees, including providing Committee secretariat. The secretariat is not a member of the Committee, but may provide policy interpretation and advice for the Committee’s consideration.

Early intervention for poor academic practice

(20) An early intervention offers the student an opportunity to correct areas of poor academic practice, such as poor paraphrasing, without receiving an allegation of a breach of academic integrity.

(21) To be eligible for an early intervention, a student must meet the following criteria:

  1. has received no more than one prior early intervention in a particular unit in the same study period
  2. has not received an early intervention(s) in any unit in a previous study period
  3. has not used another student’s work 
  4. has not drawn substantially on only one or two sources
  5. has not attempted to hide or disguise the poor academic practice.

(22) Students that are ineligible for an early intervention are referred to the Academic Integrity Committee as in clause 32.

(23) Student academic practice suitable for early intervention is determined by the Unit Chair, where required with the support of the Academic Integrity Committee Chair or their delegate.

(24) Students eligible for an early intervention are offered the opportunity to correct areas of poor academic practice only and resubmit their assessment within seven calendar days. The following conditions will apply to the resubmission:

  1. For first year units in either an undergraduate (Level 1) or postgraduate course, the student may resubmit for the full range of marks available
  2. For all other units, the student may resubmit for a maximum mark of 50% for the assessment task.

(25) Unit Chairs log attempts at early intervention in a system maintained by the Office of the Dean of Students.

(26) Once determined to be eligible, the student receives timely notice of the early intervention by the Unit Chair. The notice includes:

  1. details of the areas of concern in the submission (this may include a Turnitin similarity report)
  2. the conditions applying to the resubmission as outlined in clause 24
  3. the timeline and details associated with resubmission
  4. information on University services, particularly the Language and Learning advisors, that may support the students in understanding the early intervention process and academic writing skills
  5. the option to refer the matter to the Academic Integrity Committee if the student does not accept the early intervention.

(27) After receiving the resubmission, the Unit Chair or their delegate determines whether the areas of poor academic practice have been sufficiently addressed and, if so, remarks the task.

(28) If the student does not accept an early intervention, does not correct and resubmit, or resubmits without sufficiently addressing the areas of poor academic practice, the Unit Chair reports the poor academic practice to the relevant Academic Integrity Committee (via the Office of the Dean of Students) for consideration as a suspected breach of student academic integrity standards.

Reporting a suspected breach of student academic integrity standards

(29) Where a staff member develops a reasonable suspicion that a student has breached academic integrity standards, that suspicion must be investigated.

(30) Students and the general public may make confidential and/or anonymous reports of potential breaches of academic integrity standards through the Office of the Dean of Students’ online reporting form. All reports are investigated.

(31) Investigations are conducted by the Unit Chair and/or by the Office of the Dean of Students or Student Services where a suspected breach relates to a supervised online exam. 

(32) After investigation, a report of a suspected academic integrity breach may be submitted to the relevant Academic Integrity Committee for its consideration.

Academic Integrity Committee interventions

(33) The Academic Integrity Committee Chair or their delegate reviews the report of a suspected academic integrity breach and determines whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed with an allegation.

(34) Where sufficient evidence is not identified, the Academic Integrity Committee Chair informs the Unit Chair of this determination and that the assessment should be marked on its merits.

(35) Where the student has demonstrated poor academic practice and is eligible for an early intervention under clauses 20-28, the Chair redirects the matter to the Unit Chair.

(36) Where sufficient evidence is identified and the student is not eligible for an early intervention process, the Academic Integrity Committee Chair or their delegate determines the level (tier) of the alleged breach:

  1. Tier 1: allegations of breaches that typically would breach professional codes of ethics/conduct, such as plagiarism (including repeated instances of poor academic practice where the student has already received an early intervention), collusion, or other activities that would undermine academic integrity standards, but do not meet the requirements of a Tier 2 breach
  2. Tier 2: allegations of more severe and complex breaches, including, but not limited to, contract cheating and cases related to research conduct, as well as breaches that span across faculties.

(37) Where the Academic Integrity Committee Chair or their delegate decides to proceed with an allegation, the student is notified in writing.

(38) The student notification includes:

  1. the nature of the allegation
  2. all evidence used as part of the allegation
  3. a proposal for an academic intervention determined by the standard outcome associated with the breach (documented in Schedule A)
  4. how the student can respond and the time in which this must occur
  5. reference to support services and student advocacy that the student can chose to access.

(39) The student may provide a written response within 5 working days which includes:

  1. whether they admit to the breach(es) and, if so:
    1. whether they accept the proposal for the standard outcome
    2. whether there are any mitigating circumstances that should be considered before imposing an outcome
    3. evidence to support any mitigating circumstances disclosed
  2. where they do not admit to the allegation, information that evidences that they have not breached the relevant academic integrity standards
  3. whether they request to attend a review meeting.

(40) The Academic Integrity Committee Chair may accept a late response, up to 10 working days after the allegation was sent, where the student can provide supporting material or documents to show how exceptional circumstances prevented them from responding by the deadline. Failure to check email is not an exceptional circumstance.

(41) Where necessary, the Academic Integrity Committee Chair or their delegate may dismiss an allegation prior to a review meeting.

(42) Where the alleged breach involves multiple students, if any student requests a review, the allegations against all students are reviewed by the Academic Integrity Committee.

(43) Where a student admits to the breach and accepts the standard outcome, the allegation is substantiated and the standard outcome applied, excepting allegations involving multiple students (clause 42). This outcome may not be appealed.

(44) If a student does not respond to the allegation, the allegation is considered substantiated and the standard outcome applied, excepting allegations involving multiple students (clause 42).

(45) Where a student does not admit to a breach and/or does not accept the standard outcome, a review meeting is scheduled.

Academic Integrity Review Meeting

(46) Reviews of Tier 1 allegations are considered by a single member Academic Integrity Committee consisting of a member from the Faculty where the alleged breach occurred.

(47) Reviews of Tier 2 allegations are considered by a four-member Academic Integrity Committee and, where practical, will include one representative from each Faculty, chaired by the member from the Faculty in which the student was enrolled.

(48) All members of the Academic Integrity Committee present as part of a review will be guided by Academic Board Regulations regulation 31 – Principles Guiding Decision Makers.

(49) Where a student requests to attend a review meeting, that meeting occurs no earlier than 5 working days after the student’s response is received.

(50) The review meeting is attended by the Academic Integrity Committee and the secretariat and, where the student requested to attend under clause 39 c, may be attended by the student and their support person if applicable. The Committee may invite the support person to speak on the student’s behalf if the student so requests.

(51) Students that elect to attend the review meeting may:

  1. Verbally add to the information they have they have provided evidencing that a breach has not occurred, or that there were mitigating circumstances that impacted their decision-making
  2. Be asked questions by the committee in order to gather further information on the nature of the alleged breach, the circumstances around it and any other relevant information

(52) At any point during the review meeting, the Committee may request an adjournment to investigate new information that has been presented. The Committee reconvenes within 5 working days of the adjournment.

(53) Once the student has been provided an opportunity to present their evidence and the Committee has determined they have enough information to make a decision, the Committee adjourns to deliberate.

(54) The Committee decides whether a breach is substantiated based on the balance of probabilities (whether it is more likely than not). For multiple member Committees, the decision is a majority decision with the Chair having the deciding vote.

(55) Where a breach is not substantiated, it is considered dismissed by the Committee. 

Outcomes for breaches of student academic integrity standards

(56) Where a student admits to the breach and accepts the standard outcome, the outcome is applied within 5 working days of the student’s response being received.

(57) Where a review meeting is held and a breach is substantiated, the Academic Integrity Committee determines:

  1. the nature of the breach following breach definitions using the Student Academic Integrity policy (this may be a variation on the original allegation)
  2. any mitigating or exacerbating circumstances
  3. the outcome defined by Schedule A.

(58) The Academic Integrity Committee may, where practical, verbally provide the student with the outcome at the end of the review meeting.

(59) The Office of the Dean of Students notifies the student within 5 working days, in writing, of:

  1. the Academic Integrity Committee’s decision, the outcome/s imposed and any other recommendations
  2. the reasons for the decision, including the findings on material facts
  3. their right to appeal to the University Appeals Committee and how to do so.

(60) Records of allegations, including determination and outcomes, will be maintained by the Office of the Dean of Students, in accordance with the Student Academic Integrity policy.

Student self-reports

(61) Students may self-report to the Office of the Dean of Students they may have breached academic integrity standards, unless a staff member has already raised concerns with the student about the potential breach.

(62) A student who self-reports that they have breached academic integrity standards is invited to an interview with an Office of the Dean of Students staff member to discuss details of the self-reported breach. The student may bring a support person to this meeting.

(63) After the meeting, a report of the alleged breach of academic integrity standards is forwarded to the Academic Integrity Committee Chair for consideration.

(64) The Academic Integrity Committee Chair considers the nature of the breach and proposes an outcome based on:

  1. the standard outcome with mitigating circumstances applied for the first instance of self-reporting
  2. the standard outcome for any subsequent self-reports.

(65) The student is notified in writing of:

  1. the nature of the allegation
  2. the evidence collected as part of the self-report interview
  3. the proposal for the standard outcome determined by the Academic Integrity Committee Chair
  4. how the student can respond and the time in which this must occur
  5. reference to student support and advocacy services.

(66) The process follows the procedure outlined from clause 39.

Appeals

(67) If a student has admitted the breach and accepted a standard outcome without review as in clause 39 a i they may not appeal the decision

(68) If a student does not admit the breach, or admits the breach but does not agree with the standard outcome, they may appeal an Academic Integrity Committee decision to the University Appeals Committee on one or more of the following grounds:

  1. a misapplication of process occurred that resulted in material disadvantage to the student
  2. that the decision was manifestly wrong
  3. the outcome imposed by the original decision-maker was manifestly excessive, inappropriate or not available in the circumstances
  4. new evidence that was not known or available at the time of the original decision is now available and could have affected the outcome of the decision.

(69) The student lodges the appeal online within 20 working days of being notified of the outcome, in accordance with the Student Appeals Procedure.

(70) If the student admits to a breach considered at an academic integrity review meeting, they may only appeal the outcome imposed.

Continuing study and enrolment

(71) A student alleged to have breached academic integrity standards may continue their academic studies during the management of the allegation and, if the allegation is substantiated, until the end of the University Appeals process. 

(72) Allegations are considered and, if substantiated, outcomes recorded regardless of whether the student has graduated or withdraws from the unit or course.

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Section 6 - Definitions

(73) For the purpose of this Procedure:

  1. Mitigating circumstances: exceptional circumstances beyond the control of the student that impaired their decision-making. These include, but are not limited to, severe and acute mental distress or being the subject of blackmail or other coercion.
  2. Exacerbating circumstances: circumstances where a student’s actions are determined to be unethical beyond the nature of the breach in student academic integrity standards. These include, but are not limited to, the theft of information or devices from another person or student, repeatedly breaching academic integrity, blackmail or coercion, or managing or leading a business or organisation with the purpose to help others breach academic integrity.
  3. University working day: any day on which the University is open for business and excludes all Saturdays, Sundays, public holidays that are observed by the University and University holidays declared on an annual basis
  4. Student: has the meaning given in the Deakin University Act 2009 (Vic) and includes a person who was a student at the time the relevant conduct occurred, as defined in the Academic Board Regulations.