What is Academic Misconduct?

Academic misconduct relates to academic work that does not meet normal standards of academic practice.

 

What are the types of Academic Misconduct and what do they mean?

The most common types of academic misconduct are; cheating, plagiarism, collusion, falsification, personation and ghosting.  For definitions of these types please see pages 3 and 4 of the Academic Misconduct Policy      

 

What is a Stage One (Informal) Meeting?

When academic misconduct is suspected you will usually be asked to attend an informal meeting. You should receive details in writing of a date, time and location.  During the meeting, your work should be presented to you and it should be annotated or highlighted to indicate where academic misconduct (irregularity) is suspected and if possible, alongside any sources (journals, online resources, books, articles etc) to show you where academic misconduct is suspected. You should be given full opportunity to explain how you prepared your work and respond to the allegation.  You can ask any questions you may have about the process or potential implications of academic misconduct. If you have questions during the meeting about the potential implications of academic misconduct or about the process, then you can raise them during the meeting.

Can I take someone with me to my Stage One (Informal) Meeting?

Yes, you can be accompanied by a ‘friend’ to your meeting. A ‘Friend’ is defined as a member of the University community such as a fellow student, University staff or the Students’ Union. Please see page 181 ‘Friend’ Appendix A of the Handbook of Student Regulations (Taught programmes) 2018.  Please note it is not part of our service to attend Stage One (Informal) meetings. 

 

What happens after a Stage One (Informal) Meeting?

You should receive a summary of the meeting and the outcome, usually within two working days.

If you dispute the allegation and your tutors feel that there is a case to answer, then a Stage Two (Formal) Academic Misconduct Panel hearing will be arranged to consider your case.  

If you admit to academic misconduct, then this will be reported to the Programme Assessment Board (PAB) this is also known as the ‘Exam Board’.  The Exam Board will consider the result for the module and penalty for academic misconduct

You can view the guidelines of penalties at Table 1 on page 12 Academic Misconduct Policy

The Programme Assessment Board is not bound by the guidelines in Table 1 and will reach a decision it deems appropriate.  A penalty may also depend on whether you have committed academic misconduct before, what level you are studying at and how severe the misconduct was.

 

What is a Stage Two (Formal) Meeting?

A Stage Two (formal) Academic Misconduct Panel hearing is the next stage in investigating the alleged Academic Misconduct. A panel will be made up of people who have not been directly involved with your work. They will examine what has been found and what you have to say. This means asking you questions and looking at evidence from you and the Faculty to establish if academic misconduct has taken place

 

What to expect before the Stage Two (Formal) Academic Misconduct Panel?

You should receive panel papers no later than five working days before the hearing.  The panel papers contain a covering letter with an order of proceedings, a ‘statement of case’ and any other documents relevant to the case. An order of proceedings sets out the formal for the hearing.  The panel in addition to your oral and documentary evidence will consider the papers.  You will also have a clear idea of the issues for the panel’s consideration and which you could prepare a response to.  A ‘statement of case’ is a document which contains details the alleged academic misconduct and the University’s findings on this.

 

What to expect at the Stage Two (Formal) Academic Misconduct Panel?

The panel will be chaired by a Faculty Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor or their nominee.  There will be at least two other people on the panel.  These additional panellists will be academics/staff who are not involved in your programme or have been part of the Stage One (Informal) process. 

Introductions will take place around the table. The Chair of the Panel will ask you if you have received all of the relevant papers.

The Faculty Representative, called a ‘Presenting Officer’ will read out a statement of case or summarise the issues in the case.  The Presenting Officer will not be part of the panel and will not take part in making a decision on what will happen.  The presenting officer will reply to the panels’ questions.  You will then be given the opportunity to ask the presenting officer questions. 

After you have asked your questions or if you have no questions then you will have the chance to answer the panel’s questions.  This means that you can respond to the allegation, for example, why you feel that you have not committed academic misconduct.  You may also submit evidence to support your case. The statement of case (in the panel papers) is one part of a wider case for the panel to consider.  If you submit a statement then you could summarise, add to, read out or refer the panel to your statement.

The panel and presenting officer may also ask you questions.  You will be asked to leave the room while the panel consider’ its decision.  If the panel is unable to deliver a decision on the day the Chair will explain why and when you could expect a decision.  However, you should normally be notified of the panel’s decision in writing within five working days of the panel hearing.

 

How to prepare for a Stage Two (Formal) Academic Misconduct Panel?

Your first step is to ensure that you have received all of the relevant documents from the University.  Our suggestion is that you write out a statement in response to the issues raised in the statement of case, for example, the concerns that have been raised about your work.  You will be allowed to hand the statement in prior to the Panel so that the staff involved in considering your case will be able to read it in advance. Alternatively, you can submit your statement to the panel on the day.

We appreciate that you may be little bit nervous on the day, which is perfectly normal.  Your statement can also act as a guide for you to cover everything you want to on the day. You may find that you prefer to use bullet points which is fine.  You must be comfortable with your written response.  Please be assured that a statement is not a requirement, but it may help you to focus your thoughts and prepare for your hearing.  We can also help you by providing feedback on this statement.

 

Can I take someone with me to my Stage Two (Formal) Academic Misconduct Panel?

Yes, you can be accompanied by a ‘friend’ to your meeting. A ‘Friend’ is defined as a member of the University community such as a fellow student, University staff or the Students’ Union. Please see page 181 ‘Friend’ Appendix A of the Handbook of Student Regulations (Taught programmes) 2018.  Unlike Stage One (Informal) meetings, you can request someone from the Advice team to attend this meeting with you

 

Can I appeal the decision made following my Stage Two (Formal) Academic Misconduct Panel?

Yes, if you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your Stage Two Academic Misconduct Panel you may want to consider submitting an appeal to the Student Appeals and Complaints Officer.  You will need to submit your appeal in writing within ten working days of receiving the Academic Misconduct Panel decision.   There are two eligible grounds an appeal can be based on;

  1. That there was a procedural irregularity in the conduct of the Academic Misconduct Panel which has prejudiced the student’s case

and/or

  1. Additional relevant evidence has come to light since the Academic Misconduct Panel which could not have been made available earlier

You will need to provide a statement of why your case meets one or more of the above grounds and submit evidence to support this.  This will need to be sent to studentappealsandcomplaints@northumbria.ac.uk

For further details on what to expect at this stage please see the Academic Misconduct Appeals Policy