Locus of decision-making/ roles & responsibilities
Whatever your role, you should refer to the principles for conducting investigations when considering academic misconduct cases.
Lecturer / Tutor
If you suspect academic misconduct, you should advise the student(s) involved, and investigate the incident further. You can draw on evidence such as your knowledge of the student and their work, reports from similarity checking software (eg Turnitin), information from other staff or students or other sources.
You can consult with other staff for guidance eg another member of the course team, or your local quality manager.
Using your professional judgement (see evidentiary standards), if you decide the incident is trivial (and perhaps unintentional), you can give the student(s) an informal warning, and advise them about good academic practice. You should keep a note of any informal meetings, and notify the student’s PAT and their local quality manager. This will end the informal investigation stage.
If you decide the incident warrants a penalty, you will initiate the formal investigation stage by providing a written report, together with evidence of alleged academic misconduct, to the student’s programme leader (PL) or relevant curriculum manager.
Programme Leader / Curriculum manager
On receiving a report of alleged academic misconduct, you and the member of staff should invite the student(s) to a formal interview. If you both agree the allegation is proven, and the misconduct is minor, you will apply an appropriate penalty, using your professional judgement (see evidentiary standards). You must advise the student of the outcome in writing. You should notify the student’s PAT and their local quality manager (and the university SQA Coordinator if the incident involves SQA provision). This will bring the incident to a close.
If the student does not attend the interview, or if you decide that it is a case of serious academic misconduct, you will report the case to the Dean of Students to trigger the Academic Misconduct Panel. You will need to provide the relevant evidence.
You can consult with other staff for guidance e.g. another member of the course team, or your local quality manager.
You must ensure that the student’s record is updated to reflect any penalty applied, whether this is applied by yourself, or as an outcome of an Academic Misconduct Panel. This is particularly important in the event of a repeat offence.
Exam invigilator / Examination officer
If you suspect academic misconduct during an exam, you should advise the student(s) of this immediately, confiscate any relevant materials, and make a note on the student’s exam script. You must decide whether to allow the student to continue with the exam or ask them to leave, bearing in mind disruption to other students in the room.
You must report the incident immediately after the exam to the local Examination Officer, together with any evidence.
The Examination Officer will forward the report to the student’s Programme Leader for formal investigation.
Personal Academic Tutor (PAT)
If you are notified that a student has committed academic misconduct, you should discuss this with them to see if they need further support, e.g. signpost them to Essential Student Skills and other resources supporting good academic practice.
If the student has been given a penalty for academic misconduct, they may need to be advised on resit options or other implications for continuing their programme of study. You should direct students to support and guidance (see supporting the student) if they are going through an academic misconduct investigation.
You may be contacted by staff for advice and guidance on investigation procedures for academic misconduct, where to find student-facing support resources, or for discussion on particular incidents and penalties.
You will receive and collate notifications of academic misconduct incidents for students enrolled at your HAP (even if investigation is undertaken by staff in other APs)
You are required to provide an annual summary report of any formal investigations relating to students enrolled at your HAP to the Dean of Students, in order to collate an institution-wide overview.
Academic Misconduct Panel
Academic Misconduct Panel members will consider allegations of serious academic misconduct review, and cases where the student has not participated in the formal investigation. They will review the evidence submitted, and written and/or verbal statements from staff and witnesses, and from the student(s) involved. The panel will decide whether academic misconduct has taken place. If they agree that it has, they will decide the appropriate penalty, depending on the seriousness of the case and its circumstances.
Dean of Students
The Dean of Students is responsible for organising Academic Misconduct Panels, and communicating the outcomes, but is not involved in decision-making. Therefore, the Dean of Students remains able to provide objective advice to staff who may seek advice on complex or sensitive cases.
Dean of Research
On receiving a report of alleged academic misconduct by a PGR student, the Dean of Research will undertake an initial informal investigation, drawing on the evidence available, seeking specialist advice as necessary, and interviewing relevant individuals, including the student(s) involved. If there is a suspected serious academic misconduct, they will report the case to the Dean of Students to trigger the Academic Misconduct Panel.
On receiving a student’s appeal against the outcome of a formal investigation, or an Academic Misconduct Panel, the Deputy Principal will review the case, together with any additional evidence. They will decide either to uphold or reject the appeal; if it is upheld, they can decide to review or rescind the original penalty.
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