Code of Academic Integrity
University of the People fosters a spirit of honesty and integrity fundamental to a university community. As an academic community whose fundamental purpose is learning and the pursuit of knowledge, every individual at UoPeople is responsible for following accepted standards of academic integrity and for sharing a commitment to upholding these values in all academic pursuits.
University of the People students are expected to work diligently to ensure that all assignments, exams or other coursework submitted represents the student’s original work and follows acceptable academic practices. Students are encouraged to work together, as group efforts and study groups are a wonderful tool to facilitate learning and foster a deeper understanding of material in a course. However, students must submit their own individual work at all times unless instructed to participate in group work as part of a course requirement. In the rare instance of a very advanced class that is cumulative in nature, there may be occasions when the Course Instructor may assign work that requires students to submit pieces of their own work that had been previously submitted in this or another UoPeople course; unless specifically so advised by one’s Course Instructor, students should assume that the practice is prohibited.
Sources must be documented through acceptable scholarly references and citations, and the extent to which the sources have been used must be apparent to the reader. Even indirect quotations, paraphrasing, etc., can be considered plagiarism unless sources are properly cited. Plagiarism will not be tolerated at any time; students are required to learn and be personally responsible for educating themselves about plagiarism and the appropriate forms of citation and referencing sources. Students who need assistance and/or have questions concerning use of outside resources or collaboration on assignments should contact their Course Instructors and/or the Office of Academic Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org. Under no circumstances are students allowed to publicly share (for example on blogs, websites, social media, databases) their work completed at or for University of the People until two calendar years from the end of the student’s final term of study.
All student work and scholarship must be free of fraud and deception including:
- Plagiarism—the unintentional or intentional representation of the words or ideas of another as one’s own work in any academic exercise. This includes failing to properly identify direct quotations with both a proper citation and with quotation marks, submitting a paper that was the result of someone else’s efforts but is represented as one’s own work, paraphrasing bodies of work without proper citation, and copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up majority significant portion of one’s own work even while attempting to paraphrase and change the text. Plagiarism also includes giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation and submitting academic work multiple times without informing the Course Instructor and receiving approval. When Course Instructors or University personnel suspect plagiarism, both special programs and the Internet will be used to identify the sources of intellectual property suspected of being used or cited inappropriately.
- Fabrication—falsifying documents, changing or inventing data, citing sources not consulted, and misrepresenting citations.
- Unauthorized Assistance—completion of an academic exercise or exam by someone other than the student, using or receiving copies of the work of someone who had previously taken the UoPeople course, or collaborating without acknowledging the collaboration. While collaboration is a key element to a positive University of the People learning experience, it is critical that students acknowledge any collaboration and its extent in all submitted course work.
- Misrepresentation—lying or misrepresenting a student’s personal situation to a University member in an attempt to receive special circumstances, permissions, quiz and/or exam resets, or extensions.
- Collusion—assisting another student in committing an act of academic dishonesty, including providing information about or copies of one’s own work from a course that had been previously taken at UoPeople.
All members of the academic community, including instructional personnel, students, and University administrators are expected to assist in maintaining the highest level of integrity and to report all incidents that violate academic honesty. Students encountering suspected cases of cheating should discreetly report the violator to their Course Instructor. Alternatively, students may report plagiarism by pressing the Report Plagiarism button in the Online Campus. This may be done without informing an instructor. Specifically, if academic misconduct is suspected in a Discussion Forum posting or any other work product, students should contact their Course Instructor and should not assign the student a grade as part of the peer assessment process.
All violations are reported by the Office of Academic Affairs to the Office of Student Services. Breaches of the Code of Academic Integrity and the General Code of Conduct are grounds for disciplinary action and are permanently noted in a student’s academic record. All violations are cumulative and may accumulate throughout a student’s studies at University of the People, regardless of which course the violations take place in. All Code of Conduct violations will be defined as severe violations (see below), unless the Office of Academic Affairs decides otherwise. Therefore, the process for a student’s first three violations as described below will typically apply only to Code of Academic Integrity violations. Violations are normally subject to the following sanctions by the University:
First violation: Warning is issued by the course instructor, the student is issued a zero by the Office of Academic Affairs on the assignment, and a permanent note is added to the student’s record.
Second violation: Student is issued a zero on the assignment or exam in question. The student may also receive a failing grade in the course as determined by the Office of Academic Affairs.
Third violation: Student is issued a failing grade in the course.
Fourth violation and up will be treated as severe violations (see below).
Sanctions, however, may vary based on past disciplinary records, and the University retains the absolute discretion to determine the appropriate sanction to be imposed for any infraction, depending on the severity of the violation. Sanctions may also be cumulative; no sanction must necessarily be exhausted before another sanction is imposed.
In cases where an act of academic misconduct remains undiscovered until after credits have been issued or a degree is awarded, University of the People reserves the right to revoke any credits or degree based on new revelations about academic issues including, but not restricted to, admission credentials, coursework, research, theses, or other final projects.
If academic misconduct is discovered, the Office of Academic Affairs has the authority to award a grade of Fail (F) rather than a Withdrawal (W) for that course.
Once a student has accumulated more than three violations, or when a violation was defined as severe at the discretion of the Office of Academic Affairs, the following violations will all constitute severe violations.
In cases where a student is determined to have committed a severe violation:
The Office of Academic Affairs may decide to suspend the student’s access to University services such as Moodle and Yammer, even if such suspension affects the student’s ability to complete his or her courses.
The student will be contacted by a University official to advise the student of his or her alleged violation and to describe the investigation and disciplinary process, including the possible sanctions that may be imposed. The student will be given seven calendar days within which to submit a written response to the Office of Student Services at email@example.com.
If a student does not respond to the allegations found against them the student forfeits the right to a decision by the Student Affairs Committee and may receive a failing grade in the course and be subject to dismissal from the University, depending on the severity of the violation as recommended by the Office of Academic Affairs.
However, if a response is submitted, his or her case is referred to the Student Affairs Committee. Following receipt of the student’s written response, the Student Affairs Committee will conclude whether the student violated the General Code of Conduct or Code of Academic Integrity and, if so, will determine what disciplinary sanctions will be imposed on the student in respect to such violation.
Such sanctions may include censure and a warning to avoid future violations, immediate removal of the student from his or her course(s) that term, suspension from the University, or permanent dismissal from the University. The Office of Student Services will communicate with the student regarding the investigation and determinations of the Student Affairs Committee.
Please note that students may appeal the decisions to the Appeals Committee, who will decide only on whether the original procedure of the decision correctly adhered to University policies and procedures, not the outcome of the decision. Any appeal must be sent to the student’s program advisor within 30 days of receiving the decision.