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Academic Standards

Academic Regulations and Requirements

Academic Integrity Report Form (download)

Student Appeal Form (download)

Academic Integrity Pledge

We, the students of Roger Williams University, commit ourselves to academic integrity. We promise to pursue the highest ideals of academic life, to challenge ourselves with the most rigorous standards, to be honest in any academic endeavor, to conduct ourselves responsibly and honorably, and to assist one another as we live and work together in mutual support.

Breaches of Academic Integrity

Roger Williams University exists to foster the mature pursuit of learning, which is premised upon the exercise of mutual trust and honest practice when representing data, findings and the sources of ideas used in an academic exercise. The University expects students to observe these principles of academic integrity that ensure the excellence of their education and the value of their diploma.

Examples of breaches of academic integrity include but are not limited to:

Cheating: Using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information or citation in any academic exercise. Examples include, but are not limited to

  • Copying from another student on exams or assignments;
  • Altering graded exams or assignments and resubmitting them for a new grade;
  • Submitting the same paper for two classes without both instructors’ written permission.

Fabrication: Unauthorized falsifications or invention of any information or citation in any academic exercise. Examples include, but are not limited to

  • Using made-up citations in papers or other assignments;
  • Representing collaborative work as the result of individual effort;
  • Collaborating on graded assignments beyond the extent authorized by the instructor.

Plagiarism: Plagiarism is best defined as the incorporation of words and ideas of another person in an attempt to claim that person’s work as one’s own. Thus, plagiarism fails to engage in civil, scholarly discourse. It is sometimes a form of intellectual theft and is always a form of intellectual fraud.

In its worst form, plagiarism may consist of directly copying large or small portions of either printed or online works, or, as frequently happens in schools, written papers of another student, without properly crediting the source(s) from which they came. There are, however, more subtle forms of plagiarism as well. Paraphrasing, which is the process of using alternative expressions to communicate the meaning of another author’s words, is also a form of plagiarism, unless the sources of those ideas are acknowledged. Roger Williams University provides resources and advice to students to help avoid plagiarism. See How to Avoid Plagiarism and the Cite Sources & Links to Handouts. Students are encouraged to consult their instructor if they have questions regarding proper documentation of sources and avoiding plagiarism. Examples of plagiarism include, but are not limited to

  • Quoting or paraphrasing someone else’s work without correct citation;
  • Copying work of another and representing it as your own;
  • Purchasing a paper, essay or other work;
  • Having someone else do your work for you.

Fraud: Altering, forging, or encouraging another person to alter or forge, official records of the institution, or assisting others in such activities. Examples of plagiarism include, but are not limited to

  • Taking an exam for someone else;
  • Changing the grade on an assignment and representing it as the original.

Willful Damage: Damaging another’s creative work or property.

Facilitating Academic Dishonesty: Assisting or aiding someone else in committing a
breach of academic integrity. Examples include, but are not limited to

  • Allowing another student to copy a paper, problem set, exam or other assignment that is meant to be completed individually;
  • Taking an exam or completing an assignment for another student;
  • Obtaining a copy of an exam ahead of time for oneself or another student.

Consequences of a Breach of Academic Integrity
Civil discourse and the entire academic project depend on mutual trust among the community of scholars that is Roger Williams University. Even a minor breach of academic integrity diminishes that trust. Accordingly, the consequences of a breach of academic integrity, depending on severity, include:

  • Failure on the assignment on which the breach occurred;
  • Failure of the class in which the breach occurred;
  • Academic probation for one semester;
  • Suspension for one semester;
  • Separation (dismissal) from the Roger Williams University community.

Academic Conduct Committee

The University Academic Conduct Committee is empowered to investigate and adjudicate all cases of suspected breaches of academic integrity. This committee will also serve as the record keeper of all academic integrity breaches. The University Academic Conduct Committee may, as part of its deliberations, consider a student’s prior breaches of academic integrity on file. The University Academic Conduct Committee shall establish and publish by-laws and procedures pertaining to its own operations.

Committee Composition
The University Academic Conduct Committee shall be composed of one elected faculty representative from each school or college (including one from each CAS division), two representatives elected by the Student Senate, and one administrator (ex officio) from Academic Affairs.

Procedure for Dealing with Alleged Breaches of Academic Integrity

  1. A faculty member who suspects a breach of academic integrity shall investigate, including opportunity for the student to answer the allegation. Upon finding evidence of a breach of academic integrity, a faculty member may elect to penalize the offending student by
    • Issuing the student a formal warning
    • Failing the student on the assignment on which the breach occurred
    • Failing the student in the class in which the breach occurred
  2. The faculty member must communicate directly with the student via RWU e-mail, with copies sent to the Dean’s office of the faculty member, and to the dean of the student’s major, if different. Documentary evidence must also be forwarded to the dean’s office.
  3. The Dean’s office will inform the student of her/his right of appeal, along with the forms to be completed to initiate the appeal process.
  4. The Deans’ offices will forward all actions taken by faculty regarding academic integrity violations, along with all corresponding documentary evidence, to the Office of the Academic Provost, which shall serve as a clearinghouse.
  5. Students may appeal any penalty for a breach of academic integrity enforced by a faculty member to the University Academic Conduct Committee by notifying the Dean’s office, the faculty member, and the University Academic Conduct Committee in writing within 21 days of the final action of the faculty member.
  6. The University Academic Conduct Committee shall hear student appeals of faculty actions concerning academic integrity. The decision of the University Academic Conduct Committee will be communicated to the student, to the Dean, and to the faculty member in writing via RWU e-mail. Student(s) may appeal a decision of the University Academic Conduct Committee to the Office of the Provost within 21 days of the decision. The Provost’s decision is final.
  7. Upon finding recurring or particularly egregious instances of breaches of academic integrity by a student, the Office of the Provost reserves the right to levy
    • Academic probation for one semester
    • Suspension for one semester
    • Separation (dismissal) from the Roger Williams University community.

Academic Standards

Students are responsible for knowing and complying with the academic regulations of the University. Each College and School has an Academic Standards Committee that serves as the appeal committee for students requesting exceptions to academic policy. A petition obtained from the appropriate dean’s office must be completed and submitted to the dean of the college or school in which the student is enrolled. The dean of the college or school, if necessary, forwards the petition to the appropriate Academic Standards Committee.

Right of Appeal

In cases where an academic regulation or requirement constitutes a hardship, students may submit a written petition to the appropriate dean. Forms are available at the offices of the Registrar and the School of Continuing Studies in Providence. Any appeal is subject to review by the appropriate dean and designated Academic Affairs officer, whose decision shall be final.

An appeal must be filed within one semester after the semester in which the course was taken, or the event that is the basis for the appeal, occurred. Unless an appeal is filed within this period, it will not be considered.