Departure From Academic Integrity (DFAI)

Academic Integrity Policies and Procedures in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science (the Faculty) are consistent with the Queen’s University Academic Integrity Policies and Procedures (QUAIP), approved on October 2021, which can be found in full on the Queens’ Secretariat website.

    • Definitions - Administrative Responsibilities for Academic Integrity
      The following are designated, in accordance with Senate AI Procedures (QUAIP section 1.6)
      • The instructor is responsible for initiating the Departure from Academic Integrity (DFAI) Investigation and reporting the Finding to the student.
      • Delegate: When an instructor is unable to investigate and/or decide the finding, the Department Head or Dean may delegate the responsibility to another individual with appropriate subject matter expertise.
      • The Queen’s Engineering Academic Integrity Administrator (the AIA) provides advice and in some cases assistance to the instructor, and maintains DFAI records.
      • The AI Lead in the Faculty is normally the Associate Dean (Academic), or Delegate; the AI Lead provides advice, reviews and investigates AI-related matters as required, may determine sanctions, undertakes investigations that are referred by the instructors, and conducts appeals.
      • The AI Appeal Panel: An ad hoc panel, normally consisting of three members of the Faculty Operations committee, which considers DFAI appeals within Queen’s Engineering. The members of the panel are appointed by the Dean. The Dean designates the Chair of the panel.
      • Days: All references to days in this Procedure refer to business days. Reference to a “week” means 7 calendar days.
    • Core Values and Departures from Academic Integrity

      Core Values

      1. Queen's students, faculty, administrators and staff all have responsibilities for supporting and upholding the fundamental values of academic integrity. Academic integrity is constituted by the fundamental six core values defined in QUAIP 2.1:
        • Honesty
        • Trust
        • Fairness
        • Respect
        • Responsibility
        • Courage
      2. These values are central to the building, nurturing and sustaining of an academic community in which all members of the community will thrive. Adherence to these values, expressed through academic integrity, forms a foundation for the "freedom of inquiry and exchange of ideas" essential to the intellectual life of the University.

      Departures from Academic Integrity

      1. Adhering to the core values in all academic work ensures the value of the degree, the integrity of the institution and the integrity of individual achievement. Activities that contravene the core values represent a “Departure from Academic Integrity”, and compromise the integrity of the educational experience. Examples of conduct that constitutes a Departure from Academic Integrity (DFAI) are listed below. The list is not exhaustive; other conduct and actions may also be found to be DFAIs (QUAIP section 2.2)
        • Plagiarism
          Presenting another’s ideas, words, or work as one’s own. Examples: copying or using quotations or paraphrasing material from a print or other source, including the internet, without proper acknowledgement; copying another student’s work; purchasing a term paper or assignment to be submitted as one’s own; submitting the same piece of work in more than one course without permission.
        • Contract Cheating
          Outsourcing academic work to pay-for-profit websites or personal acquaintances. Examples: submitting essays or assignments that have been obtained from homework sites, essay mills, tutor sites, friends, family or classmates.; hiring an exam impersonator.
        • Use of unauthorized materials
          Examples: Using or possessing unauthorized written material or an aid such as a calculator, cell phone/ smartphone or smart watch that is not permitted during a test or examination; copying another student’s test or examination answer; unauthorized removal of materials from a library.
        • Falsification
          Misrepresentation of one's self, one's work or one's relation to the University. Examples: altering transcripts or other official academic documents; impersonating someone in a test or examination; submitting take-home or other examination responses written, in whole or in part by someone else; fabricating or falsifying laboratory or research data.
        • Forgery/Use of Forged Materials
          Creating and/or submitting counterfeit documents. Examples: creating or causing to be created or submitting a counterfeit transcript or other official academic document; creating or submitting a counterfeit medical excuse note; altering any information on provided documentation.
        • Facilitation
          Enabling another student’s breach of academic integrity. Examples: allowing an essay or assignment to be copied by another student for submission as that student's work; selling academic work; making information available to another student about the exam questions or possible answers during an online exam window.
        • Unauthorized Use of Intellectual Property
          Using the intellectual property of another for profit or distribution for unfair academic, personal, or professional advantage without the authorization of the owner. Examples: uploading course materials to a note-sharing website without the instructor’s permission; providing course materials to a commercial study prep service not sanctioned by the University; distributing, publicly posting, selling or otherwise disseminating an instructor’s course materials or providing an instructor’s course materials to anyone else for distribution, posting, sale or other means of dissemination, without the instructor’s express consent.
        • Unauthorized collaboration
          Working with others, without the specific permission of the instructor, on academic work that will be submitted for a grade. Examples: working with others on in-class or take-home tests, papers, or homework assignments that are meant to be completed individually; communicating with another person during an exam or about an exam during the exam window.
        • Failure to Abide by Academic Rules
          Failing to abide by all Faculty/School and University academic rules and regulations. Examples: failing to follow rules imposed by course instructors, or others (for example, teaching assistants, guest or substitute instructors), regarding the preparation, writing and submission of assignments; failing to follow rules set out by instructors or the Exams Office in writing of tests and examinations; failing to follow regulations governing ethics reviews.
        • Departure from the Core Values of Academic Integrity
          Other acts that deviate from the core values of academic integrity that do not fall under the specific categories listed above. Examples: breaching confidentiality of a patient/another student/instructor; falsely claiming to have acted or not acted in a particular way.
    • Guidance for instructors
      Note: In these Procedures, all references to an “instructor” include a delegate, as defined in section 1. A flow chart summary of the procedures for instructors is provided at the end of this document . The detailed procedures for engaging with the student are found in QUAIP section 3.2. These are summarized below:
      1. Responsibility of the instructor: The instructor has the responsibility to initiate and follow through the investigation to the “Finding” stage. They are encouraged to seek guidance from the FACULTY AIA or the AI Lead. In complex cases (eg multiple alleged departures from AI arising from the same incident) instructors should seek this advice soon as possible.
      2. Collection of Evidence: The instructor shall assemble all documents related to the case, for example:
        • The work submitted by the student for academic credit;
        • the source(s) from which the work submitted by the student is apparently derived;
        • instructions describing the nature of the work to be done;
        • the course syllabus;
        • any emails between instructor and student relating to the work;
        • documents alleged to be altered; and
        • documents/information distributed by the instructor or the Department/Faculty outlining expectations concerning academic integrity and consequences of departures from academic integrity.
      3. After collecting and reviewing the evidence, if the instructor determines that there is not sufficient evidence to continue a DFAI investigation they destroy all documents related to the case and the student is not informed of the investigation ( QUAIP section 3.1.4).
      4. The Notice of Investigation (“NOI”) to the student, from the instructor:
        • After collecting and reviewing the evidence, if the instructor determines that there is sufficient evidence to continue a DFAI investigation, they must complete a “Notice of Investigation (NOI) of a Possible Departure from Academic Integrity” form. This form includes areas to be completed by the instructor regarding the nature of the evidence and investigation. In addition, this form contains important information for the student regarding possible sanctions, the student’s right to meet with the instructor or provide a written response, the right to have a support person present at a meeting, and resources available to the student.
        • The instructor will send the completed NOI form to the student, also attaching all evidence relevant to the investigation.
      5. Response from the student: Within 10 days of the date the NOI was emailed to the student, the student must respond to the NOI. In their response, the student may either request a meeting with the instructor, or inform that a written response to the instructor will be forthcoming within a further 5 days. Additional details regarding the meeting, student support, etc., can be found on the NOI form.
        • If no response is forthcoming from the student within the 10 business day window, then the instructor shall make a decision based on the available evidence.
      6. Instructor decision: After a careful review of all evidence, the instructor determines whether or not there is sufficient evidence to conclude that a DFAI has occurred.
        • If that decision is NO, then the instructor sends a Dismissal Form to inform the student and the AIA administrator, advising that the investigation has been dismissed. No student-identifying information should be contained on the Dismissal Form sent to the AIA, and all other documents related to the case will be destroyed.
        • If the decision is YES, then the instructor must complete a “Finding” Form – a “Finding of a Departure from Academic Integrity”.
      7. The “Finding” form - determining the appropriate sanction: The instructor must first contact the FACULTY AIA to determine if the student has committed a previous DFAI, and then decide if the sanction will be a Level I or Level II. In deciding on a Level, and the range of appropriate remedies/sanctions, instructors should refer to QUAIP section 3.4.
        • Level I – no previous DFAI cases exist for the student, and the DFAI is considered “minor”. The Instructor will then choose from the range of Level I remedy/sanctions listed on the NOI form. This remedy/sanction will be included on the Finding form.
        • Level II – a record of a previous DFAI exists for the student, OR the DFAI is considered “major”. In the case of a Level II DFAI, the case is referred to the Faculty AI Lead for an appropriate remedy/sanction (NOTE: the instructor’s decision on the finding is NOT reviewed by the AI Lead; ONLY the remedy/sanction is considered).
      8. Sending the “Finding” form to the student: The instructor emails the “Finding” form to the student. If the remedy/sanction is “Level II” then, on the “Finding” form the instructor will indicate that the case is being referred to the AI Lead for the assignment of an appropriate remedy/sanction. The AI Lead shall decide on the remedy/sanction and will inform the student and instructor of this in writing.
      9. Forwarding all documentation to the AIA lead: After sending the Finding Form to the student, all documentation related to the case will be forwarded to the AIA. No documentation may be retained by the instructor or placed in a departmental student file.

      Referral of the case to the Faculty AI Lead

      1. The instructor must refer the case to the AI Lead (normally the Associate Dean Academic) to decide the remedy or sanction, if:
        • There is a record of a previous finding of a departure from academic integrity on file in the Faculty/School Office; or
        • after the instructor considers all the factors above in assessing the gravity of the departure, they believe that a more serious sanction than those that may be imposed by an instructor (see section 3.4.2) is warranted.
      2. When a case is referred by the instructor for a sanction/remedy decision, the role of the AI Lead is to review and consider the factors of the case only as they relate to the decision of an appropriate remedy or sanction. The Faculty/School AI Lead must not re-consider the instructor’s decision on the finding of the departure.
      3. When referring a case, the instructor shall indicate on the Finding form that the case is being referred to the Faculty/School for the assignment of an appropriate remedy or sanction and email the Finding form to the student (QUAIP section 3.4).
      4. An instructor can also refer the case to the AI Lead when they are unable to investigate and/or decide the finding, and in complex cases. In such cases the AI Lead will conduct the investigation, in accordance with the procedures outlined in section 3.1 above.
        • In referred cases, the AI lead may impose a range of remedies and sanctions, including a requirement to withdraw, or rescinding of a degree, as described in QUAIP sections 3.4.4.1 and 3.4.4.2.
    • Appeals of DFAI Findings, and of DFAI Remedies/Sanctions]
      1. A student may appeal a finding that a DFAI has occurred, OR the remedy/sanction imposed, or both. The DFAI appeal process is summarised below; further details are provided in QUAIP section 4.0.
      2. Grounds for an appeal are limited to the following (details in QUAIP section 4.1):
        1. The decision-maker failed to act in accordance with the rules of procedural fairness
        2. The decision-maker acted without, or exceeded their, jurisdiction.
      3. Students wishing to submit an appeal must do so within 10 days of receiving the Finding form from the instructor (Level I) or within 10 days of receiving the remedy/sanction decision from the AI Lead (Level II). In cases where the decision on remedy/sanction was referred to the AI Lead, the student cannot submit an appeal until after the sanction decision has been is issued.
      4. To submit a DFAI appeal, a student needs to complete the "Faculty DFAI Appeal", in which they must clearly state whether they are appealing the finding that a DFAI occurred, or the remedy/sanction, or both. On the DFAI Appeal form, they MUST explain their grounds for the appeal - based specifically on either 1) or 2) above.

      Appeal decision-makers:

      1. If the Instructor or their delegate was the original decision-maker for both the DFAI Finding and remedy/sanction the first level of appeal is to the AI Lead
      2. If the AI Lead investigated the case and made a Finding of DFAI and/or decided the original sanction/remedy, the first level of appeal is to the AI Appeal Panel.

      Considering the Appeal ( QUAIP section 4.2)

      1. If the appeal contains new, permitted evidence: the appeal decision-maker will send the matter back to the previous decision-maker for reconsideration. “New, permitted evidence” is evidence that was not given to the previous decision-maker because it was either not known to the student or not available to the student, through no fault or omission on the student’s part, when the previous decision was made.
        • The appeal decision-maker can decide not to send the matter back for reconsideration if (a) sending the matter back would cause delay that is unduly prejudicial to the student; OR (b) if the student’s new evidence clearly demonstrates bias in the prior decision-making process being appealed.
        • If the matter is sent back to the previous decision-maker for reconsideration, the previous decision-maker re-evaluates the case, taking the new evidence into account. If they decide to change their finding, they will issue a new Findings form. Otherwise, the previous decision-maker will advise the student and the appeal decision-maker that the new evidence does not change their decision and the student’s appeal can proceed.
      2. If the appeal does not contain new, permitted evidence: the instructor is provided with the Appeal submission and has an opportunity to comment.
        • If the instructor responds, then a student is provided time to review and reply to the instructor’s comments.
        • If the instructor does not respond within 10 days, the appeal decision-maker proceeds with the appeal.
      3. Next, a meeting with the instructor, student and appeal decision-maker is normally convened. The meeting is scheduled by the AIA. Both instructor and student may have a support person present at the meeting, and must inform the AIA if they intend to do so, identifying who their support person will be.

      The Appeal Decision ( QUAIP section 4.3)

        The appeal decision-maker, after reviewing all evidence, can act as follows:
        • If the Finding of a DFAI is being appealed: maintain or overturn the finding;
        • If the remedy/sanction is being appealed: maintain or modify the remedy/sanction
        • Reporting the decision ( QUAIP section 4.3.5): within 20 days after the appeal is complete, the appeal decision-maker must provide the student with a written decision, summarizing all relevant evidence and explaining the reason(s) for the decision. This decision must also include information explaining the next level of appeal available, and resources available to the student.

      Second level of Appeal ( QUAIP sections 4.4 through 4.6)

      1. If the first level of appeal was to the AI Lead, the second level of appeal is to the Faculty AI Appeal Panel. A student must submit this second level appeal to the AIA within 10 days of receiving the first level Appeal Decision. The AIA will ask the Dean to appoint an AI Appeal Panel and identify the Chair of the Panel (see definitions Section 1). The AIA will forward the student’s appeal to the Chair of the Faculty AI Appeal Panel.
      2. The process for the second level appeal will then follow the process in 4.1-4.3 above.
      3. If the first level of appeal was to the Faculty AI Appeal Panel, the second level of appeal is to the University Student Appeal Board (USAB).
      4. In a second level appeal the student may appeal the Finding that a DFAI occurred, or the remedy/sanction imposed, or both.
      5. Whether the Faculty AI Panel decided a student’s appeal as a first level or second level appeal, this Panel is the final appeal decision-maker within the Faculty. Appeals from a Faculty AI Appeal Panel decision are always to USAB.
      6. Appeals to USAB must be submitted within two weeks after the Faculty AI Appeal Panel decision was emailed to the student.
    • Special Cases
      1. Cross-Faculty Jurisdiction: If a student is enrolled in a course that is offered by a Queen’s Faculty/School (the “course Faculty”) that is not the same as the Queen’s Faculty/school in which the student is registered (the “home Faculty”) then the procedures to be followed are outlined in QUAIP section 5.
      2. Students registered in other Post-secondary institutions or in Collaborative programs: This includes students at Queen’s on exchange, visiting students taking Queen’s courses under a Letter of Permission, and students registered in collaborative degree programs offered jointly by Queen’s and another post-secondary institution. The procedures to be followed for these students are outlined in QUAIP sections 3.6.1 and 3.6.2.
      3. Queen’s students attending other post-secondary institutions. These Queen’s students may be studying on an official exchange program, or at another post-secondary institution on a Letter of Permission, or registered in a collaborative degree program offered jointly by Queen’s and a partner institution. The procedures to be followed for these students are outlined in QUAIP section 3.6.3.
    • Record Keeping

      Record Keeping ( QUAIP sections 1.6.3, 1.7 and 3.3.1)

      1. Records of DFAI Investigations that Resulted in a Dismissal: If a “Dismissal” decision is made, then, after forwarding the Dismissal form to the student, an instructor must remove the name from the form and subsequently forward it to the AIA, for reporting purposes. All other documents related to the case will be destroyed.
      2. Records of DFAI Investigations that Resulted in a DFAI Finding: Official records are kept of each investigation that concludes with a Finding of a DFAI. Where these records are kept, and for how long, depends on whether the DFAI was found to be a Level I or a Level II, as follows:
        • Level I: The documentation related to a Level I investigation is NOT added to the Faculty Official file for the student. However, this documentation is included in a separate file in the Faculty Faculty office, which is maintained solely for the purpose of Academic Integrity record keeping. These records are destroyed upon the student’s graduation.
        • Level II: The relevant documents are added to the Faculty Official File for the student. These records are destroyed 10 years after the student’s graduation.
      3. Records of Academic Integrity investigations are not kept by the instructor, by the department, or in any files maintained by the Faculty except as noted above.
    • Forms
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