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Frequently asked questions by Faculty/Instructors

What is the Role of the Academic Integrity Office?

The mandate of the Academic Integrity Office (AIO) is to ensure that Policy 60: Academic Integrity is carried out in a fair and transparent way, and to provide educational resources to the Ryerson community regarding academic integrity and misconduct.

What is the Academic Integrity Council?

Effective September 1, 2009, the Ryerson Senate approved the establishment of an Academic Integrity Council (AIC) consisting of both faculty and students and is administered through the Academic Integrity Office (AIO). The AIC's mandate is to promote and uphold academic integrity at Ryerson through both participating in educational activities and by holding hearings when it has been determined by faculty that students have engaged in academic misconduct. Members of the Academic Integrity Council are committed to upholding the integrity of the learning process and of a Ryerson degree.

 

How Can I Apply to Join the Academic Integrity Council?

If you wish to become a member of the Academic Integrity Council please contact the Academic Integrity Office by email at aio@ryerson.ca for information on this process.

What if I Suspect a Student Has Committed Academic Misconduct?

When you suspect that a student has committed academic misconduct the first step is to decide if you would like to have a Facilitated Discussion with the student and the Academic Integrity Office facilitator or if you would like to have a Non-Facilitated Discussion with the student without an Academic Integrity Office facilitator. The student has the right to request a Facilitated Discussion if they wish.  If this is the case the instructor will be informed by the student or the Academic Integrity Office. For more on this process, please see: “Pursuing a Suspicion of Academic Misconduct” in the Faculty/Instructors section of the website. All suspicions of academic misconduct must be registered with the AIO Automated System.

What if I Suspect Academic Misconduct in an Exam Setting?

In this case, students must be allowed to finish their exam.  Instructors should mark on the student’s exam when they noticed the incident happening.  If students are seen discussing during the exam it is ideal to move/separate them if possible.  If a student is in possession of unauthorized material the instructor is to remove and retain this material. If an exam invigilator suspects academic misconduct they should follow the same rules but should also file an “Examination Incident Report Form”.

What if I Suspect Several Students in a Case of Academic Misconduct?

If two or more students are suspected in one case of academic misconduct the Academic Integrity Office must be contacted to assist in determining a fair process.  Students may be called in for a discussion of the suspicion as a group or individually. The student has the right to request an individual meeting and can do so by contacting aio@ryerson.ca.

What If a Student Tells Me They Suspect Another Student of Academic Misconduct?

The first thing to do is get all the details and gather information.  If the student wishes to remain anonymous, get details from them and proceed with gathering information.  If the student does not wish to remain anonymous they may not be part of the initial discussion to be had with the other student. However, if the suspected student is charged with academic misconduct, the other student may be asked to attend the hearing as a witness for the faculty/instructor.

How Do I Report a Suspicion Through the AIO Automated Reporting System?
  1. Go to the Academic Integrity Office Automated System
  2. Go to the Suspicion of Misconduct sub tab, select a discussion type and complete the information requested.

You should request the discussion as soon as possible and when possible before the work is returned to the student. If the discussion is facilitated, the AIO arranges the room and sends a notification letter to the student and copies the instructor and all necessary parties.

What If I Choose to Have a Non-Facilitated Discussion with the Student?

If you choose to have a Non-Facilitated discussion you still need to report the suspicion via the Academic Integrity Office Automated System.

  1. Go to the Suspicion of Misconduct sub tab, select Non-Facilitated Discussion and complete the information requested.
  2. The meeting should be held as soon as possible (usually within 5 working days).
  3. If grades are due before the meeting is complete and before a decision has been made a DEF (deferred) grade should be submitted for the student.  It is inappropriate to submit an INC. Once you report the suspicion through the Automated System, a notification letter is sent on your behalf to the student (you and all relevant parties are copied).

The Discussion is meant to be an open, informal and non-confrontational dialogue. No decision is to be made in the meeting. The goal of the meeting is to get the necessary information or explanation needed to make a fair and appropriate decision.

The faculty/instructor is to come to the meeting prepared to discuss the type of misconduct suspected and the reasons for the suspicion.

The student may bring notes, drafts or other relevant documentation to the meeting.

Remember to give the student time to answer. Even if it seems obvious to you that the student is lying, do not accuse them. You will make your decision after the meeting based on what you have heard, the evidence, etc.

Please document the details of the meeting on a Summary of Discussion Form and supply a copy to the student.

You have three (3) business days to make a decision.

The standard of proof in all decisions shall be a ‘balance of probabilities’.  This means it is more likely than not that misconduct occurred.

The Decision Letter is to be generated from the Automated Reporting System.

  1. Go to the Case Overview sub tab, select the Make Decision icon and submit the information requested.
  2. You will be prompted with an email to verify and modify if necessary and then send.
  3. The decision letter will be sent to all relevant parties.

If there is no finding of misconduct but education is needed you may assign an Academic Integrity Tutorial as a course requirement. If you choose to assign the Fundamentals of Academic Integrity Quiz (FAI) click 'yes' in the decision form.

If you are assigning an Academic Integrity Workshop click 'yes' on the decision form and you will automatically be prompted to assign up to a maximum of three (3) workshops.  

Failure to complete the tutorial or workshops by the indicated date may result in the student being unable to graduate.

The Penalty: If you decide academic misconduct has occurred you must next decide on an appropriate penalty. The minimum penalty is a grade reduction on any academic work (unless a graduate student), ranging in severity up to and including a grade of "zero" on the work. You may also choose to assign an "F" (failure) in the course, or if you feel the situation is serious enough you may recommend a Disciplinary Suspension (not applicable for graduate students), Disciplinary Withdrawal or Expulsion.  If this is the case, please contact the Academic Integrity Office via email at aio@ryerson.ca to discuss recommendations.

What Do I Need to Know/Do for a Facilitated Discussion?

If you choose to have a Facilitated Discussion with the Academic Integrity Office (AIO) Facilitator, you first need to report your suspicion of academic misconduct on the Academic Integrity Office Automated System.

  1. Go the Suspicion of Misconduct Referral sub tab, select Facilitated Discussion and complete the information required.
  2. Because you have chosen a Facilitated Discussion the Academic Integrity Office will arrange the room and send the notification letter to the student (you will be copied).
  3. The meeting is to be an open, informal and non-confrontational conversation between the instructor and the student facilitated by the Academic Integrity Office Facilitator.
  4. The instructor should come to the meeting prepared to discuss the details of the suspected misconduct and should bring any relevant material for review.
  5. Details of the meeting will be documented by the Academic Integrity Office Facilitator and then emailed to the instructor and student to review after the meeting.
  6. The instructor then has three (3) business days from the day of the discussion to make a decision.
  7. The standard of proof in all decisions shall be on a 'balance of probabilities'. This means it is more likely than not that misconduct occurred.
  8. The instructor informs the Academic Integrity Office of the decision through the Automated System within three (3) working days. The Academic Integrity Office sends out the decision letter to the student within five (5) business days of the discussion.
Can I Have the Student Redo the Assignment?

It is not appropriate to have the student redo or resubmit the assignment. Other students in the class do not have this opportunity despite the challenges they may have faced in submitting their work and this would give the student whose work was plagiarized an unfair advantage and extended time to complete the assignment. Students must submit work that is not plagiarized and should be verifying this at the time of submission. If you find the student has committed academic misconduct the minimum penalty is a grade reduction on the work (for graduate students, the minimum penalty is a grade of "zero" (0) on the work).

What is the Minimum Penalty I Can Assign for a Finding of Academic Misconduct?

The minimum penalty is a grade reduction for the work, unless a graduate student. For graduate students, the minimum penalty is a grade of "zero" (0) on the work.

Can I Give a Zero (0) for the Work and Not Charge a Student with Academic Misconduct?

If you have determined that a student has committed academic misconduct it is not appropriate to give them a "zero" (0) for the work and not charge them with academic misconduct. In this case the student is free to appeal the grade of "zero" (0) and can tell the appeals committee they were never charged with academic misconduct.

What is the Maximum Penalty I Can Assign for a Finding of Academic Misconduct?

The maximum penalty that may be assigned by an instructor is an "F" (failure) in the course. If you wish you may recommend a Disciplinary Suspension (DS), Disciplinary Withdrawal (DW) or Expulsion for undergraduate students and a Disciplinary Withdrawal (DW) or Expulsion for graduate students. If you wish to recommend either of these, a penalty hearing is held at the AIC level and for DW and Expulsions a Senate level hearing is required.

What Happens if the Student Does not Agree with my Finding of Academic Misconduct and Appeals the Charge?

Once a student has initiated an appeal, you will be forwarded a copy of their letter to the Academic Integrity Council (AIC) including their submitted evidence. You will be asked to respond to the student's letter and to supply any evidence you used to determine the finding of academic misconduct.

Your response should be in the form of a letter addressed to the AIC.

All of this information will then be organized into a package and supplied to all relevant parties including the AIC in preparation for the hearing.


The hearing has a very set process which must be adhered to. This process is outlined here: Order of Hearing. Normally 1.5 hours are allotted.  The first part is for the hearing and the second part is for the panel to deliberate.  All parties leave for deliberation and a decision is sent via email within ten (10) working days.

Is There any Support or Guidance Available to Help Faculty Prepare for a Facilitated or Non-Facilitated Discussion or an Appeal?

The Academic Integrity Office is available to assist faculty with preparing for discussions regarding suspicion of academic misconduct – either Facilitated or Non Facilitated.  Please contact the Academic Integrity Office at aio@ryerson.ca or call (416) 979-5000 ext. 7800 for further assistance.

For an appeal, faculty/instructors may seek assistance from the Faculty Advisor whose role is to provide support and guidance. Please contact the Academic Integrity Office at aio@ryerson.ca or call (416) 979-5000 ext. 7800 for further assistance.