Facilitated Discussion (FD) by a trained staff member from the Academic Integrity Office
Important Note: All Faculty/Instructors who suspect academic misconduct must use the Academic Integrity Office Automated System:
- The discussion should happen as soon as possible (normally within 5 business days of the notification) and the discussion should be held before the work is returned to the student.
- The Academic Integrity Office (AIO) will arrange the room and send notification letter.
- The notification to the student of a suspicion must include a summary of the basis for the suspicion to enable the student to prepare for the Facilitated Discussion. For example, if “plagiarism” is the suspected misconduct, the nature and extent of the plagiarism should be identified.
- The decision maker must be prepared to present the evidence in support of their suspicion (e.g. course outlines, assignment guidelines, plagiarism detection reports). Notify the AIO/student if they should bring notes, rough drafts or other documents to the discussion.
The purpose of the discussion is to inquire into the basis of the suspicion(s), and to give the student an opportunity to answer questions and to articulate their perspective on the facts. The meeting is not to be accusatory in nature, but investigative and non-adversarial. The student may be accompanied by a support person and/or a RSU/CESAR student advocate. Students are, however, expected to speak on their own behalf whenever reasonably possible. The AIO facilitator will ensure that the discussion is investigative, non-adversarial and educational (when possible) and that both parties are given an opportunity to voice their concerns and articulate their perspectives on the facts. No decision is to be made in the discussion.
- Allow the student time to answer the questions.
- Even if you believe that the student is not being truthful, do not accuse them. You can listen to what they say without agreeing with them. You will have time to make your decision after the discussion.
- The details of the discussion must be documented on a Summary of Discussion Form by the Academic Integrity Office facilitator.
- The instructor is to come to the discussion prepared to discuss the details of the suspected misconduct; this includes providing evidence of the suspicion.
Below are some suggested discussion strategies, based on the type of misconduct:
Student Suspected of “Plagiarism” (see Policy 60, Section 2.1)
- The aim is to understand the student’s work and the process that they used to complete it.
- Show documents supporting the suspicion to the student.
- Ask questions of content to assess understanding of the topic.
- You may choose to ask questions such as:
- How did the student do the research?
- What resources were used?
- How did the student keep track of information and the sources?
- Did anyone assist the student? How?
Student Suspected of “Cheating “(see Policy 60, Section 2.2)
- Outline circumstances leading to the suspicion and ask for an explanation. Read/show them the invigilators report.
- If appropriate you may wish to:
- Ask the student to answer the same or similar question. (If they studied, there should be an understanding of the topic.)
- Inquire about what and how they studied.
- If the student was found to have inappropriate/not approved materials, devices, etc. but denies ‘cheating’ or doing anything wrong, hear what they have to say; do not argue. You ultimately make your decision based on a "balance of probabilities".
The aim of the facilitated discussion is to obtain answers to all of your questions. If the decision maker needs to do further investigation, then the discussion can be adjourned and a follow-up discussion convened once the required information is obtained.
The decision will be based on the information available, applying a “balance of probabilities” standard of proof, whether academic misconduct has occurred. This means that it is more likely than not that the misconduct occurred. You will communicate your decision through the AIO Automated System within 3 business days. The AIO will review your finding and incorporate a summary of the facilitated discussion into the decision. Additional edits may be made by the AIO to ensure consistency with Policy 60. The AIO will then notify the student and all relevant parties, as applicable, of the finding, penalties, workshop(s)/quiz assigned, the right to appeal and the appeal deadline.
There are four (4) possible outcomes from the discussion:
- Option 1: No finding of academic misconduct has occurred - no penalty is warranted. Note: The Fundamentals of Academic Integrity Quiz and Student Learning Support workshops can be assigned for educational purposes.
- Option 2: The determination of academic misconduct is accepted by the student (no appeal is submitted by the student).
- Option 3: The determination of academic misconduct is accepted by the student, however, the student does not agree with the penalty assigned. The decision of the instructor stands and the student appeals. (Used only where a penalty greater than zero (0) on the assignment is imposed).
- Option 4: The determination of academic misconduct is not accepted by the student. The decision of the instructor stands and the student appeals.
You will communicate your decision through the AIO Automated System within 3 business days. The AIO will review your finding and incorporate a summary of the facilitated discussion into the decision. Additional edits may be made by the AIO to ensure consistency with Policy 60. The AIO will then notify the student and all relevant parties, as applicable, of the finding, penalties, workshop(s)/quiz assigned, the right to appeal and the appeal deadline.
Please ensure that you follow up on the "DEF" and submit the appropriate grade change form.
No Finding of Misconduct
- If education is determined to be needed, the student can be assigned the Fundamentals of Academic Integrity (FAI) Quiz and/or Student Learning Support workshop(s). You can assign a maximum of 3 workshops. A list of workshops can be found on the AIO Workshops page. Failure to complete these requirements may result in the student being prevented from registering in courses in the following semester.
- Please ensure that you follow up on the ‘DEF’ and submit the appropriate grade change form.
Finding of Misconduct
- A penalty must be determined.
- The minimum penalty for academic misconduct on any assignment or other form of evaluation in a course is a grade reduction which can include a "zero" (0) on the work. The minimum penalty for a graduate student is a grade of "zero" (0) on the work.
- A grade of “F” in the course may be assigned.
- Temporary or permanent removal from a co-op program option, placement, internship or practicum in which the student is currently enrolled may be assigned.
- For academic misconduct outside of a course, the minimum penalty is a Disciplinary Notation (DN) on the academic record, but an initial decision maker may recommend additional penalties as outlined in Policy 60, Section 5.3.
- When appropriate, a decision maker may assign a “Fail” or “Unsatisfactory”.
- A course-grade reduction greater than a grade of “zero” (0) on the work but less than an “F” in the course may be assigned. Note: This can only be applied to course components worth 10% or less, and any additional penalty cannot exceed 10% of the final course grade. Information explaining that such a penalty will be assigned must be included on the course outline.
- A Disciplinary Notation (DN) is automatically placed on the student’s record. This is not a penalty, but a consequence placed by the Registrar's office.
- The student may also be assigned the Fundamentals of Academic Integrity Quiz.
- You may also assign a maximum of 3 workshops. A list of workshops can be found here.
- Please ensure that you follow up on the “DEF” and submit the appropriate grade to Enrollment Services and Student Records.
For other penalties/consequences that may be recommended, see Policy 60: Academic Integrity.