Student Academic Integrity Policy

Document Number000608
Date Approved8 October 2008
Date Last Amended3 August 2011

1.      Introduction

Academic integrity, honesty, and a respect for knowledge, truth and ethical practices are fundamental to the business of the University. These principles are at the core of all academic endeavour in teaching, learning and research. Dishonest practices contravene academic values, compromise the integrity of research and devalue the quality of learning.

The Student Academic Integrity Policy supports the University’s commitment to “being truthful, sincere and direct in intentions and actions; acting lawfully and with academic integrity” (Institutional Strategic Plan 2011-2015). It has been developed in accordance with advice from the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

This policy must be read in conjunction with the Student Misconduct Rule 000935.

2.      Policy Intent

This policy is intended to reinforce the importance of integrity and honesty in an academic environment. This policy applies to all students of the University in all modes of study and in all locations, including undergraduate students, postgraduate coursework students, and research higher degree candidates at all of the University’s campuses. 

3.      Relevant Definitions

In the context of this policy:

Academic fraud is a form of student academic misconduct that involves making a false representation to gain an unjust advantage. Without limiting the generality of this definition, it can include:

  1. falsification of data;
  2. using a substitute person to undertake, in full or part, an examination or other assessment item;
  3. reusing one's own work, or part thereof, that has been submitted previously and counted towards another course without permission from the relevant course coordinator;
  4. making contact or colluding with another person, contrary to instructions, during an examination or other assessment item;
  5. bringing material or device(s) into an examination or other assessment item other than such as may be specified for that assessment item;
  6. making use of computer software or other material and device(s) during an examination or other assessment item other than such as may be specified for that assessment item; and
  7. contract cheating or having another writer compete for tender to produce an essay or assignment and then submitting the work as one’s own.

Academic Integrity Module (AIM) means a short course undertaken to develop skills and understanding of the norms and conventions that underpin scholarly work.  Academic integrity modules may vary from School to School but must cover those details listed in the current Student Academic Integrity Policy (academic fraud, research misconduct, plagiarism etc).

Advisor in Research Integrity means the Assistant Dean (Research and Training) in the relevant Faculty, appointed to manage any occasions of academic misconduct among research higher degree candidates and students undertaking the research component of a professional doctorate.

Plagiarism is the presentation of the thoughts or works of another as one's own. Without limiting the generality of this definition, it may include:

  1. copying or paraphrasing material from any source without due acknowledgment;
  2. using another person's ideas without due acknowledgment;
  3. collusion or working with others without permission, and presenting the resulting work as though it was completed independently.

Pro Vice-Chancellor means the Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty offering the course undertaken by the student.

Student academic misconduct includes but is not limited to conduct that involves academic fraud, plagiarism and any other dishonest conduct by a student to gain academic or general advantage; or conduct that otherwise contravenes the provisions of the University’s academic rules, policies, procedures and/or guidelines. Dishonesty in the preparation or presentation of any assessable work is regarded as student academic misconduct. Academic fraud, plagiarism and research misconduct are major categories of student academic misconduct.

Student research misconduct is a serious or deliberate breach of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research that involves intent and deliberation; recklessness or gross and persistent negligence; serious consequences, such as false information on the public record; or adverse effects on research participants, animals or the environment. Student research misconduct includes, but is not limited to, fabrication, falsification, plagiarism or deception in proposing, carrying out or reporting the results of research, and failure to declare or manage a serious conflict of interest. It includes avoidable failure to follow research proposals as approved by a research ethics committee. It also includes the wilful concealment or facilitation of research misconduct by others.

Student Academic Conduct Officer (SACO) is an academic staff member appointed to receive reports of incidents of alleged academic misconduct and to manage the University's response to those incidents in line with this policy. This position may be based within a School, across multiple Schools or in another academic unit (such as a campus). The appointment of a SACO would normally be at level C or above. With justified reasons, and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) approval, a Level B academic may be appointed. In large Schools or academic units, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) may, in consultation with the relevant head of the academic unit, approve the appointment of more than one SACO.

Student Academic Conduct Officer Coordinator is a senior SACO appointed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic). The SACO Coordinator works closely with SACOs to develop relevant training materials and resources, and to provide training and support for SACOs through workshops and consultations. The SACO Coordinator draws relevant issues to the attention of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and provides advice to SACOs, Heads of School and Pro Vice-Chancellors on issues of concern.

Student Misconduct Register (SMR) is the register used by the University of Newcastle to record incidents of student misconduct, whether academic, non-academic or research. It is a confidential register maintained by Complaints and Information Management. Only authorised officers have access to the SMR. 

4.      Principles

4.1.     Regard for academic integrity is the responsibility of all staff and students of the University.

4.2.     To support academic integrity principles, all students are required to complete an Academic Integrity Module within the first year of enrolment in a program. Where a specific Academic Integrity Module is not available within a Faculty, this requirement may be fulfilled by completion of the online academic integrity tutorial available in the University Library.

4.3.     The University may impose serious measures on students who are found to have breached this policy. 

5.      Responsibilities and Delegations

5.1.     All staff of the University are responsible for reinforcing high standards of academic integrity, and for reporting suspected breaches of this policy to the relevant SACO or Advisor in Research Integrity.

5.2.     The following officers have particular responsibilities in relation to implementing the University’s academic integrity and student academic misconduct procedures:

  1. Program convenors and Assistant Deans (Research Training) are responsible for ensuring that mechanisms are in place to provide students with education about academic integrity, including (but not limited to) compulsory Academic Integrity Modules and the use of electronic text-matching software as a learning tool, where appropriate;
  2. Student Academic Conduct Officers are responsible for assessing cases of alleged academic dishonesty, for initiating appropriate action in accordance with the Student Misconduct Rule, and for ensuring relevant records are entered into the SMR;
  3. Advisors in Research Integrity are responsible for referring any reported case of academic dishonesty by research higher degree candidates or students undertaking the research component of a professional doctorate to the Dean of Graduate Studies for consideration under the Student Misconduct Rule; and
  4. The Pro Vice-Chancellor or Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) is responsible for making an assessment and determination of any misconduct issue that is escalated to them in accordance with the Student Misconduct Rule. 

6.      Actions and Penalties

6.1      If any form of student misconduct is found to have occurred, a range of actions may be taken or penalties imposed. Refer to Student Misconduct Rule 000935 (Part H – Penalties and Outcomes).

6.2      Students under investigation for student academic misconduct, research misconduct, or other breaches of discipline will not be eligible to graduate until the matter is resolved under the provisions of the Student Misconduct Rule.

6.3      Before any penalties are applied to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Medicine (JMP) program, appropriate consultation must be held between Course/Unit Coordinators and SACO (University of Newcastle) and Head of School (University of New England).

7.      Recording Outcomes

7.1      Once a determination has been made on a misconduct matter, the relevant determining officer(s), as defined in the Student Misconduct Rule (Clause 20.3), will document their decision and relevant conditions in imposing any penalty.

7.2      The student will be informed in writing of the determination, as per the Student Misconduct Rule.

7.3      In cases of student academic misconduct, the relevant SACO will be responsible for ensuring relevant records are entered into the SMR and for ensuring that relevant staff within the University, as defined in the Student Misconduct Rule, are informed of the decision.

7.4      In cases of student research misconduct, the Office of Graduate Studies will be responsible for ensuring relevant records are entered into the SMR, and for ensuring that relevant staff within the University, as defined in the Student Misconduct Rule (Clause 20.4), are informed of the decision.

7.5.     Where a case of student academic misconduct or student research misconduct has been referred to another University officer for determination in accordance with the Student Misconduct Rule, relevant records must be forwarded to the originating SACO (or, in the case of student research misconduct, to the Office of Graduate Studies) for entry into the SMR and dissemination to other relevant staff.  

7.6      Student Misconduct Register

  1. The University will maintain a Student Misconduct Register (SMR) as an internal register of all student misconduct, including academic, non-academic and research misconduct.
  2. Any student penalised as a result of a case of student academic misconduct, research misconduct, or other breach of discipline will have their name, the nature of the charge, and the penalty recorded on the SMR as a formal record of misconduct.
  3. When a SACO or other authorised officer places a record of academic misconduct, research misconduct or other breach of discipline on the SMR the student will be notified that this has occurred.
  4. Records regarding student academic misconduct, research misconduct, or other breaches of discipline must be added to the University’s electronic document management system. All activity regarding misconduct and penalties that is recorded on the SMR will be de-identified after seven years and any associated hard-copy records of cases will be destroyed.

8.      Appeals

The procedure for appeals is outlined in the Student Misconduct Rule 000935 (Part  I – Appeals).

9.      Retrospectivity

Where student academic misconduct or student research misconduct is detected after results have been finalised, the SACO or Advisor in Research Integrity may open an investigation into serious cases of misconduct. 

10.    Essential Supporting Documents  

Student Misconduct Rule 000935

Bachelor of Medicine - JMP Student Academic Misconduct Rule 001008

11.    Related Documents

Rules Governing the Administration of Assessment Items 000113

Rules Governing Research Higher Degrees 000830

Code of Practice for Research Higher Degree Candidature Policy 000061

Code of Ethical Academic Conduct Policy 000607

Responsible Conduct of Research Policy 000873

The University is bound by the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW) [External].  

Approval AuthorityAcademic Senate
Date Approved8 October 2008
Date Last Amended3 August 2011
Date for Review1 August 2014
Policy SponsorVice-Chancellor
Policy OwnerDeputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) / Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)
Policy ContactStudent Academic Conduct Officer Coordinator
Amendment History

Minor amendment to change Policy Owner to Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and hyperlinks added to essential and related documents; The Secretariat, 1 May 2013.

Minor amendments to the definition of SACO to maintain consistency with the Student Misconduct rule (000935). Effected by the Governance and Policy Unit 23 February 2012

Amended July 2011 to reflect requirements of new Student Misconduct Rule (approved May 2011) for implementation 25 July 2011 (Academic Senate 03 August 2011 – Resolution AS11:117)

Student Academic Integrity Procedure [000609] was also rescinded effective 25 July 2011 (Resolution AS11:117 and C11:097)

Amended December 2008 to include provision re B Med JMP students (Clause 4.9)