Advice to faculty who are meeting with an advisee about misconduct

Guidance for Faculty Advisors when dealing with Academic Misconduct

The purpose of this page is to provide faculty with guidance on meeting with an advisee who has been found to have engaged in academic misconduct. The campus policy asks the advisor to invite their advisee to a meeting to discuss the student's incident of academic dishonesty. The meeting should make sure that the student understands that they have a support system in place while they proceed through and/or after the incident. 

Meeting with the Advisee

Under the college's Intellectual Integrity policy, when an instructor reports a violation of the policy to their dean, "The Dean's Office will notify the student's academic advisor in broad terms and ask that the advisor follow-up with a meeting with the student to discuss academic integrity."

An advisor would start by sending an email to their advisee. An example might be:

Dear [student], 

I have been notified that you have been involved in an incident regarding academic dishonesty. I want to support you in moving beyond this issue, and would like for us to have a conversation about this situation. Please contact me to schedule a meeting by [date]. 

We recommend that you indicate a deadline, perhaps one week from the email, in order to ensure that the meeting takes place in a timely fashion. The college policy does not mandate that this meeting take place, and it might be the case that the student chooses to decline the invitation. Nevertheless it is important that the opportunity be provided to the student.

Meeting with the Student

Please note that the following is just for guidance, and that there is no mandated structure for such a meeting.

There are three broad areas that might be covered in the requested meeting.

Background:

•    So, what happened? Let the student describe the incident and the fallout. If the student is defensive about it, ask why they think that the instructor thought it was cheating/misconduct.

•    What would have been a better behavioral choice? How could you have avoided this situation?

What skills or resources would help the student in the future:

•    What was it that was preventing you from succeeding on your own? What sort of skills/resources do you need to be in a better position?

Some common issues are note-taking skills, study skills (in general), and time-management skills. These, and more, are addressed in the Primer that the Intellectual Integrity Committee has created. The student can find this information at http://www.cs.oswego.edu/~dab/CII/

Specifically, note-taking skills are addressed at 

http://www.cs.oswego.edu/~dab/CII/primer6.html

Study skills are addressed at 

http://www.cs.oswego.edu/~dab/CII/primer2.html

Time-management skills are addressed at 

http://www.cs.oswego.edu/~dab/CII/primer3.html

It might be that students are having difficulty using the Angel Course Management System, either in a totally online class, a hybrid class, or just as support for a "regular" face-to-face class. The student can review the use of Angel by checking out the Student Resources in Angel:

•    SLN Student Orientation

•    SLN Knowledge Base

•    Student FAQs 

•    SUNY Learning Network HelpDesk

Is the student appealing the decision that misconduct took place?

If the student is appealing, and hasn't already done so, help them with their appeal. Ensure that the student knows how to appeal. The policy says,

"A student who thinks the penalty assigned by the instructor is inappropriate may appeal the penalty using the following academic appeal process:

1. first, to the instructor involved;

2. then, to the chair of the department in which the course is offered;

3. and finally, using the Judicial Affairs Office, the student may appeal to the appropriate academic dean. The Judicial Affairs Office will work with the student to prepare the final appeal and will submit the appeal on behalf of the student."

How should the meeting come to a close?

There should be, by the end of the meeting, an action plan which describes what the next steps should be for the student. This would include a discussion about how to get back into the good graces of the instructor, should the student feel that the instructor is going to be biased against him/her in the future.

The student should also understand the consequences that would accompany any future incidents of academic misconduct.

Follow the meeting with an email that summarizes this action plan. Check back with the student in a few weeks to see how things are going, and provide any further advice that makes sense.

In conclusion 

The goal of this meeting, remember, is to support the student. That does include helping the student understand what it means to act with integrity, and why. This is a "just in time" intervention to show the student that we care about this issue. We want to make this a teachable moment and not a lecture on the evils of plagiarism, or cheating, etc.

Thank-you, in advance, for the assistance you provide your advisee.