Academic integrity is a cumulative process that begins with the first college learning opportunity. It is recognized by Columbia College that the primary responsibility for academic honesty and conduct are with the individual student. However, instructors shall take reasonable steps to discourage academic misconduct and encourage honest scholarship while informing students of course-specific requirements. Students are responsible for knowing the Academic Integrity policy and procedures and may not use ignorance of either as an excuse for academic misconduct. Columbia College recognizes that the vast majority of students at Columbia College maintain high ethical academic standards; however, failure to abide by the prohibitions listed herein is considered academic misconduct and may result in disciplinary action.
This policy applies to all Columbia College students.
The College expects students to fulfill their academic obligations through honest and independent effort. In a community of scholars committed to truth, dishonesty violates the code of ethics expected of students, and is considered a serious offense subject to strong disciplinary actions. Academic misconduct includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Knowingly furnishing false or misleading information.
- Falsification, alteration, or misuse of college forms or records.
- Any joint effort in examinations, assignments, or other academic activity (unless authorized by the instructor).
- Plagiarism in any form, including using another person's phrase, sentence, or paragraph without quotation marks, using another's ideas or structure without properly identifying the source, or using the work of someone else and submitting it as one's own.
- Willfully aiding another in any act of academic dishonesty. Columbia College is equally concerned about the interpersonal social relationships that affect the learning environment as it is about individuals engaged in academic dishonesty. Respect for the conditions necessary to enhance learning, therefore, is required.
- Submitting substantial portions of the same work for credit more than once without authorization. Examples of multiple submissions include, but are not limited, to the following: Submitting the same paper for credit in two courses without the instructors' permission; making revisions in a credit paper or report (including oral presentations) and submitting it as if it were new work. Different aspects of the same work may receive separate credit.
- Unauthorized utilization of academic content produced with the aid of generative artificial intelligence (AI) platforms is considered a form of academic misconduct, as it involves seeking external assistance without adherence to academic guidelines.
For purposes of this policy, plagiarism is using others’ ideas and words without clearly acknowledging the source of that information or purposely submitting someone else's work as their own. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) may also be violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. These violations are taken seriously in higher education and could result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College. If a student is unclear what constitutes plagiarism, they should begin by asking their instructor for clarification prior to submitting the work.
Academic misconduct procedures
Generally, the faculty member is responsible for handling instances of actual and potential academic misconduct consistent with the following:
The faculty member who, upon investigation, suspects a student of academic misconduct will, if possible, confer with the student suspected and allow for their input.
- If the faculty member determines the student is not responsible for engaging in academic misconduct, the matter will be considered resolved and no further action will be taken.
- If the faculty member determines the conduct at issue was unintentional, the violation will be explained and an alternative penalty may be imposed at the discretion of the investigating faculty member. The Academic Dean for the student's school and the Office of Student Conduct will be notified in writing of the incident and the outcome.
- If the student admits responsibility for academic misconduct, or if the student is otherwise found responsible for the academic misconduct, the investigating faculty member may impose a penalty stated in the syllabus for that course, including but not limited to an "F" on the assignment at issue, in addition to other penalties not listed in the syllabus that reflect the seriousness of the offense. The student will be notified in writing the results of the faculty member's decision. The Academic Dean for the student's school and the Office of Student Conduct will be notified in writing of the incident and any action taken.
- The faculty member and/or Academic Dean and the Office of Student Conduct can elect to pursue behavioral misconduct consequences for the academic misconduct by referring the matter to the Office of Student Conduct for adjudication.
General guidelines for student appeals
A student wishing to challenge or appeal the allegation/finding of academic misconduct should consult the Department Chair.
If the student is not satisfied with the faculty member’s decision they may appeal the decision. The student must initiate the appeal process by filing an appeal request with the Academic Dean for the student's school within three (3) business days of receiving the faculty member’s written decision. The written request will be forwarded to the Academic Dean and the Dean for Student Affairs.
The Academic Dean and the Dean for Student Affairs will review the appeal request and determine if there are proper grounds for appeal and if the evidence submitted warrants reconsideration of the faculty member’s decision.
If a decision is made to reconsider the faculty member’s initial determination, the Academic Dean for the student's school or designee will adjudicate the matter and all parties will have the opportunity to submit information they would like considered. The Academic Dean for the student's school or designee will review all information provided by the parties and shall reach a determination. Each party will be notified in writing of the Dean’s decision. At all times the College reserves the right to impose discipline, including up to dismissal from school, based on the nature and circumstances of each confirmed violation. Decisions made by the Dean are final.
It is important to note that there are cases where the allegations and potential consequences are so serious and complex that the matter will be submitted, at the outset, to the Office of Student Conduct for investigation, and informal disposition. Decisions regarding case jurisdiction ultimately rest with Academic Affairs and the Dean for Student Affairs.