Academic Integrity Policy

Reference Code: SPL0001 Classification: Student Services
Approved Date
14 Feb 2020
Date Effective
14 Feb 2020
Review Date
14 February 2022
Approved By
Academic Board

Definitions

Academic Integrity Academic integrity involves upholding ethical standards in all aspects of academic work, including learning, teaching and research. It involves acting with the principles of honesty, fairness, trust and responsibility and requires respect for knowledge and its development. Academic integrity is foundational to the work of the whole academic community, including students, teachers, researchers, coordinators and administrators.
Academic Integrity Officer (AIO) An academic staff member who is responsible for making (or helping to make) an initial determination of the allegation of academic misconduct, for actioning where appropriate (see Appendix A for Role Statement).
Academic Integrity Committee (AIC) The Academic Integrity Committee determines the outcome of allegations of major academic misconduct and comprises of the AIO, the Subject Coordinator, the Academic Dean and the Student Services and Academic Support Manager.
Academic Misconduct Conduct of a student when undertaking the preparation, presentation or submission of coursework that is in breach of:
- Academic Integrity Policy
- Student Misconduct Policy
- Subject Learning and Assessment Guides
- Other Institute policy documents or requirements setting out student academic requirements.
Assessment Assessment means any task required to be undertaken by a student for the assessment of the student’s performance in a unit of study provided by the Institute and includes:
(a) any thesis, sub-thesis, written report, assignment, essay or other requirement relating to the assignment that is undertaken for the assessment of the student's performance; and
(b) any requirement to be performed by the student for assessment.
Authorised Officer of the Institute Means in the case of the Academic Integrity Officer or the Academic Dean.
Expulsion Expulsion means the removal or banning of a student from the Institute for serious violation of this policy.
Staff All persons appointed by the Institute as academic or professional services staff regardless of their level of seniority and regardless of whether holding full-time, part-time, or limited-term appointments, including conjoint appointments. For the purposes of this policy, it also includes all persons engaged by the Institute as casual employees.
Subject Coordinator The academic teacher responsible for a subject.
Suspension Suspension means the cancellation of enrolment of a student in a course or a unit and may include the withdrawal for a specified time of all rights and privileges as a student of the Institute, including the right to re-enrol and the right to enter or to be on campus grounds. Unless otherwise advised by the Institute, the student has the right to recommence their studies at the end of the suspension.
Turnitin An online service integrated with the Institute’s NTiLearn platform that provides a streamlined process for assessing student submissions and for providing feedback. It also provides a text-matching tool to assist in preventing and identifying poor academic practice, plagiarism and cheating.

 

Scope

1. OVERVIEW
a) Nan Tien Institute (NTI) values honesty and integrity and demands ethical behaviour in all aspects of its endeavours. NTI investigates and deals with incidents of misconduct by its students in a consistent manner in accordance with this policy, affording natural justice and procedural fairness and applying penalties that are appropriate, fair and just.
b) Exemplary student conduct and academic integrity is fundamental to learning, teaching and research at the Institute. The Institute is committed to providing a compassionate approach to student misconduct while also upholding high standards of ethical conduct while prioritising the safety of all staff and students.


2. PURPOSE OF POLICY
This policy sets out the Institute’s commitment to academic integrity:
a) reflecting that conduct is an important component of student life and graduate outcomes;
b) reflecting that academic integrity is a shared responsibility between students, staff and the Institute;
c) outlining the roles and responsibilities of the Institute, staff and students in promoting academic integrity; and
d) responding to student and academic misconduct in a fair, consistent, transparent and timely manner


3. SCOPE
a) This policy applies to all students enrolled in a course at the Institute. It applies to students previously enrolled, not currently enrolled and students on any form of leave from their program where the event forming the basis of the allegation occurred while they were enrolled or is directly related to their enrolment. It does not apply to students enrolled at other institutions even if the teaching and/or marking is provided by the Institute.

Policy Statement

5. GENERAL POLICY PRINCIPLES

a) The Institute will respond to academic misconduct in a fair, consistent, transparent and timely manner.

 

b) The Institute will maintain records of investigations and outcomes securely and confidentially.

 

c) The Institute will maintain a continuous cycle of quality improvement to monitor the occurrence and nature of instances of student and academic misconduct and act to address underlying causes.

 

d) The Nan Tien Institute is committed to providing a safe, equitable and orderly environment for the Institute community, and expects each member of that community to behave responsibly, ethically and compassionately. NTI is committed to:

i) Promoting the abilities and personalities of students in a harmonious Buddhist environment.

ii) Developing a community of scholars, academics, skillful practitioners and students not only rich with knowledge and skills but also with an aspiration to enrich their spirituality so as to become meaningful caring members of society.

 

e) The values of Nan Tien Institute, which we seek to nurture in our students, and express in both our academic life and the administration of the Institute, are: i) Compassion – openness to and awareness of our interdependence with others; being present to others; empathy with and kindness to others, especially those who are suffering.

ii) Wisdom – inquiry, understanding and appreciation of the history and insights of traditions and disciplines of knowledge, not least Buddhism and the social and health sciences; contemplation and deep reflection; the prudent application of what we learn.

iii) Committed Service – a sense of vocation in the service of all living beings, and an ordering of our priorities and energy towards the needs of and opportunities for our community, our country and our world.

iv) Practice – time for reflection and development of ourselves; mindfulness and concentration, moment to moment, day to day, to bring compassion and wisdom to each interaction with others; communicating truthfully, working harmoniously, doing no harm, and acting ethically in our professional roles.

 

6. ACADEMIC MISCONDUCT

Academic misconduct means any action or attempted action that may result in an unfair academic advantage to one or more students. This covers a wide range of behaviour and activities, including:

a) Plagiarism - the presentation of work, ideas or data of others as one’s own, without appropriate acknowledgement or reference to the original source.

Examples of plagiarism include:

i) the inclusion of one or more sentences from another person’s work without the use of quotation marks and acknowledgement of the source (Note: a general acknowledgement of the source but without the use of quotation marks to show the extent of copied text may still constitute plagiarism);

ii) the use of one or more sentences from the work of another person where a few words have been changed, or where the order of a few words has been changed;

iii) paraphrasing or copying another person’s work without a reference;

iv) adopting the ideas or concepts of another person/s without a reference to the original work or source;

v) copying the work of another student, with or without their permission;

vi) copying tables, graphs, images, designs, computer programs and any other data, ideas or work without appropriate acknowledgement and referencing.

vii) Poor or inadequate referencing is not necessarily plagiarism, though it still fails to meet the requirements for good academic practice.

 

b) Self-Plagiarism – the re-use of one’s work for more than one assessment, without acknowledgement and referencing.

 

c) Collusion – where students present work as independent work when it has in fact been produced with others unless prior permission for joint collaborative work has been given by the Subject Coordinator.

 

d) Cheating – fraud, dishonesty or deceit of any kind in relation to an academic assessment. Examples include: i) copying or attempting to copy from other students in an assessment, or in an examination;

ii) communicating with others during an examination;

iii) using any unauthorised materials, or mechanical or electronic devices in an examination;

iv) tampering with examination or assessment materials;

v) leaving examination or test answer papers exposed to the view of other students;

vi) purchasing a paper from a commercial service, including internet sites, whether pre-written or specially prepared for the student concerned;

vii) allowing others to provide you with any materials that give you an unfair advantage in an assessment;

viii) sharing materials with other students, either deliberately or inadvertently,  which results in them presenting such materials as fully or partly their own work;

ix) completing an individual assessment for another person, or having someone else complete all or part of your individual assessment and submitting it as your own work;

x) making changes to an assignment that has been marked then returning it for re-marking claiming that it was not correctly marked;

xi) taking an examination for another person or having another person take an examination for you;

xii) providing forged or falsified academic, medical or other documents to gain unfair academic advantage;

xiii)making a false claim in relation to an assessment or examination, to obtain an unfair advantage;

xiv)the falsification of data, information or citations as part of an assessment;

xv) attempting to prevent other students from completing their assessment work.

 

e) Other Academic Misconduct – Any act or omission that can be regarded as academically dishonest will be treated according to this Policy. Examples of such behaviour include: i) failing to abide by reasonable directions of a member of staff regarding the submission of an assignment or conduct in an examination;

ii) altering or falsifying any document or record for the purposes of gaining academic advantage;

iii) altering group assessment work that has been agreed as final by all participating students prior to submission without the consent of the other students;

iv) deliberate attempts to deceive about assessment lodgement times or word counts;

v) publishing or distributing recordings of classes without permission of the Subject Coordinator.

 

Systems and Procedures

7. SYSTEMS AND PROCEDURES

a) Detection of misconduct

i) Any person may report an allegation of academic misconduct in writing to the Academic Integrity Officer (AIO).

ii) Where a member of staff identifies a possible case of Academic Misconduct, it should first be brought to the attention of the Subject Coordinator (or an AIO if the staff member making the allegation is the relevant Subject Coordinator) with the supporting evidence.

iii) Staff should employ reasonable means to clarify whether the work does constitute academic misconduct including, but not limited to, the use of plagiarism detection software, web search engines, comparison with other assignments from the same course and consultation with colleagues.

iv) Where a student identifies a possible case of Academic Misconduct, it should be brought to the attention of the Subject Coordinator with the supporting evidence.

v) Plagiarism will often be identified by text matching (e.g. through a Turnitin Report). However, text matching may or may not constitute plagiarism and a careful analysis of the assignment must be made before making a charge of plagiarism. Plagiarism, suspected plagiarism or suspected cheating may also be identified in other ways, e.g. a much higher level of English than the student has demonstrated in other work or in the classroom.

 

b) Preliminary Review

i) The Subject Coordinator will mark the assessment task in the usual way and then conduct a preliminary review to ensure that there is evidence to support an allegation of academic misconduct. This may involve informally meeting with the student to discuss his/her work.

ii) Upon making a positive determination the matter will be referred to the AIO.

iii) In the case of a possible minor breach the AIO will notify the student in writing to their Institute email account (the Notification Letter) that an allegation of academic misconduct has been made against them and will provide details of the alleged breach including the name of the person who made the allegation and the evidence provided.

iv) In the case of a possible major breach, the AIO will notify the student in writing to their Institute email account (the Notification Letter) that an allegation of academic misconduct has been made against them and will provide details of the alleged breach including the name of the person who made the allegation and the evidence provided. The AIO will also advise the student that the matter has been referred to the Academic Integrity Committee for a formal investigation.

v) In the event that the AIO is the Subject Coordinator who made the allegation, the AIO will report the allegation to another AIO at the Institute who will conduct the preliminary review.

 

c) Formal Inquiry

i) The student will be invited to respond to the allegations at a formal inquiry which will take place within 5-20 business days of the Notification Letter.

ii) Students may respond to the allegations in writing or in person (including by video conference or other multimedia) or both. Students must notify the Institute how they intend to respond to the allegation.

iii) Students who wish to respond to the allegations in person are entitled to be accompanied by a support person. The support person may not act as a legal representative.

iv) In the event that a student does not respond to the allegations in person or in writing the formal inquiry will proceed in their absence.

v) In the case of a possible minor breach, the formal inquiry will be held by the AIO.

vi) In the case of a possible major breach, the formal inquiry will be held by the Academic Integrity Committee, which will comprise of the AIO, the Subject Coordinator, the Academic Dean and the Student Services and Academic Support Manager.

vii) The members of the formal inquiry will be entitled to speak to the person who made the allegation and any other person who it considers might help it reach a decision.

viii)The formal inquiry members will apply the balance of probabilities test in determining whether academic dishonesty has taken place, and will:

(1) Apply an open, impartial and unprejudiced mind to their duties;

(2) Base findings and recommendations solely on relevant considerations;

(3) Maintain confidentiality about all matters before them;

(4) Not be involved in a case or have any involvement in the finding and recommendation of a case before them if they have a personal relationship with the student or direct or indirect financial or personal interest in that case, or who otherwise has a conflict of interest in the case, even if they do not believe that their interest would affect their duties.

ix) Students will be notified of the outcome of the formal inquiry in writing to their Institute email account within 10 business days of the formal inquiry.

 

d) Adjudicating and Penalising – minor offences

i) The Academic Integrity Officer or Academic Integrity Committee of the Institute will determine if the incident represents minor or major misconduct. Examples of minor misconduct are:

(1) A first offence of plagiarism

(2) Bringing unauthorised materials into an examination

ii) For a minor case of misconduct, the AIO, or authorised officer of the Institute will decide if the allegation is proven and determine the penalty. The penalty applied will generally be designed to educate the student and may include:

(1) A warning or a reprimand to the student;

(2) Requiring the student to undertake counselling, or attend academic support workshops when available;

(3) Permitting the student to resubmit the assessment, or submit a different assessment, with a maximum possible grade of a pass only where appropriate. If the student does not submit a satisfactory assessment, they may still receive a fail grade for the assessment;

(4) Reducing the mark of the assessment (possibly to 0).

iii) The AIO or other authorised officer of the Institute will provide a report on the determination and penalty to the Student Services and Academic Support

Manager who will advise the student in writing of the decision and the penalty. This letter will contain the following information: (1) sufficient detail of the allegations to allow the student to understand the nature of the alleged misconduct;

(2) details of the basis on which the misconduct was determined;

(3) the penalty imposed;

(4) a referral to the Appeals Process;

(5) a reference to further advice and support available through Nan Tien Institute.

iv) The student has the right to appeal any decision as described below in section g.

v) The Student Services and Academic Support Manager will record the details of the offence and the penalty in the Misconduct Database.

vi) Any consequential changes to grades and marks will be reported to the Academic Dean.

vii) If the allegation is dismissed, the offence will be removed from the Academic Misconduct Database and the student’s academic record.

 

e) Adjudicating and Penalising – major offences

i) Offences which are not minor offences are treated as major. In particular, major offences include:

(1) Repeat offences of plagiarism

(2) Serious offences of plagiarism amounting to extensive coping and a deliberate intention to deceive

(3) Collusion

 

f) For a case of major misconduct, the AIO or authorised person will provide a report to the Academic Integrity Committee. The Academic Integrity Committee will interview the student following the procedures outlined above, decide if the allegation is proven and determine the penalty. The Academic Integrity Committee may also interview any other parties involved. Penalties may range from;

(1) A reprimand

(2) A direction to undertake counselling, training, or other remedial measures

(3) Requiring the student to resubmit the assessment, or submit a different assessment, or resit the examination with a maximum possible grade of a pass (if appropriate and if the resubmitted work is satisfactory)

(4) Reducing the mark on the assessment (possibly to 0)

(5) Reducing the grade for the subject (possibly to fail)

(6) Place the student on probation with, as appropriate, restrictions on enrolment or a requirement to attend counselling and remedial courses as directed.

ii) For serious repeated offences, the penalty may be suspension or expulsion from Nan Tien Institute.

iii) The Academic Integrity Committee will provide a report on the determination and penalty to the Student Services and Academic Support Manager who will advise the student in writing of the decision and the penalty following the procedures set out above.

iv) The student has the right to appeal any decision as described below in Section 7.

v) The Student Services and Academic Support Manager will record the details of the offence and the penalty in the Misconduct Database. Any consequential changes to grades and marks will be reported to the Academic Dean.

vi) If the allegation is dismissed, the outcome will be recorded in the Academic Misconduct Database.

 

g) Misconduct and Graduation

i) In a situation where misconduct is not identified until sometime after it has occurred, it must be investigated in a similar manner as if it had been identified immediately.

ii) Where a student has received an award from Nan Tien Institute and serious misconduct is proven, consequential action may include rescinding the award. In such a case, the student's name shall be deleted from the Register of Graduates and the student will be required to return the testamur and final transcript to Nan Tien Institute.

 

h) Student Appeals

i) If dissatisfied with the outcome of a misconduct investigation, students have the right to appeal.

ii) The first stage for an appeal is through informal consultation. The student should seek a meeting with the Academic Dean to discuss the outcome of the case. Any such request should be made within five (5) working days of the date of the letter from the Academic Integrity Officer, the Academic Integrity Committee or authorised officer of the Institute in which the decision on the misconduct was notified.

iii) If the student remains dissatisfied, the second stage for an appeal is a formal request in writing to the President.

i) Formal Appeal Procedures

 

i) Students who wish to appeal formally must lodge their appeal in writing to the Student Services and Academic Support Manager within 20 working days of receipt of an official notification from Nan Tien Institute of the decision or matter they wish to appeal. Receipt of the appeal will be notified to the student by the Student Services and Academic Support Manager.

ii) A student can appeal on one of the following grounds:

(1) procedural grounds, i.e. where it is thought that the Academic Misconduct Procedures were not followed; .

(2) severe extenuating circumstances which must be validated with supporting documentation; or

(3) a letter of support from a staff member of Nan Tien Institute or a Counsellor.

iii) The appeal should include the following details:

(1) the student’s full name [family/surname and first name], student number and contact details;

(2) the nature of the decision or matter being appealed;

(3) the basis for the appeal;

(4) details of the specific outcome(s) sought by the student; and

(5) copies of all relevant documents.

iv) The student appeal, together with all relevant supporting material, will be submitted by the Student Services and Academic Support Manager to the President for resolution. The President may interview the student and anyone who may have information about the case. The President may set up an Appeal Committee to make a determination on the appeal.

v) The President will advise the student in writing of the decision on their appeal within 20 working days from the date the appeal is submitted. If the student’s internal appeal is unsuccessful the notification will acknowledge their circumstances and explain why their appeal has been unsuccessful.

vi) If the appeal to the President is successful, the offence will be removed from the Academic Misconduct Database and the student’s academic record.

vii) An appeal at any level may be rejected if:

(1) no reasonable grounds are stated for the appeal;

(2) no new or different grounds are stated for the appeal from those already considered by the previous hearing/adjudicator;

(3) the student has not ensured that they are in a position to receive all notifications from the Institute. Late or non-receipt of official letters will not

be accepted as grounds for appeal if changes of address have not been notified and received by the Institute; or

(4) the appeal is lodged outside the time limits stipulated.

viii) The President may appoint a senior member of staff or an external person to undertake the review.

 

j) External review or referral

A matter may be referred to an external agency. Where this occurs, the Institute may cease any internal process pending the outcome of external investigation. External agencies may include:

(1) The NSW Ombudsman

(2) The Anti - Discrimination Board

(3) The Australian Human Rights Commission

(4) The Independent Commission against Corruption

(5) The Police

 

k) Records

i) The Student Services and Academic Support Manager will provide a report on misconduct cases to the Academic Dean for each meeting of the Academic Board.

ii) All reasonable efforts will be made by staff of the Institute to ensure that the principles of confidentiality, security and privacy of student information are maintained while dealing with cases of misconduct. All records relevant to these procedures are to be maintained in a recognised Institute record keeping system.

iii) Information collected from students may, as required in accordance with the Higher Education Support (HES) Act 2003 and other legislation, be provided to the Department of Education, Department of Immigration and Border Protection and Commonwealth, State or Territory Government agencies.

iv) The Institute is bound by the Australian Privacy Principles (AIPs) under the Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012 with respect to the collection, use and disclosure of personal information.

Attachments

Version Date Approved Date Effective Approved By Amendment
1 18 Dec 2009 18 Dec 2009 Academic Board
2 18 Dec 2010 18 Dec 2010 Academic Board
3 25 Nov 2016 25 Nov 2016 Academic Board
4 14 Feb 2020 14 Feb 2020 Academic Board