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Addressing Academic Dishonesty

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You may encounter PWR students who do not complete the appropriate requirements for the course. Consider taking the following steps should you encounter students who fail to complete assignments or who plagiarize academic work.

Failing to Complete Assignments

PWR policy requires that students complete all assignments, including drafts, in order to pass the course. Be sure to include this policy in your syllabus and to discuss it with your students.

Many PWR instructors do not give extensions for student work unless that extension is required (and granted) in writing before the due dates. Such a policy makes sense in a writing class, where student progress generally depends on getting timely response to drafts and working on revisions.

If a student fails to complete work in your class, remind the student of the PWR policy. If the student continues not to complete work, you should write to the student so that you have a record of the correspondence, reiterating our policy. You should also notify the Associate Director to express your concern.

Undergraduate Advising (UAR) asks us to report any students in danger of failing a course. While it's important to respond to their formal request at mid-quarter, problems should be reported to the Associate Director as soon as they become evident at any point throughout the quarter.

Dishonest Scholarship

Students may use sources in appropriately, failing to cite them fully or even plagiarizing for several key reasons other than simple sloppiness or a deliberate attempt to deceive:

  • Learning to work with sources and weave them seamlessly into one's own writing is a difficult task that can trouble even professional writers,
  • The ease of electronic copying and pasting,
  • The growth of peer to peer sharing,
  • The growing awareness that concepts of intellectual property are influenced by many factors, including culture.

Today, definitions and responses to instances of academic honesty have generated much debate. You need to proceed carefully to both prevent plagiarism and to protect the rights of your students and yourself should a problem arise. Please follow these important guidelines in order to help your students succeed and understand how to produce honest scholarship:

  • Include or provide a link to the PWR policy on academic integrity in your syllabus. Read the policy with your class and discuss it in detail.
  • Set aside class time to train students on the effective and ethical use of sources, both in PWR 1 and PWR 2. Make sure they understand the definition of plagiarism, that it is a serious offense, and how to avoid plagiarizing. In addition, be sure that they are attentive to ethical use of copyrighted images, both in written work and in oral/multimedia presentations.
  • If you suspect that a student is using sources inappropriately, meet with the student and talk carefully about how to integrate, cite, and document sources in all academic work. Do not directly accuse a student of plagiarism, though you can ask questions about how the student is using sources and where the sources were found.
  • If you suspect plagiarism, meet immediately with the directors to discuss appropriate procedures for dealing with the issue.
  • Learn more about how Stanford handles cases of academic misconduct by visiting the Office of Community Standards website.

Remember that directly accusing a student of plagiarism or in any way penalizing a paper based on your suspicions violates Stanford's Honor Code. Any penalty assessed must be a result of a judgment reached by the Office of Community Standards, which is set up to adjudicate matters of academic conduct.