McMaster Divinity College is a religious community of people training for and engaged in Christian ministry. As part of their commitment to Christian faithfulness, members of the Divinity College community are expected to maintain the highest standards of personal and professional conduct in all fields.
Definition of Academic Dishonesty
Academic dishonesty is not qualitatively different from other types of dishonesty. It consists of misrepresenting the ownership of written work by deception or by other fraudulent means. In an academic setting this may include any number of forms such as: copying or using unauthorized aids in tests, examinations and laboratory reports; plagiarism, i.e., submitting work that is not one’s own; submitting work for credit to an instructor for which previous credit has been obtained from another instructor, unless the previously submitted work was presented as such to the instructor of the second course and has been acceptable for credit by the instructor of that course; aiding and abetting another student’s dishonesty; giving false information for the purposes of gaining admission or credit; giving false information for the purposes of obtaining deferred examinations or extension of deadlines; forging or falsifying McMaster University or McMaster Divinity College documents. [Adapted from the McMaster University Academic Integrity Policy]
In cases of suspected dishonesty with regard to course work, the course instructor shall:
- Consult with the Academic Dean or designate about suspected academic dishonesty and specify the evidence (at this stage the identity of the student is not revealed).
- Notify the student that academic dishonesty is suspected, specify the evidence, and inform the Academic Dean.
- Provide the student a fair opportunity to respond within two weeks after contacting the student by setting up a meeting at the convenience of both parties.
- The student is not permitted to withdraw from the course concerned during that two-week period.
- If the student does not respond to the course instructor’s attempts to make contact within that two-week period, the Academic Dean will write a letter to the student outlining the suspected Academic Dishonesty, will state the evidence, and will keep a copy of that letter in the student’s file and in a special file on Academic Dishonesty.
As a result of a meeting regarding a first offence, the course instructor reports the outcome to the Academic Dean. If the course instructor establishes that Academic Dishonesty occured, he or she may give a grade as low as 0% for the assignment. The Academic Dean will maintain a record of all occurrences of Academic Dishonesty in a special file that registers each offence as first, second or third.
In the case of second or third offences, the Academic Dean will bring the case to Faculty as a whole for its decision regarding an appropriate penalty, which may range from failure in the course, suspension, to expulsion from the College. Second and third offences will also be recorded in the student’s file and registered on their transcript.
First offences may be appealed to the Academic Dean within 30 days. Students may appeal the Faculty’s decisions regarding second or third offences within 30 days to a person designated by the College Senate who has expertise in Academic Dishonesty issues and is familiar with the College. Based on their interaction, a student may request that their appeal go before a committee of the College Senate, reported by the designated outside person, for a final decision to be made by the College Senate.
In addition to this statement, the McMaster University Academic Integrity Policy is also valid for all members of the McMaster Divinity College community. For further explanation and examples of academic dishonesty, please refer to “Appendix 3: Academic Dishonesty Explanation and Examples” of the Academic Integrity Policy.