Departure From Academic Integrity (DFAI)

Guidelines for investigation, decision making, referral and notification:

Academic Integrity is a commitment to the fundamental values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility. Academic Integrity concerns refer to issues that may involve a departure from those fundamental values. These are termed "Departures from Academic Integrity (DFAI)"

The following list defines the domain of relevant acts without providing an exhaustive list.

  • Plagiarism
    Presenting another’s ideas or phrasings as one’s own without proper acknowledgement. Examples: copying and pasting from the internet, a printed source, or other resource without proper acknowledgement; copying from another student; using direct quotations or large sections of paraphrased material in an assignment without appropriate acknowledgement; submitting the same piece of work in more than one course without the permission of the instructor(s).
  • Use of unauthorized materials
    Examples: possessing or using unauthorized study materials or aids during a test; copying from another’s test paper; using an unauthorized calculator or other aids during a test; unauthorized removal of materials from the library, or deliberate concealment of library materials.
  • Facilitation
    Deliberately enabling another’s breach of academic integrity. Examples: knowingly allowing one’s essay or assignment to be copied by someone else for the purpose of plagiarism; buying or selling of term papers or assignments and submitting them as one’s own for the purpose of plagiarism.
  • Forgery
    Submitting counterfeit documents or statements. Examples: creating a transcript or other official document; creating a medical note.
  • Falsification
    Misrepresentation of one’s self, one’s work or one’s relation to the University. Examples: altering transcripts or other official documents relating to student records; impersonating someone in an examination or test; submitting a take-home examination written, in whole or in part, by someone else; fabricating or falsifying laboratory or research data.

The broader Senate Policy dealing with Academic Integrity Procedures can be found at Senate Polices . The procedures developed by the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science are consistent with the Senate Policy and are outlined below.

Instructors, please note that the two forms that you require for cases of DFAI in your courses are included in points 1.3 and 1.8 below.

Any questions regarding these policies, procedures or forms, please contact the Associate Dean (Academic) at academic@appsci.queensu.ca.

Procedures:

1. Instructor guidelines:

1.1 The instructor has the responsibility to initiate the investigation.  If at any point the instructor believes the case to be particularly serious, or complex, he/she shall refer the case to the Associate Dean (Academic) in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

1.2 Collection of evidence:  to begin investigating a possible departure from academic integrity, the instructor should assemble all documents related to the case.  These may include:

  • The work submitted by the student for academic credit
  • The sources from which the work submitted by the student is apparently derived
  • The instructions describing the nature of the work to be done
  • Any emails between instructor and student relating to the work
  • Any documents used by the instructor or his/her department stating policies on departures from academic integrity.
  • Statements from witnesses/proctors, etc.

1.3 Informing student in writing of the investigation:

An instructor who identifies a possible DFAI must send the student, by email, a Notice of Investigation letter.  This must be done within 10 working days of the instructor becoming aware of the possible DFAI.  Completing the form, saving it to your computer and then forwarding it by email to the student supplies the student with all of the information required under the regulations, including:

  • A summary of the evidence on which the investigation is based.
  • The possible sanctions.
  • The student’s right to respond to the investigation in writing or in person.
  • The student’s right to have representation present in any response to the investigation – and information about the services provided by the Co-ordinator of Dispute Resolution Mechanisms. 
  • The fact that the student cannot drop the course once he/she has been notified that proceedings have begun. 
  • An overview of the timeline for proceedings. 

A copy of the work in question should either be emailed separately to the student by the instructor, or made available for viewing by the student within 5 days of the form submission.  If the student is not able to view the material in person within 5 working days then copies of the work in question will be forwarded in hardcopy to the student. 

1.4 Initial meeting between instructor and student:     

Beyond the viewing opportunity, an initial meeting may be held, at the student's request, between the instructor and student within 10 days of sending the initial notification to the student.   The student may also submit a written response.  If the student does not respond within 10 days then the process will continue without the student’s input.  The meeting is intended to be exploratory and not a legal proceeding; however a Dispute Resolution Advisor or other advisor (friend, parent) may be present.  The instructor and student should discuss the allegation, and the instructor should outline the possible penalties. 

1.5 Instructor decision possibilities:

The instructor shall decide whether there has been a departure from academic integrity, based on the available evidence.  Two options are available:

a) A decision that there has been no departure from academic integrity.  If this is the case, all documents will be destroyed.  The student will be informed of the decision in writing (done as part of the “Reporting Form” stage - covered in Section 1.8 below).
b) A decision that there has been a departure from academic integrity (DFAI).

1.6 Notification of Associate Dean (Academic), Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science

Upon a finding of a DFAI, the instructor must contact the Associate Dean (Academic), Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, academic@appsci.queensu.ca regarding the outcome of the investigation.   This is done to determine if there are previous DFAI cases on the student file. 

  • If no previous DFAI has been recorded, then the instructor assigns a sanction.  The student and Associate Dean (Academic) are notified of the decision through the reporting mechanism outline in Section 1.8. The documentation of the case is placed in the student’s file in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. 
  • If a previous DFAI has been recorded, then the instructor refers the sanctioning process to the Associate Dean (Academic) in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science (see Section 2).

1.7 Possible sanctions imposed by the instructor:  After consultation with the Associate Dean (Academic), the following are sanctions that instructors have the ability to impose:

  1. Issuing an oral or written warning.
  2. Requiring submission of a revised or new piece of work.
  3. Assigning a partial or total loss of marks for the originally submitted piece of work. 
  4. Assigning partial or total loss of grades in a course.     

1.8 Completing the Decision and Reporting form which notifies the student of the decision

The instructor should record the result of the investigation, and the sanction(s) (if any) on the form Reporting on the Findings of a Departure from Academic Integrity. This form should be saved to your computer and then submitted to the student.  If investigation confirmed a finding of a DFAI, then a copy of the form, as well as the original “Notification” letter, should be copied to the Associate Dean (Academic).  This form should be completed within 10 working days of the instructor/student meeting outlined in Section 1.4.

2  Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science Guidelines for dealing with Referred cases

Cases of DFAI may be referred to the Faculty level for the following reasons:

  1. Review of the student file indicates  (as per #1.6 above) that the student has a previous instance of DFAI
  2. If at any point the instructor believes the case to be particularly serious or complex
  3. The student appeals the finding of an instructor

In all cases of referral, the Associate Dean (Academic) will assume responsibility for investigating the matter. 

2.1 Informing the student: 

The student must be notified in writing by the Faculty Office that the case has been referred to the Associate Dean (Academic) (except in cases of appeal by the student, where this is unnecessary).   This should be done within 10 days of the instructor/student meeting outlined in Section 1.4

2.2 Meeting convened with all parties: 

The Associate Dean (Academic) will convene a meeting with the student, the instructor, and witnesses where appropriate, to conduct a thorough investigation of the evidence.  This should be done within 10 working days of the date that the student was informed (section 2.1).  If the course is hosted in a Faculty other than Engineering and Applied Science, a representative of that Faculty should be invited to attend. 

The student should be provided the opportunity to review in advance the evidence that will be considered by the Associate Dean (Academic).  If the student does not, or cannot, attend this meeting then he/she can submit a written response to the allegation.  If the student does not respond to the offer to attend the meeting within 10 working days, then the process will continue without their input

The student and instructor must be notified, in writing, of when the meeting will be convened, invited to appear, and be informed of the right to have an advisor present.  This meeting will be convened no later than 20 working days from the time the student was notified of the referral to the Associate Dean (Academic). Note that a student may make representation through conference call if necessary. 

All parties should make known in advance the identity and affiliation of accompanying persons.  Each party will be given the opportunity to make a statement and have their case heard. 

2.3  Decision of Associate Dean (Academic)

The Associate Dean (Academic) will make a decision in the case Report on the Findings of Possible Departure from Academic Integrity (DFAI) for Cases Referred to the Associate Dean (Academic), after considering all evidence and hearing all responses. Two options are available:

a) A decision that there has been no departure from academic integrity.  If this is the case, all documents will be destroyed.  The student will be informed of the decision in writing (done as part of the “Reporting Form” stage - covered in Section 2.5 below).
b) A decision that there has been a departure from academic integrity.

2.4 Possible sanctions imposed by Associate Dean (Academic)

The following are sanctions that the Associate Dean (Academic) has the ability to impose:

  1. Issuing an oral or written warning
  2. Requiring submission of a revised or new piece of work.
  3. Assigning a partial or total loss of marks on the originally submitted piece of work. 
  4. Assigning partial or total loss of grades/marks in a course.          

In more severe cases, the following sanctions may be recommended by the Associate Dean (Academic) to the Senate Committee on Academic Procedures (SCAP):

  1. Requiring withdrawal from the University for a specified period of time
  2. Rescinding of a degree.

Three occurrences of a DFAI for a particular student will automatically initiate a proceeding by the Operations Committee to determine if a recommendation of 6) or 7) is appropriate. 

2.5 Completing the Decision and Reporting form which notifies the student of the decision

Regardless of the decision of the Associate Dean (Academic) the result of the investigation, and the sanction(s) (if any) on the form "Reporting on the Findings of a Departure from Academic Integrity" (see link above). This form should be submitted to the student.  If investigation confirmed a finding of a DFAI, then a copy of the form, as well as all other documentation, should be placed in the student file.  This form should be completed within 10 working days of the meeting of all parties as outlined in section outlined in Section 2.2.

3.   Appealing a Decision regarding a Departure from Academic Integrity


Students have the opportunity to appeal a decision. More details on the Appeals process can be found in the Senate document, Academic Integrity Procedures - Requirements of Faculties & Schools

  • Appeals of a decision by a course instructor will be conducted by the Associate Dean (Academic), provided the student is registered in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.
  • Appeals of a decision by the Associate Dean (Academic) will be conducted by the Operations Committee in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.