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Academic Misconduct (Coursework) Procedure

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Section 1 - Introduction and Purpose

(1) This Procedure supports and should be read in conjunction with the Student Conduct Rules. In accordance with the Rules, this Procedure must be followed when managing alleged academic misconduct by a student undertaking coursework.

(2) This Procedure also supports the Academic Integrity Policy and the University’s commitment to providing an educational approach to academic integrity, recognising that students need to be supported to develop and demonstrate relevant academic skills.

(3) The purpose of this Procedure is to direct UOW staff and students on the process to be followed when managing alleged academic misconduct by a student undertaking coursework.

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Section 2 - Scope of Procedure

(4) This Procedure applies to the management of alleged academic misconduct by a student of UOW undertaking coursework, including Honours or Masters-by-Coursework, under the circumstances defined in sections 2 and 3 of the Student Conduct Rules.

(5) This Procedure includes management of alleged academic misconduct by a Higher Degree Research student undertaking coursework subjects.

(6) This Procedure does not apply to alleged research misconduct by a Higher Degree Research Student undertaking thesis subjects (with a subject code THES). Investigation of these cases will be carried out in accordance with the Managing and Investigating Potential Breaches of the Research Code Policy.

(7) This Procedure applies to students studying UOW courses through Collaborative Partners (third party providers), with the modifications outlined in the Application of the Procedure to Collaborative Partners.

(8) This Procedure does not apply to students enrolled in courses offered by the University of Wollongong in Dubai or UOW College, as they have their own procedures.

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Section 3 - Roles and Responsibilities

Students

(9) Students have a responsibility to uphold the values of academic integrity and avoid academic misconduct, as outlined in the Academic Integrity Policy.

(10) Students against whom a finding of poor academic practice or academic misconduct is made have a responsibility to pursue opportunities to improve their academic practice

(11) Students have a responsibility to undertake any activity required as part of the academic misconduct investigation outcome.

Teaching staff, including sessional tutors

(12) All teaching staff have a responsibility to act on instances of alleged academic misconduct. When an instance of alleged academic misconduct comes to the attention of teaching staff, they should immediately report this to the relevant Subject Coordinator, providing an explanation of their reasoning and the immediate evidence.

Subject Coordinators

(13) Subject Coordinators have a responsibility to actively seek to identify cases of possible misconduct and support teaching staff to identify cases of possible misconduct.

(14) If a case of academic misconduct is suspected, Subject Coordinators should initiate investigations in accordance with the procedures set out in section 7.

(15) Subject Coordinators should maintain complete records throughout the investigation and submit all evidence in relation to the case via the Academic Misconduct Management System.

Academic Integrity Officers (AIO)

(16) AIO’s have a responsibility to:

  1. determine an appropriate finding and outcome for academic misconduct by a student undertaking coursework, in accordance with the procedures set out in section 8;
  2. determine Low-Level outcomes in response to findings of academic misconduct by a student undertaking coursework;
  3. communicate the progress and outcome of an investigation to the student, Subject Coordinator and reporter;
  4. ensure the completeness of records through the AIO investigation via the Academic Misconduct Management System; and
  5. refer cases to the Faculty Investigation Committee (FIC) where necessary.

Executive Officer to Investigation Committees

(17) All Investigation Committees (i.e. Faculty Investigation Committee or the Student Conduct Committee) will have an Executive Officer to assist the Committee in whatever way the Chair of the Committee directs.

(18) The Executive Officer:

  1. plays a key role in ensuring that relevant policies and procedures are adhered to by directing cases to the correct parties via the Academic Misconduct Management System;
  2. keeps the Chair informed on all issues relating to the affairs of the Committee and works closely with the Chair to establish and implement good governance practices for the Committee;
  3. provides guidance to the Chair and members of the Committee as to their responsibilities under the Committee’s terms of reference and in accordance with relevant policies and procedures;
  4. is the point of contact for Committee members who wish to obtain information from officers of the University;
  5. is responsible for all aspects of Committee meeting arrangements, documentation (including agendas, minutes and Chair’s notes), conducting research and preparing reports where required in consultation with the Chair; and
  6. ensures that all documentation provided to the Committee is accurate, timely, concise and appropriate.

Other Roles and Responsibilities

(19) FIC and Student Conduct Committee (SCC) Chairs and members are responsible for undertaking investigations of alleged academic misconduct by a student undertaking coursework in accordance with the procedures set out in section 12.

(20) The Head of School is responsible for ensuring that a minimum of two AIOs are appointed for their school and that the AIOs have completed the mandatory training prior to reviewing their first case. The Head of School may perform the role of AIO, once they have completed the mandatory training.

(21) The FIC Chair and SCC Chair must complete the mandatory training before reviewing their first case. They are also responsible for receiving, and making a decision upon, appeals by students against a decision of the AIO or Subject Coordinator.

(22) The Student Ombudsman is responsible for receiving, and making a decision upon, appeals by students against a decision of the Faculty Investigation Committee.

(23) The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and Student Life) is responsible for receiving, and making a decision upon, final appeals on the grounds of lack of due process.

(24) The Vice-Chancellor and President is responsible for undertaking action in accordance with the Urgency Provisions set out in section 5.

(25) The Academic Quality and Standards Division is responsible for maintaining a record of AIOs.

(26) The Academic Quality and Standards Division, the Academic Quality and Standards Division and Learning, Teaching and Curriculum are responsible for making available professional development to AIOs, Subject Coordinators, student representatives and other staff involved in investigating academic misconduct.

(27) The Academic Quality and Standards Division is responsible for providing support to the Student Conduct Committee.

(28) the Division of Student Life is responsible for providing opportunities for students to improve their understanding of academic integrity, appropriate conduct when completing assessment tasks, and further guidance following a finding of Poor Academic Practice or misconduct. 

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Section 4 - Academic Misconduct by a Student Undertaking Coursework

Poor Academic Practice

(29) In some cases the Subject Coordinator, AIO or Investigation Committee may determine not to make a finding of academic misconduct on the grounds that the conduct of the student represents poor academic practice rather than academic misconduct. For example, this poor academic practice outcome may be applied where:

  1. it is the student’s first offence;
  2. the student is at an early stage of an undergraduate program of study;
  3. the student is undertaking study at an Australian university for the first time;
  4. the conduct represents a minor contravention of acknowledgement practice, academic standards or requirements; and/or
  5. there is other compelling evidence that the conduct arose from a genuine lack of understanding of acknowledgement practice or other academic standards or requirements.

(30) Poor academic practice should only be found where the alleged academic misconduct is not extensive, blatant or does not result from an obvious lack of effort.

(31) In each case where a poor academic practice outcome is applied, the student should be referred to the Academic Integrity Module to educate the student on correct academic practice. In addition at least one of the outcomes listed in Table 4.1 must be applied.

(32) Where a student has previously been required to complete the Academic Integrity Module, they should not be required to complete this module for a second time.

Table 4.1 – Range of Possible Outcomes to Poor Academic Practice
Outcome Authorised Persons
- The issue of a warning to the student.
- A requirement that the student resubmit/resit the assessment item to correct the poor academic practice. 
- A requirement that the student provide additional material to support the assessment item.
- The imposition of:
(a) a mark reduction penalty down to zero for the assessment task provided the assessment is worth 5% or less, or
(b) a mark penalty for the subject that does not exceed 5% of total subject marks
provided that (a) or (b) does not result in the student receiving a technical fail for the subject.
 
Subject Coordinator
Academic Integrity Officer (AIO)
Faculty Investigation Committee
Student Conduct Committee
 

(33) Where a mark penalty is applied, it should be implemented following the grading of the assessment against the assessment rubric or grading scale.

(34) Where a student fails to complete the Academic Integrity Module, their final results will be withheld until such time as they complete the module.

(35) Where a student fails to complete the other actions required of them as a result of the application of a poor academic practice outcome, their case may be escalated to academic misconduct and a more severe penalty applied. These cases should be referred to the AIO, who will take action in accordance with section 8.

Academic Misconduct

(36) Academic misconduct by a student undertaking coursework is defined in the Student Conduct Rules. The Academic Integrity Policy lists types of academic misconduct. Any attempt to engage in academic misconduct may be investigated and determined as if the academic misconduct had occurred.

(37) A determination as to whether academic misconduct by a student undertaking coursework has occurred will be made on the basis of the evidence available and will be determined on the balance of probabilities.

(38) Submitting fraudulent documentation (including, but not limited to medical certificates) for the purposes of an academic consideration request is general misconduct that is managed in accordance with the Procedure for Managing Alleged General Misconduct by a Student.

Considerations for Determining an Appropriate Outcome

(39) The Academic Misconduct - Outcome Guideline provides advice to staff responsible for determining outcomes, and in doing so aims to achieve a greater level of consistency in the outcomes applied.

Outcomes and Authorised Officers

(40) Academic misconduct by a student undertaking coursework may be managed with a Low-Level Outcome, Medium-Level Outcome or High-Level Outcome. The only possible outcomes of each level and the persons authorised to apply these outcomes are shown in Table 4.2.

(41) Authorised persons may also apply lower level penalties in addition to at least one of the penalties at the level determined.

(42) In all instances where a Low-Level, Medium-Level Outcome or High-Level Outcome is applied the student should be directed to complete the Academic Integrity Module.

(43) Students will only be required to complete the Academic Integrity Module once.

(44) Where a student fails to complete the Academic Integrity Module their final results will be withheld until such time as they complete the module.

(45) Where an outcome requires a student to resubmit/resit an assessment or submit an alternative assessment and the student fails to do so, they can be awarded a zero mark for the assessment.

(46) Where a student fails to complete any other actions required of them as a result of the application of a misconduct outcome the case may be escalated and a more severe penalty applied.

(47) An intervention strategy may be applied. An intervention strategy is referring the student to services appropriate to that student’s needs. These may include:

  1. Learning and numeracy support;
  2. Counselling and Wellbeing Services (including Student Support Co-ordinators);
  3. Student Accessibility and Inclusion;
  4. Peer based Academic coaching; and/or
  5.  Peer assisted study sessions;

(48) FIC or SCC may also implement a restricted enrolment status to help support the student. Students placed on a course status of restricted need to seek academic advice from a Head of Students (HoSt) before enrolling in subjects. HoSt's may prevent students from enrolling in some subjects, and may place restrictions on the number of subjects that students are able to attempt while on restricted status.

Table 4.2 – Range of Possible Outcomes to Academic Misconduct
Level of Outcome Outcome Authorised Persons
Low-Level Outcome
Outcomes imposed must not directly result in the student receiving a Technical Fail for the subject. A combination of the following outcomes may be imposed:
- Submission of an alternative or supplementary assessment task;
- An assessment penalty, including:
(a) A mark penalty for the assessment task (% of total possible marks in the assessment task); 
(b) Resubmission of assessment task with a mark penalty for the assessment task (% of total possible marks in the assessment task); 
(c) Zero mark for the submitted assessment task; or
- Restrict the subject mark to a 50PS (Pass on Supplementary attempt). Where the restriction requires the resubmission of an assessment task, the final grade may be shown as WS until the task is successfully completed.
- Restrict mark in subject (e.g. student restricted to a pass mark of 50)
Academic Integrity Officer (AIO)
Faculty Investigation Committee
Student Conduct Committee
 
Medium-Level Outcome
- Assessment penalty that result in the student receiving a Technical Fail for the subject;

- Zero mark in assessment task (where the assessment is 50% or more of the final grade for the subject and/or the student would receive a Technical Fail for failing the assessment); or

- Zero mark for the subject.
Faculty Investigation Committee
Student Conduct Committee
 
High-Level Outcome
- Immediate Suspension by the Vice-Chancellor and President (with or without also suspending any scholarship the student may hold);

- Deferred Suspension by the Vice-Chancellor and President subject to one or more conditions (e.g. good behaviour, demonstrated consultation with a registered professional, academic performance);
- Exclusion from the University by the Vice-Chancellor and President;
- Expulsion from the University by the Vice-Chancellor and President; and/or

- Rescission of degree by the University Council*.
On the recommendation of the Student Conduct Committee, the Vice-Chancellor and President may approve these outcomes
*This outcome needs to be approved by the University Council
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Section 5 - Urgency Provisions

(49) Urgency provisions may take effect where alleged academic misconduct by a student undertaking coursework:

  1. is the subject of investigation by the Police or other civil authorities;
  2. may bring the University and its staff and students into disrepute;
  3. involves extreme harassment or vilification which breaches the University’s organisational values, rules, codes and/or policies;
  4. threatens the security of University IT systems and processes through the release or sharing of usernames and passwords;
  5. threatens the welfare or study of other students or staff; or
  6. is otherwise considered to be serious enough to warrant immediate action.

(50) In the above situations a recommendation may be made to the Vice-Chancellor and President that the following action be taken, pending the outcome of the investigation:

  1. temporary block of the student’s IT access;
  2. limitation of the student’s right of access to the University;
  3. withhold official certification (eg academic transcript, degree testamur) for up to three months;
  4. termination of the student’s right of access to the University; or
  5. immediate suspension of the student from the University.

(51) The following officers may, after preliminary review, make a recommendation as detailed in clause 50:

  1. AIO
  2. Associate Dean Education of a Faculty
  3. Chair of a Faculty Investigation Committee
  4. Chair of the Student Conduct Committee

(52) Upon receiving a recommendation under section clause 50 the Vice-Chancellor and President or standing nominee of the Vice-Chancellor and President may either:

  1. accept the recommendation, apply the recommended action, and, where appropriate, direct the officer that made the recommendation to refer the matter to the Faculty Investigation Committee as soon as possible and within a maximum of ten working days; or
  2. not accept the recommendation and refer the matter back to the officer that made the recommendation for further investigation in accordance with the normal procedure.

(53) Where action is taken under clause 52, the officer that recommended the action to the Vice-Chancellor and President or standing nominee of the Vice-Chancellor and President will:

  1. ensure that the student is served with a written notice of the temporary block of IT access, limitation or termination of right of access, or suspension, as a matter of urgency;
  2. refer the matter to the Faculty Investigation Committee for the service of a notification of investigation; and
  3. notify the Director, Student Administration Services Division and the Director, Student Life in writing, for advice to relevant officers.

(54) The Campus Access and Order Rules stipulate action to be taken where teaching activities (which includes academic misconduct investigations) have been disrupted by disorderly conduct of a student.

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Section 6 - Overview of Procedural Stages

(55) Staff members responsible for managing alleged academic misconduct by a student undertaking coursework will follow the process set out in this Procedure and should refer to the Academic Misconduct (Coursework) Flowchart.

(56) This Procedure provides for a staged investigation for dealing with all allegations of academic misconduct by a student undertaking coursework:

  1. Stage 1: Subject Coordinator Investigation
  2. Stage 2: AIO Evidence Review and Determination
  3. Stage 3: Faculty Investigation Committee Determination
  4. Stage 4: Student Conduct Committee Determination

(57) In the case of alleged academic misconduct arising during University Examinations the investigation will be conducted in accordance the Examination Procedure (or section 8 of the Online Examination Procedure in the case of online exams. Such cases will then be referred to the AIO for a determination. The AIO will discharge their duties in accordance with section 8 of this Procedure.

(58) Students have the right to appeal the imposition of a Poor Academic Practice, Low-Level, Medium-Level or High-Level Outcome, as per section 11.

(59) In accordance with the Coursework Rules, a student may not vary their enrolment in a subject that is currently part of an academic misconduct investigation until the investigation has been finalised and no academic misconduct is found. Where a student attempts to vary their enrolment in a subject that is currently part of an academic misconduct investigation, the Student Administration Services Division will reinstate the student’s enrolment.

(60) The student should continue their normal academic work within that subject while the investigation is taking place.

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Section 7 - Stage 1 – Subject Coordinator Investigation

Commencing the Investigation

(61) A staff member must bring an allegation of academic misconduct by a student undertaking coursework to the attention of the responsible Subject Coordinator as soon as possible once it has been identified.

(62) A student or any member of the public may bring an allegation of academic misconduct by a student undertaking coursework to the attention of the responsible Subject Coordinator. Where the allegation is received through the Office of Academic Integrity, the Office will refer the allegation to the relevant Subject Coordinator.

(63) The reporter will provide the Subject Coordinator with any relevant information and evidence that they may have relating to the allegation. It is not the reporter’s responsibility to gather and document relevant evidence.

(64) The Subject Coordinator must collect evidence relating to the allegation.

(65) Where the reporter is a teacher in the class where the alleged academic misconduct has taken place they will lodge the case in the Academic Misconduct Management System, which will then be referred to the Subject Coordinator. In these cases the teacher may be asked by the Subject Coordinator to assist in the gathering and documentation of evidence.

(66) The Subject Coordinator must make the determination as to whether misconduct has occurred as soon as possible and within a maximum of ten (10) working days of having received the allegation.

(67) If the Subject Coordinator is not available at any time during the investigation of alleged academic misconduct, the Head of School will appoint another member of academic staff to act in place of the Subject Coordinator for the purpose of investigating the allegation.

(68) If the Subject Coordinator has a potential or actual conflict of interest in conducting the investigation, the Head of School will nominate another member of academic staff to investigate the allegation.

(69) The Subject Coordinator has the option to consult with an AIO at any stage outlined in section 7. At this stage of the investigation an AIO may only provide generic advice about the case along with specific advice on the process.

(70) The Subject Coordinator may obtain administrative assistance from other staff members during the investigation.

(71) The Subject Coordinator will review the initial evidence to check whether there is sufficient evidence that academic misconduct may have occurred. The Subject Coordinator may at this stage:

  1. dismiss the allegation (refer to clause 72);
  2. make a preliminary finding of poor academic practice (refer to clause 75); or
  3. continue the investigation (refer to clause 82).

Allegation Dismissed

(72) If the Subject Coordinator determines that there is insufficient evidence of academic misconduct and poor academic practice has not occurred, the allegation will be dismissed.

(73) The Subject Coordinator will advise the student (if the student had been made aware of the allegation) and where the reporter is a teacher, that the allegation has been dismissed. No further action will be taken.

(74) The reporter may be advised of the process undertaken to reach an outcome. However, the details of the case and any consideration of the personal circumstances of the student should not be released.

Preliminary finding of poor academic practice

(75) Following review of the initial evidence, the Subject Coordinator may determine that the conduct of the student likely represents a case of poor academic practice, rather than academic misconduct, as per clause 29.

(76) The Subject Coordinator may make a preliminary finding of poor academic practice via the Academic Misconduct Management System on the basis that;

  1. it is the student’s first offence;
  2. it is a first year subject being taken in their first year of study; and
  3. it is not a final assessment task.

(77) The Subject Coordinator must ensure the following information is provided to the student via email (to their student email address):

  1. summary of the allegation and evidence that has been collected;
  2. the preliminary outcome (available poor academic practice outcomes are listed in Table 4.1);
  3. advice that the student can contact the Subject Coordinator within 5 working days of receiving the preliminary outcome to arrange an interview if they want to discuss the allegation and provide a response, and/or can provide a written response within 5 working days of the receiving the preliminary outcome;
  4. advice that should an interview take place, the student may be accompanied by (but not represented by) their own support person;
  5. advice regarding the timeframes mandated by the procedures and the possibility of extensions;
  6. reference to related policies, procedures and rules (including a link to these Procedures);

(78) The Subject Coordinator will keep an impartial record of any response to the allegation provided by the student, including any interview notes.

(79) Based on the student’s response and any additional evidence collected, including information gathered during the interview with the student (if this has taken place), the Subject Coordinator will make a determination as to whether the preliminary finding of poor academic practice stands or whether a different outcome is warranted.

(80) In determining whether a different outcome is warranted, the Subject Coordinator may determine to dismiss the allegation (in accordance with clause 72), determine there is a case of poor academic practice (in accordance with cluase 90) or uphold the allegation (in accordance with clause 94).

(81) The Subject Coordinator must communicate the final outcome to the student as soon as possible and within a maximum of ten working days of having received the allegation.

Continuing the Investigation (where a preliminary poor academic finding is not made)

(82) The Subject Coordinator will contact the student, advising them of the allegation. The student will be offered the opportunity to attend an interview with the Subject Coordinator to provide a response to the allegation. The interview time should be negotiated between the student and Subject Coordinator.

(83) The interview may be conducted in person on campus, online (via a videoconferencing platform) or over the telephone.

(84) The Subject Coordinator will use the Academic Misconduct Management System to provide the following information to the student via email (to their student email address) prior to the interview with the student:

  1. the allegation;
  2. Date, time and location of the interview (or means by which the interview will be held);
  3. Advice that the student and/or Subject Coordinator may be accompanied by their own support person;
  4. Advice regarding the timeframes mandated by the procedures and the possibility of extensions;
  5. Reference to related policies, procedures and rules (including a link to these procedures);

(85) During the interview with the student, the Subject Coordinator will explain the allegation to the student, present any evidence and give the student the opportunity to respond to the allegation. The student has the right to decline to respond to the allegation.

(86) The Subject Coordinator will keep an adequate record of the interview. If given permission by the student, the Subject Coordinator may make an audio recording of the interview and attach this to the investigation file.

(87) If after all reasonable efforts have been made to contact and discuss the interview with the student, the Subject Coordinator has not been able to do so, they may proceed with the investigation without discussion with the student.

(88) Based on the evidence collected, including information gathered during the interview with the student (if this has taken place), the Subject Coordinator will make a finding of whether academic misconduct has occurred. The Subject Coordinator must make this finding as soon as possible and within a maximum of ten working days of having received the allegation.

(89) Subject Coordinators may decide to dismiss the allegation (in accordance with clause 72), determine there is a case of poor academic practice (in accordance with clause 90) or uphold the allegation (in accordance with clause 94).

Findings of Poor Academic Practice

(90) In some cases the Subject Coordinator may determine not to make a finding of academic misconduct on the grounds that the conduct of the student represents poor academic practice rather than academic misconduct.

(91) The determination should be made before checking the student’s previous history, so as not to unduly influence the consideration of a particular case.

(92) The Subject Coordinator should not advise the student of the determination, instead the determination should be submitted via the Academic Misconduct Management System. 

(93) If the student does have a record of academic misconduct or poor academic practice, then the case is to be escalated to an AIO. The AIO determines whether to continue the investigation of the case (in accordance with section 8) or whether the seriousness of the case or pattern of student behaviour warrants the case being escalated to the FIC (in accordance with section 9).

Allegation Upheld

(94) If the Subject Coordinator considers that academic misconduct has occurred, the allegation will be upheld.

(95) The Subject Coordinator will submit their determination via the Academic Misconduct Management System, along with all of the evidence collected, including:

  1. record of the meeting with the student; and
  2. all available evidence.

(96) The Subject Coordinator will advise the student of the escalation to the AIO via the Academic Misconduct Management system.

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Section 8 - Stage 2 – AIO Determination

Determining an Outcome

(97) The FIC Executive Officer will appoint an AIO to review the case.

(98) If an AIO has had prior involvement in the case, beyond that permitted under clasue 69, then a different AIO must be appointed.

(99) The AIO will consider the evidence submitted to check whether there is sufficient evidence that academic misconduct has occurred. The AIO may obtain further evidence if required and may discuss the matter with the student, Subject Coordinator and other individuals involved in the case.

(100) AIO's are permitted to seek advice from other University staff during the investigation of alleged academic misconduct by a student undertaking coursework. Where possible, such advice should be sought from staff who are unlikely to be involved in the conduct of the investigation at a subsequent stage of the investigation. AIO's may obtain administrative assistance from other staff members during the investigation.

(101) The AIO will consider whether there are any previous findings of academic misconduct or poor academic practice made against the student. Evidence of any prior finding of poor academic practice or academic misconduct can only be used in determining an appropriate penalty.

(102) The AIO may at this stage:

  1. Dismiss the allegation, ensuring that the student, Subject Coordinator and reporter are notified of the outcome. No further action will be taken. The reporter may be advised of the process undertaken to reach an outcome. However, the details of the case and any consideration of the personal circumstances of the student should not be released.
  2. Make a finding of poor academic practice, ensuring that the following actions are taken.
  3. The AIO must submit all records of the investigation via the Academic Misconduct Management System.
  4. The AIO will advise the student, Subject Coordinator and the reporter of the poor academic practice outcome to be applied.
  5. Uphold the allegation and apply a Low-Level outcome (refer to clause 103); or
  6. Escalate the matter to the FIC (refer to clause 107).

Allegation Upheld

(103) The AIO will determine the appropriate level of outcome as soon as possible and within a maximum of ten (10) working days of the case being referred to them.

(104) If the AIO becomes unavailable at any time during the investigation of alleged academic misconduct by a student undertaking coursework, another AIO will be appointed to complete the investigation.

(105) The AIO will via the Academic Misconduct Management System apply the outcome and advise the student, reporter, Subject Coordinator and other relevant staff of the outcome, as necessary.

Allegation Escalated to Faculty Investigation Committee (FIC)

(106) If the AIO determines to refer a matter to the FIC, the AIO must use the Academic Misconduct Management System to:

  1. advise the student, reporter, Subject Coordinator and other relevant staff of the referral; and
  2. submit any additional evidence gathered .
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Section 9 - Stage 3 – Faculty Investigation Committee Determination

(107) The FIC will consider cases referred to it by:

  1. the AIO;
  2. the Faculty Investigation Committee Chair as a result of an appeal by the student against a decision of the AIO or SC;
  3. the Student Ombudsman for reconsideration as a result of appeal by the student against a decision of the FIC; or
  4. the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and Student Life) for reconsideration as a result of an appeal by the student against a decision of the FIC or Student Conduct Committee.

(108) The FIC may also initiate an investigation. In these circumstances the procedural requirements of Stage 1 and Stage 2 do not have to be undertaken.

(109) The FIC will meet to consider the evidence of the case and interview the student and any other persons relevant to the case.

(110) Based on the evidence considered and the interview with the student, the FIC will make a finding of whether academic misconduct has occurred.

(111) The FIC will comprise:

  1. the Associate Dean Education, or a nominee selected by the Associate Dean Education, as Chair;
  2. two  AIO's or FIC Chairs;

(112) More than one gender should be represented on an FIC where possible.

(113) At least one of the FIC members must be from another Faculty.

(114) A person may not sit on an FIC investigating an allegation of misconduct where that person has previously been involved with the investigation of the allegation or there is, otherwise, a potential or actual conflict of interest on the part of that person.

(115) A member of an FIC who, during an investigation or appeal, ceases to hold the office by virtue of which they are a member of that Committee, may remain a member of the Committee (with approval of the Chair) until the investigation has been completed.

(116) If during the investigation or appeal a member of the FIC becomes unable (through illness or any other cause) to act for a period that would unduly delay the completion of the investigation, an alternative FIC member may be appointed by the Associate Dean Education.

(117) A professional services staff member appointed by the Faculty wil act as Executive Officer to the FIC. The Executive Officer is not a member of the Committee. Section 3 details the role of the Executive Officer to the Committee.

(118) The Faculty Investigation Committee will be conducted in accordance with section 12.

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Section 10 - Stage 4 – Student Conduct Committee Determination

(119) The Student Conduct Committee will consider cases referred to it by:

  1. the Faculty Investigation Committee;
  2. the Student Ombudsman based on an appeal by the student against the decision of the Faculty Investigation Committee; or
  3. the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and Student Life)for reconsideration as a result of appeal by the student against the decision of the FIC or Student Conduct Committee.

(120) The Student Conduct Committee will comprise:

  1. The Chair of Academic Senate (or a nominee appointed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and Student Life)), as Chair;
  2. a senior UOW staff member appointed by the Chair; and
  3. a student appointed by the Chair, from the following student representative groups:
    1. Wollongong Undergraduate Student Association
    2. Wollongong University Postgraduate Association
    3. University Council Student Representatives
    4. Academic Senate (or subcommittee) Student Representatives
    5. Faculty Student Representatives

(121) An Executive Officer to the Committee will be appointed by the Academic Quality and Standards Division. The Executive Officer is not a member of the Committee. Section 3 details the role of the Executive Officer to the Committee.

(122) More than one gender must be represented on the Student Conduct Committee.

(123) Based on the evidence considered and the interview with the student, the Student Conduct Committee will make a finding of whether academic misconduct has occurred.

(124) A person may not sit on an SCC investigating an allegation of misconduct where that person has previously been involved with the investigation of the allegation or there is, otherwise, a potential or actual conflict of interest on the part of that person.

(125) The Student Conduct Committee will meet to consider the evidence of the case and interview the student and any other persons relevant to the case. The Committee will conduct the interview in accordance with section 12.

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Section 11 - Appeals

Appeal Against Finding of a Subject Coordinator

(126) Once a poor academic practice outcome has been applied, a student may appeal against the finding of the Subject Coordinator, only if the appeal is based on a lack of due process or if there is new and substantial evidence that has not previously been considered.

(127) Referral to an AIO or the FIC does not constitute an applied outcome and therefore a student cannot appeal against it. An appeal can only be lodged once an outcome is applied and advised.

(128) An appeal by a student against a decision of the Subject Coordinator will follow the same process as an appeal against the finding of an AIO.

Appeal Against Finding of an Academic Integrity Officer

(129) Once an outcome has been applied, a student may appeal against the finding of the AIO, only if the appeal is based on a lack of due process or if there is new and substantial evidence that has not previously been considered.

(130) Referral to the FIC does not constitute an outcome and therefore a student cannot appeal against it. An appeal can only be lodged once an outcome is applied and advised.

(131) An appeal by a student must:

  1. be lodged in writing with the FIC Chair within a maximum of ten (10) working days of notification of the outcome;
  2. state fully the reasons for the appeal; and
  3. include any relevant documentary evidence to support the appeal.
  4. The FIC Chair will consider the case put forward and evidence provided by the student to support the appeal.

(132) The FIC Chair will determine whether there are sufficient grounds for the appeal as soon as possible and within a maximum of ten (10) working days of having received the appeal.

(133) The FIC Chair may determine that:

  1. there are not sufficient grounds for the appeal and the decision stands;
  2. there are sufficient grounds for the appeal due to new and substantial evidence and refer the matter back to the AIO to review the case in accordance with section 8;
  3. there are sufficient grounds for the appeal due to a lack of due process and refer the matter to the FIC under section 9; or
  4. where there may be a conflict of interest or perceived bias, the FIC Chair may refer the matter back to a different AIO or FIC Chair.

(134) The FIC Chair will:

  1. submit a record of the appeal and outcome via the Academic Misconduct Management System against the original investigation; and
  2. advise the student, AIO and any other relevant staff of the outcome using the appropriate notice letter template for advice to the student.

Appeal Against Decision of Faculty Investigation Committee

(135) Once an outcome has been applied by the FIC, a student may appeal against the finding of the FIC, only if the appeal is based on lack of due process or if there is new and substantial evidence that has not previously been considered.

(136) An appeal by a student against a decision of the FIC must:

  1. be lodged, in writing, with the Student Ombudsman within a maximum of ten (10) working days of notification of the outcome of the FIC's investigation;
  2. state fully the reasons for the appeal; and
  3. include any relevant documentary evidence to support the appeal.

(137) The Student Ombudsman will consider the case put forward and evidence provided by the student to support the appeal.

(138) The Student Ombudsman will determine whether there are sufficient grounds for the appeal as soon as possible and within a maximum of ten (10) working days of having received the appeal.

(139) The Student Ombudsman may determine that:

  1. there are not sufficient grounds for the appeal and the decision of the Faculty Investigation Committee stands;
  2. there are sufficient grounds for the appeal due to new and substantial evidence and refer the matter back to the Faculty Investigation Committee for re-consideration; or
  3. there are sufficient grounds for the appeal on the basis of a lack of due process and refer the matter to the Student Conduct Committee for consideration.
  4. Where there are sufficient grounds for the appeal due to new and substantial evidence, but also a conflict of interest or perceived bias, the Student Ombudsman may refer the matter back to the FIC for reconsideration, with requirements for a change in membership of the FIC.
  5. The Student Ombudsman will advise the student, AIO, FIC Chair and any other relevant staff of the outcome using the appropriate notice letter template for advice to the student.

Appeal Against Decision of Student Conduct Committee

(140) Once an outcome has been applied by the SCC, a student may appeal against the finding of the SCC, only if the appeal is based on a lack of due process.

Final Appeal on Grounds of Lack of Due Process

(141) Once an outcome of an initial appeal, or outcome from the SCC has been applied, a student may appeal against this finding, only if the appeal is based on a lack of due process.

(142) Any appeal by a student must:

  1. be lodged, in writing, with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and Student Life) within a maximum of twenty (20) working days of notification of the outcome of the appeal;
  2. state fully the reasons for the appeal; and
  3. include any relevant documentary evidence to support the appeal.

(143) The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and Student Life) will consider the case put forward and evidence provided by the student to support the appeal.

(144) The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and Student Life)will determine whether there are sufficient grounds for the appeal, as soon as possible and within a maximum of ten (10) working days of having received the appeal.

(145) The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and Student Life) may determine that:

  1. there are not sufficient grounds for the appeal and the decision of the Student Conduct Committee or Faculty Investigation Committee stands; or
  2. there are sufficient grounds for the appeal, then the case is referred to either the Student Conduct Committee or Faculty Investigation Committee for re-consideration.

(146) Where a case is referred back to an Investigation Committee for reconsideration and there is a conflict of interest or perceived bias, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and Student Life) may change the membership before referring the matter.

(147) The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and Student Life) will advise the student, AIO and any other relevant staff of the outcome/referral using the appropriate notice letter template for advice to the student.

(148) The student has no further opportunity to appeal the decision within the University.

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Section 12 - Conduct of Investigation Committees

Notification to the Student

(149) Where a matter has been referred to a Faculty Investigation Committee or the Student Conduct Committee, the Executive Officer of that Committee must serve the student with a written notification of the investigation as soon as possible and within a maximum of ten (10) working days of the referral.

(150) The notification must be served by the Academic Misconduct Management System by email (to their student email address) and shall include:

  1. details of the allegation;
  2. reference to any rule, policy or code allegedly breached;
  3. advice on withholding or changes to assessment results (where relevant);
  4. an invitation to attend an interview at a given date, time and location. Where a student is unable to attend the interview with the committee, including where the student is studying offshore or online, the interview may be held using electronic means (such as telephone, videoconferencing or teleconferencing etc.).
  5. the option for the student to be assisted by a support person of their choice at the interview;
  6. attached copies of any documentation being considered (subject to any requirement to maintain the privacy or safety of another person) and any relevant rule, policy or code;
  7. an invitation to the student to provide a written statement of how they wish to answer the allegation and any supporting evidence, including counselling reports in advance of the investigation interview; and
  8. advice that, if the student chooses not to attend, the matter will be determined in their absence.

(151) The notice will be deemed to have been served on the date on which the email was sent.

Investigation Committee Meetings

(152) The Committee meeting should be held as soon as possible and within a maximum of twenty (20) working days of the date of service of the notification, unless the Chair of the Committee grants an extension to the student or more time is required to collect necessary evidence.

(153) Where a student is unable to attend the meeting, reasonable attempts should be made to accommodate the student, including (but not limited to) rescheduling to a mutually agreed time or holding the meeting online (via a videoconferencing platform) or over the telephone.

(154) The student may submit the following documents to the committee for consideration:

  1. a written statement of how they intend to respond to the allegation; and/or
  2. other written material pertinent to their case, including professional report(s), statement(s) of extenuating circumstances, or character reference(s).

(155) With the permission of the student, the Committee may make an audio recording of the interview and attach to the Committee file;

Conduct of Investigation

(156) Where a student who has been given due notice chooses not to attend a Committee meeting, the Committee may investigate the matter or hear an appeal in the student’s absence.

(157) In conducting an investigation meeting, a Committee will:

  1. explain the allegation to the student and give the student the opportunity to respond to the allegation;
  2. give the AIO bringing the allegation and/or any other staff member or student involved in the event(s) leading up to the allegation an opportunity to be heard;
  3. permit any person appearing before the Committee to be assisted by a support person;
  4. permit any support person attending the meeting to provide advice to the student and to address the Committee in a summary statement only; the support person is not permitted to interview witnesses or to address the Committee directly during interviews;
  5. permit any person appearing before the Committee to nominate witnesses to appear to support their evidence;
  6. disallow questions which it considers to be unseemly or irrelevant for the nature of its investigation;
  7. caution all persons appearing before the Committee that they are expected to conduct themselves in a reasonable and responsible manner during the proceedings and that any form of behaviour which is an impediment to the proceedings will of itself be regarded as a breach of the Student Conduct Rules;
  8. where there is reasonable concern by the Committee or any witness or participant in the proceedings that an individual’s safety may be compromised by contact with the student who is the subject of the allegation (e.g. where the student is subject to an Apprehended Violence Order), be entitled to allow the evidence to be presented without the student being present;
  9. where the conduct of any person interferes with any other person’s right to be heard, be entitled to hear evidence from each party separately;
  10. give the student the opportunity to be heard on the issue of outcome;
  11. hold all its proceedings in private; and
  12. keep an adequate record of the Committee meeting proceedings.

(158) Decisions of a Committee are made by majority.

(159) Where multiple investigations of alleged academic misconduct by a particular student are taking place, outcomes should be determined in accordance with the order in which the cases were detected. As such, the determination of an appropriate outcome for successive cases may be deferred until the determination of an outcome of the initial investigation has been made.

Outcome of Investigation

(160) As soon as practicable after a meeting of a Faculty Investigation Committee or Student Conduct Committee, and within a maximum of ten working days, the Chair of the Investigation Committee (or nominee), must notify the student of the outcome of the investigation.

(161) Where a High-Level Outcome is applied, the notice of outcome will be signed by the Vice-Chancellor and President (or nominee).

(162) The outcome of the case should be recorded in the Academic Misconduct Management System, along with all relevant documentation (including records of the Committee proceedings and evidence presented).

(163) The Investigation Committee may determine to:

  1. dismiss the allegation; or
  2. uphold the allegation.

Allegation Dismissed

(164) The Investigation Committee may determine: 

  1. that there was insufficient evidence to support a finding of academic misconduct or poor academic practice. The allegation will be dismissed and any outcome previously applied will be quashed.
  2. not to make a finding of academic misconduct on the grounds that the conduct of the student represents poor academic practice rather than academic misconduct, and may apply a poor academic practice outcome (quashing any previous outcome).

(165) The Executive Officer of the Committee will update the outcome on the Academic Misconduct Management System.

(166) The Investigation Committee will advise the student, Subject Coordinator, AIO and other relevant staff of the outcome.

Allegation Upheld

(167) If the Investigation Committee finds that academic misconduct has occurred, the allegation will be upheld.

(168) The Investigation Committee will then determine the appropriate level of outcome.

(169) Where an FIC has heard the case only Low-Level or Medium-Level Outcomes can be applied. If the FIC determines a High-Level Outcome is justified the matter will be escalated to the SCC by the FIC.

(170) The Executive Officer to the Committee should update the record on the Academic Misconduct Management System and advise the student, AIO and other relevant staff of the outcome.

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Section 13 - Suspension of Investigation Proceedings

(171) Any student misconduct investigation proceedings, including appeal proceedings, may be suspended by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and Student Life) if the student ceases to be enrolled at the University.

(172) If student misconduct investigation proceedings are suspended, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and Student Life) will advise the student that:

  1. they have no automatic right to return to the University; and
  2. if they apply for re-enrolment, their application will only be considered pending the outcome of the investigation proceedings, which will be reinitiated.
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Section 14 - Extension of Time Limits

(173) Any time limit set in this Procedure may be extended at the discretion of the Subject Coordinator, AIO or Chair of the Committee, for example, to provide adequate time to gather evidence and convene a meeting or because of special circumstances demonstrated by the student.

(174) If a time limit is extended the reason should be recorded and communicated to the student, prior to the expiration of the original time period.

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Section 15 - Record Keeping

(175) Cases of poor academic practice and academic misconduct by a student undertaking coursework will be recorded in the Academic Misconduct Management System.

(176) Allegations of misconduct that were dismissed will still be recorded in the Academic Misconduct System, however, these cases will not form part of the student’s record and will not be considered in any subsequent academic misconduct investigation.

(177) All files relating to investigations of student misconduct will be retained and disposed of in accordance with the University’s Records Management Policy, the State Records Act 1998, and the General Retention and Disposal Authority GDA23. Records of the investigation may include evidence and other information gathered, records of investigation meetings (including minutes), summaries of investigations and outcomes of investigations.

(178) The student has the right of access to copies of all records relating to the investigation.

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Section 16 - Schedule 1 - Application of the Procedure to Collaborative Partners

Application

(179) The conduct of UOW students who are undertaking study through Collaborative Partners is governed by the Student Conduct Rules and associated procedures, as defined in the Student Conduct Rules.

(180) The following modified features apply to management of alleged academic misconduct by a UOW student who is undertaking study through a Collaborative Partner. Where otherwise not stipulated, the Academic Misconduct (Coursework) Procedure applies without modification.

Authorised Officers

(181) For the purposes of applying the Academic Misconduct (Coursework) Procedure to UOW students studying through a Collaborative Partner offshore:

  1. The role of the Subject Coordinator will be undertaken by the Academic Program Director for the course in which the student is enrolled or their nominee, as approved by the Associate Dean International for the course owning Faculty.
  2. Allegations of misconduct referred to an AIO or escalated to the Faculty Investigation Committee will be handled in accordance with the standard procedural provisions. These officers may use teleconferencing or video-conferencing facilities to conduct their duties.
  3. The Associate Dean International may appoint additional AIOs for the purposes of performing the role at the Collaborative Partner delivery location.
  4. The role of the Subject Coordinator and AIO must not be performed by the same person.
  5. The Academic Program Director must be made aware of all cases of academic misconduct involving students in the course for which they are responsible upon the resolution of the case.
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Section 17 - Schedule 2 – Academic Misconduct (Coursework) Flowchart

(182) Refer to the Academic Misconduct Flowchart

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Section 18 - Definitions

Word/Term Definition
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) One of several academic staff members, who are responsible for making a determination of the allegation of academic misconduct, for imposing Low-Level outcomes where appropriate within their Faculty, and for maintaining records.
Academic Misconduct Conduct of a student when undertaking the preparation, presentation or submission of coursework, or during the course of undertaking research, that is in breach of:
Academic Integrity Policy,
Research Misconduct and Complaints Management Procedure,
Examination Rules,
Code of Practice - Research,
Faculty/Unit requirements,
Subject Outlines, or
Other University policy documents or requirements setting out student academic requirements.
Collaborative Partner Another institution or organisation (typically another higher education provider) with which the university has a partnership arrangement.
Conflict of interest A conflict between a person's private interests and University obligations.
Due process Procedural rights under this Procedure, including the application of the principles of natural justice, including:
  1. informing all parties of the procedure being followed and providing them with access to relevant Rules, standards, codes, policies, guidelines and procedures;
  2. informing the respondent of any allegation made against them, and allowing time for a response in accordance with the timeframes stipulated;
  3. providing the respondent with the opportunity to state their case, provide an explanation and/or put forward a defence;
  4. conducting a factual investigation of the allegation, interviewing all relevant and available parties and considering all relevant information; and
  5. acting fairly, impartially and without bias by considering all relevant information, including any mitigating factors.
These principles are consistent with the Student Conduct Rules.
Evidence Any relevant material presented in relation to an allegation of academic misconduct. This may include, but is not limited to, submitted assessment items, emails, originality reports, transcripts of student interviews and matched text (websites/books/articles).
Faculty Investigation Committee (FIC) A Faculty coordinated committee that makes a determination on cases of academic misconduct that have been escalated by an Academic Integrity Officer or where a student has appealed the decision of a Subject Coordinator or Academic Integrity Officer.
Investigation Committee Faculty Investigation Committee or Student Conduct Committee
Poor Academic Practice Conduct that represents a minor contravention of acknowledgement practice, other academic standards or requirements, and/or arose from a genuine and reasonable lack of understanding. 
Register A record of findings of poor academic practice or academic misconduct.
Reporter An individual who brings to the attention of a Subject Coordinator an allegation/concern about academic misconduct.
Student Conduct Committee (SCC) A University Committee, coordinated by the Academic Quality and Standards Division, which makes a determination on cases of academic misconduct that have been escalated by an FIC or where a student has appealed the decision of a Faculty Investigation Committee. This committee has additional responsibilities outside the scope of this Procedure.
University Examination An examination conducted by the Student Administration Services Division (SASD), or the central examination unit at a collaborative partner institution, during specified end-of-session examination periods, including supplementary and deferred examination periods.
Working day A working day according to the ordinary hours of business (AEST) of the University of Wollongong.

(183) All other definitions relating to Student Conduct are detailed in the Student Conduct Rules.