The Academic Integrity Office (AIO) is a neutral support office. Our mandate of the AIO is to ensure that Policy 60: Academic Integrity is carried out in a fair and transparent way, and to provide educational resources to the Toronto Metropolitan University community regarding academic integrity and misconduct.
According to Policy 60: Academic Integrity, academic misconduct is "Any behaviour that undermines the University’s ability to evaluate fairly students’ academic achievements, or any behaviour that a student knew, or reasonably ought to have known, could gain them or others unearned academic advantage or benefit.” (Section 3.1) The policy lists the most common instances of academic misconduct; however, it is not intended to be exhaustive. If you have any questions, please contact the Academic Integrity Office.
You must first decide if there is a sufficient basis to support a reasonable belief that misconduct may have occurred. Do you have evidence? If you are unsure if in doubt, please see Policy 60 and/or contact the Academic Integrity Office.
All suspicions of academic misconduct must be registered with the AIO Automated System. The system will take you step by step through what you need to know. For example, you will decide whether to have a Facilitated Discussion with the student and the Academic Integrity Office facilitator or if you would like to have a Non-Facilitated Discussion with the student without an Academic Integrity Office facilitator of if you are going to request a Designated Decision Maker (contract faculty only) For more on this process, please see: “PDF filePursuing a Suspicion of Academic Misconduct” in the Faculty/Instructors section of the website.
If you do decide there is sufficient basis to pursue a suspicion of academic misconduct:
• Go to the Academic Integrity Office Automated System (“Report Academic Misconduct” button on AIO website)
• Go to the "Suspicion of Misconduct" sub tab, select a discussion type and complete the information requested.
You should request the discussion as soon as possible and when possible before the work is returned to the student. If the discussion is facilitated, the AIO arranges the room and sends a notification letter to the student and copies the instructor and all necessary parties.
Students must be allowed to finish their exam. Instructors/invigilators should mark on the student’s exam when they noticed the incident happening. If students are seen talking during the exam it is ideal to move/separate them if possible. If a student is in possession of unauthorized material the instructor is to remove and retain this material (do not remove cell phones or other costly personal property). An “Examination Incident Report Form” should be completed. For more procedures, please see “PDF fileExam Guide for Professors and Invigilators”.
If two or more students are suspected in one case of academic misconduct the Academic Integrity Office should be contacted to assist in determining a fair process. Students may be called in for a discussion of the suspicion as a group or individually. The student has the right to request an individual meeting and can do so by contacting email@example.com.
The first thing to do is get all the details. If you believe there is enough evidence to register a suspicion, do so here or call ext. 3668 to discuss further. If the student does not wish to remain anonymous they may not be part of the initial discussion to be had with the student under suspicion. However, if the suspected student is found to have engaged in academic misconduct, this other student may be asked to attend the appeal hearing as a witness for the faculty/instructor.
If you choose to have a Non-Facilitated discussion you still need to report the suspicion via the Academic Integrity Office Automated System.
1) Go to the "Suspicion of Misconduct" sub tab, select "Non-Facilitated Discussion" and complete the information requested.
2) The meeting should be held as soon as possible (usually within 5 working days).
3) If grades are due before the meeting is complete and before a decision has been made a DEF (deferred) grade should be submitted for the student. Once you report the suspicion through the Automated System, you will be prompted with a notification letter email to verify and modify if necessary and send.
The Discussion is meant to be an open, informal and non-confrontational dialogue. No decision is to be made in the meeting. The goal of the meeting is to get the necessary information or explanation needed to make a fair and appropriate decision. The faculty/instructor is to come to the meeting prepared to discuss the type of misconduct suspected and the reasons for the suspicion. The student may be asked to bring notes, drafts or other relevant documentation to the meeting.
Remember to give the student time to answer. You will make your decision after the meeting based on what you have heard, the evidence, etc. Please document the details of the meeting on a Summary of Discussion Form and supply a copy to the student.
You have three (3) business days to make a decision. The standard of proof in all decisions shall be a ‘balance of probabilities’. This means it is more likely than not that misconduct occurred.
The Decision Letter is to be generated from the Automated Reporting System.
1) Go to the "Case Overview" sub tab, select the "Make Decision" icon and submit the information requested.
2) You will be prompted with an email to verify and modify if necessary and then send.
3) The decision letter will be sent to all relevant parties.
If there is no finding of misconduct but education is needed you may assign an Academic Integrity Tutorial and up to three (3) workshops. If you choose to assign the Fundamentals of Academic Integrity Quiz (FAI) click 'yes' in the decision form.
If you are assigning an Academic Integrity Workshop click 'yes' on the decision form and you will automatically be prompted to assign up to a maximum of three (3) workshops.
Failure to complete the tutorial or workshops by the indicated date may result in the student being unable to graduate.
The Penalty: If you decide academic misconduct has occurred you must next decide on an appropriate penalty. The minimum penalty is a grade reduction on any academic work (unless a graduate student), ranging in severity up to and including a grade of "zero" on the work. You may also choose to assign an "F" (failure) in the course, or if you feel the situation is serious enough you may recommend a Disciplinary Suspension (not applicable for graduate students), Disciplinary Withdrawal or Expulsion.
If you choose to have a Facilitated Discussion with the Academic Integrity Office (AIO) Facilitator, you first need to report your suspicion of academic misconduct on the Academic Integrity Office Automated System.
1) Go the "Suspicion of Misconduct" Referral sub tab, select Facilitated Discussion and complete the information required.
2) Because you have chosen a Facilitated Discussion the Academic Integrity Office will arrange the room and send the notification letter to the student (you will be copied). The AIO system will then request the evidence from you if you have not already uploaded it.
3) The meeting is to be an open, informal and non-confrontational conversation between the instructor and the student facilitated by the Academic Integrity Office Facilitator. The Academic Integrity Office will forward the evidence provided (when possible) to the student in advance of the Facilitated Discussion.
4) The instructor should come to the meeting prepared to discuss the details of the suspected misconduct and should bring any relevant material for review.
5) Details of the meeting will be documented by the Academic Integrity Office Facilitator and then emailed to the instructor and student to review after the meeting.
6) The instructor then has three (3) business days from the day of the discussion to make a decision. The standard of proof in all decisions shall be on a 'balance of probabilities'. This means it is more likely than not that misconduct occurred.
7) The instructor informs the Academic Integrity Office of the decision through the Automated System within three (3) working days. The Academic Integrity Office sends out the decision letter to the student within five (5) business days of the discussion.
If you are a contract instructor and you do not wish or are unable to pursue the suspicion of academic misconduct, you may refer the basis of the suspicion of misconduct (i.e. all the relevant information known to you) to the Academic Integrity Office (AIO) and request that another decision maker be appointed. A Designated Decision Maker (DDM) will then be assigned, by the Chair of the Designated Decision Makers’ Council (DDMC) in conjunction with the AIO, to pursue the matter and be the decision maker with respect to any finding regarding academic misconduct. The DDM may subsequently contact you to clarify the forwarded information if need be.
You may also be requested to submit a recommendation regarding appropriate penalty should the DDM make a finding of academic misconduct. Once you refer the suspicion of academic misconduct to a DDM, you will have given all decision-making authority with respect to whether academic misconduct has occurred to the DDM. You may not appeal either the decision of the DDM or any penalty or consequences assigned or recommended. You may, however, still be called as a witness in the event of an appeal. In cases where a DDM has decided not to proceed with formally registering a suspicion and further information relevant to the matter later becomes known, you can forward this to the AIO. A DDM will be assigned (the same or other) to re-assess the matter and proceed if they decide proceeding is warranted. Once the DDM decides to proceed, they will then arrange to have either a Facilitated Discussion (FD) or Non-Facilitated Discussion (NFD) with the student.
1) Login to the automated system, the same system you used to register the suspicion, found on the AIO website (“Report Academic Misconduct” button on AIO website)
2) Click on the "Case Overview" subtab
3) Click on the "Issue Decision to AIO" icon to proceed.
The minimum penalty is a grade reduction on the work, unless a graduate student. For graduate students, the minimum penalty is a grade of "zero" (0) on the work. For more information on penalties, see the PDF filepenalty guidelines document.
If you have determined that a student has engaged in academic misconduct (vs. poor scholarship) it is not appropriate to give them a "zero" (0) for the work and not charge them with academic misconduct. In this case the student is free to appeal the grade of "zero" (0) and can tell the appeals committee they were never charged with academic misconduct.
The maximum penalty that may be assigned by an instructor/decision maker is an "F" (failure) in the course. If you wish you may recommend a Disciplinary Suspension (DS), Disciplinary Withdrawal (DW) or Expulsion for undergraduate students and a Disciplinary Withdrawal (DW) or Expulsion for graduate students. If you wish to recommend either of these, a penalty hearing is held at the AIC level and for DW and Expulsions a Senate level hearing is required.
It is not appropriate to have the student redo or re submit the assignment. Other students in the class do not have this opportunity despite the challenges they may have faced in submitting their work and this would give the student whose work was plagiarized an unfair advantage and extended time to complete the assignment. Students must submit work that is not plagiarized and should be verifying this at the time of submission. If you find the student has engaged in academic misconduct the minimum penalty is a grade reduction on the work up to and including a “zero” (0) on the work (for graduate students, the minimum penalty is a grade of "zero" (0) on the work).
Yes, you can assign SLS/RULA educational workshops, even if there is no finding of academic misconduct. When you issue your decision, this choice will be presented to you. These free workshops are offered through Student Learning Support (SLS) and the University Library and Archives (RULA). The workshops provided assist students in developing the knowledge and skills required for academic success. Encouraging your students to attend a workshop will also help them focus on areas where they most need help.
Yes, you can assign the AIO Fundamentals of Academic Integrity Quiz, even if there is no finding of academic misconduct. When you issue your decision, this choice will be presented to you.
Yes, you can embed these into your courses. These engaging, short and informative academic integrity videos present some of the values and behaviours expected of Toronto Metropolitan University students and some of the most common misconceptions about academic integrity.
To embed these into your course shells, download the quizzes from the Academic Integrity Office website.
For more information on this process, see the Educational Tools page.
Once a student has initiated an appeal, you will be forwarded a copy of their letter to the Academic Integrity Council (AIC) including their submitted evidence. You will be asked to respond to the student's letter and to supply any evidence you used to determine the finding of academic misconduct. Your response should be in the form of a letter addressed to the AIC. All of this information will then be organized into a package and supplied to all relevant parties including the AIC in preparation for the hearing. The hearing has a very set process which must be adhered to. This process is outlined here: Order of Hearing. Normally 1.5 hours are allotted. The first part is for the hearing proceedings and the second part is for the panel to deliberate. All parties leave for deliberation and a decision is sent via email within ten (10) working days.
If you require any assistance with your hearing response, the Faculty Support for Academic Misconduct Appeals is Professor Hitesh Doshi (416-979-5000 ext. 556502/ firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Academic Integrity Office is available to assist faculty with preparing for discussions regarding suspicion of academic misconduct – either Facilitated or Non-Facilitated. For an appeal, faculty/instructors may seek assistance from the Faculty Advisor whose role is to provide support and guidance. Please contact the Academic Integrity Office at email@example.com or call (416) 979-5000 ext. 7800 for further assistance.
Toronto Metropolitan University has a contract with Turnitin Feedback Studio. It is an evaluative and feedback tool. One of the many ways it can be used is to ensure the originality in student papers. It can assist your Faculty/Instructors in determining the similarity between your work and work of other students who have submitted papers to the site, internet sources, and a wide range of journals and other publications. No decisions are made by the service; it simply generates an "originality report," and faculty must evaluate that report to determine if work is plagiarized.
If Turnitin.com is used in a course, students who do not want their work submitted to this service must, by the end of the second week of class, consult with the instructor to make alternate arrangements.
If you are using Turnitin.com in the course, visit Turnitin Feedback Studio, to know more about the available resources for faculty.
“You as an instructor own the teaching-related intellectual property that you create as an instructor at Toronto Metropolitan, unless you have assigned rights to the material to another entity by contract. Some examples of the types of materials that are protected by copyright include lecture notes, PowerPoint presentations, lab manuals, syllabi and streamed lectures. Instructors are encouraged to remind students, through notices in their syllabi, that those course materials are protected by copyright laws. You may also choose to include the copyright symbol (©) on your materials along with your name and the date they were created. As well make sure that you fully cite any third-party materials in your course material that you use, to make it clear that some material is not your own work and can’t be redistributed. Course sharing sites are meant to share notes only, but increasingly instructor materials are being shared.”
For more information, please visit the Copyright section of the university library website.
For tips and tools on how to prevent academic misconduct, see the Prevention section of the Academic Integrity website.
For tips and tools on how to prevent visual plagiarism, see the PDF fileBest Practices: Preventing Visual Plagiarism document.
As faculty members and instructors, you are in a strong position to role model qualities and behaviours inherent to academic integrity. Your actions provide a clear message to students, about our standards and expectations. Faculty members are in a unique position to influence students from the first class. For practical ideas and best practices, please see the Faculty section on the AIO website.
Effective September 1, 2009, the Senate approved the establishment of an Academic Integrity Council (AIC) consisting of both faculty and students and is administered through the Academic Integrity Office (AIO). The AIC's mandate is to promote and uphold academic integrity at the university through both participating in educational activities and by holding hearings when it has been determined by faculty that students have engaged in academic misconduct. Members of the AIC are committed to upholding the integrity of the learning process and of a university degree.