Plagiarism Policy

While there is a university-wide disciplinary committee which handles serious disciplinary matters referred to it, the responsibility for establishing disciplinary guidelines rests with each department. The Human-Computer Interaction Institute established the following set of rules on cheating and plagiarism and will apply them uniformly and fairly.

First, cheating in any form is not permitted as ethical or professional behavior and will not be tolerated. Cheating includes, but is not necessarily limited to:

  • The use of unauthorized materials including computer programs in preparation of an assignment or during an examination.
  • The submission or use of falsified data.
  • The submission of work that is not the student’s own.
  • Plagiarism- use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work. (See below)
  • The use of an alternate/stand-in/proxy during an examination.
  • Supplying unauthorized data to another student for the preparation of an assignment or during an examination.
  • Collaboration in the preparation of an assignment, unless specifically required or allowed by the instructor, will usually be viewed as cheating. Each student, therefore, is responsible for understanding the policies of the instructor offering any course as they refer to the amount of help and collaboration permitted in preparation of assignments.

Should any student be found guilty of cheating on a quiz, exam, homework or project, at minimum a zero grade will be recorded and then averaged in with the other grades (should there be any) for the term. Depending on the circumstances, and at the discretion of the instructor and the Department Head, the student may be failed in the course and may be expelled from the University. In any case, the University will be notified of any case of cheating or plagiarism. A repeated occurrence of cheating will be treated as an automatic failure (R grade) and expulsion from the University.

A subtler form of cheating arises in the form of plagiarism, which is defined as “passing off as one’s own the ideas or works of another.” Making use of reference material and failing to note (either at all or properly) the original source constitutes plagiarism. When two or more people work together on an individual project and each then turns in his/her individual report as though no collaboration was involved, this also is plagiarism. Simply rewriting another’s words or thoughts, or rearranging another’s materials, is in every sense plagiarism - unless the student properly and completely references such material, each and every time it is used and to the full extent of usage.

Should a case of plagiarism arise, the initial responsibility for judging the seriousness of the offense will rest with the instructor. If the instructor feels that the student was simply sloppy in referencing the material used and plagiarized, a judgment of sloppy professionalism rather than cheating will be made. The grade for the paper, project or thesis will be lowered by at least one grade point. On the other hand, if the instructor feels that the student plagiarized flagrantly, and intentionally meant to mislead the instructor into thinking that the work was the student’s own original work, the grade for the report, project or thesis will be recorded as zero.

It should be emphasized that any group collaboration that involves individual take-home projects, papers or theses should be carried out only with considerable discretion. That is, students are encouraged to discuss and collaborate among themselves on the various principles which are exposited in class or covered in the reading material, etc.; but any group discussion or collaboration which involves any specifics of take-home projects, papers or theses should be avoided - unless the ideas or efforts of others are properly noted. Put differently, when individual work and thinking is called for, group thinking and/or work is entirely inappropriate and is a form of plagiarism.

In any case of cheating or plagiarism, the student may request a review of the instructor’s decision by the department head, who will then make the final decision for the department. The student, of course, can appeal any faculty decision to the University Committee on Discipline. In a case of flagrant cheating by a graduate student on a thesis, the matter will be forwarded to the Disciplinary Committee for stronger action.

University Policy on Cheating and Plagiarism
University Academic Disciplinary Actions Overview for Graduate Students