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Plagiarism Defined


The act of taking the writings of another person and passing them off as one’s own.

"plagiarism." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2012. Web. 23 Oct. 2012. <>.

Plagiarism: What it is and How to Avoid it

Academic Honesty at SWU


Honesty in all matters-including honesty in academic endeavors-is a valued principle at Southern Wesleyan University. It is the expectation of the University that all those joining the academic program will act with integrity in all matters. Because of this principle, members of this community of learners (students, faculty, facilitators, staff, and administrators) are also expected to honor one another.

Honesty is particularly important when it comes to academic work. Because the University awards academic credit based on the assessment of each student’s work, and because that academic credit represents the University’s validation of learning, dishonesty by a student strikes at the heart of the value of the degree for all students and alumni. For this reason any form of academic dishonesty (including cheating, plagiarism, and falsification of documents) constitutes a serious breach of trust.

No form of academic dishonesty will be tolerated. Students are encouraged to help each other maintain these high standards. All academic dishonesty observed should be reported to the faculty directly. Faculty members are in charge of their classrooms and are encouraged to be present during exams. In the case of exams given outside of a classroom setting (such as online), efforts should be made to safeguard the integrity of the evaluation.

All community members are encouraged to avoid increasing temptations for dishonesty. At the beginning of the course, faculty members are encouraged to convey and to interpret their policy on plagiarism (academic dishonesty involving the use of another’s material, methods, or ideas without properly acknowledging the originator).

Upon evidence of academic dishonesty (cheating, plagiarism, or misuse of another’s intellectual property), either by voluntary confession, report of another student, or on the basis of work submitted, the faculty member should follow this procedure:

  1. Talk with the student in the presence of another faculty member or an appropriate administrator. If the student is taking classes online only, then the faculty member should email the student and copy the dean or designated representative.
  2. Inform the student of the resulting discipline, based upon the situation:
    1. student’s unprompted confession - NC or 0 for work involved
    2. admission after confrontation by faculty member - NC or 0 on work and 10% course grade reduction
    3. denial of guilt and faculty member believes innocence - no penalty
    4. denial of guilt but faculty member believes guilt - F for the course
    5. In the event that there is evidence the student either encouraged others to be involved in the academic dishonesty, or conspired with others in the process by giving, receiving or using unauthorized aid, the faculty member should consult with his or her academic dean and recommend to the provost a response that may include academic dismissal from the University.
  3. Explain the appeal process to the student, which is thus detailed in the catalog:
    1. If a student is charged with academic dishonesty and the matter is not resolved with the faculty member, the student may appeal to the instructor’s division chair, in writing, within ten working days after being informed that the grade for the course will be F. If the division chair can mediate an agreement between the student and instructor, a grade-change request may be processed, if necessary.
    2. If no agreement can be reached or if the instructor is also the division chair, or if there is no division chair as in the case of Business & Education, the student may appeal the decision to the appropriate academic dean, in writing, again within ten working days. The academic dean shall investigate and render a decision.
    3. Within ten working days after being informed of the decision, either the instructor or the student may appeal the dean’s decision to the provost who will determine if the case should be considered by the Academic Council. The Academic Council or its designated Appeals Committee will review all appropriate material, consult the parties involved, and determine the final penalty. The decision of the Academic Council is final. Academic dishonesty discovered outside the context of a course or after a course is completed will be dealt with in a manner appropriate to the situation. The penalty may include such sanctions as rescinding of credit previously awarded, expulsion from the University, revocation of certificates, honors or diplomas, and, in case of fraud, appropriate legal action. Appeals in these cases will be heard by the Provost, with a final appeal to the Academic Council.
  4. Submit a written report to the provost, including the discipline implemented. Upon receipt of the report, the provost will take the following action:
    1. For a first offense, the provost will send a letter to the student indicating that evidence of the incident will be kept on file and warning of possible dismissal should the student be implicated in academic dishonesty again.
    2. For a first offense involving multiple students or outside parties that results in a recommendation of dismissal, the provost will meet with the students.
    3. For a second offense, the student will meet with the provost to discuss the evidence and appropriate action. This meeting may result in the student’s dismissal from the institution.
    4. Should a student not enrolled in the course be implicated in an act of academic dishonesty, that student will meet with the provost, who will place a record of the event in the student’s file. A second offense would result in dismissal from the University.

While faculty and administrators must take academic dishonesty seriously in order to protect the value and integrity of University degrees, every effort will be made at each step of the process to work with students redemptively.

Are you plagiarizing?