Area Responsible for Administration: Office of the Vice President, Academic
Approval Authorities: Academic College Council
Senior Executive Committee
Approval Date: July 18, 2018
Revision History: New
Review Timeline: One year after implementation; every three years thereafter.

Purpose

To maintain a high standard of academic integrity across the Seneca community and provide the foundation for research, teaching, learning and working practices.

Scope

This policy applies to all members of the Seneca community.

Key Definitions

Academic integrity
Within an academic environment, “a commitment, even in the face of adversity, to five fundamental values: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility. From these values flow principles of behavior that enable academic communities to translate ideals to action" (ICAI, Fundamental Values Project, 1999).
Cheating
Obtaining or attempting to obtain, or aiding another to obtain, credit for work or improvement in evaluation of performance, by dishonest or deceptive means.
College business day
Monday to Friday, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, statutory holidays or any other day Seneca has publicly acknowledged that it is closed.
Contract cheating
A form of academic dishonesty in which a student’s academic work is completed by a third party on their behalf and submitted for academic credit. It may involve a fee paid to a third party.
Falsification
Misrepresenting or forging documentation, e.g., a medical record, an academic record or academic work of another student, to gain an academic advantage.
Impersonation
The act of taking a test, an examination or any other assessment on another individual’s behalf, with their knowledge and consent.
Official transcript
A detailed record of a student’s academic history that carries an authorized signature and can be requested for a fee.
Plagiarism
Using another individual’s work (e.g., words, images, ideas, logic, phrases, signatures or computations) and presenting it as one’s own, without properly citing the source.
Restorative practice
Based on the values of inclusion, accountability and compassion, as well as the understanding that everyone is an equal member of society and has a contribution to make to the greater good, this approach enables those who have been harmed to convey the impact of the harm to those responsible, and for those responsible to acknowledge this impact and take steps toward resolution.
Student record
A documented history of a student’s educational progress that can be found in the Student Centre and may include electronic notations/service indicators, e.g., outstanding fees. Electronic notations/service indicators are not visible on a student’s official transcript.

Policy

  1. Policy Statement

    Seneca upholds a learning community that values academic integrity, honesty, fairness, trust, respect, responsibility and courage. These values enhance Seneca’s commitment to students by delivering high-quality education and teaching excellence, while supporting a positive learning environment.

    Seneca’s Academic Integrity Program is a holistic, integrated model, grounded in a teaching and learning approach, and requires the engagement and participation of various stakeholders, including the Seneca Student Federation, Student Life, Teaching & Learning Centre, Academic Integrity Sub-Committee, Academic College Council, Seneca International and Seneca Libraries. The objective of the Academic Integrity Program is to maintain a high standard of academic integrityacross Seneca. The integrated nature of the program requires that policy and procedure, development and training for faculty, along with training sessions, and student life programming for students be aligned with the institutional philosophies and approaches to academic integrity.
  2. General
    1. Consistent with a traditional Indigenous approach, restorative justice should be adopted, where students communicate with their professors throughout the semester, either individually or with a support person, to discuss different perspectives and insights on academic expectations and concerns.
    2. Students should inform faculty at the earliest opportunity of any circumstance that may affect their academic performance, so that alternate arrangements can be made.
    3. Should there be a suspected violation of this policy (e.g., contract cheating, falsification, impersonation or plagiarism), the academic integrity sanctions will be applied according to the severity of the offence committed. Refer to Appendix B for the academic integrity sanctions.
    4. Should a suspected violation of this policy be a result of, or in combination with, a suspected violation of Seneca’s Student Code of Conduct and/or another non-academic-related Seneca policy, the matter will be investigated and adjudicated through the process found in the Student Code of Conduct. Should the investigation find a breach of this policy, the sanctions outlined in Appendix B may be imposed accordingly. The Student Conduct Office will work with the respective academic dean to ensure the appropriate application of the relevant policies.

Supporting Documentation

Related Seneca Policies

Related Materials

  • Bertram Gallant, T. (2008). Academic Integrity in the 21st Century: A Teaching and Learning Imperative: ASHE Higher Education Report, Volume 33, Number 5. San Francisco, CA. Wiley-Jossey Bass.
  • Lang, J. M. (2013). Cheating Lessons: Learning from Academic Dishonesty. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
  • Twomey, T., White, H., & Sagendorf, K. (Eds.). (2009). Pedagogy, not Policing: Positive approaches to Academic Integrity at the University. Syracuse, N.Y, The Graduate School Press, Syracuse University.
 

Appendix A: Academic Integrity Procedure

Action Duration, unless extenuating circumstances arise Responsibility
  1. Report the witnessing or suspicion that an academic integrity offence has occurred.
As soon as practically possible Faculty, invigilator, student, staff (e.g., student adviser)
  1. Inform the student of the witnessed or suspected academic integrity offence.
As soon as practically possible Faculty, invigilator, staff person (e.g., student adviser) Note: If a student has witnessed or suspects an academic integrity offence has occurred, the student can inform the faculty/invigilator/staff person of such offence.
  1. Collect the assessment (e.g., test/examination, lab report, essay, assignment, quiz, video or project) and any related evidence, at the discretion of the faculty/invigilator/staff person.
Note: If the offence is related to the submission of an assessment, all relevant material should be kept by the student’s program area for as long as necessary to resolve the matter.
Within five days of such offence Faculty, invigilator, staff (e.g., student adviser)  
  1. If it is concluded that no academic integrity offence has occurred, inform the student and no further action is required.
As soon as practically possible Faculty
  1. If it is concluded that an academic integrity offence has occurred, commence the formal process.
As soon as practically possible Faculty
  1. Complete an Academic Integrity Report.
Within five days of such offence Faculty
  1. Deliver a copy of the completed Academic Integrity Report and a blank Student Response to the Academic Integrity Report to the student and student adviser electronically or in person.
Within five days of such offence Faculty
  1. Submit a completed student response to the Academic Integrity Report, outlining the student's account of the incident, to the faculty/chair and student adviser. This is done at the student’s discretion.
Note: Guidelines on how to complete the Student Response to the Academic Report and prepare for the Academic Integrity Committee meeting can be found here.
Within five days from receipt of the Academic Integrity Report Student
  1. Convene a meeting of the Academic Integrity Committee at which the student or faculty may meet in person with the Committee to provide clarification.
With 10 days from the student’s receipt of the Academic Integrity Report Academic Integrity Committee chair
  1. Provide the Academic Integrity Committee’s decision in writing to the student, with copies sent to the respective faculty, coordinator, chair and/or student adviser.
Within five days Academic Integrity Committee chair
  1. If it is concluded that no academic integrity offence has occurred, a letter stating the decision will be prepared and delivered to the student, with a copy delivered to the faculty, chair and student adviser, electronically or in person. The Academic Integrity Report will be destroyed.
As soon as practically possible Academic Integrity Committee chair
  1. If it is concluded that an academic integrity offence has occurred, a letter stating the decision will be prepared and delivered to the student with a copy to the faculty, chair and student adviser. Sanctions will then be imposed, as outlined in the Academic Integrity Offences – Sanctions document.
  1. The student may appeal the decision of the Academic Integrity Committee based on Seneca’s Academic Appeal Policy.
Within five days of receipt of the Academic Integrity Committee’s decision Academic Integrity Committee chair/ student
 

Appendix B: Academic Integrity Offence – Sanctions

  1. Seneca’s Academic Integrity Program is a holistic, integrated model, grounded in a teaching and learning approach. As such, the sanctions are also grounded in the principles of teaching and learning, and imposed according to the nature and extent of the academic integrity offence. A repeated academic integrity offence will result in harsher sanctions.
  2. Academic sanctions may include one or more of the following, in ascending order of severity:
    • Written warning or reprimand
    • Required completion of an academic integrity assignment(s) or course(s)
    • Required completion of a make-up assignment or rewriting of an assignment examination or work
    • Lower grade on the assignment, examination or work
    • Lower grade in the course
    • Failure in the course
    • Suspension from the institution for a minimum of three (3) consecutive terms to a maximum of nine consecutive terms, based on the discretion of the Academic Integrity Committee and approval from the respective dean.
    • Permanent expulsion from Seneca when a student returns to the institution after being suspended under the provisions outlined above and commits a subsequent academic integrity offence
    • Such other penalties as may be appropriate in the circumstances.
  3. Any academic sanction(s) imposed will be recorded on the record. In the case of suspension or expulsion from Seneca, there will be a notation on the student’s official transcript.
  4. The circumstances surrounding each case of an academic integrity offence may vary to a significant degree. The sanctions imposed should reasonably reflect these circumstances. These guidelines are not intended to restrict the authority or flexibility of the Academic Integrity Committee in imposing the sanctions contained in this policy. In each case, the Academic Integrity Committee shall exercise its discretion taking into consideration the relevant factors, as outlined below. For the benefit of students, the Academic Integrity Committee shall provide an explanation in its written decision of the major reasons the sanctions imposed were deemed warranted. Important factors to be considered by the Academic Integrity Committee in imposing sanctions or reviewing sanction recommendations include:
    • Extent of the violation
      • The actions that constitute specific offences of academic integrity vary in terms of severity. Some instances of academic integrity offences constitute only minor infractions, while others represent the most extreme form of violation. Sanctions should correspond to the nature of the offence.
    • Level of the student’s academic experience
    • Extenuating circumstances that may help explain the action taken by the student with due weight being attached to those circumstances
    • If the student admits guilt and accepts responsibility for their action(s), the Academic Integrity Committee may impose a less severe penalty
    • Prior/multiple incidents

Note: If the offence is a second (or subsequent) one for the student and/or is in combination with another offence, then a more severe penalty should be considered.

Seneca acknowledges York University’s and Algonquin College’s academic integrity sanctions upon which these sanctions were developed.