Resources for Faculty
This page is designed for faculty. It contains frequently asked questions that help outline the purpose of the Honor Code, and how the Honor Council process is conducted.
- Is there specific language about the Honor Code that I should include in my syllabus?
- What should I do if I suspect academic dishonesty?
- How do I inform a student that his or her case has been submitted to the Honor Council?
- What should I do with the evidence for the case?
- What should I expect from the investigation?
- What happens after the interview?
- When will I find out the verdict?
- How long does the whole process take?
- What happens if I need to report a case at the end of the semester?
- I haven't heard anything about my case in a long time. What do I do?
- Why should I report cases to the Honor Council? Can't I just handle this incident on my own?
Students are always bound by the Honor Code, but faculty members are encouraged to include an Honor Code statement in their syllabi in order to create uniform expectations and to minimize ambiguity. We suggest the following language:
The Honor Code is in effect throughout the semester. By taking this course, you affirm that it is a violation of the code to cheat on exams, to plagiarize, to deviate from the teacher's instructions about collaboration on work that is submitted for grades, to give false information to a faculty member, and to undertake any other form of academic misconduct. You agree that the instructor is entitled to move you to another seat during examinations, without explanation. You also affirm that if you witness others violating the code you have a duty to report them to the honor council.
If you have specific policies that relate to you course, you should include them with this statement. In addition to including this language in the syllabus, you may wish to hand out copies of this text with the word "I" in place of the word "you" throughout. By getting students to sign, date, and return these sheets, you will have unambiguous evidence that they were fully aware, from the beginning of the semester, of the code and its provisions, and that they explicitly agreed to these provisions.
The Honor Council recommends reporting a case before informing the student of the allegation of misconduct. This prevents a situation in which the student tries to negotiate with the professor to withdraw the accusation.
In some instances, you may wish to let the Honor Council inform the student of the accusation. Shortly after Ms. Wilson receives the initial report, she will send a letter to the student. The letter will describe the charge and inform the student about the investigative process.
In other instances, the nature of the assignment or class may necessitate that you inform the student yourself. Any conversations you have should be conducted in private in order to preserve confidentiality. If more than one student is involved in the case, you should meet with each student separately. You do not need to discuss the details of the allegation. Simply tell the student that there is a suspicion of academic dishonesty and that you have turned the matter over to the Honor Council for investigation. The student and faculty investigator will explain the process to the student, but if s/he still has concerns, direct the student to Ms. Wilson.
If you are unsure of the best way to inform the student, feel free to contact us for advice.
Once the student has been informed of the charge, reporting professors are cautioned not to discuss the case with the student until the matter is resolved.
Keep the evidence in a secure location. When the student and faculty investigators meet with you, they will retrieve the evidence. You should make copies for your own records. Along with the assignment, you may wish to turn over any relevant communications with the student. You should also provide the syllabus and any handouts or descriptions about the assignment. Please make note of the student's attendance and overall performance in the class.
In preparing the evidence, you may wish to draw the attention of the Honor Council to certain passages. It is helpful if you underline, rather than highlight, any passages in question. You may use numbers or letters to match passages from the assigned work to the original source.
The Honor Code outlines the duty of faculty regarding academic misconduct: "It is the responsibility of every member of the faculty and student body to cooperate in supporting the honor system. In pursuance of this duty any individual, when he or she suspects that an offense of academic misconduct has occurred, shall report this suspected breach . . ." (Honor Code of Emory College, Article 5).
Reporting suspected violations helps contribute to a climate of academic integrity on campus, but there are many other reasons why it is important to report misconduct:
- The Honor Council provides students with due process; accused students have the right to an Honor Council investigation and hearing.
- The Honor Council strives to ensure standard sanctions in cases of guilt so that students don't receive arbitrary or widely different punishments.
- The process itself (in addition to any sanctions) is a deterrent against future academic misconduct.
- Reporting a case removes the situation from your hands so that you can focus as best as possible on instructing the student.
- A student may have a prior history of academic misconduct.
- Sometimes dishonest behavior continues even after a professor has tried to address it. Failing to report the misconduct in the first place may make it more difficult to correct the issue.