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Policy Statement on Academic Standards


The Molecular Biology and Biological Chemistry Programs maintain the highest academic standards and abide by the general Standards of Behavior (Section III) and expectations of Professional and Ethical Conduct (Section VI) outlined in the University’s Student Code. The Programs also take measures to ensure that the Standards of Academic Performance (Section IV) and Academic Conduct (Section V) are met. The attached document, Molecular Biology and Biological Chemistry Programs' Policies and Procedures, describes these measures.


Unacceptable Academic Performance

Unacceptable or incomplete academic performance include, but are not limited to: 1) failure to pass all courses (including core, elective and remedial) with a grade of B- or better; 2) a cumulative GPA of less than 3.0; and 3) unsatisfactory completion of laboratory rotations. Unacceptable academic performance could lead to a maximal sanction of dismissal from the Program.


Academic Misconduct

In a research environment, there is an absolute need for trust between a student and their mentor, consequently the Program takes cases of academic misconduct very seriously. Cases of academic misconduct include, but are not limited to: 1) plagiarism, 2) cheating, 3) misrepresenting one’s work, 4) fabrication or falsification of information, 5) disobeying any rule specified by the Program Rules for Exams and Homework Assignments (see below), and 6) intentionally helping, or attempting to help, another person commit an act of misconduct.

Students committing misconduct can expect up to three levels of sanction; sanctions imposed by the instructor(s), sanctions imposed by the Program, and sanctions imposed by the University. An instructor may impose a maximum sanction of failing the student in the course. The Program could expel the student from the Program, and the University could expel the student from the University or even revoke a previously awarded degree. For each level of sanction, the student has the right to appeal. All cases of misconduct will be documented in the student’s file.


Program Rules for Exams and Homework Assignments

The following rules apply for all exams and written assignments unless specifically contradicted by the course instructor.

1)    a student must work entirely alone.

2)    a student may not share information about any aspect of the exam with any student who has not already taken the exam this year, or its equivalent in future years

3)    a student must direct all questions concerning the exam or homework assignment to the course instructor or teaching assistant.

4)    it is the student’s responsibility to obtain clarification from the instructor if there are questions concerning these requirements.

5)    A student may not plagiarize

Because many graduate students are funded by training and research grants and must abide by federal standards, it is important to know the definition of scientific misconduct as the government defines it. 


Definitions

Since many graduate students are funded by training and research grants and must abide by federal standards, it is important to know the definition of scientific misconduct as the government defines it.

  1. National Academy of Sciences Definition of Misconduct in Science - Misconduct in science is defined as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism, in proposing, performing, or reporting research. Misconduct in science does not include errors in the recording, selection, or analysis of data; differences in opinions involving the interpretation of data; or misconduct unrelated to the research process. All students should be familiar with the rights and responsibilities articulated in the Student Code, University Policy 6-400 (http://www.regulations.utah.edu/academics/6-400.html). The following definitions, found in Section I.B. are particularly important to academic conduct within the Programs:
    The following definitions are taken from the University Student Code.
  2. "Academic misconduct" includes, but is not limited to, cheating, misrepresenting one's work, inappropriately collaborating, plagiarism, and fabrication or falsification of information, as defined further below. It also includes facilitating academic misconduct by intentionally helping or attempting to help another to commit an act of academic misconduct.
  3. "Cheating" involves the unauthorized possession or use of information, materials, notes, study aids, or other devices in any academic exercise, or the unauthorized communication with another person during such an exercise. Common examples of cheating include, but are not limited to, copying from another student's examination, submitting work for an in-class exam that has been prepared in advance, violating rules governing the administration of exams, having another person take an exam, altering one's work after the work has been returned and before resubmitting it, or violating any rules relating to academic conduct of a course or program.
  4. "Misrepresenting one's work" includes, but is not limited to, representing material prepared by another as one's own work, or
  5. "Plagiarism" means the intentional unacknowledged use or incorporation of any other person's work in, or as a basis for, one's own work offered for academic consideration or credit or for public presentation. Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, representing as one's own, without attribution, any other individual’s words, phrasing, ideas, sequence of ideas, information or any other mode or content of expression.
  6. "Fabrication or falsification" includes reporting experiments or measurements or statistical analysis never performed; manipulating or altering data or other manifestations of research to achieve a desired result; falsifying or misrepresenting background information,
  7. "Academic sanction" means a sanction imposed on a student for engaging in academic or professional misconduct. It may include, but is not limited to, requiring a student to retake an exam(s) or rewrite a paper(s), a grade reduction, a failing grade, probation, suspension or dismissal from a program or the University, or revocation of a student’s degree or certificate. It may also include community service, a written reprimand, and/or a written statement of misconduct that can be put into an appropriate record maintained for purposes of the profession or discipline for which the student is preparing.

Academic Misconduct

The Programs take cases of academic misconduct very seriously. As found in the definitions above, cases of academic misconduct include such things as (1) plagiarism, (2) cheating, (3) misrepresenting one’s work, (4) fabrication or falsification of information, (5) disobeying any rule specified by the Program Rules for Coursework, and (6) intentionally helping, or attempting to help, another person commit an act of misconduct. The Program faculty reserve the right to use electronic software to scan reports and proposals for evidence of plagiarism.


Resolving Academic Misconduct Issues

The Programs and University encourage informal resolution of minor problems involving academic standards. Students are urged to discuss problems with the involved instructor(s) and/or their academic advisor. Faculty may place letters of concern of conduct in the student’s file if warranted.

A more formal process is required when there is a serious violation or if a student is charged with a second instance or multiple instances of academic misconduct. This process, detailed in the Policies and Procedures section of this document, provides the framework with which violations are reported and adjudicated by Program faculty. All accusations of cases of misconduct that are verified in the Program review process will be documented in the student’s file.


Student Pledge

I pledge to follow and promote these standards while a student in the Programs. I will strive to achieve academic excellence through diligent work, seeking help and guidance from Program faculty, and by conscientiously attending to any remedial work required. I will not commit acts of misconduct and will promote the Programs' position by maintaining the highest standards of ethical conduct.

I have read and understand the Molecular Biology and Biological Chemistry Programs' Position on Academic Standards. I acknowledge that I have received a copy of the Molecular Biology and Biological Chemistry Programs' Policies and Procedures and that it is my responsibility to read, understand and follow the rules described therein. I further agree that it is my responsibility to ask questions about anything I do not understand.

Student Signature:


Date:


Honor Code

I pledge to follow the Honor Code and to obey all rules for taking exams and performing homework assignments as specified by the course instructor. I understand that when asked to follow the Honor Code on exams or homework assignments I must follow the rules below.

  1. When following the Honor Code a student must work entirely alone on exams.
  2. When following the Honor Code a student may not share information about any aspect of the exam with other members of the class, other faculty members, or other scientists.
  3. When following the Honor Code a student must direct all questions concerning the exam or homework assignment to the course instructor or teaching assistant.
  4. When following the Honor Code it is the student’s responsibility to obtain clarification from the instructor if there are questions concerning the requirements of the Honor Code.

Student Signature:


Date:


Academic Standards.pdf

Honor Code Statement.pdf


 

Additional Information

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Last Updated: 11/2/16