Policy on the General Academic Environment
The general mission of the GSD is to promote the development of design excellence through teaching, learning, and research. Successful pursuit of this mission is predicated on the considerate behavior and integrity of all members in the academic community. Student membership in the GSD community is a privilege conditional upon ethical conduct in academic matters. In addition, all students share in the GSD’s responsibility to maintain an environment conducive to intellectual freedom and the pursuit of knowledge.
The GSD seeks to maintain a learning and working environment characterized by academic integrity and fair access to educational resources. The GSD expects all students to honor these principles. Actions that violate these principles include, but are not limited to, the following, and may be the basis for disciplinary action:
• Cheating on examinations, either by copying the work of other students or through the use of unauthorized aids;
• Fraudulent presentation of the work of others (either written or visual) as one’s own work (plagiarism), notwithstanding the academically acceptable tradition of incorporating assistance, which is freely offered by GSD classmates, in the final thesis presentation (although the assistance must be acknowledged);
• Simultaneous or repeated submission without permission of substantially the same work (either written or visual) to more than one course;
• Alteration or misrepresentation of academic records;
• Unauthorized collaboration or paid assistance;
• Deliberate interference with the integrity of the work of others;
• Fabrication or falsification of data.
Cases of academic misconduct adhere to the Guidelines described below.
Guidelines for Communicating Expectations
Students are expected to be familiar with and abide by the school’s standards for academic integrity and conduct. It also is suggested that instructors communicate expectations for academic conduct, and, if relevant, the following should be discussed:
• Basic expectations for papers and exams. Specify what resources are permitted (including internet resources).
• If students are collaborating on projects, some general assumptions about group work.
• Submission of coursework for one or more courses simultaneously.
• Use of outside copy editing services (as opposed to content editing).
• There are helpful resources available to students at the GSD. The library’s Write and Cite website (http://guides.library.harvard.edu/gsd/write) is excellent. This guide offers information on writing resources, citation style guides, and academic writing expectations and best practices. Students who need additional information about these issues may also meet with writing tutors through Academic Writing Services, a free service through Frances Loeb Library (https://www.gsd.harvard.edu/resources/advising-academic-support/).
Dealing with Violations
Course and studio instructors must report all suspected cases of plagiarism, cheating, or other sorts of academic dishonesty to the Dean of Students. This notification should include a written statement explaining the basis of suspicion. If plagiarism is suspected, the statement should include a copy of the source of the plagiarism and the plagiarized material. The contents of the statement will remain confidential to protect the student’s privacy since the facts will not yet have been determined. The instructor may wish to meet with the student at this time to informally discuss the suspicions. The Dean of Students will meet with the instructor to discuss the statement, and then the Dean of Students and the instructor will meet with the student to present the statement and to seek the student’s account of the events. If it is determined that the student has plagiarized or cheated, one of the following may be imposed:
1. Having to redo the assignment
2. Failing the assignment
3. Failing the course
4. Referral to Academic Misconduct Panel
Additional and/or alternative remedial steps may be imposed.
Often the first three measures are made in cases where it is apparent that the student did not fully understand his or her obligations or if the offense is considered not severe enough to warrant a hearing with the Academic Misconduct Panel. If any of steps one through three are decided upon, a written record describing the offense and subsequent course of action is signed by the Dean of Students, the faculty member, and the student, and is filed in the Dean of Students’ office. As a follow up to the decision, the student will meet with the Dean of Students to review the GSD’s policies. The student is then informed that, if another case of misconduct occurs, the subsequent case will move directly to the Academic Misconduct Panel. At any point in pursuing the foregoing steps, the Dean of Students may consult with the Chair of the Academic Misconduct Panel.
Referral to GSD Academic Misconduct Panel
A case will go to the Academic Misconduct Panel if:
1. The finding of academic misconduct is not the first offense.
2. The severity of the misconduct warrants direct review by the Academic Misconduct Panel.
3. A resolution cannot be reached among the student, instructor, and Dean of Students.
4. The student wishes to appeal the decision.
A letter will be sent to the student from the Dean of Students notifying the student that it has been determined that the case will go to the GSD Academic Misconduct Panel.
A degree will not be granted to a student who is not in good standing or against whom a disciplinary charge is pending.
GSD Academic Misconduct Panel
Composed of a standing three-person committee drawn from those appointed to the Review Board, the
Academic Misconduct Panel will be convened only in cases of academic misconduct. An alternate will be picked from the Review Board when a member of the Academic Misconduct Panel is a complainant in the case. The Dean designates a Voting Faculty member from the Panel to serve as Chair. The term of appointments to the Panel is the length of the Review Board appointments. The responsibilities of the Panel are to investigate claims of academic misconduct in accordance with the policies and procedures outlined below.
Academic Misconduct Panel Review
The registrar or other designated official of the University will staff the Panel and will initiate disciplinary proceedings by sending a letter to the student, with relevant materials, including:
1. A copy of the instructor’s written statement of alleged misconduct.
2. The composition of the Academic Misconduct Panel, with notification that within three days of being notified of the composition of the Panel, the student may challenge participation by any member of the Panel reviewing the case in question by written petition to the registrar or other official staffing the panel. For good cause, as determined by the Dean of the Faculty of Design, the challenged Panel member shall be replaced by an alternate member.
3. A copy of the School’s Policy on Academic Conduct and Dealing with Violations.
4. A copy of documents related to student’s prior cases of academic misconduct, if applicable, with the statement, ‘The review will take into account prior instances of academic misconduct.’
5. Notification of the student’s right to respond within seven days from receipt of the charge by submitting a response to the registrar or other designated official who is staffing the Panel.
6. Notification that the registrar or other designated official is available to discuss the process with the student with the caveat that the registrar or other official will be providing staff support to the Panel, but is not a voting member.
The registrar or other designated official of the University also will notify the instructor of the composition of the Academic Misconduct Panel. Within three days of notification of the composition of the Panel, the instructor also may challenge participation by any member of the Panel reviewing the case in question, by written petition to the registrar. For good cause, as determined by the Dean of the Faculty of Design, the challenged Panel member shall be replaced by an alternate member.
Copies of all the materials above (including the letter to the student) will be sent to the members of the Academic Misconduct Panel. As noted in #5 above, the student has the right to submit a written statement to the Panel and to offer any evidence bearing on the matter. The student is encouraged to meet with their academic advisor, another faculty member, or administrator to review this statement or to discuss the situation.
During the academic year the Panel will meet as soon as possible but not more than 30 days following the deadline that a student has to submit a response. Outside the academic year, an extension of time for the meeting may be necessary. The student has a right to meet with the Academic Misconduct Panel as part of the hearing process. A student may be accompanied by a designated advisor (chosen by the student) from within the GSD community. Since the hearing process is not a legal proceeding, legal counsel may not be present. The respondent must notify the registrar or other designated official of the name of the designated advisor at least 24 hours prior to the meeting with the Panel. The Panel will make a finding as to whether or not academic misconduct has occurred and, if it has, determine which sanctions if any are appropriate. Sanctions that may be imposed in cases of misconduct are described below:
Admonition: A formal reprimand that becomes part of the student’s official record but does not appear on the transcript (minor sanction).
Probation: Conditional permission to remain at the GSD. Probation becomes part of the student’s official record but does not appear on the transcript (minor sanction).
Involuntary Leave of Absence: Temporary separation from the GSD for a specified period of time, after which the student is ordinarily reinstated, or may be required to request permission from the Academic Misconduct Panel to be reinstated, sometimes under probation. Involuntary leave of absence is part of the student’s official record and Leave of Absence is noted on the student’s transcript (minor sanction).
Requirement to Withdraw:. The requirement to withdraw normally is effective immediately upon the decision of the Academic Misconduct Panel. A student who is required to withdraw, for whatever reason, is not in good standing until readmitted. The student must apply for readmission to the Academic Misconduct Panel and through the regular admissions process. The reason for withdrawal is part of the student’s official record but is not specified on the student’s transcript, although withdrawal is noted on the transcript (minor sanction).
Dismissal: An action taken in serious disciplinary cases that ends a student’s connection with the University and requires a two-thirds vote by the Student Sanctions Committee (see below).
The sanction of dismissal does not necessarily preclude a student’s return to the GSD. A dismissed student may petition for readmission and be readmitted only upon a two-thirds vote in favor by members of the Student Sanctions Committee of which 7 of the 9 committee members must be present, in addition to applying for admission through the regular admissions process. A dismissed student is not in good standing until readmitted. Dismissal becomes part of a student’s official record and will appear on the student’s official transcript (major sanction).
Expulsion: Requires a two-thirds vote by the Student Sanctions Committee (see below). Student may not reapply and expulsion is part of the student’s official record and is noted on the student’s transcript, though the reason for expulsion is not specified on the transcript (major sanction).
The registrar or other designated official shall send a copy of the decision of the Academic Misconduct Panel to the student.
Decisions of the Panel are final, except for those recommending dismissal or expulsion, which require a two-thirds vote by the Student Sanctions Committee (of which 7 of the 9 Committee members must be present). When a disciplinary case is referred to the Student Sanctions Committee for a vote of dismissal or expulsion, the Chair of the Panel will present the facts of the case in a written report to the Committee. If the Committee fails to accept by two-thirds vote a recommendation by the Academic Misconduct Panel for dismissal or expulsion, the case shall be returned to the Panel for reconsideration of an alternate sanction.
The final action of the Student Sanctions Committee shall be communicated to the parties in writing within 15 days of the decision. A summary of the case, with the participants’ names withheld, and the final action taken by the Committee, will be reported to the full voting faculty at its next meeting.
All sanctions or other decisions made by the Academic Misconduct Panel or Student Sanctions Committee are subject to appeal. An appeal may be directed to the dean within 30 days of the decision in question. Appeals will generally be granted only on the basis of new evidence or significant procedural error.
The dean’s ruling on the appeal will be made within 30 days and is final. In cases where the appeal pertains to dismissal or expulsion, and the result of the appeal is a recommendation by the dean for a change in sanction, a new vote of the Student Sanctions Committee is required. The student will be notified in writing of the final decision.