Academic Conduct

Policies on Academic Conduct

13.1 Academic Dishonesty

It is every instructor's responsibility to inform the students of the existing policy at Illinois Institute of Technology against cheating and to continuously monitor class examinations, take-home tests, lab reports and programs in order to minimize the opportunity for students to cheat. No "honor system" is in effect at Illinois Institute of Technology. When an issue of academic dishonesty (cheating, plagiarism, etc.) is discovered, the instructor should document the evidence and report the details to the assistant to the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, who determines if the student has any prior record of academic dishonesty, and the appropriate sanction is then initiated. The instructor may take whatever action he or she feels appropriate, commensurate with academic unit and college policies, with respect to the student's final grade in the course; however, it is recommended that a failing grade be recorded for the course. Note: Withdrawal with a grade of "W" is not possible for a student who has been assigned a failing grade because of academic dishonesty.

  • A letter is generated to the student on a first offense by the office of the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs.
  • The instructor is notified of the recording of the violation.
  • On a second or additional offense, the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs evaluates the appropriate sanction.

Please refer to the Student Handbook's section on the Code of Academic Honesty (

13.2 Sales to Students, Copyright

All duplicated or published materials prepared by staff members for sale to students must be distributed through proper channels; i.e. it is to be sold through the bookstore, the academic unit office, or means other than direct sale by the instructor in his or her classroom or office. Copyright laws must be complied with. Please refer to the Student Handbook's section on Policies and Procedures (

13.3 Appeal Procedure for Academic Complaints

Unfair Grades Appeal

Any student who believes that he or she has received an unfair grade (not based on charges of discrimination) should appeal the grade to:

  1. The course instructor, if not resolved, then to
  2. The head of the academic unit in which the course is offered. If not resolved, then to
  3. The Associate Dean of the Graduate College

Exceptions to Rules and Regulations

Students may request a reconsideration of decisions on academic status or regulations by filing a student petition through the Graduate College. Any student who feels that he or she has been improperly treated by an administrative academic unit not based on a charge of discrimination should file an appeal with the Dean of Students.

Grievances Involving Charges of Discrimination

It is the intention of Illinois Institute of Technology to act in accordance with all regulations of the federal, state, and local governments in respect to providing equality of opportunity in employment and in education, insofar as those regulations may pertain to Illinois Institute of Technology. The university prohibits and will act to eliminate discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, handicap, or veteran status. Any student at Illinois Institute of Technology who believes that he or she has received discriminatory treatment in violation of the university's stated policy of equal opportunity in education should communicate, either in writing or in person, with the Director of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action for the Mies Campus. It will be expected that the grievant shall have exhausted all available recourse through normal channels of communication for arriving at a resolution within the academic unit or the organizational unit within which the discriminatory practice is alleged to have occurred prior to lodging a formal complaint of discrimination. Such complaint shall, in any event, be filed in writing with the director of affirmative action within 15 days of the occurrence of the alleged treatment. The details of the subsequent procedure can be found in the Student Handbook.

13.4 Allegations and Reporting of Scientific Misconduct

"Scientific misconduct" is defined as fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, or other practices that seriously deviate from those commonly accepted within the scientific community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research. It does not include honest error or honest differences in interpretations or judgments of data. Also included as "scientific misconduct" for this purpose is retaliation of any kind against a person who, acting in good faith, reported or provided information about suspected or alleged misconduct.

As its title indicates, the university's policy on scientific misconduct focuses on problems that sometimes arise in the conduct of research. However, its fundamental principles of honesty and conscientious observance of good research practices apply to scholarship across the university and to students as well as faculty and staff. These principles are articulated in the following extracts.

Each member of the university community has a responsibility to foster an environment which promotes intellectual honesty and integrity, and which does not tolerate misconduct in any aspect of research or scholarly endeavor. Scientific misconduct is extremely troubling—in spite of its infrequency—because when it occurs, it is very destructive of the standards we attempt to instill in our students, of the esteem in which academic science in general is held by the public, and of the financial support of the government and other sponsors for academic scientific enterprise. The importance of integrity in research cannot be overemphasized.

The determination as to whether discipline is to be imposed is governed by existing policies stated in the Faculty Handbook.

Cautions and Assistance

The gathering and assessing of information in cases of alleged scientific misconduct can be extremely difficult. It is essential to protect the professional reputations of those involved, as well as the interests of the public and of any who might be harmed by the alleged misconduct. In the course of conducting inquiries or investigations, the following provisions are applicable:

  • Expert assistance should be sought as necessary to conduct a thorough and authoritative evaluation of all evidence.
  • Precautions should be taken to avoid real or apparent conflicts of interest on the part of those involved in the inquiry or investigation.
  • The anonymity of accused individuals and, if they wish it, the confidentiality of those who in good faith reported the alleged misconduct, should be protected as much as possible, and care should be taken to protect their positions and reputations.

Except as required in the reporting provisions above, only those directly involved in an inquiry or investigation should be aware that the process is being conducted or have any access to information obtained during its course. Where appropriate, efforts should be made to restore the reputations of those accused when allegations are not confirmed.

13.5 Graduate Student Affirmative Action

Affirmative action in the recruitment of students has been an important part of the university's agenda for diversity. In the area of graduate education, Illinois Institute of Technology "targets" highly talented students from all under-represented minority groups. Illinois Institute of Technology likewise affirms the importance of other forms of diversity in the graduate student body. The university makes every effort to accommodate and provide appropriate forms of support for students with disabilities. It encourages departments in which women and minority graduate students are under-represented to make efforts to improve the situation.

Under-representation in graduate education is critically important because its direct consequence is under-participation in the professional life of the nation and thus in its systems of affluence, political power, and social esteem. Of special importance to institutions such as our own, under-representation in Ph.D. programs means that the professorate of the future will continue to be unrepresentative of the population it teaches and thus lacking in role-models who can teach and encourage minority and women students by the example of their own success. Our total educational mission will be best served if our faculty and student body reflect the full range and capacity of our society.

Besides helping to ensure that America's leadership tomorrow will be more truly representative than it is today, effective affirmative action programs at the graduate level carry their own rewards to the community that sustains them. Diversity in the graduate student body enriches the social, cultural, and intellectual life of the university. Moreover, it is of long-range practical value inasmuch as it prepares all students, majority as well as minority, men as well as women for a world in which increased ethnic and gender interaction is certain to become the norm both socially and professionally.

Academic excellence of students who enroll is highly desirable for a successful graduate student affirmative action program. Success also depends on academic units pursuing a concerted and well-publicized program of identifying outstanding minority students, encouraging them to apply here, and reviewing their applications for evidence not only of academic achievement but also of diverse perspectives, experience, and knowledge that will enrich our community. Such programs must be adequately funded so that the financial aid packages offered will be competitive with those of other leading research universities.

Equally or even more important than these institutional imperatives, the success of a graduate student affirmative action program ultimately depends on the enthusiasm and everyday efforts of individual staff members, faculty, and students to create a hospitable and supportive environment for all—and especially for newcomers whose social and educational backgrounds may differ from those of the majority of our students. Now as in the past, Illinois Institute of Technology is committed to maintaining such an environment and to enhancing the diversity of our graduate student body by means of vigorous pipeline, recruitment, and retention programs.