Academic Conduct

At Boston University, academic misconduct is defined as the misrepresentation of a student’s work or impeding the ability of the instructor to fairly judge the work of other students. This may include, among other acts:

  • Turning in the work of another student
  • Stealing a test
  • Allowing another student to use your work
  • Unauthorized collaboration
  • Falsification of data
  • Forging grade records

Boston University takes academic honesty very seriously; thus, the sanctions are very steep. However, they differ for undergraduates and graduate students. You should familiarize yourself with the Academic Conduct Code of the graduate school in which you teach.  In 2011, Boston University adopted a universal Academic Conduct Code for all undergraduates:

Undergraduate Academic Conduct Code

In the event of a suspected case of academic misconduct:

  1. Contact your associate dean for students or equivalent for advice on how to proceed and how to prepare for your talk with the student(s) involved.
  2. Confront (in private) the student(s) involved, calmly presenting the evidence, listening to the student(s), and stating (unless the student has convinced you that your suspicions were mistaken) what action you will take next.
  3. Keep originals of all evidence, which you will pass on to the appropriate dean’s office if appropriate or otherwise keep in your files or your department’s files.
  4. If instructed to do so (see step 1), report the incident and present the evidence formally to your associate dean for students or equivalent; he or she will describe to you the formal procedures that will ensue.
  5. Depending on the procedures of your college, you and the student(s) may appear before a college academic conduct committee, composed of faculty and students, if the dean’s office decides that the evidence warrants such an action.
  6. If step (5) occurs, your dean will determine the sanctions if the student is found guilty, based on the recommendation of the committee and the nature of the evidence. Sanctions range from probation to suspension or expulsion from the University.

You can minimize the chance of academic misconduct:

  • Make sure that your expectations regarding independent or collaborative effort are stated in the syllabus and in class when you assign the work or hand out the exam
  • Create multiple smaller assignments than just a couple of larger ones
  • Create checkpoints for the major assignments, including outlines, rough drafts, and individual conferences
  • Make multiple versions of a test
  • Have students sit in every other seat during a test, if there is sufficient room
  • Watch students carefully while they take a test; stare at those whose eyes start to wander
  • Show students how to properly acknowledge collaborations and others’ ideas
  • Have students submit their papers electronically to a central database. Consider using phrase-detection software such as Google or, a website that maintains a database of papers students submit to the site themselves. Use of this site must be requested by the faculty member for the course. See CEIT’s page about plagiarism for more about plagiarism detection websites.