Policy Manual

 

Subject:

Scholars Code of Conduct

Policy #:

ACAD111A

Authorized by:

Dean of the University 1/12/2012

Approved by:

Dean of the University 1/12/2012

Scholar’s Code of Conduct

The University of South Carolina Sumter, as an institution of higher education, accepts its obligation to provide for its students, faculty and staff an atmosphere that protects and promotes its educational mission and guarantees its effective operation. To accomplish these goals, the University requires certain standards of conduct of its membership and also fair and equitable procedures for determining when violations of University standards have occurred.

Academic Integrity is the guiding principle of all aspects of the educational process and involves a basic respect for one’s own work/professionalism and for the work of others. By becoming a member of the University of South Carolina Sumter community, each individual agrees to abide by this principle.

For students the principle of Academic Integrity and all procedures supporting it shall be referred to as the “Academic Code of Conduct”. It is the responsibility of every student at USC Sumter to be familiar with the “Code”, to adhere steadfastly to truthfulness and to avoid dishonesty, fraud, or deceit of any type in connection with any academic requirements.  The Student Discipline and Grievance Committee is charged with dealing with violations.

For faculty the principle of Academic Integrity and all procedures supporting it shall be referred to as the “Scholar’s Code of Conduct”. It is the responsibility of every instructor at USC Sumter to be familiar with the “Code” and to adhere steadfastly to the expectations of maintaining a professional educational environment.  The Faculty Grievance Committee is charged with dealing with such violations.

As members of the USC Sumter community, it is also the responsibility of every student, faculty and staff member to report violations of academic integrity (to the faculty member in whose course the violations occurred or to the academic unit in which the course resides).

Faculty (Instructors of record) are responsible for maintaining the academic integrity of the classroom.  The responsibilities of any individual concerned with the instruction of students are usually considered to be so apparent and reasonable that they are just part of an unwritten "code of scholars." However, these responsibilities are so fundamental to the integrity of an educational program that it seems appropriate to specify some basic considerations.

Scholar’s Code of Conduct

  1. Faculty are expected to meet all of their classes at the scheduled time for the full class period. The class must be told of any "wait" policy in case faculty are unavoidably detained. In case of illness or emergency or other mitigating circumstances which prohibit the faculty member from meeting a class or classes on a particular day, s/he must notify the appropriate Division Chair and, if teaching at Shaw, the Director of the Shaw Campus, so that a suitable announcement may be made to students.  If the faculty member is teaching in the Dual Enrollment Program, s/he must notify the Division Chair and follow the standard procedures of the school which hosts the class. In any case, it is requested that the faculty member also make every reasonable effort to notify directly all affected students of their absence as soon as possible.

  1. If a faculty member misses classes because of illness, University policy requires them to fill out appropriate university and state paperwork within ten working days of an absence, specifying the date(s) and time(s) for which illness prohibited them from meeting their responsibilities. Further information may be obtained from the Division Chair.

  1. The administration must have current contact information about how to contact faculty at any time during the calendar year.  The Division Chair is the primary contact person, and s/he must be promptly informed of any changes to this information. 

  1. Faculty are responsible for facilitating the continuation of  their course(s) in the unforeseeable event that they cannot continue to teach, owing to disability, prolonged absence, or death. Proactively, they need to prepare a plan (a.k.a. “academic will”) to cover such a possibility. The syllabus must provide sufficient detail (including assignments, quizzes, exams, their likely dates, and the likely dates of covering specified topics in class) that a qualified individual could step in and complete the course. In addition, all records of student assignments, quizzes, tests, attendance or any component of the students’ grades, must be accessible to the Division Chair and/or Academic Dean. While not specifically required, a portfolio (quizzes, tests, etc.) representing the faculty member’s teaching style is encouraged. Means of access to hard copy and/or electronic record keeping need to be established prior to the beginning of the academic term.

  1. Faculty must provide a course syllabus to each student of each class. It is important that this syllabus be made available to students not later than the first meeting of the class. The course syllabus commits faculty to its provisions. Circumstance may necessitate its modification, but it must not be changed to the detriment of students. Furthermore, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) requires that one copy of this syllabus and a copy of the final exam be kept on file in the appropriate academic office. Faculty should provide a copy of the syllabus to the Division Chairperson at least as soon as they make it available to students. A copy of the final exam should be forwarded at the end of the term.

  1. At the beginning of the term faculty are responsible for stating clearly and in writing the instructional objectives, the grading procedures, and the attendance policies for each course that they teach (the syllabus can be used to meet these requirements). The objectives of the course must be consistent with the course descriptions published in the University Catalog and the learning objectives/outcomes associated with it by the University. Throughout the term the classroom instruction should be directed toward the fulfillment of, and examinations should be consistent with, the stated objectives.

  1. Faculty are to schedule and post reasonable office hours at times mutually convenient to them and their students, and to be available to students by appointment.  Faculty are expected also to respond to students’ telephone and electronic communications in a timely manner.

  1. Faculty will need to maintain adequate records of class attendance so that the University knows when a student stops attending class.

  1. It is important that faculty process administrative paperwork (i.e. grade reports, class roll verifications, etc.) by the dates and times they are requested.

  1. Student performances should be evaluated solely on the extent to which the student meets the objectives of the course.

  1. Exams and other assignments are considered part of the learning experience; accordingly, graded examinations and papers will be provided to the student in a timely manner for inspection and discussion. It is particularly important that some significant graded work be returned in sufficient time before the last date to drop a course with a “W” to enable a student to decide whether to remain in the course. Final examinations will be retained for one calendar year to provide the opportunity for review with the instructor, if the student so desires.

  1. In any course or laboratory which meets once a week, or any 8 week or 5 week course or laboratory which meets more than once a week, no quiz, test, or examination may be given during the last class meeting prior to the final exam period. In any 16 week course or laboratory that meets two or three times per week, no quiz, test or examination may be given during the last two class meetings prior to the final exam period. In any course or laboratory which meets once a week, no quiz, test, or examination may be given during the last class meeting prior to the regular examination period. In any 16 week course or laboratory which meets more than three times per week, no quiz, test or examination may be given during the last three class meetings prior to the final exam period. Self-paced courses are exempt from this regulation.

  1. Final examinations each semester are given in accordance with a schedule published well in advance of the examination period. Final exams in the eight week evening programs are on the last night of class. No deviation from this printed schedule is permitted unless specific prior approval has been secured from the Dean through the office of the Division Chairperson concerned, and all such deviations shall be reported to the office of the Dean of the University of South Carolina Sumter.

Violations of these responsibilities should be reported to appropriate Division Chair or the Academic Dean.  They may also be reported to the Faculty Grievance Committee.  Petitions to the Student Grievance Committee which suggest a violation of the Scholar’s Code of Conduct (typically having an effect on more than one student) should be decided by the Student Grievance Committee and reported to the Faculty Grievance Committee.

Procedure

A.  Upon the receipt of a complaint of a violation of academic integrity, the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and the faculty members of the Student Grievance Committee will join with the Faculty Grievance Committee to act on the complaint.  All members are voting members. The Chair of the Faculty Grievance Committee (or another member named by the chair) will be responsible for directing the actions of the committee.  If any committee member is named in the complaint, that member will not participate in the deliberative process. The purpose of this group will be to collect and review relevant information pertaining to the complaint.  They have the authority to interview students, staff, faculty and administrators as appropriate.  They are charged with presenting the Dean of the University of South Carolina Sumter with a statement of findings which are primarily concerned with the Scholar’s Code of Conduct.  They may also recommend that similar student situations be handled directly by the administration without going before the Student Discipline and Grievance Committee.  They may make other recommendations depending on circumstances.  It is not the purpose of the group to recommend punitive action.

B.  This group does not function as a court of law.  Therefore, rules of evidence and other rules of procedure which apply to court proceedings shall not apply to hearings conducted by this group.

C.  Complainants and faculty named in a complaint have the right to present witnesses and supporting materials.  They may:

(1)     submit any written materials in support of their position;

(2)     present witnesses at hearings.

(3)     have an Advisor of their choice during any hearing and may consult with the advisor throughout the hearing.

D.  Hearings will be recorded. Faculty named in a complaint have the right to review such records. 

E.   The committee will summarize a statement of findings which will be sent to the Dean of the University of South Carolina Sumter for review.  The summary will be determined by majority vote.  Members of the committee will sign this statement either supporting the summary or not supporting the summary.  If a member does not support the conclusions s/he must explain points of disagreement. One copy of this finding will be placed in the permanent file of any faculty named in the complaint and another copy will be sent to the faculty member. 

F.   If the complainant is not the Student Discipline and Grievance Committee, s/he will be informed in writing of the general findings of the Committee.  This letter should follow the following template:

We are writing to inform you of the outcome of the procedure initiated by you with regard to (name of professor) and his/her conduct of (name of class).  A report of the findings of the special grievance committee has been filed with the Dean of the University of South Carolina Sumter.  OPTION ONE: The committee found that your concerns have substance.  OR, OPTION TWO: The committee has found that the general conduct of (professor’s name) with regard to (name of class) was not inconsistent with our Scholar’s Code of Conduct.  EITHER WAY: Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.  If you have any further questions on this matter, you may contact the office of the Dean of the University of South Carolina Sumter.