UH Policies and Procedures Academic Honesty Policy FAQs for Instructors

The University of Houston Academic Honesty Policy is posted online in the Undergraduate Studies Catalog and Graduate Catalog.

The following FAQs are intended to clarify Academic Honesty processes, not to substitute for the complete policy. It is each faculty member's responsibility to be aware of the Academic Honesty Policy. For additional information about the rationale and importance of the policy please see the "About the UH Academic Honesty Policy" information in this site.

For more details on the Academic Honesty Policy, click here.

For a better understanding of the processes surrounding the Academic Honesty Policy, see the following flowcharts:

Instructor Role in the Process

Waiver of Departmental Hearing

Departmental Hearing Process

College Hearing Process

The university publishes an Academic Honesty Policy that exists to govern and protect all parties: faculty, students, and staff. Faculty have the responsibility of taking action with respect to incidents of alleged academic honesty in accordance with the Academic Honesty Policy. Consequently, it is not appropriate to deal with possible violations on your own.
Cheating is prevalent across universities. Colleges and universities best address with this issue by confronting suspected instances consistently and in accordance with a uniform policy.
In certain situations, such as during the administration of an exam, it may be appropriate to confront the student(s). In other situations, you may confer with the departmental hearing officer, who will advise the student in writing of the suspected violation of the academic honesty policy.
During the administration of an exam, you should take steps to insure that cheating does not occur. At other times, you should notify the designated departmental hearing officer.
The departmental hearing officer must be notified in writing within five class days of discovery of suspected academic dishonesty.
A departmental hearing is not required if a waiver is allowable.

Students may not receive a 'W' for courses in which they have been found guilty of a violation of the Academic Honesty Policy.

If a 'W' is received prior to a guilty finding, the student will become liable for the Academic Honesty penalty, including 'F' grades.

A departmental hearing waiver is  a mechanism through which a settlement of an academic honesty infraction is achieved – the student acknowledges a violation and accepts an agreed-upon penalty, in lieu of receiving a departmental hearing.

Sanctions normally include reduced or zero credit for a test, a grade of 'F' in the course, etc. Sanctions involving disciplinary probation or requiring a college-level hearing (suspension or expulsion) cannot be used in a waiver.

The departmental hearing waiver must meet the following requirements:

  • All parties (student, instructor, and departmental hearing officer) must agree, in writing, to a waiver
  • The student must have no prior academic honesty violations

The name of a student who elects a departmental hearing waiver will be placed on a list maintained by the department, the dean's office and the provost's office. Following graduation, the student may request that his/her name be removed from waiver lists. Any records concerning these proceedings and any final sanctions are considered part of student records.

A Waiver of Automatic College Hearing exists for students who wish to accept a departmentally recommended sanction of suspension or expulsion and thereby waive the automatic college hearing. This specific waiver form is issued from the Dean of Students Office.

Faculty may contact the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs at 713-743-9187 or email hkennedy@uh.edu to verify if the student has any prior academic honesty violations or has received a waiver in the past. It is helpful in the request to include the student's name, PeopleSoft identification number and your academic department.
Carefully document all information of a potential academic honesty violation. You may bring individuals to the hearing who have knowledge of the circumstances, and you may bring relevant documentation. If you intend to bring anyone to the hearing, you must notify the departmental hearing officer at least three class days prior to the hearing.
No, faculty members, as well as students, retain equal rights to appeal departmental hearing decisions.
The sanctions for confirmed breaches of the Academic Honesty Policy shall be commensurate with the nature of the offense and with the record of the student regarding any previous infractions.

The Academic Honesty Policy outlines the following ways to minimize academic dishonesty.

2.01 Preventive Measures. Instructors can help students comply with the academic honesty policy by minimizing temptation to act dishonestly. Measures instructors should consider are:

  1. Maintaining adequate security precautions in the preparation and handling of tests;
  2. Structuring the type and sequence of examination questions so as to discourage dishonesty;
  3. Providing ample room for proper spacing of students during examinations, when possible;
  4. Monitoring examinations, especially in large classes and in classes where not all students are known to the instructor or the assistant;
  5. Making clear to their students the rules concerning the use of electronic devices;
  6. Making clear to their students, in writing, what constitutes academic dishonesty, particularly in those classes where group activities (laboratory exercises, generation of field reports, etc.) are part of the instructional process;
  7. Requiring students to submit their own work and defining for their students particular aspects of dishonesty, such as plagiarism and self-plagiarism;
  8. Requiring students to show a picture ID and sign major assignments and exams;
  9. Helping raise consciousness of the issue of academic honesty by asking students to sign an honor pledge in the first week of class and to write a short pledge in their own hand on their major assignments.

Another resource is available through the University of Houston's license with TurnItIn.com, a plagiarism-detection service.

The campus Writing Center offers resources for both faculty and students on how to prepare writing assignments and avoid plagiarism.

Faculty may refer students for academic support in study and exam skills to:

Learning Support Services: http://www.uh.edu/ussc/learning-support-services/

For the complete Academic Honesty Policy, refer to the policy online at: www.uh.edu/academic-honesty-undergraduate, or to the Student Handbook. To view it as a PDF, click here

For assistance or information pertaining to the academic honesty process please contact the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs, room 207 E. Cullen. Telephone: 713-743-9187.

You may also consult with your departmental and college hearing officers.