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Frequently Asked Questions

Overview

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. 

More details on the Academic Honesty Policy

FAQs for Faculty

Click each question to view the answer to Frequently Asked Questions.

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 LAUNCH

For the complete Academic Honesty Policy, refer to the policy online or to the Student Handbook.

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.

FAQs for Students

Click each question to view the answer to Frequently Asked Questions.

An Academic Honesty Hearing is a hearing concerning an allegation of academic dishonesty. During a hearing the student and faculty member have the opportunity to present and discuss information in support of or against the allegation that the student has violated the academic honesty policy.
A violation of the Academic Honesty Policy is a serious offense. It can affect your transcript. It can result in a wide range of possible sanctions, including expulsion. It can result in denial of entry into law, medical, and professional schools. An Academic Honesty violation can result in denial of security clearances.
You may have to appear for a departmental hearing or you may be eligible for a waiver of the departmental hearing.
Students may not receive a 'W' for courses in which they have been found guilty of a violation of the Academic Honesty Policy.
If you have no previous Academic Honesty violations and if the recommended sanction is less severe than probation, you may be eligible for a waiver (also called Waiver of Departmental Hearing). This is not to be confused with a Waiver of Automatic College Hearing. A departmental hearing waiver is a document that you, the faculty member, and the departmental hearing officer must sign. By signing the departmental hearing waiver, you acknowledge the Academic Honesty Violation, and all parties agree to accept the recommended sanction.

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. The sanction is then considered a college level decision. This specific waiver form is issued from the Dean of Students Office.
The departmental sanction you agreed to accept will be assessed against you. Sanctions may include reduced or zero credit for a test, a grade of 'F' in the course, etc. Your name will be placed on waiver lists maintained by the department, college, and provost. Following graduation, you may request that your name be removed from waiver lists.
If you are not eligible for a waiver (because you have a previous violation; because the suggested sanction is probation or greater; or because you, the departmental hearing officer, and the instructor cannot agree on the waiver), a departmental hearing will occur. You will have the opportunity to present documents and witnesses to the departmental hearing officer in support of your case. The departmental hearing officer will render a decision based on information presented at the hearing.
Yes. You may bring an individual for support. This person is not allowed to participate in the hearing. Additionally, you (or the faculty member) may bring individuals who have knowledge of the circumstances and who are prepared to testify. If you intend to bring someone to testify, you must inform the departmental hearing officer three class days prior to the hearing. You may also bring legal counsel. This legal counsel will be allowed to advise you but is not allowed to address the departmental hearing officer, the faculty member or any witness presented by you or the faculty member. If you wish to bring legal counsel, you must inform the departmental hearing officer three class days prior to the hearing so that a representative of the University of Houston legal counsel is also present.
You may present this argument and relevant information at the departmental hearing.
Yes, at a departmental hearing you may ask questions relevant to your case.
Most hearings last 20-30 minutes. Few last longer than an hour.
In many cases, you will be informed at the conclusion of the hearing. In all cases, you will be informed in writing within three class days after the hearing.
All required written notices shall be addressed to the student via their UH email or US mail at his/her mailing address as it appears in University of Houston records. It is the responsibility of the student to keep his/her current email and mailing address up to date on his/her record.
A departmental hearing may result in one of a full range of outcomes. The departmental hearing officer may decide that the violation did not occur and/or that no penalty should be assessed. On the other hand, the departmental hearing officer may decide that a violation did occur and impose a penalty ranging from reduced grade, zero on the assignment, F in the course, probation, suspension, expulsion, etc. Sanctions of suspension or expulsion are reviewed automatically in a college hearing unless such a hearing is waived.
Yes, both you and the instructor have equal right of appeal to a college-level Academic Honesty hearing panel made up of faculty and students. If you are found in violation of the academic honesty policy at a departmental hearing and the recommended sanctions are suspension or greater, a college level hearing is required. You may waive the college level hearing if you elect to accept the decision of the department.
If you fail to attend the departmental hearing, the case against you may be decided in your absence. You would still have the option to appeal the departmental decision/sanction to a college level hearing.
Students who admit to violating the academic honesty policy will want to carefully weigh a decision to appeal a departmental decision to the college-level Academic Honesty panel. If a departmental decision is appealed to the college level, a college hearing is scheduled. The case is heard before a panel and is a de novo hearing, a rehearing of the case, and may result in outcomes for the student that are different from the departmental level. The outcomes may or may not be to the advantage of the student. Depending on the case and hearing, the resulting sanctions may be the same, or less/more severe. The Dean of Students Office is available to help students understand the process to make an informed decision.
You may appeal the penalty to the college level. A college-level hearing is a de novo hearing, a rehearing of the case, and may result in different outcomes for the student than what was decided at the departmental level. The range of sanctions include those that may result on a student’s transcript.

For the complete Academic Honesty Policy, refer to the policy online.

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 the Dean of Students Office.

For student academic support:

Writing Center

LAUNCH