Academic Integrity Policy

The Ashland University community strives to model leadership which is based upon Christian beliefs and virtues that will encourage, develop, and sustain men and women of character to serve their professions, their communities, and the world (AU Statement on Ethical Leadership). As members of Ashland University, students hold themselves to the highest standards of academic, personal, and social integrity (Ashland University Campus Creed). In keeping with the Ashland University commitment to the highest standards of academic, personal, and social integrity, students are expected to abide by the academic integrity standards outlined in this policy.

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SECTION 1. PURPOSE

Academic integrity is as important to our mission today as it was at the University’s founding. The founders declared that Ashland “would develop students intellectually,” and our current mission speaks to the purpose of leading meaningful lives in the world community. Since the educational and social environment is built upon a long- standing commitment to Judeo-Christian values, it is clear that academic integrity is an essential part of students’ personal and intellectual growth. 

At Ashland University, academic integrity is to be revered, honored, and upheld. Therefore, an academic integrity infraction is considered a very serious matter, as it corrupts the educational process and undermines the foundation of our community.

SECTION 2. CONDUCT WHICH VIOLATES ACADEMIC INTEGRITY-ACADEMIC DISHONESTY

Ashland University expects each student to advance the University’s mission by furthering an environment that is both challenging and supportive. In such an environment a student will neither seek nor offer improper assistance. All students have an obligation to be forthright in their academic endeavors and to respect ethical standards. The work that one submits for academic evaluation must be his or her own, unless an instructor expressly permits certain types of collaboration. Academic integrity requires that each student will use his or her own capabilities to achieve his or her fullest potential and will neither offer nor accept aid that is not in keeping with regularly accepted standards of academic integrity. Failure to conform to this conduct shall constitute academic dishonesty.

SECTION 3. FORMS OF ACADEMIC DISHONESTY

Proper acknowledgment of ideas and sources is central to academic honesty. To ensure academic honesty, it is important to examine that which constitutes academic dishonesty. Academic dishonesty includes:

Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the intentional or unintentional presentation of someone else’s words, ideas, or data as one’s own work. In the event the faculty member deems the plagiarism is unintentional, he or she shall typically require the student to rewrite the assignment. In the event the faculty member believes the plagiarism is willful, the sanctions in this document will apply. If the work of another is used, acknowledgment of the original source must be made through a recognized reference practice, and, if verbatim statements are included, through quotation marks as well. To assure proper crediting, a student will acknowledge the work of others: 

  1. Whenever one quotes another person’s actual words. 
  2. Whenever one uses another person’s idea, opinion, or theory, even if it is completely paraphrased in one’s own words. 
  3. Whenever one borrows facts, statistics, or other illustrative materials, unless such information is of such common knowledge so as not to be questioned. 

Fabrication

Fabrication is the intentional falsification or invention of research, data, citations, or other information. Examples of fabrication include: 

  1. Citing information not taken from the source indicated. 
  2. Including in a reference list sources that have not been consulted. 
  3. Inventing or altering data or source information for research or other academic exercise. 
  4. Submitting as his or her own any academic assignment (e.g., written work, painting, sculpture, etc.) prepared totally or in part by another. 
  5. Using a portion of a piece of work previously submitted for another course or program to meet the requirement of the present course or program without the approval of the instructor involved. 
  6. Permitting one’s work to be submitted by another person as if it were his or hers. 
  7. Taking a test (or other evaluation) for someone else or permitting someone else to take a test for oneself. 
  8. Other offenses of this form that incorporate dishonesty for academic gain. 

Cheating

Cheating is an act of deception in which a student represents mastery of information that he or she has not mastered. Cheating may be suspected if an assignment that calls for independent work results in two or more solutions, sequences, or language so similar as to merit the charge. 

Cheating may be suspected if there is a statistical inconsistency in the student’s performance and the student cannot explain or reproduce both the intricacies of the solution and the techniques used to generate the solution; or in the case of an essay examination, the student cannot explain or reproduce the thought-processes used to generate the writing. 

Examples include: 

  1. Copying from another student’s test paper. 
  2. Allowing another student to copy from a test paper. 
  3. Using notes, textbooks, or other information in homework, examinations, tests, or quizzes, except as expressly permitted. 
  4. Securing, giving, or exchanging information during examinations without authority to do so. 
  5. Other offenses of this form that incorporate dishonesty for academic gain. 

Other Forms of Academic Misconduct

These examples are not meant to be exhaustive. Further, they refer only to academic areas; appropriate action may also be undertaken by other agencies. 

Examples include: 

  1. Obtaining confidential information about examinations, tests or quizzes other than that released by the instructor. 
  2. Stealing, buying, or otherwise obtaining all or part of an un-administered test in which the origins of the materials are suspect. 
  3. Selling or giving away all or part of an un-administered test including answers to an un-administered test. 
  4. Inducing any other person to obtain an un-administered test, or any information about the test. 
  5. Changing, altering, or being an accessory to the changing and/or altering of a grade in a grade book, computer file, on a test, a “change of grade” form, or other official academic record of the University that relate to grades. 
  6. Cooperating with another person in academic dishonesty, either directly or knowingly, as an accessory. 
  7. Using computing resources in a manner that violates University academic integrity policies. 
  8. Other offenses of this form that incorporate dishonesty for academic gain. 

SECTION 4. PROCEDURES FOLLOWING AN ALLEGATION OF ACADEMIC DISHONESTY AT THE GRADUATE LEVEL

  1. When a faculty member has observed a student violating any of the policies stated herein, he or she shall first inform the student of the allegation, then file a report with the Office of Records and Registration with supporting documentation. 
  2. When a proctor has observed a student violating any of the policies stated herein, the faculty member, under whose authority the proctor oversaw the academic activity, shall file an allegation of academic dishonesty, with supporting documentation, with the Office of Records and Registration. 
  3. When a faculty member has not observed a student violating any of the policies stated herein, but has a firm conviction of academic dishonesty, based on probative evidence, the faculty member shall file an allegation of academic dishonesty, with supporting documentation, with the Office of Records and Registration. 
  4. Upon the filing of an allegation of academic dishonesty, the Office of Records and Registration shall inform the student of the nature of the allegation and supply the student with documentation. 
  5. Within ten business days of receiving an allegation of academic dishonesty, the Office of Records and Registration shall notify the student of the procedures for refuting such allegation and for appealing any resulting penalty. 
  6. Within ten business days of receiving an allegation of academic dishonesty, the Graduate Academic Integrity Standing Committee shall schedule a hearing and inform the student of his or her right to refute the allegation at the hearing. 
  7. Time frames for taking actions may be extended upon agreement of the parties. 

SECTION 5. PENALTIES AND PENALTY DETERMINATION

  1. In addition to submitting the allegation of academic dishonesty to the Office of Records and Registration, the faculty member may assign a grade of zero for the assignment or test involved and/or assign an F for the course. Any grade appeal in process will be suspended until any integrity violation is resolved. 
  2. The Graduate Academic Integrity Standing Committee shall determine the penalty, adhering to the stated policies of the program, up to and including permanent dismissal from the graduate program, without opportunity to reapply. Within ten business days of the hearing, the committee shall notify the student of its decision and report its decision to the Graduate School dean. In determining the penalty, the committee shall take into consideration the seriousness of the offense, including: 
    1. The willfulness of the incident; e.g., an error in the form of a citation is less serious than no attempt to credit the work of another; 
    2. The extent to which the student had been previously instructed or warned about the academic integrity policy; 
    3. Previous violations of academic integrity. 
  3. The action taken pursuant to paragraph B above does not prevent any additional action taken pursuant to stated policies of individual colleges, departments, or programs. 

SECTION 6. STUDENT APPEAL PROCEDURE

  1. The student shall have an opportunity to attend the Graduate Academic Integrity Standing Committee’s hearing and refute the allegation of academic dishonesty. 
  2. Within ten business days of receiving notice of the committee’s decision, the student may appeal the decision to the dean of the Graduate School. 
  3. The dean of the Graduate School shall review the information presented, make such inquiries as necessary, and render judgment, which shall affirm, modify, or overturn the decision of the Graduate Academic Integrity Standing Committee. 
  4. Students may appeal a decision of the dean of the Graduate School to permanently dismiss a student from the program to the provost by submitting an appeal to the Provost’s Office within ten calendar days of notification of the decision. 

Academic Probation

To remain in good standing, students must maintain a cumulative 3.0 grade point average in the master’s program. Anytime a student’s cumulative grade point average falls below 3.0, the student may be placed on academic probation and is subject to dismissal. Academic probation is recorded as a permanent entry on the student’s official record. The student has four courses (8 hours) in which to raise the grade point average to at least 3.0.

Failure to meet this requirement may result in academic dismissal. If probation occurs or continues during the last semester, the program faculty committee will determine what additional work, if any, the student must accomplish to continue, graduate, or be involuntarily withdrawn. The College of Arts and Sciences and Ashland University reserve the right to dismiss any student at any time for good cause.

Auditing Courses

Persons who do not wish to receive college credit or who do not meet minimal admission requirements may register as auditors upon payment of the audit fee and completion of all requirements for non-degree seeking students. Official records and grades are not maintained for auditors and audit classes cannot later be changed to a credit standing. Students will receive a grade report reflecting audit status.

Course Delivery and Residency Requirements

Courses in history and government (those with an AHG prefix [prior to Fall 2020] or those with an HIST or POLSC prefix [Summer 2020 and after]) are offered as intensive weeklong summer courses at the main campus and as live online weboconference courses during the fall, spring, and summer semesters. On-campus room and board are available for a nominal fee for students attending summer courses. Courses required as part of the education core may be taken at the main campus, at Ashland's regional centers located around Ohio, as hybrid courses (meeting both on-campus and online), and as fully online courses.

No more than 9 hours may be transferred into the program from other universities.

Students may choose to complete the program entirely online, entirely on-campus, or through any combination of online and on-campus coursework. Students need not commit to one particular delivery method and may change their plans at anytime.

Simultaneous Degree Candidacy in More Than One Graduate Program 

It is possible to pursue two graduate degree programs simultaneously at Ashland University. Graduate students must have an advisor in each graduate degree program and plan with them an integrated course of study that satisfies the requirements of both degree programs. A program plan for more than one degree program must be completed and submitted to the dean of the Graduate School within the first semester of enrollment at Ashland University. The student must qualify for admission to each program and the program directors for both programs must sign the program plan. No more than 12 semester hours may be counted in both degree programs, and this must be specified in the proposal. 

Students who have been admitted to graduate study at Ashland University may take courses in any graduate program provided that the prerequisites have been met and providing that they have approval of the instructor or program director. Students applying for a dual graduate degree or a second master’s degree may have the second application fee waived. 

Second Master's Degree 

Students may pursue a second master's degree following completion of a master's degree providing that they meet the requirements for admission to the second master's degree. 

No more than 12 semester hours from the first master's program may be counted in the second master's program. The student must have earned a B or better in the courses. The transfer of these hours must be approved by the advisor in the second program and recorded in the Office of Records and Registration. 

Students changing from one graduate degree program to another must record that change and notify both program directors. They must meet the entrance requirements for admission to the new graduate program. The acceptance of course work from the original graduate program must be approved by the advisor in the new program. 

Grade Point System

The following system of grading and point values applies to all courses in the master's program:

Letter GradeQuality Points
A Work which reflects excellence in all or almost all areas: knowledge, insight or understanding, writing, contribution to in-class discussion – both quality and quantity, effort, general overall contribution to the class. 4.00
A- Work that is good in all areas, with some indications of excellent work. 3.67
B+ Solid work in all areas with some indications of good work. 3.33
B Competent work in most areas; may reveal some minor problems. 3.00
B- Below average work in several areas; signs of significant problems. 2.67
C+ Minimally competent work which is not quite failing, yet is below the quality expected at the graduate-level work 2.33
C
C-
Unacceptable and incompetent work below the quality that is expected at the graduate level. No credit is awarded for courses in which a grade of C or C- is earned. 2.00
1.67
F Work with significant problems that is clearly below the quality expected for graduate-level work. 0.00

I (Incomplete) May be given when students are not able to complete the course work due to illness, accidents, or other emergencies. This grade applies to work of acceptable quality when the full amount is not completed. It is never applied to unsatisfactory work. The required work must be completed within three months of the completion of the course. The professor has the option of extending the time period for completing the required work an additional semester. The "I" grade becomes "F" if not removed by the date specified.
IP (In-Progress) Given for thesis, capstone project, or directed study courses that are in progress. There are no time limits for completing the requirements for such courses except those imposed in the program.
K (Transfer) Credit accepted in transfer. Courses are recorded on the student's permanent academic record but not included in the cumulative point hour ratio.
W (Withdrawn) Assigned for official withdrawals within 24 hours of the beginning of the course. Not used in grade point average computation.

Grading and Course Repeat Policy

No credit toward degree requirements will be awarded for courses in which the student has earned a grade below C+. Any student receiving a C+ or lower grade in a course may choose to retake that same course in an attempt to raise his grade point average. Both grades appear on the student’s transcript. However, upon written request of the student, only the second grade will be used in calculating the GPA.

Student Grade Appeals

Ashland University seeks in the student grade appeal process to foster amicable and equitable resolution of disputes after a fair and impartial exploration of the facts. The purpose of the student grade appeal process is to provide the framework and method to resolve student complaints concerning a final course grade. A formal student grade appeal request can be considered when: 

  • A procedural error has been discovered in the evaluation or recording of a final grade; 
  • A final grade has been assigned to a student on some basis other than performance in the course; or 
  • A final grade is assigned which departs from the faculty member's standards written in the syllabus or in written amendments to the syllabus. 
  • A final grade appeal request will not be considered solely on a disagreement about the content or quality of a student's course work. 

A student will, where possible, attempt to resolve the issue informally with the instructor before filing a formal written grade appeal. Should attempts at informal resolution fail, the student may wish to file a formal grade appeal. 

FORMAL GRADE APPEAL PROCEDURE

Any formal appeal must be initiated with completion of the Student Grade Appeal Form. The formal procedure must be started within 45 calendar days after the final grade was officially recorded. Any evidence and all direct and supporting statements once made, become part of the permanent record of the appeal and must be produced at each level of appeal. 

First Level: Appeal to the Department Chair 

The Grade Appeal Process officially begins on the date the Student Grade Appeal Form document is received by the Department Chair. The Department Chair to whom the complaint has been submitted will conduct a formal conference with the student, permitting her or him to provide any necessary relevant information. The Department Chair will also confer with the faculty member involved and conduct additional investigation and/or mediation efforts as he or she deems necessary. Absent extraordinary circumstances, a written recommendation is sent within 30 calendar days of the date the appeal was submitted. The recommendation is sent to the student and the faculty member. Should the student fail to take further action within 7 calendar days after receiving the Department Chair’s decision that decision shall stand. If the student or faculty member is dissatisfied with the decision or does not receive a response from the Department Chair, the student or faculty member may proceed to the second level of appeal. If the grade appeal concerns a course taught by the Department Chair, the Dean of the Department Chair's College will select another facultymember to receive the documentation and conduct the investigation/mediation. 

Second Level: Appeal to the Dean 

If the student or faculty member elects to continue the appeal will be sent to the Dean of the appropriate college. The Dean (or the dean's designee) will conduct a formal conference with the student, permitting her or him to provide any necessary relevant information. The Dean (or the dean's designee) will also confer with the Department Chair and the faculty member if necessary and conduct additional investigation as he or she deems necessary. Absent extraordinary circumstances, a written recommendation is sent within 30 calendar days. The recommendation is sent to the student, Department Chair, and the faculty member. Should the student fail to take further action within 7 calendar days after receiving the Dean’s decision that decision shall stand. If the student or faculty member is dissatisfied with the decision or does not receive a response from the Dean, the student may proceed to the third level of appeal. 

Third Level: Appeal to the Provost 

If the student or faculty member elects to continue the appeal after the Dean's decision or recommendation has been received, he/she may appeal the matter to the Provost within 7 calendar days. The Provost will review documentation and the recommendation of the Dean and make the final determination regarding the grade appeal within 14 calendar days. His or her determination is final and will be sent to all affected parties within 14 calendar days.

Time Limits

Students must complete all requirements for the master's degree within ten years. This period begins with the first Ashland University master’s course completed and ends with the last coursework applied toward the degree. In extraordinary circumstances, a time extension may be granted through approval of the program director.

Inactivity, Withdrawal, and Readmission

Any student who has been absent from the university for three or more consecutive semesters (including summer) will be declared to be inactive and withdrawn from the university. To resume studies, an inactive student must contact the MASTAHG program office. Upon readmission, students will be held to the degree requirements published in the then-current edition of the Graduate Catalog. Any coursework completed prior to withdrawal will be honored provided it is still applicable to current degree requirements and remains within the program time limit.

Transfer Credit

Up to nine (9) semester credit hours may be transferred from other institutions to satisfy the degree requirements in the MASTAHG program. The maximum number of transfer credits accepted toward degree requirements may be reduced depending upon the number of semester credit hours the student earns in online courses (see the Course Delivery and Residency Requirements section, above).

To transfer credit hours, the following conditions must apply:

  • Credit hours transferred cannot have been used for another degree.
  • A student must have earned the credit hours no longer than six years prior to acceptance into the master’s program.
  • A student must have earned the credit hours at an accredited institution.
  • The credit hours must be graduate-level credit hours from a course in which the student received at least a B.
  • Quarter hours transferred into the university will be converted into semester hours, and all conversions will be rounded down to the nearest semester hour.

The student’s academic advisor approves credit transfers. Any exceptions to this policy, which are granted rarely, must be approved by the program's faculty committee.

To transfer credit, a student should ask the registrar of the institution where the credit was earned to send an official, sealed copy of his or her transcript to Ashland University. The transcript should make clear that the credit hours are graduate credits. Transcripts should be sent to:

MASTAHG Program
Ashbrook Center at Ashland University
401 College Avenue
Ashland, Ohio 44805

For prior approval of credit hours to be transferred, the student must submit a letter to the student’s academic advisor along with a copy of the other institution’s syllabus for the course. No other guarantees exist that credit hours will be transferable. Prior assurances given verbally by faculty or staff at Ashland University must be regarded as estimates or opinions; they do not commit the University to a course of action.

Waiver of Degree Requirements

Waivers of degree requirements, which will be granted rarely, must be approved by the program's faculty committee and the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Requests for waivers must be submitted in writing to the program director.