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Academic Code of Conduct

I. Academic Misconduct

Overview and Introduction

RISD seeks to help its students realize their fullest intellectual, artistic, and personal potential through a distinctive combination of studio and liberal arts courses. The college values the creative process and freedom of expression. The college also honors its responsibility to protect the values and standards of an academic community.

The college recognizes the need for risk-taking and experimentation in a challenging art, design, and liberal arts education. Moreover, the long history of appropriation, subversion, and other means of challenging convention in the arts may, at times, complicate attempts to definitively codify forms of acknowledgement/attribution. That said, forms of experimentation that do challenge these boundaries must at all times adhere to the fundamental value underlying academic conduct at RISD: honesty in the creation and presentation of one’s work as well as in one’s relations to others and their work.

Academic writing must follow conventions of documentation and citation. Others’ ideas—whether quoted directly or paraphrased, whether taken from a book, website, or lecture—must be clearly attributed both to provide a record of the writer’s research and to avoid plagiarism, or presenting another’s ideas as one’s own. Liberal Arts faculty will often explicitly address documentation expectations, including preferred styles, in class.

In the studio culture, the conventions governing the use and reference to others’ work are less clearly defined than in academic writing. These conventions are often defined by particular disciplinary histories and practices and are best addressed in the context of the particular studio experience. Given the wide variety of disciplinary histories, conventions, traditions, and practices applicable to liberal arts and studio activities, the individual faculty member defines, within reason, what constitutes academic misconduct within the context of a given course.

II. Definitions of Academic Misconduct

Academic misconduct compromises the academic integrity of the college and subverts the educational process. Primary, but not exclusive, kinds of such misconduct are:

  • Cheating The use of unauthorized information, study aids or other materials, communication with, or copying from another student on papers, projects, tests, or other academic work. It is the responsibility of students to consult with their faculty concerning what materials and types of collaboration are permissible.
  • Plagiarism The passing off of someone else’s ideas, writing, or work as one’s own is plagiarism. Appropriate methods and forms of attribution vary by discipline. Some courses will include instruction in appropriate conventions for citation and attribution within the field. Students are expected to seek out relevant guidelines on their own (the RISD Center for Arts and Language offers resources and guidance), to ask faculty when in doubt about standards, and to recognize that they are ultimately responsible for proper citation.
  • Falsification and Fabrication The attribution of information or material included in one’s work to a false or fabricated source, or the falsification or fabrication of the information or materials themselves.
  • Unauthorized Reuse The submission of work to satisfy requirements for one course that has previously been submitted for another course. Students are expected to create new work in specific response to each assignment, unless expressly authorized to do otherwise.
  • Unfair Academic Advantage For purposes of the Academic Code of Conduct, Unfair Academic Advantage is the theft, destruction, or defacement of, or other interference with the work of other students for the purpose of gaining academic advantage. This includes but is not limited to the engagement in activities that place other students at an academic disadvantage, such as theft, concealment, or alteration of needed resources or other materials; or other manipulation of the academic system in one’s favor.
  • Noncompliance with Course Expectations The violation of specific course expectations set forth in a syllabus or otherwise provided to the student by the instructor whether verbal or written.
Reporting Suspected Academic Misconduct Cases

The following procedures are intended to provide guidance to faculty on handling and reporting cases of suspected academic misconduct and to inform students on the procedure for adjudicating charges of academic misconduct.

III. Procedures

If academic misconduct is suspected, the faculty member must first speak with the student prior to any action taken to help determine whether the suspicion is warranted. If so, the faculty should then confer with their department head and dean for advisement or clarification of the following three options. The accusing faculty and the Department Head and / or Dean should consult the Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards (hereinafter referred to as "the Director") to determine whether the student has a record of similar misconduct on file with the Student Conduct and Community Standards office and/ or to seek further guidance.

A. Teachable Moment

If a faculty member suspects that a student has engaged in academic misconduct, in addition to discussing the matter with the student, the faculty member may elect to require the student to redo the assignment correctly, in accordance with academic standards, or reduce the grade on the assignment. If the assignment grade is lowered to a ‘D’ or higher, and if the faculty feels no further punitive action is necessary, the incident will be considered a “teachable moment.” The grade appeal process is available to provide the student with due process should they feel the faculty’s grading was unfair.

B. Grade of ‘F’ for Assignment and/or Grade of ‘F’ for Class

If, after discussing the matter with the student, Department Head/Dean, the Director and others who are deemed appropriate, a faculty member decides to give the student a failing grade for the assignment or course because of academic misconduct, a notice of failure is sent to the student in writing, and given to the student in person in a meeting with the faculty member, the Department Head, and a representative from the Office of Student Affairs. The notice should outline the findings of the faculty member issuing the Notice of Failure and the given grade of “F”. This notice is copied to the Director, The Registrar’s Office (if grade F for Class), the student’s Department Head and Division Dean. The Notice of Failure makes the student aware of academic standards as well as put them on notice that further violations of academic misconduct could lead to permanent separation from the college.

C. Conduct Board Hearing A student may be called before the Conduct Board in the following situations: (Procedures for the Student Conduct Board can be found under RISD Code of Student Conduct and Procedures.)

  • A faculty member believes the student has committed an act of academic misconduct that merits severe disciplinary action beyond a failing grade for the assignment or course (e.g. suspension or expulsion).
  • A faculty member wishes to have the Conduct Board review the case and make a determination that a violation of the Academic Code of Student Conduct occurred as well as provide the appropriate sanction if the student is found responsible for a violation of the Academic Code of Student Conduct.
  • A fellow student has reported a violation of Academic Misconduct and wishes that the board hear the case and determine whether or not a violation of the Academic Code of Conduct has occurred.
IV. Appeals

For Section III Procedures option B Only. Students who are sent directly to the Conduct Board (option C) follow the appeal procedures outlined within the RISD Code of Student Conduct and Procedures.

A student who wishes to appeal or challenge the sanction of Option B. Grade of ‘F’ for assignment and/or grade of ‘F’ for class must do so in writing to the Office of Student Affairs or designee within 7 “school days” from the date of the “notice of failure” and should outline the following points:

  • The circumstances surrounding the incident and
  • Why the student feels that the incident does not constitute Academic Misconduct as outlined by the Academic Code of Conduct

The Office of Student Affairs or Designee will then decide, after conferring with the faculty and Department Head whether or not an appeal is warranted. If the appeal is granted, the Office of Student Affairs will forward the information to the Director, who will convene the Student Conduct Board, which will hold a hearing based on the procedures in the Student Code of Conduct.

Academic Code of Conduct for Remote Learning

The Academic Code of Student Conduct for Remote Learning can be viewed here.

Code of Student Conduct

The Code of Student Conduct can be viewed here.