Plagiarism in English Classes at Maricopa Community Colleges

Definition: In an instructional setting, plagiarism occurs when a writer deliberately uses someone else’s language, ideas, or other original (not common-knowledge) material without acknowledging its source.  Council of Writing Program Administrators

English instructors in the Maricopa Community Colleges are expected to take plagiarism seriously; it is academic misconduct as defined by the online Policy Manual of the Maricopa Community Colleges.

2.3.11 Academic Misconduct

  1. Definitions
    1. Academic Misconduct - includes misconduct associated with the classroom, laboratory or clinical learning process. Examples of academic misconduct include, but are not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, excessive absences, use of abusive or profane language, and disruptive and/or threatening behavior.
    2. Cheating - includes, but is not limited to, (a) use of any unauthorized assistance in taking quizzes, tests, assessment tests or examinations; (b) dependence upon the aid of sources beyond those authorized by the faculty member in writing papers, preparing reports, solving problems, or carrying out other assignments; or (c) the acquisition, without permission, of tests or other academic material belonging to a member of the college faculty or staff.
    3. Plagiarism - includes, but is not limited to, the use of paraphrase or direct quotation of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgment. It also includes the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials. Information gathered from the internet and not properly identified is also considered plagiarism.
  2. Sanctions
    Any student found by a faculty member to have committed academic misconduct maybe subject to the following sanctions: (Note: sanctions 1, 2, 3, and 4 may be imposed by a faculty member. The faculty member may recommend to the department chairperson and the appropriate vice president of academic affairs or designee that sanctions 5, 6, or 7 be imposed. College suspension or expulsion will be imposed only by the appropriate vice president of academic affairs or designee.
    1. Warning - A notice in writing to the student that the student has violated the academic code.
    2. Grade Adjustment - Lowering of a score on a test or assignment.
    3. Discretionary Sanctions - Additional academic assignments determined by the faculty member.
    4. Course Failure - Failure of a student from a course where academic misconduct occurs.
    5. Disciplinary Probation - Disciplinary probation is for a designated period of time and includes the probability of more severe sanctions if the student commits additional acts of academic misconduct.
    6. College Suspension - Separation of the student from the college for a definite period of time, after which the student is eligible to return. Conditions for readmission may be specified. (A suspension from one Maricopa Community College will apply to all other colleges/centers in the District.)
    7. College Expulsion - Permanent separation of the student from the college. (Expulsion from one Maricopa Community College will apply to all colleges/centers in the District.)
  3. Appeal of Sanctions for Academic Misconduct

Students can appeal sanctions imposed for academic misconduct by following the instructional grievance process. (AR 2.3.5; Appendix S-6)

Since the real goal is prevention, instructors should take special care in providing instruction to help students understand what plagiarism is, keeping in mind the level of the class and the need to distinguish careless or inadequate citations or use of the words of others from deliberate acts of plagiarism.  In cases where instructors have carefully considered the evidence and concluded that a student has deliberately plagiarized, instructors should use districtwide sanctions provided in the district's Policy Manual.

At a minimum, instructors should clearly state in detail their plagiarism policy – including consequences -- in the class syllabus and provide an oral explanation of that policy as well. The English Instructional Council strongly urges course failure as the sanction to be imposed when major assignments are found to be deliberately plagiarized

  Revised 4/29/2009
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English Department at Glendale Community College