Academic Catalog 2020-2021

Academic Honesty

Graduate Programs Code of Academic Integrity


As students willingly accept the benefits of membership in the Gardner-Webb academic community, which was founded on the ideals of Christianity, they acquire obligations to observe and uphold honesty, integrity, and truthfulness.

Gardner-Webb University expects its graduate students and faculty to display academic integrity. As in any community, this institution must be governed by regulations, which function best when they are fully understood, accepted, and cherished by every member of the academic community. Therefore, all graduate students and faculty members are expected to be familiar with, and to base their actions upon, the following statements regarding academic integrity.

Code of Graduate Student Academic Integrity

The Code of Academic Integrity governs the responsibility of students in the various graduate programs of Gardner-Webb University to maintain integrity in academic work, defines violations of the standards, describes procedures for handling alleged violations of the standards, and lists applicable penalties.

Student Responsibilities

Students should recognize that the regulations governing academic integrity exist for the protection of the honest and that dishonesty in an academic setting must not be tolerated, much less condoned.

Students are responsible for their own work. Any assignment turned in by a student is assumed to be the work of the student whose name appears on the assignment.

Students are ultimately responsible for understanding faculty members’ instructions for assignments. If instructions are not clear, students must seek clarification from instructors.

Students must understand the definitions of cheating, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty.

Students should familiarize themselves with the proper use of citations and quotations in order to avoid submitting other people’s work as their own.

Students are expected to report incidents of academic dishonesty to their instructor.

Students who threaten or coerce other students or faculty members for reporting a violation of the Code of Academic Integrity will face disciplinary action, with dismissal from graduate study at Gardner-Webb University being the recommended punishment.

Infractions of the code of academic integrity include, but are not limited to, the following.

Cheating: Intentionally using or attempting to use unapproved materials, information, notes, or other devices including unauthorized communication during an academic exercise.

Fabrication and Falsification: Intentional and unauthorized alteration or manufacturing of any information in an academic exercise. Fabrication is a matter of inventing information for academic purposes, whereas falsification is a matter of altering information.

Multiple Submission: The submission of substantial portions of the same academic work (including oral reports) for credit more than once without authorization.

Plagiarism: Intentionally or knowingly presenting the work of another as one’s own (i.e., without proper acknowledgment of the source). The sole exception to the requirement of acknowledging sources is when the ideas, information, etc., are common knowledge.

Abuse of Academic Materials: Intentionally or knowingly destroying, stealing, or making inaccessible library and other academic resource material.

Complicity in Academic Dishonesty: Intentionally helping or attempting to help another to commit any act of academic dishonesty.

Faculty Responsibilities

Faculty must explain all assignments as thoroughly as is reasonable and should address any extraordinary limitations on outside assistance.

Faculty members should take reasonable precautions in giving tests to reduce the likelihood that violations occur. The fact that a faculty member did not take a specific precaution does not, however, constitute an excuse for any form of academic dishonesty.

Faculty must be willing to investigate and, if circumstances warrant, press charges against students suspected of academic dishonesty.

Faculty members must file an Academic Dishonesty Report any time they charge a student with an infraction.

Faculty members must seek to be fair in their dealings with students, particularly regarding cases of academic dishonesty, and must realize that no student can be convicted on suspicion alone.


A student is accused of, and charged with, violating the Code of Academic Integrity by the instructor in the course. A Report of Academic Dishonesty Form describing the alleged violation in full is initiated by the instructor and completed either in person, by registered mail, by email, or by fax between the graduate student and the instructor. Prior to completion, the course instructor should consult with Graduate Studies to determine whether a history of prior infractions exists and with the dean or director/coordinator of the program involved for guidance on recommended penalties. The student is required to enter on the report a plea of either Responsible or Not Responsible within two business days. No response is considered as Responsible.


A plea of Responsible means that the student is not contesting the allegation and accepts the penalty to be imposed by the instructor. The instructor then sends the completed Report of Academic Dishonesty to the Chair of the Graduate Council, who sends a copy to the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and to the dean or director/coordinator of the program involved.

Not Responsible

A plea of Not Responsible means that the student is going to appeal the allegation and the recommended penalty. This plea requires that a written explanation be filed with the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies within seven days of the date of the plea. The written explanation should include all circumstances and grounds for contesting the charges. The instructor sends the Report of Academic Dishonesty and the student sends his/her written explanation to the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and to the dean or director/coordinator of the program involved. When the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies receives the completed Report of Academic Dishonesty (available on WebbConnect) and the student’s written explanation, the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, in consultation with the dean or director/coordinator of the program involved appoints an Appeals Committee composed of the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and two other members of the Graduate Council. The Appeals Committee examines the Report of Academic Dishonesty and the student’s written response. The committee may hear from the instructor and the student, if they wish to appear before the committee. The committee decides whether to uphold or overturn the faculty member’s allegation and the proposed punishment. It reports its findings to the Graduate Council, the faculty member, and the student.

Once the Appeals Committee makes its report, either the faculty member or the student may appeal the findings to the Provost within seven days, only on the basis of additional evidence, improper procedure, or a punishment inconsistent with the offense. The Provost may decide to hear the appeal or deny a further hearing. The Provost’s decision is final.


A graduate student who fails a course due to academic dishonesty will receive a grade of "FX" on his/her transcript and will then be suspended from the program for one academic year. At the end of that year, the student may apply for readmission to the graduate program. The faculty in the student’s academic program will then make a decision to readmit the student or to deny admission. If readmitted, the student can retake the course. Both grades will appear on the transcript, and the course hours attempted will continue to be included in calculating the student’s grade point average.