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Academic Code of Conduct
The Academic Dishonesty policy has changed effective Fall 2011. It is now called the Academic Code of Conduct.
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
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.
Forms 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:
The use of unauthorized information, study aids or other materials, or
unauthorized 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.
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
advised to seek out relevant guidelines on their own (the RISD Writing
Center 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.
The submission of substantially the same work to
satisfy requirements for one course that has previously been submitted
in satisfaction of the requirements for another course or that was
created for another purpose, without permission of the faculty of the
course for which the work is being submitted. Students are expected to
create new work in specific response to each assignment, unless
expressly authorized to do otherwise.
Unfair Academic Advantage
The theft, destruction, or defacement of, or other interference with,
the work of other students for the purpose of gaining academic
advantage; the engagement in other 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 Rules
The violation of specific course rules set forth in a syllabus or otherwise provided to the student.
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
If academic misconduct is suspected, the faculty member should first
speak with the student to help determine whether the suspicion is
warranted. If so, faculty are encouraged to consult the Office of
Student Affairs to determine whether the student has a record of similar
misconduct and/or to confer with their department head and dean for
advise or clarification of the following three options.
- 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
he/she feel the faculty’s grading was unfair.
- Grade of ‘F’ for Assignment and/or Grade of ‘F’ for Class
If after discussing the matter with the student a faculty member decides
to give the student a failing grade for the assignment or course
because of academic misconduct, a note of concern should be sent to the
student with a copy to the Dean of Students, the
student’s department head, and division dean. A note of concern is an
informal admonition that both makes the student aware of academic
standards and serves as notice that any future academic misconduct could
lead to further review, and the imposition of more serious sanctions by
the Conduct Board. This note will be kept on file in Student
Affairs, the school-wide repository for all misconduct records from all
departments. If the student should wish to challenge the sanction, the
Conduct Board will convene to hear the appeal. Otherwise the Conduct Board is not involved in level “B” procedures.
Student Affairs has the right to consult with the faculty member
regarding their current note of concern, and disclose whether or not
there are past notes of concern filed for that student. For students who
have past notes of concern filed, Student Affairs, along with the
faculty member involved with the current incident, proceed to Step C and
initiate formal disciplinary procedures.
- Conduct Board Hearing
A student may be called before the Conduct Board in the following situations:
- A faculty member believes he/she has committed an act of academic
misconduct that merits severe disciplinary action beyond a failing grade
for the assignment or course such as 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
occurred as well as provide the appropriate sanction if the student is
Conduct Board Procedures
Following is a general summary of hearing procedure, details of which
can be found under Disciplinary Code and Procedures in the Student
Handbook of Rhode Island School of Design.
The Office of Student Affairs will notify
the Conduct Board and the student and faculty member(s)
involved as to the time and place of the hearing.
The Conduct Board is comprised of one staff member of the
College administration appointed by the Dean of Students, two faculty members, and two alternates elected at large by the
Faculty Meeting for a two-year term, and one upper-class student
recommended by the Student Alliance and appointed by the Dean of Students. The Board will review all materials and
supporting documentation before the hearing.
- The Conduct Board convenes as quickly as possible, typically within a week.
- Faculty describes misconduct and provides documentation
- As needed, additional consultants or specialists may be called to the hearing.
- After hearing the student’s explanation of his/her conduct in
question, the Board decides whether the student is or is not in
violation of academic misconduct if that is in dispute, and, if
determined to be in violation, the appropriate educational or punitive
sanctions. The Conduct Board may assign a wide range of
educational or punitive sanctions including but not limited to: placing a
student on warning or probation; suspending a student for a period of
time; expelling a student; or failing a student for the course or
- Student Affairs takes the responsibility to inform all relevant
parties, including deans (i.e. division dean of the department where the
alleged Academic Code of Conduct violation occurred and the student’s division dean), department heads (student’s department head and head of the department where the alleged Academic Code of Conduct violation
occurred), and the faculty member(s) involved, regarding the progress of
the case and the outcome of the Academic Code of Conduct procedures.
The official disciplinary file resides with the Office of Student Affairs.