Meet the Faculty Representatives to the Honor Board:
The Faculty Representatives to the Honor Board are a rich source of knowledge about the Honor Code- both inside and outside the classroom. The Faculty Representatives work in partnership with the students on the Honor Board to evaluate potential infractions of the academic Honor Code and help in crafting resolutions to address the many relationships affected by these reported breaches of trust. Along with years of experience, the Faculty Representatives to the Honor Board bring unique perspectives and voices to the table, which the students on the Honor Board greatly appreciate, respect, and value.
Confidentiality is vital to the success of the Honor Code. Knowledge of any social or academic conflicts is confined to as few people as possible (parties involved, members of the Honor Board and those who might have taken part in mediation processes). All witnesses and parties are required to keep all proceedings strictly confidential.
The Student Representatives to the Honor Board have put together a flow chart to describe the steps involved in bringing a matter to the Honor Board. They have also created a “Statement Template” to aid members of the Faculty in writing a thorough statement if they ever find themselves playing the confronting party in a case. Feel free to look this over to get an idea of how matters are reported to the Honor Board and to get a general idea of the hearing procedures that follow:
If you’ve any questions regarding hearing procedure, please consult the full version of the Honor Code in the Honor Code section of this website. If you’ve any questions regarding the Honor Code in general, feel free to get in touch with the Head of the Honor Board at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Syllabus Content Suggestions:
A Professor’s syllabus is often one of the first invitations to conversation about the Honor Code in the classroom. It sets the stage for students in terms of the work and conduct that is expected of them during their time here at Bryn Mawr College. The Student Representatives to the Honor Board have put together a list of ideas that Faculty should consider including in their syllabus to begin this conversation. It is merely a list of suggestions that were generated after reviewing cases and after conversations with students in regards to the “fuzzy” areas of the Honor Code in the classroom.
Frequently Asked Questions answered from the perspective of the Students on the Honor Board
The following concepts emerged during conversations with the Faculty during the Spring 2013 semester, as well as from experiences serving on the Honor Board. It is our hope that these observations and suggestions will be useful as a guide for reinforcing the Honor Code in academic settings. Please keep in mind that some practices may be department- or classroom-specific, and that these answers are not solutions per se, but rather examples of what other faculty have found to be successful.
Q: Who is responsible for maintaining the Honor Code?
A: The Honor Code is a living document created and maintained by the Undergraduate Self-Government Association. This document holds all Undergraduate students (including Post-Baccalaureate students) accountable for their conduct on this campus. Students are expected to hold themselves and one another to standards described in the Honor Code. Faculty and Administration participate in this system by engaging in confrontation when they see a potential breach of the Honor Code.
Q: What are some methods to consider in clarifying class expectations?
A: Explicit references to the Honor Code and its policies on course syllabi can be helpful. Clearly explaining on course syllabi expectations for work including acceptable citation style and permissible levels of collaboration can also be beneficial. Laying these ground rules at the beginning of the course can help students avoid potential infractions. The Honor Board has compiled a list of syllabus content suggestions that includes information about academic support resources on campus, and we encourage Faculty to refer to this document when laying out their own syllabi.
Q: How might I suspect an infraction has occurred?
A: Consider what you know about your student and look for patterns. How have they generally performed in class and on assignments, exams, and quizzes? Has the student been having a difficult time adjusting to the course load and keeping up? Now, does that student’s performance on the assignment, project, exam, or quiz in question reflect what you already know about him or her? If the answer is no, consider approaching the student and creating a space for dialogue about the integrity of the submitted work. It may simply be confusion concerning proper citation methods. Generally, plugging submitted written work into search engines like Google or other literary matching programs has been useful in determining what is and is not original work.
Q: What is the goal of confrontation?
A: We view confrontation as a first step in repairing broken trust. Rather than laying blame on an individual, all parties are confronting the problem or area of uncertainty together, and have made a commitment to exchange values and concerns to best resolve an issue. By approaching confrontation in this way, everyone should feel comfortable communicating honestly and openly. The goal of confrontation is for all parties to get a better understanding of the each others’ perspective. If you were to confront a student about a potential infraction, hopefully both of you would emerge with a better sense of what happened and why, and with a plan to move forward.
Q: What should I do if I notice a problem after the semester has already ended? (Confronting a student when they are not on campus)
A: If the semester has already come to a close, it is still possible and highly encouraged to report all incidents to the Head of the Honor Board. If you notice a potential case while finalizing grades for the semester, we ask that you please not submit that student’s grade to the Registrar. Students often use transcripts to apply for internships, jobs, and fellowships, and it is important for these transcripts to be an accurate representation of the student’s work. If an infraction is reported after the end of the semester, the Honor Board will conduct the hearing as soon as possible at the beginning of the following semester. We ask that you wait to assign a grade until after the Honor Board has proposed its resolution.
Q: How do I set up a confrontation? Is it appropriate to do it through email? What approaches or attitudes have other faculty members found to be useful?
A: Confrontation can be a way to repair broken trust; it is important to be honest about the ways in which a student may have broken that trust, but equally important to find a way to fix it. Consider opening up dialogue in an appropriate setting. While the Honor Board does not recommend using emails to accuse a student, professors can and often do use emails to invite the student to a conversation. This invitation requests a private discussion of a concern. (Keep in mind that some students may be very private about their academic or social situations.) Set up a time to talk outside of class, or after other students have left. It is often helpful to have the materials in question (i.e. quiz, paper, etc.) on hand for review during this conversation.
Q: Why can’t I just handle this on my own?
A: The Honor Board represents and serves the entire student body, and maintains a consistent approach when handling potential infractions. It is important for students to know that, regardless of the department, the resolution can come about through collaboration between students they’ve elected and self-nominated members of the Faculty. The Honor Board and its hearings provide a safe space with student representation and support from the student’s Dean in order to foster an open dialogue. The Honor Board also takes some pressure off of the confronting Faculty member by acting as a third-party, allowing for restoration of the student-faculty relationship.
Q: What are some potential sanctions?
A: The Honor Board takes great care to ensure that resolutions take a student’s individual circumstances and needs into account, and are proportional to the scope of the infraction. We try not to have a boilerplate set of consequences in mind before hearing all the relevant facts. In the past, resolutions have ranged from point deductions, failed assignments, and grade caps to failure in a course, or temporary separation or permanent exclusion from the College. In some cases, the Honor Board may conclude that no infraction occurred. You can read many examples of proposed resolutions, along with infractions to which they correspond, in the Hearing Reports and Abstracts section of this website.