LeTourneau University is a vibrant academic community dedicated to scholarship and the advancement of knowledge, where students find opportunities on-campus and abroad to develop initiative and leadership and to learn by being fully engaged in classrooms, libraries, research laboratories, and residence halls, among other venues. LeTourneau seeks to nurture in its students intellectual passion and a keenly developed moral sense, goals attainable only where freedom of thought and expression flourishes in a culture built on respect, responsibility and integrity.
Drawing on an interdenominational, evangelical Christian tradition and commitment to hands-on learning which impacts the Kingdom for Christ, LETU offers a education rooted in the fundamental belief that all truths participate in the Divine Truth, a belief that motivates the vigorous search for knowledge and our faith-integrative initiatives.
LeTourneau University inspires students to pursue learning as a good in itself and to see that pursuit as involving the whole person and positively impacting the world around them. We cultivate each student’s capacity to think creatively and critically while valuing the rich inheritance that comes from our shared past. We expect our graduates to be conversant with and equipped to contribute to the best thinking across the disciplines. LETU helps students acquire the virtues necessary for living a good life and prepares them to become leaders in their professions, for their communities, the Church, and the world. As a community committed to service, we challenge students to grow in their understanding of complex human realities, and we call them to respond to the needs of the world with compassion and committed action.
A foundation of mutual trust is essential to the learning community. Students and faculty break that trust when they violate ethical standards that the community of scholars expects each member to uphold. Academic dishonesty is a serious breach of trust within the LeTourneau University community because it violates the regard for truth that is essential to genuine learning and Christian consistency. From a broader perspective, it hurts both offending students and their peers who complete their work with integrity. Therefore, the LeTourneau University community will not tolerate academic dishonesty and encourages a student who experiences particular difficulties in a course to discuss the problem with the instructor rather than succumb to the pressure to commit academic dishonesty.
Academic dishonesty is not qualitatively different from other types of dishonesty. It consists of misrepresentation in an attempt to deceive. In an academic setting, this dishonesty may take various forms including, but not limited to, the following:
- Obtaining, distributing, or using a test, unauthorized information regarding a test, or other unauthorized assignment material.
- Using unauthorized files, tests, problems, or lab reports from previous classes other than allowed by the instructor.
- Copying or using unauthorized technological or print aids in tests, examinations, or laboratory reports.
- Looking at an examination paper or answer sheet of another student.
- Cooperating or aiding in any of the above.
- Submitting someone else’s words, works, or ideas as if they were one’s own.
- Presenting the words, works, or ideas of someone else without accurately or completely citing the source.
- Self-plagiarizing or recycling (without permission of the instructor) one’s own work as original in one course when it was created in another course or for another assignment.
University Responses to Academic Dishonesty
Cases of academic dishonesty are typically first handled by the instructor teaching the course in which the violation occurs. If a instructor finds a student guilty of violating the Academic Integrity Policy, the possible sanctions he or she may impose include but are not limited to the following:
- A requirement to redo the paper or assignment.
- A significant score reduction, failing grade, or zero given on the specific exam, paper, or assignment.
- A grade reduction or failing grade given for the course.
The above are examples of typical sanctions, but the instructor is free to determine an appropriate course penalty given the severity of the specific violation. This is left to the discretion of the professor, but he or she may elect to consult a supervisor or dean, and/or the Dean of Students.
Reporting the Violation to the Academic Integrity Council
The faculty member should report the violation to the Academic Integrity Council by submitting a written report to the Student Life Office. This must be done within 10 business days of the violation. This system will help identify students who may be violating the academic integrity policy in multiple courses, allowing for better student remediation and a more appropriate disciplinary response.
The Dean of Students will register the violation in the student’s file for future reference should there be subsequent offenses or decisions for campus leadership positions. For complex cases, repeated violations, or at the request of the instructor, the Dean of Students may convene the Academic Integrity Council on the instructor’s behalf to determine the appropriate course of action in the particular course and/or with regard to the student’s future at the university. When the Academic Integrity Council is convened, it must be within 10 business days of the discovery of the violation. The purpose of the Council is to allow for better student remediation and consider a wise disciplinary response to the particular situation.
The Academic Integrity Council will issue the student a formal letter of review to inform him or her of the university’s identification of the violation status and describe any imposed sanctions. For severe or repeat offenses, the Academic Integrity Council may apply sanctions including, but not limited to, probation, suspension, or expulsion from the university.
Violations of the Academic Integrity Policy may be considered when determining student eligibility for applicable internal positions, such as IMPACT and student worker positions.
- The student will have an opportunity to appeal any sanctions imposed by either the accusing instructor or the Academic Integrity Council. For sanctions imposed by the instructor, the student is encouraged to first make an appeal to the instructor.
- If the faculty member rejects the student’s appeal, the student may submit a further appeal to the Academic Integrity Council within 10 business days.
- Prior to hearing any appeal, the Academic Integrity Council will invite the accusing instructor to either attend the appeal hearing or submit a written statement, at the instructor’s choosing. The student may appeal sanctions imposed by the Academic Integrity Council within 10 business days of receiving the letter of review, and the Academic Integrity Council will hear the appeal at the closest upcoming meeting.
- For any appeal of an initial Academic Integrity Council decision, the Academic Integrity Council will expand to include one additional faculty representative from the school in which the alleged infraction occurred. This representative must not be the accusing instructor.
- No one other than members of the Academic Integrity Council or those involved in the current appeal may attend Academic Integrity Council meetings.
- After hearing verbal or written statements from the student and the accusing faculty representative, the Academic Integrity Council will convene in private and determine whether to dismiss, reduce, or uphold the sanctions by a majority vote in the initial appeal or two-thirds majority vote in the further appeal. If a majority vote cannot be reached, the sanctions will stand.
Once a grade has been submitted to the Office of the Registrar, only the instructor can change the grade except in the case of a grade appeal. If a student believes that a final course grade has been improperly given, the student may appeal the grade by following these steps.
- The student must contact the instructor in writing to seek a solution no later than four weeks after the end of the course. The instructor must notify the student of the decision within five business days of being contacted by the student. If the instructor decides that a grade change is warranted, the instructor must submit a change of grade form approved by the dean of the academic school to the Office of the Registrar.
- If the decision of the instructor is not acceptable to the student, an appeal may be made in writing to the dean of the academic school within five business days after notification by the instructor. The written appeal must specify both the complaint and the action requested. The dean must notify the student of the decision within five business days.
- If the decision of the dean is not acceptable to the student, the written appeal may be made to the Office of the Provost within five business days after notification by the dean. The Office of the Provost will seek a solution or may refer the matter to the Admissions and Standards Committee. The decision of the Office of the Provost is final unless the Office of the Provost refers the appeal to the Admissions and Standards Committee, in which case the decision of that committee becomes final.
CLASS ATTENDANCE AND ABSENCES
Regular attendance at classes is expected. It is the responsibility of each student to know the attendance requirements and procedures of each instructor. Any anticipated absence that might qualify as excused should be requested from the instructor before the absence.
Absences Due to Illness
If an instructor requests verification of health related absences, the following procedures should be followed:
- The student requests verification from Health Services and a Health Information form is sent to the appropriate instructors.
- The Director of Health Services sends this to appropriate instructors through campus mail.
- The instructor then has information from the Director of Health Services by which a decision may be made about whether to accept the excuse.
Absences for Official University Trips and Events
Absences due to university sponsored trips or activities are handled by memo to the instructor from the sponsor of the group involved. While students are responsible for making up work missed, excused absence notification will be handled by the Office of the Provost.
Absences for Personal Reasons
Absences for personal business should be arranged with the instructor. The course syllabus may indicate any effect this absence may have on the student’s grade. Family or other types of emergencies should be reported to and handled by the Dean of Students.
Students are expected to behave with respect and decorum in the classroom, both for their classmates and for the instructor. The instructor has authority to address minor disruptions or behavioral issues within the classroom, typically with removal from that class session. Any decision regarding longer-term removal from class for significant concerns or persistent and/or egregious classroom behaviors shall be in consultation with the Dean of the School and the Dean of Students, since behavior that warrants this response is most likely a violation of broader University expectations. Ultimate disciplinary decisions, up to and including administrative withdrawal from an individual class or from the University is the decision of the Dean of Students (as the sole source of discipline for the University) in close consultation with the instructors and deans involved.