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Student Handbook

Student Handbook: Academic Standards and Integrity

Academic Integrity

HGSE is committed to cultivating and maintaining a learning environment characterized by high academic standards and integrity. It is important for students to be familiar with expectations for academic work and to conduct themselves as academic professionals throughout their time and experiences at HGSE.

All work submitted to meet course requirements is expected to be the student’s own. In the preparation of all papers and other written work submitted to meet course and degree requirements, a student must be careful to distinguish between ideas that are his or her own and those that have been derived from other sources.

Information and opinions drawn from all sources are to be attributed specifically to these sources. It is the student’s responsibility to learn and use the proper forms of citation. Quotations must be properly placed within quotation marks and must be fully cited. All paraphrased material must also be fully cited. In all cases where ideas or material presented are derived from a student’s reading and research, the source used must be indicated. Students who submit work either not their own or without clear attribution to the original source, for whatever reason, face sanctions up to and including dismissal and expulsion.

Assistance in Course Work and Writing

Students occasionally work with others or receive assistance in various aspects of their course work. Students should be very clear about how they are working with others and what types of assistance, if any, they are receiving. Students should disclose to their professors any plans for outside professional assistance on editing, statistical work, or other matters central to completing their work. The student's professor may approve only those kinds and levels of assistance that support, rather than supplant, the student's research, writing and learning. If assistance has been approved, then the student must specify what sort of assistance they received and from whom on the paper in question, upon submission. The goal of this oversight is to preserve the status of the work as the student's own genuine intellectual product. Students should remember that the Gutman Library Academic Writing and Research Services is available to assist them with assessing and editing their own work. This assistance has been sanctioned by HGSE.

Dual Submission of Papers

A paper may not be used to meet the requirements for more than one course. Students wishing to integrate the work of two separate courses into one paper may do so only if this plan is approved in advance in writing by all instructors involved. If approved, papers submitted for more than one course must show both course numbers on the title page.

For more discussion about dual, or overlapping, submission of papers, see Writing with Sources: A Guide for Harvard Students. Students are strongly cautioned against using work for one course in another without fully discussing their plans with all instructors involved.

Supports for Academic Writing and Integrity

When there are concerns about student progress towards program and degree requirements and/or academic integrity, there are clear processes and supports in place to address the issue(s). Various offices coordinate their work to both address the issue(s) in light of policies, standards, and procedures while also supporting the student’s development and health and well-being. Described in more detail in the next section, the following table demonstrates the key individuals and offices involved in this work.

Individual/Office Primary Responsibilities
Office of Student Affairs/Student Support Services including academic coaching

Provides supports related to individual student needs and challenges during graduate study; manages all requests for formal accommodations; and, makes referrals to resources, including counseling and mental health services

For accommodations:

  • student self-identifies and discusses needs with office staff;
  • office reviews and assess eligibility for accommodations;
  • office determines appropriate supports;
  • office produces documentation for students to use in discussions with individual faculty
Student Academic Services at Gutman Library
  • Provides academic writing and project support through individual appointments and workshops
Degree Programs Office (Ed.M., Ed.D., Ph.D., Ed.L.D.)
  • May identify need for student support and refer student to the Office of Student Affairs/Student Support Services, or Student Academic Services
  • Works with related offices to oversee student academic progress and supports for students with academic challenges
Faculty Directors and Program Faculty
  • May identify need for student support and refer student to the Office of Student Affairs/Student Support Services, or Student Academic Services
Teaching Faculty and Teaching Fellows
  • Work with individual students and Office of Student Affairs/Student Support Services to implement accommodations as appropriate for the course and based on student eligibility
  • May identify need for student support and refer student to the Office of Student Affairs/Student Support Services, or Student Academic Services

NOTE: Non-HGSE students who are enrolled in HGSE courses are expected to uphold the policies set forth in the HGSE Student Handbook, including without limitation those related to academic integrity and the Code of Conduct. Non-HGSE students include, for example, TAP students, cross-registrants, and voucher holders.

HGSE may take any and all actions it deems necessary upon the discovery of a policy violation, including without limitation immediately requiring the non HGSE student to withdraw from the course and notifying the non HGSE student’s home institution, if applicable. Additionally, HGSE may preclude a non-HGSE student who has previously violated HGSE policy from registering in any future HGSE course.

Students are expected to comply with all disciplinary rules from matriculation until the conferring of the degree.

A degree will not be granted to a student who is not in good standing or against whom a disciplinary charge is pending.

All activities under these procedures will be conducted with regard for the legitimate privacy and reputational interests of all parties involved. It is expected that complaints and other activities under these procedures will be confidential, and that the parties will likewise observe this expectation. However, disclosure of otherwise confidential information may be made where necessary to protect the health, safety or well-being of the complainant or others in the HGSE community, to comply with legal obligations of the university, or where, in the judgment of HGSE, certain disclosure would be in the best interest of the parties or the university.

Complaints related to personal behavior are reported to the associate dean for enrollment and student services. The complaint should include the name(s) of the party or parties involved; the time, place, and date of the incident(s); and the identities of any witnesses, as well as a detailed description of what occurred. The associate dean for enrollment and student services will refer the case to the academic dean for resolution and possible referral to the Committee on Rights and Responsibilities.

Process for Responding to an Academic Integrity Concern

Every case begins with an allegation in the form of a complaint or report. While virtually anyone could bring a complaint or report, any formal charges that may ensue are made by, and on behalf of, HGSE. The initial complaint or report (for a student in any degree program) is submitted to the associate director for master’s studies.

In all situations where academic dishonesty is suspected, course instructors are required to provide a report to the associate director for master’s studies which will be included in materials for review by the academic dean. This report should include: a confidential memorandum that details the charge; the work in question as submitted by the student, marked/highlighted to indicate all suspicious text; marked/highlighted copies of all corresponding sources from which the student is suspected of plagiarizing; the course syllabus, including all information provided to student regarding appropriate citation process, collaboration, use of sources, etc.; and the course assignment as presented to the student, including copies of all handouts, emails, power point slides, etc., that relate to the assignment in question.

As a first step in the review process, the associate director for master’s studies will investigate the charge, which generally includes notifying the respondent of the charge, collecting written statements from the respondent and others involved in the incident(s), conducting interviews, and consulting with others as needed. At the conclusion of the investigation, the associate director for master’s studies will summarize the facts and circumstances of the case and share relevant materials with the academic dean. After reviewing the matter, the academic dean may: find no basis to the charge, suggest a resolution between the parties involved, or immediately assign the case to the Committee on Rights and Responsibilities (“CRR”). The CRR will only consider cases referred by the academic dean; the academic dean ordinarily will refer all cases to the CRR that are not resolved through informal means within 30 days.

In the cases of alleged academic misconduct where resolutions are negotiated between the academic dean and the faculty member, the sanctions may include failing the assignment, failing the course, or having to redo the assignment. A written record describing the offense and the settlement is filed with the Degree Programs Office. If a second allegation of academic misconduct were to be brought against the student, the initial incident would be taken into account, and the second case would be sent directly to the CRR.

Falsification of Admissions Application

Occasionally candidates for admission will make inaccurate or misleading statements or submit false material in connection with their application. In most cases, these misrepresentations are discovered during the admission process, and the application is rejected. If a misrepresentation is discovered after a candidate is admitted, the offer of admission is withdrawn. If a misrepresentation is discovered after a student has registered, the offer of admission will be revoked, and the student will be required to leave the School. If the discovery occurs after a degree has been awarded, the degree will be rescinded. The determination that an application is inaccurate or contains misrepresentations rests with the Office for Admissions, which has the authority to resolve the matter outside the student disciplinary process.