First-Year Writing Program

Academic Misconduct

  • If you have a suspected academic misconduct case see guidelines below and email the appropriate staff person.
  • On-campus, hybrid, or AV classes EN 101, 102, 103, 104: Contact Jessica Kidd (
  • Traditional distance learning classes EN 101, 102: Contact Dr. Natalie Loper (
  • EN 120, 121 (TESOL classes): Contact Dr. Dorothy Worden (
  • For their protection, all teachers must follow A & S policy for handling academic misconduct. Teachers who don’t follow the policy may be liable if students pursue legal action.

These guidelines are for final draft essays. For information on how to talk to students who have problems at the draft stage, please see “Draft Stage Issues” below.

  1. Don’t accuse your student or discuss the paper in question with her/him/them.
  2. Compile the following materials as electronic files and send to your appropriate FWP contact. See the sample case for an example of what yours should look like.
    • Memo using this format
    • Copy of paper in question, highlighted and labeled to correspond with evidence
    • Turnitin report if using Turnitin
    • Copy of supporting evidence (usually copies of webpages or a matching student paper), highlighted and labeled to correspond to paper in question.
    • Course syllabus including policies and class calendar
    • Assignment sheet
  3. A FWP administrator will review your materials, write a supporting memo, and forward the complete packet to the A&S dean’s office.

The FWP encourages teachers to use Turnitin at the draft stage so that teachers and students can have a conversation about any problems with source usage. If a student paper seems problematic at the draft stage, you can offer advice on how to correct source usage problems. Don’t accuse the student of plagiarism or academic misconduct, but explain how the draft does not meet assignment guidelines and how important it is to use source correctly to avoid plagiarism in a final draft. Provide additional instruction about correctly citing sources and developing original ideas. Contact the associate director or the director of FWP for advice on talking to students with problematic drafts.

While you and FWP admin are reviewing the case, if the student asks about the paper, you may say only that you have some questions about or problems with grading the paper and you have asked someone else in the department to look at it. After the case has been turned over to the dean’s office, use the following statement if students ask about papers under review:

“I have submitted your paper to the dean’s office for review, and they will be contacting you to set up a meeting. While the dean’s office reviews this assignment, I cannot discuss the paper with you, so please wait for contact from the dean’s office.”

You may also print out the above language if you need to return papers to your class while a paper is being reviewed by the dean’s office.

Please don’t give students this notice until the FWP  has notified you that your paper has been submitted.

  • Students found guilty of academic misconduct are not allowed to withdraw from the class.
  • If you have a pending plagiarism case at midterm or the end of the semester when grades are due, that student’s grade will need to be reported as “I.”

  • Make sure you go through the writing process for each unit and encourage students to brainstorm/prewrite, draft, peer review, revise, and edit in class. By guiding students through the paper creation and requiring a paper trail or process through each unit, you may be able to discourage plagiarism and prevent the procrastination that may lead to plagiarism.
  • Avoid having students write about canonical pieces of literature. First-year writing students may interpret such assignments as a call for them to do literary interpretation they aren’t prepared for and may be tempted to plagiarize instead of engaging with the text themselves.
  • Google a text before assigning it. You’ll get an idea of the plethora of free downloadable papers available for students.
  • Have students use and respond to current texts (perhaps within the last couple of months).
  • Instead of a movie review, have students review a review.
  • Give specific guidelines for each paper. Instead of a “research paper” or “rhetorical analysis,” make sure that your assignment asks students to engage with a text in a way that’s specific to your class and the lessons you’ve been leading.
  • Strike a balance between giving students freedom to engage with topics that interest them and giving them carte blanche to write whatever they want. The totally open assignment can be overwhelming to students, and is often an assignment linked to plagiarism cases.

Program Handouts

Diana Hacker’s A Writer’s Reference and online Research Exercises

For the following links, you’ll need to look for the black login or register box in the top right corner of the page. Register for instructor access, and the same login will work for all three resources. You should get instructor access within a couple of days. If not, contact the associate director of first-year writing for assistance.

Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism: The WPA statement on best practices
Detailed information from the council of Writing Program Administrators.

Plagiarism @ AudioLinks 101:
* Two “Listen Up” audio files about plagiarism (@ 10 min & @ 30 min) that you might assign for student listening.
* A couple of writing-assignment or class-discussion ideas
* A link to Wikipedia for further resources

“The Responsible Plagiarist” 

Avoiding Plagiarism. The OWL at Purdue.
Thorough discussion with links to safe research practices and exercises.

Understanding and Addressing Plagiarism. Colorado State University Writing Center Teaching Resources Web pages.

Plagiarism Information Linked from
Whole website devoted to plagiarism issues, prevention, news.