VI. College Policies: Academic

The academic program at The College of Wooster seeks to promote the intellectual development of each student and the realization of that individual’s potential for creative thinking, learning, and understanding. In achieving this goal, each student must learn to use their mind rigorously, imaginatively, and independently.

An atmosphere in which each student does their own work, except when the instructor indicates that additional aid is legitimate and profitable, is necessary for genuine academic mastery. It is each student’s responsibility to be mindful of the difference between appropriate academic resources and support (such as services offered through the Academic Resource Center, Writing Center, and Math Center, as examples), versus inappropriate or unauthorized academic aid (such as plagiarism of another’s work). It also places on each student an obligation not to offer or make available unauthorized sources of aid to other students, knowing that such aid is detrimental to those students and to the college community. Finally, each student must be responsible for the maintenance of an atmosphere of academic integrity by confronting violators or reporting any actions that violate its principles, since such violations ultimately harm all members of the community. These principles merely carry out the general purpose of the college to be a community in which the members find it right and necessary to promote the fullest learning by everyone. In other words, a violation of the Code of Academic Integrity conflicts with the values, work, and purpose of the entire college community and is not merely a private matter between an individual faculty member and a student.

Principles of Academic Integrity

A student will not:

  • give, offer, or receive aid other than that specifically allowed by the professor on any course work or examination
  • knowingly represent the work of others, including materials from electronic sources, as their own
  • falsify or fabricate data
  • submit an assignment produced for a course to a second course without the authorization of all the instructors involved
  • deny other students access to necessary documents/materials by stealing, misplacing, or destroying those materials
  • give false reasoning to a faculty member or Dean when requesting an exam change or an extension on a paper/project
  • violate the spirit of the code

Administration of Academic Integrity Policies

The Conduct System shall be used to adjudicate cases of alleged dishonesty that are not brought to a mutually satisfactory conclusion by either the individual accuser, the faculty member, or the Dean of Curriculum and Academic Engagement. Note that all cases of academic dishonesty shall be reported to the Dean for Curriculum and Academic Engagement (for more information about how matters may or may not be resolved with the Dean for Curriculum and Academic Engagement, please consult the section titled “Violation and Enforcement of Academic Policies”). The conduct system exists to ensure a fair and equitable process to assess allegations of academic dishonesty. The decision of the Conduct Hearing Board, subject to appeal, is final. Students interested in an appeal should consult the conduct process.

Classroom Atmosphere Policy

At The College of Wooster, academic discourse within the framework of our courses is of fundamental importance and faculty members should work to provide and maintain an environment that is conducive to learning for all students. We strive to encourage the free exchange of ideas always in an environment of respect and civil discourse. Inappropriate comments or behavior can sometimes seriously undermine that environment. For example, while students and faculty are encouraged to debate ideas and offer differing viewpoints, even when these exchanges are uncomfortable, they should recognize that personal attacks are unacceptable.

The College also takes seriously the responsibility of all members of a learning community to interact in a respectful and civil manner in every area of community life. Disruptive or disrespectful behavior that subverts the efforts of faculty and students to pursue the teaching and learning process will not be tolerated.  Steps to address disruptive or disrespectful behavior and assure that all students are able to participate fully in their academic pursuits are outlined below for:

  • students who have concerns about faculty members or peers
  • faculty or staff members who are concerned about a student’s behavior in relation to themselves, TAs, other students, or colleagues

Definition of Disruptive Classroom Behavior:

Behavior that is not conducive to the teaching and learning process (either in the classroom or in other settings such as labs or advising), and that interferes with the functions and services of the College.  Examples of disruptive behavior include the following, though this list is not exhaustive:

  • Aggression toward other students or instructors/TAs
  • Making loud and distracting noises
  • Frequent interruption of others
  • Making physical or verbal threats
  • Persisting in speaking without being recognized
  • Yelling inside or outside of the classroom
  • Untimely talking/laughing/crying
  • Engaging in content on a laptop that others find disruptive
  • Acting in a manner which disrupts a class or administrative process


To use or imitate the language, ideas, or thoughts of another person and represent them as one’s own is to commit an act of plagiarism. This is true whether:

  • the material used is only a brief excerpt or an entire paper or articles
  • the original source is the work of another student or in a publication, including publications available electronically, either on the Internet or from any form of electronic media
  • the product is a written paper, oral presentation, or an electronic publication such as a Web page

It is not the use of others’ ideas that is unethical; writers expect and hope their work will be read and used. However, to use others’ ideas without acknowledgment is plagiarism. Merely to paraphrase (as opposed to quoting verbatim and at length) does not relieve one of the obligations to make clear the source of the ideas or to indicate specifically direct quotations.

To have mastered material about which you write implies having read and digested it, so that it comes easily in your own words, and you could talk with others about it intelligently. Your obligations – out of respect both to the writers you have read and to good craftsmanship – are to make the ideas you have absorbed a part of you and to acknowledge the sources you have used.

More detailed information about the proper use of others’ work and appropriate methods of acknowledging borrowed material may be found in most handbooks on composition and will be discussed in various classes in which writing plays a part. Additionally, the proliferation of electronic sources of information has created heightened awareness of the ease with which unauthorized material can be obtained and used. The obligation to document material that has been taken from electronic sources is absolutely the same as the obligation to document any sources. For assistance in learning accepted methods of attributing material to original authors, including electronic materials, please consult with the instructors of your courses, staff in the libraries, or staff in the Writing Center.

Violation and Enforcement of Academic Policies

Each student bears an individual responsibility to maintain the highest standards of intellectual honesty. This responsibility means that everyone confronts the problem of academic dishonesty personally when it comes to their attention.

A student shall choose one of the following methods in dealing with the problems:

  • The student may engage the individual whose honesty is in question and inform them of the knowledge of the situation. As a result of this conversation, the student shall proceed within five days to:
    • Decide that the conversation confirmed that the other party is not responsible.
    • Consult with a member of the faculty, a dean, or other appropriate resources.
    • Submit the case to the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities for appropriate action.
  • If a student feels incapable of dealing directly with a case of academic dishonesty, they should inform the professor that a violation of the Code has occurred, without mentioning the names of the individual(s) involved.

Faculty should establish to their own satisfaction that an incident of academic dishonesty has taken place and may choose to confront instances of academic dishonesty either directly or through the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. When handled indirectly, the faculty member should take care to:

  • arrange for a conference with the student before assigning a grade
  • consult with the Dean for Curriculum and Academic Engagement prior to a response, to determine if there is evidence on the part of the student of previous violations of the Code
  • determine a proper response or penalty (faculty may wish to consult with the Dean for Curriculum and Academic Engagement or with their department or program chair in this regard)
  • file a full and documented report with the Dean for Curriculum and Academic Engagement, which shall be entered in the personnel file for the student

The Dean for Curriculum and Academic Engagement is authorized to give information to the faculty member as to whether a student has been found responsible of previous violations of the Code. This information will be used by the faculty member and/or the Student Conduct process in determining the severity of the sanction to be assessed. In the case of repeated violations, violations may be forwarded to the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities in addition to the sanction imposed by the faculty member(s) and could result in suspension or expulsion from the college.

All cases of academic dishonesty shall be reported to the Dean of Curriculum and Academic Engagement. The Dean of Curriculum and Academic Engagement shall decide whether the matter can be resolved with or without a hearing. The Dean’s decision and the sanction shall become a part of one’s personnel records. If the matter does not go to the conduct system, then the information will be destroyed at the student’s graduation. In those cases, adjudicated in a formal hearing before the college conduct system, the conduct records are maintained in the Office of the Dean of Students for at least seven years beyond graduation or withdrawal for any reason prior to graduation.

Further, each faculty member shall develop and maintain an academic atmosphere conducive to academic integrity. Every faculty member is expected to inform the students in each course of regulations that apply to academic integrity in work for the course and make clear to what extent they will accept prior work, papers submitted for another course, collaborative effort, and the exchange or use of information.

In all cases involving allegations of academic dishonesty, the accuser shall take upon themselves the full responsibility for a malicious accusation. The accuser is here defined as the one who takes official action based on personally-obtained information on the violation of the Code.

Maximum Class Absences 

The College of Wooster expects regular class attendance as it is necessary for students to achieve the essential learning objectives of their courses. A student may not miss more than 25% of class meetings (e.g., ~3.5 weeks of class for a full-credit course in fall/spring semesters), through any combination of excused and unexcused absences. If this occurs, the instructor will notify Dean for Curriculum and Academic Engagement and the Dean of Students for consultation.