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NP Policy Statement on Academic Standards

University of Utah Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program

Policy Statement on Academic Standards 

The Neuroscience Program is responsible for recruitment and acceptance of graduate students, and for directing their graduate studies. Detailed information regarding the requirements of the Neuroscience Program is provided during recruiting and at the fall orientation meeting. At the end of the first year, students choose a laboratory in one of the participating departments in the Program and continue to work toward completion of the Ph.D. degree in Neuroscience. It is the responsibility of the Neuroscience Program to monitor the academic performance of students and assure that all requirements have been satisfactorily completed.

Occasionally, unacceptable or incomplete performance will require assessment of the student, and appropriate action, during or at the end of the first year. Examples of situations requiring attention are: 1) failure to pass all core courses (grade of B- or better); 2) GPA of less than 3.0; 3) unsatisfactory completion of laboratory rotations; and 4) academic dishonesty such as cheating as defined by the National Academy of Sciences, the University of Utah (the "University") Student Code (the "Student Code"), or this Policy Statement. Copies of these definitions appear at the end of this document. Cheating or other academic misconduct shall be grounds for academic action under this Policy Statement and for academic sanctions under the Student Code. Other behavior may also require action under this Policy Statement and under the Student Code. This document states the Neuroscience Program's policy and procedure in cases of failure to meet academic standards and in cases of academic or other misconduct. The Student Code states the University's policy and procedure in such cases. In cases of failure to meet academic standards, such as examples 1, 2 and 3 above, appropriate action may include, without limitation, dismissal from the Program or a designated probation. The student, the student's advisor, the chair of the Curriculum committee, and the Program Director, will be notified by the Program Office of perceived failures to meet the academic standards. The student's advisor and/or the chair of the Curriculum committee will decide on an appropriate action and submit their recommendation to the Director of the Neuroscience Program for approval; the Director's decision will be reported to the student, and in cases requiring dismissal from the Program, the Dean of the Graduate School will also be notified. In the latter situation the student will be given an opportunity to appeal the decision to the Academic Appeals and Misconduct Committee of one of the Colleges represented by the departments that comprise the Program (College of Science, or the School of Medicine).

Cases of academic misconduct will require additional procedures. The Curriculum Committee should be notified of any perceived instance of academic misconduct that occurs during the year. Course leaders, other faculty, academic advisors, students, or the Program Director should notify the Curriculum Committee of such issues. It will be the responsibility of the Curriculum Committee to notify the student involved, in writing, of the issue and to give the student an opportunity to respond. The student's advisor will also be notified so that they can consult with and appropriately advise the student; in cases where the student's advisor has a conflict of interest, an alternate faculty member will be appointed to serve as the student's advocate. There will be an opportunity for open discussion of thesituation by all involved faculty and students in the presence of the Curriculum Committee. The student will be present and have the opportunity to hear and comment on all issues discussed at a meeting to be held within a one month period from the incidence in question. Based on this discussion, the Curriculum Committee will deliberate and recommend appropriate action to the Program Director. Preferably within 5 business days after notice of the committee's recommendation, the Program Director must provide the student and committee with written notice of the Program Director's decision and of the student's right to appeal to the Academic Appeals and Misconduct Committee of one of the Colleges represented by the departments that comprise the Program. The Program Director may impose academic sanction such as requiring the student to rewrite paper(s) or retake exam(s), a grade reduction, or a failing grade, which is the most severe sanction a Program Director may impose; as required by the University Student Code, the Vice President for Academic Affairs or Health Sciences will be informed when a failing grade is imposed for academic misconduct. In addition, appropriate action may include, without limitation, a complaint by the Program Director to the Academic Appeals and Misconduct Committee of one of the Colleges represented by the Program departments, recommending and seeking dismissal from the Program and/or the University. The student shall be given a copy of any such complaint.

Students will receive a copy of this Policy Statement document during the fall orientation meeting. At this time, expectations for satisfactory academic performance will be discussed, as will the appropriate procedures for individual completion of take-home examinations. Students will be reminded that academic misconduct, such as cheating, plagiarism or collusion on examinations is not permissible, and may likely result in a complaint seeking dismissal. Collaboration on certain problem sets and homework assignments may be permitted, but only as specified by the course instructor. If any doubt exists, students must ask the instructor for clarification.


National Academy of Sciences Definition of Misconduct in Science
Misconduct in science is defined as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism, in proposing, performing, or reporting research. Misconduct in science does not include errors in the recording, selection, or analysis of data; differences in opinions involving the interpretation of data; or misconduct unrelated to the research process.

Excerpts from the Student Code.
(See the University of Utah General Catalog or Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities for complete document)

As used in the Student Code:

  1. "Academic action" means the recording of a final grade (including credit/no credit and pass/fail) in a course, on a comprehensive or qualifying examination, on a culminating project, or on a dissertation or thesis. It also includes a decision by the appropriate department or college committee to place a student on academic probation, or to suspend or dismiss a student from an academic program because the student failed to meet the relevant academic standards of the discipline or program. Academic action does not include academic sanctions imposed for academic dishonesty or for specific violations of professional and ethical standards of the profession or program for which the student is preparing.
  2. "Academic dishonesty" includes, but is not limited to, cheating, misrepresenting one's work, inappropriately collaborating, plagiarism, and fabrication or falsification of information, as defined further below. It also includes facilitating academic dishonesty by intentionally helping or attempting to help another to commit an act of academic dishonesty.
    1. "Cheating" involves the unauthorized possession or use of information, materials, notes, study aids, or other devices in any academic exercise, or the unauthorized communication with another person during such an exercise. Common examples of cheating include, but are not limited to, copying from another student's examination; submitting work for an in-class exam that has been prepared in advance; violating rules governing the administration of exams; having another person take an exam; altering one's work after the work has been returned and before resubmitting it; violating any rules relating to academic conduct of a course or program.
    2. Misrepresenting one's work includes, but is not limited to, representing material prepared by another as one's own work; submitting the same work in more than one course without prior permission of both faculty members.
    3. "Plagiarism" means the unacknowledged use or incorporation of any other person's work in, or as a basis for, one's own work offered for academic consideration or credit, or for public presentation. Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, representing as one's own, without attribution, any other person's words, phrasing, ideas, sequence of ideas, information or any other mode or content of expression. It does not include honest error.
    4. "Fabrication or falsification" includes reporting experiments or measurements or statistical analyses never performed; manipulating or altering data or other manifestations of research to achieve a desired result; falsifying or misrepresenting background information, credentials or other academically relevant information; and selective reporting, including the deliberate suppression of conflicting or unwanted data. It does not include honest error or honest differences in interpretations or judgments of data and/or results.
  3. "Academic misconduct" includes academic dishonesty, violations of the professional or ethical standards for the profession or discipline for which the student is preparing or other specific misconduct that demonstrates unfitness for such profession or discipline.
  4. "Academic sanction" means a sanction imposed on a student for engaging in academic misconduct. It may include, but is not limited to, requiring a student to retake an exam(s) or rewrite a paper(s), a grade reduction, a failing grade, suspension or dismissal from the program or the University. It may also include notification of the appropriate professional or licensing body of the profession or discipline for which the student is preparing.


Last Updated: 7/17/17