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School of Architecture and Engineering Technology

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School of Architecture and Engineering Technology
1938 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Walter L. Smith Architecture Building
Tallahassee, Florida 32307-4200


Policy on Academic Honesty and Ethical Conduct of Students

A. Introduction

As a limited-access professional degree program, the School of Architecture requires from faculty, staff, and students alike a standard of conduct that is above reproach. The policy described herein is authorized by FAMU Rule 6C3-4.002, Florida Administrative Code, and defines the limits of acceptable student conduct, the process for determining whether or not a student has conducted himself or herself in an unethical or unprofessional manner, and sets policy that the School's objective in providing this document is to guide students in proper and acceptable conduct and to provide for a fair evaluation of the actions of faculty, staff, and students whenever those activities are called into question. This policy incorporates by reference the Florida A&M University Student Code of Conduct. (Faculty and staff conduct is regulated by a separate policy, including applicable portions of collective bargaining agreements.)

B. Policy

The degrees awarded by the School of Architecture are indications that the faculty considers the graduate to be trustworthy and committed to protecting the interest, health, safety, and well being of clients and the public in all his or her future work.
  • Any act by a student which is intended to or has the effect of deceiving instructors, the School, or the University about a student's actual knowledge and academic competency is a violation of the trust that the public invests in our degrees and our graduates.
  • Any act of deception committed or attempted by a student casts doubt on that student's competency not only in the area in which the deception has occurred but in all other areas as well. Such an act may create so serious a breach of trust that the School is unable to assure the public of the student's trustworthiness and competency, as implied by the granting of a degree. If the School's trust in a student is irreparably lost, it has not choice but to dismiss the student from the School.
  • Any student who has direct personal knowledge of or witnesses unethical or unprofessional conduct by another student is honor-bound to report this to a faculty member or the Dean. Any member of the faculty or staff of the School of Architecture who has reason to believe that actual or attempted unethical or unprofessional conduct has occurred is obligated to pursue applicable School procedures to determine the responsibility of the Student. Failure to meet this professional responsibility is considered to be unacceptable conduct.

C. Unethical Conduct

The following examples are intended to help clarify the limits of acceptable student conduct. While these examples are extensive, they are not comprehensive. Certain actions may be determined in accordance with School and University policies to be unacceptable, even though they are not specifically listed below.
  • Cheating on exams, quizzes, projects, or homework is unacceptable. Students found to have cheated on an exam will, at a minimum, receive a grade of "F" in the course and a letter of reprimand from the Dean. A copy of the letter will be placed in the student's file. In extreme circumstances, the student may be dismissed from the School of Architecture. Examples of cheating are:
    • Surreptitious use of non-permissible information sources brought into a closed book exam.
    • Copying from others during an examination or quiz or on homework.
    • Communicating exam questions or answers prior to or during an exam.
    • Taking an exam for another student or having another student take an exam for you.
    • Possessing answers to exam questions obtained by improper means before the scheduled exam.
    • Using project materials that are not authorized.
    • Using unauthorized electronic devices in taking examinations.
    • Obtaining information from others during a take-home exam.
  • Plagiarism in papers, assignments, or studio projects is unacceptable. Students found to have plagiarized the work of another person will, at a minimum, received a grade of "F" in the course and a letter of reprimand from the Dean. A copy of the letter will be placed in the student's file. In extreme circumstances, the student may be dismissed from the School of Architecture. Plagiarism involves submitting any work done by others, including your fellow students, without accurate acknowledgment. Examples of plagiarism are:
    • Statements copied directly or paraphrased without acknowledgment.
    • Illustrations that are photographed, photocopied, or traced without acknowledgment.
    • Papers written by commercial term paper or "research" firms or receiving editorial help that exceeds simple proofreading on papers, thesis, etc.
  • Excessive cooperation on out-of-class assignments is a form of cheating and is unacceptable. With regard to issues to excessive cooperation on projects or homework assignments, faculty are expected to provide clear advance instructions and criteria for evaluation so that students may know what is expected of them. The student is, in turn, responsible for being sure he/she knows and understands these.

    Students are encouraged to work together, exchange notes, and discuss and debate all academic issues. However, students may not submit someone else's work as his/her own, whether or not he/she is in the same class. Students who have been assisted in completion of models or drawings must acknowledge who provided the assistance and the nature of the assistance. The student's responsible professor should be made aware of the student's assisted activity before it is undertaken to assure that is occurs within acceptable bounds. The student is expected to acknowledge and give credit to all those who assisted in this regard. Typing by others is accepted in most cases. Students found to have cheated on an assignment will, at a minimum, receive a grade of "F" on the assignment and a letter of reprimand from the Dean. A copy of the letter will be placed in the student's file.

  • Making false or misleading statements on official document of the School is unacceptable. This includes remaining in a class for which one does not possess the necessary prerequisites, fraud, misrepresentation in seeking excused absences from class, and other such falsification. Students found to have made false or misleading statements on official documents will, at a minimum, receive a letter of reprimand from the Dean. A copy of the letter will be placed in the student's file. Students registered improperly for a course will receive a grade of "F" or be administratively dropped from the course.

D. Unprofessional Conduct
  • Theft, destruction, or willful damage of property belonging to another person or the School and fighting are unacceptable conduct and constitute grounds for dismissal from the School, as well as legal action by the University.
  • While the School values student pursuit of practical experience in architecture and the building industry and appreciates the need of many students to work while completing their degrees, students must not enter into situations which are in fact, or may be perceived to be, practicing architecture without a license. This may include, but is not limited to, the following:
  • Falsifying or misrepresenting the extent of one's education, training, or experience.
  • Making statements that could reasonable cause an ordinarily prudent person to misunderstand or be deceived about one's qualifications to perform work.
  • Using the title "architect" or doing work that is in the province of a licensed architect unless one is registered in the state in which he/she practices. Law specifically prohibits this.


A. Procedures for Complaints Filed Against a Student by a Faculty Member

The intent of these procedures is to resolve issues involving suspected violations of the School's Policy on Academic Honesty and Ethical Conduct in an informal manner that maintains the student's presumption of innocence and provides a full and fair evaluation of the compliant while minimizing the number of persons involved. Faculty is encouraged to first attempt to resolve an issue individually with the student.

When a faculty member has reason to believe that a student has acted in a manner inconsistent with the school's "Policy on Academic Honesty and Ethical Conduct," the faculty member must take action. For purpose of this policy, reason to believe that a student has acted in a manner inconsistent with the School's policy shall include the written first-hand report of a witness; evidence from two or more class examinations, projects, or assignments that are so substantially similar as to imply an illicit sharing of information or plagiarism; or some other form of physical evidence.

If the student and faculty member cannot reach resolution of the issue, the faculty member shall convene a meeting with the student and two other faculty members or administrators. (The faculty members/administrators shall be taken in turn from a list of names kept by the administration for the purpose of equitable rotation.) The student shall be asked to explain the origin of his or her work, or to provide whatever explanation for the similarities of work, or explanation of the actions reported, that he or she considers to be appropriate. It shall be presumed that an inability by the student to offer a plausible explanation for his or her actions or for the origin of the work shall be considered sufficient proof to warrant further action by the School.

If it is the unanimous conclusion of this committee that the student has violated the School's "Policy on Academic Honesty and Ethical Conduct," the committee will submit to the Dean and the student a written report including copies of all student, and their recommendations for disciplinary action. The three faculty members on the committee must sign this report. If the committee is not unanimous in its conclusion, the matter is dropped, and the student is presumed to have complied with the School's policies.
The student may request a review of the committee's recommendation in accordance with paragraphs II.B.3 through II.B.7 of this document within five days of receipt of the recommendation. If the dean receives no such request, he/she will decide on and enforce disciplinary action against the student. The Dean may consider any previous disciplinary actions against the student in making the final decision as to how the compliant will be resolved. A copy of the finding of the Dean will be sent to the student, the compliant committee, and the faculty member involved.

B. Procedures for Grade Appeals Filed by Students

It is the intent of the School of Architecture to provide a fair and consistent procedure for resolving student complaints pertaining to academic matters. The rules specified are designed to encourage the student, before filing a complaint, to resolve the complaint by conferring with those involved. Therefore, when a student wishes to have an academic decision reviewed by the School of Architecture (concerning, for example, a course grade or other issue directly related to an architecture course), the student should take the following steps:
  • As soon as possible after the occurrence of the decision or event in question, the student should attempt to resolve the issue with the instructor of the course to which it is related.
  • If the issue remains unresolved, the student should ask his or her academic advisor to meet with the instructor and the student to attempt to help resolve the matter. If the instructor is also the academic advisor, the student should select another faculty member to meet with him/her and the instructor.
  • If the complaint still remains unresolved, a written statement should be submitted by the student to the Dean. The statement should include a summary of the meeting with the faculty members (Section II.B.2 above) as well as any other information and documentation to fully describe the situation. This should be done within five working days after the meeting with the instructor and advisor. (Also see Section II.C. "General Instructions for Filing Complaints" below.)
  • The Dean will review the complaint statement and will appoint an Academic Appeal Committee to review the matter. (For detailed rules concerning the composition, chair, and procedures of the grade appeal committee, see Sections II.D. and E. below.)
  • The Committee will review the issue and may elect to obtain additional information through interviews, written statements, or a hearing of all parties involved.
  • The Committee will make a written report and recommendation to the Dean as to how the complaint should be resolved.
  • The Dean will make the final decision. A copy of the finding of the Dean will be sent to the student, the Academic Appeal Committee, and the faculty member involved.

C. General Instructions for Filing Complaints

The purpose of a complaint process is to provide redress only after all other processes have been exhausted. All parties are encouraged to first communicate directly to attempt to resolve problems or disagreements outside of the complaint procedures. If, after pursuing other avenues, the student still feels that a complaint is necessary, the following steps should be taken:

D. Composition of Complaint Committees
  • In order to have a complaint reviewed by a complaint committee to the School of Architecture, a written statement must be filed in person or by registered mail, return receipt requested, to the Dean of the School.
    • The statement should contain:
      • Full name and status in school of the person filing the complaint,
      • A clear and concise account of the facts, including pertinent dates,
      • A summary of the informal steps taken to resolve the complaint (see Sections II.A. 1-4 and II.B. 1-2 above),
      • An indication of whether or not proceedings have commenced before any other University committee or any state or local agency and the date when commenced.
    • A complaint may be fairly and reasonably amended as a matter of right at any time before the first meeting of the complaint committee and thereafter at the discretion of the committee.
    • The chairperson of the complaint committee shall cause to be issued and served to the respondent of a complaint a copy of the complaint as it may have been amended.
    • When a grade appeal is filed in a timely manner, the student may be allowed to progress through the curriculum until a decision is made.
    • For complaints between faculty or staff and students, the complaint committee shall consist of three faculty members and two students enrolled in the School of Architecture. Faculty shall be selected from the rotation list described in II.A.2 above. If deemed appropriate, the Dean may also appoint a staff member to the committee.
    • Complaint committees will exclude any faculty, staff, or students directly involved with the event causing the complaint.
    • The National Organization of Minority Architects--Students (NOMAS) and the American Institute of Architects--Students (AIAS) will each year jointly nominate to the Dean (providing addresses and phone numbers) five students to be called upon to serve on such committees so that the committees can be formed with a minimum of delay.
    • The chairperson of a complaint committee shall be a faculty member.

E. Procedures for Complaint Committees

  • The complaint committee hearing is an investigative hearing called to make a recommendation to the Dean. Its finding of facts and recommendations are based upon the testimony taken and evidence shown at the hearing. The committee has the authority and responsibility to conduct its investigation as thoroughly and prudently as necessary to determine the facts of the situation.
  • It is assumed that the information concerning a student's record and all evidence is kept confidential.
  • The complaint committee shall not be bound by the rules of evidence applicable in courts of record in the State of Florida, but all proceeding shall be conducted with regard to fundamental fairness to all parties.
  • If a complaint or respondent in a complaint case does not agree with the recommendation of the complaint committee and /or the decision made by the Dean, the matter may be taken up with the appropriate University authorities.

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