Information for Faculty

The Luther College faculty handbook states that all “faculty members need to assist in maintaining an environment at Luther that is thoughtful about and supportive of academic integrity and the Honor Code” (509.2.2). Students and faculty members are partners in this endeavor.

Questions concerning academic integrity and the Luther College Honor Code you can direct to the Dean's Office or to the Faculty Advisor to the Honor Council. Currently, this is Sören Steding ([email protected] / Main 403A / Phone 1489) .


How must I handle violations of academic integrity?

There are two different procedures for dealing with possible violations of academic integrity: the Individual Review, conducted by faculty members, and the Honor Code Review, conducted by the Honor Code Review Board of the Honor Council.

Both procedures have their advantages and disadvantages. The Individual Review, for example, usually is faster than the Honor Code Review because there have to be three class days between the summoning of a student to the Honor Code Review and the actual hearing. However, the Honor Code Review makes better provisions for due process because the procedure is regulated in more detail in the Honor Code. Also, the Honor Code Review provides an independent and uninvolved party to look at the case and the evidence.

If an instructor discovers a possible case of academic dishonesty, the instructor is free to decide if an individual review should be conducted or if the case should be handled by the Honor Council. However, if the only evidence is the statement of a student-witness, the Faculty Handbook recommends that the case be sent to the Honor Council.

In any case, if it is likely that a violation of academic integrity has occurred, faculty members must either conduct an individual review and submit the required form to the Dean’s office or send the case to the Honor Council.

Can I conduct an Individual Review and send the case to the Honor Council?

This is not recommended. It is preferable that instructors send cases of possible violations to the Honor Council instead of conducting an individual review, however, in some situation, an individual review might be the better option. If in doubt, instructors should consult with other faculty members or with the Advisor to the Honor Council.

How do I conduct an individual review?

Read detailed information about the individual review.

What should I do while a case is pending before the Honor Council?

Once a case is referred to the Honor Council, the instructor should stop any communication with the accused student (or any other person involved) until the Honor Code Review Board has come to a decision. You also should not change any grades at this time or make any statements about any action you might take after the Honor Council has come to a verdict. Once you receive the verdict, you can either follow the recommendations or issue your own sanction.

What happens if students appeal the verdict of the Honor Council to the Campus Appeals Board?

The Campus Appeals Board only determines if an accused student got a fair hearing, if the information on which the decision of the Honor Code Review Board is based was substantial, if the sanctions were appropriate for the violation, or if new information has to be considered. The Campus Appeals Board cannot change a verdict and it cannot change grades. If an appeal is upheld, the case will be re-opened by the Honor Code Review Board. Instructors are usually only informed if there is a different verdict after the case has been re-opened.

What should I do with a grade if the Honor Council cannot meet before the end of the semester?

If a case arises at the end of the semester (e.g. during the final exam) and it is not very likely that the Honor Code Review Board can hear the case before the next semester, instructors can either assign the grade of “Incomplete” while the case is pending, or they can assign a regular grade and inform the student and the registrar (and perhaps the department head) that a grade change might be necessary after the Honor Code Review Board has reached a verdict.

Of course, you could also conduct an Individual Review instead.

How can I submit a case to the Honor Council?

You can contact the Honor Council via email, via SPO to “Honor Council”, by contacting the Honor Council Chair or the Advisor to the Honor Council. The Advisor of the Honor Council also is available to help you prepare your case for the Honor Council.

What needs to be included if I submit a case to the Honor Council?

A report to the Honor Council should include (if available or applicable):

  • a detailed description of the case (type of assignment, description of the assignment, how the violation was detected, etc.),
  • a detailed description of the possible violation (always assuming that the members of the Honor Code Review Board are not experts in the subject matter),
  • names of all students involved (accused students and witnesses),
  • a course syllabus,
  • emails related to the case (if there already has been email communication with students involved).

What should I do if a violation was reported to me by another student?

If there is no evidence other than the statement of a witness, the Faculty Handbook recommends that the case be sent to the Honor Council. If the witness is not willing to identify themselves to the Honor Council, the case cannot go forward. Witnesses and students reporting violations to the Honor Council can choose to stay anonymous to the students they accuse, but they must be known to the Honor Council.

In the individual review, the names of witnesses can be withheld from accused students; however, they should have a chance to review the evidence and statements against them.

What are the sanctions issued by the Honor Code Review Board?

There are three types of sanctions that are available to the Honor Code Review Board:

  • recommendations to the instructor concerning grades;
  • recommendations to the Dean concerning suspension or dismissal of a student;
  • sanctions under the sole authority of the Honor Council (e.g. barring the student from participation in any campus-wide elections for a time or requiring the student to take part in a workshop on academic integrity). You can find a detailed list here.

Instructors are not required to follow the recommendations of the Honor Council, but they also cannot change the verdict (e.g. if the Honor Code Review Board requires a student to take part in a workshop on academic integrity, the instructor cannot free the student from this obligation).

Usually, if a student was found guilty of a first Honor Code violation, the sanction is a recommendation to the instructor to grade the assignment in question with “0” and to reduce the final course grade by one full step (e.g. from B to C) after the “0” of the assignment has been taken into consideration.

What happens if a student is unhappy with a changed grade?

The only possibility for a student to appeal a grade is the Final Grade Appeal. Therefore, a student must wait until the final course grade has been released. Student can only register a complaint about a final course grade. The catalog states:

“If a student feels that his or her grade in a course is inconsistent with explicit standards, then he or she should first make an effort to resolve the matter by registering a complaint with the instructor. In the event that this fails to produce a resolution, the student may submit a formal petition to the department in question. This petition should express the grievance and give just cause for the department to intervene. Should the department support the actions of the instructor, then the matter is closed with no further institutional recourse to the student. A department may wish to refer the issue to the dean of the college for final resolution.

When a student feels that his/her academic evaluation has not been fairly rendered, he/she has 30 days after the release of the final grades by the Registrar's Office to file an appeal.”

Luther College
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