Referring academic malpractice cases to the UDP
This page contains guidance on the Regulatory framework, resources, information for staff on dealing with suspected cases of academic malpractice, how to make a referral to the University Disciplinary Panel, links to useful information, and links to guidance for students.
University Disciplinary Panels (UDPs) are organised and facilitated by the Advice and Response team within the Division of Campus Life. UDPs are generally booked in advance and run at one or two UDPs per week (dependent on resource and caseload). Referrals to the UDP are slotted into the next available UDP date once accepted. It is important that the paperwork provided is correct and fully completed; referrals cannot be acted upon until this is received (see 'Referring to the UDP' below).
UDPs are Chaired by an academic member of staff nominated by the Student Conduct and Discipline Committee (SCDC) which is a sub-committee of Senate. UDP members (both academic and PS) are also nominated by SCDC. Most UDPs run with a Chair and four panel members, though a panel can be quorate with four members. The Secretary to the UDP will also be present, along with a note-taker.
UDPs are normally arranged within 20 working days of the referral being made, and convened within 30 working days of the referral being made.
The following documents are used in cases of alleged academic malpractice.
- Academic Malpractice Procedure
- Procedure for allegations of misconduct made after graduation
- Procedure for Summary Disciplinary Panels
- Procedure for the University Disciplinary Panel
- Guidance on Applying Student Discipline Penalties
- Guidance on Covid-19 Student Misconduct
- Guidance for Staff on Student Disciplinary Hearings during Covid-19
- Guidance for Students on Discipline during Covid-19
The central Division of Teaching, Learning and Student Development has a web page on Academic Malpractice and Plagiarism which contains links to the main University guidance documents on these issues as well as links to other useful internal and external information, including School/Department training modules for students on good academic practice and avoidance of plagiarism.
Dealing with a case of suspected academic malpractice always starts at the local (School) level, and may be referred to Faculty and/or University level depending on the apparent severity of the offence(s).
In cases of suspected academic malpractice, examiners of assignments should do the following:
- Acquire the original source material (where possible) and indicate sections of the material taken by the student, cross-referencing to the material’s location in the student’s work.
- Produce a brief statement explaining why they consider there to be malpractice in the student’s work.
- Continue to mark the work where possible as if the work does not contain academic malpractice. Any mark should be withheld from the student pending any potential disciplinary action. It is acknowledged that marking can prove difficult in some cases especially when there is substantial academic malpractice. If examiners feel unable to mark the work then they should indicate the reasons why in their statement.
Send the above information to the relevant AUO for assessment (see below).
The Authorised University Officer (AUO) is as defined in Regulation XVII (section 7), or a nominee thereof. AUOs are members of University staff (e.g. Heads of School, Teaching and Learning Managers) who have the authority to investigate and/or arrange for disciplinary action against students.
The AUO will decide whether there may be poor academic practice in the work or potential academic malpractice. In the case of the former, the piece of work will be referred back to the examiner in question, with appropriate advice as to how to proceed. In such instances it is essential that the student is given appropriate feedback and guidance. (See Academic Malpractice Procedure section 3.2, ‘Poor academic practice’.)
In the case of the latter, the AUO should arrange for disciplinary action to be taken and refer the case either to a Summary Disciplinary Panel (SDP) or the University Disciplinary Panel (UDP).
If it is judged that academic malpractice may have occurred the case should be handled as per the table on page 8 of the Academic Malpractice Procedure.
In determining whether an instance constitutes a repeat (subsequent) offence, penalties applied in a previous programme of study/award shall not be included. Repeat offences are those which take place in work contributing to a single award (i.e. a penalty for academic malpractice applied during the course of a BA programme does not constitute a previous offence in the case of the same student who is currently studying for a MA).
Particularly serious cases involving students at any level of study may be referred directly to the University level following consultation with the Faculty (see Academic Malpractice Procedure section 5.4).
UDP referral paperwork should be sent to email@example.com. The following paperwork must be included for academic malpractice referrals:
- Student Discipline Referral Form –including the name of the case-presenter (guidance for the case-presenter is available here) and a fully completed penalty consequences form.
- Marked up copy of the student’s assignment(s) showing the alleged academic malpractice (underlined, or highlighted in such a way that it is visible in black and white).
- Major original source material marked up (underlined, or highlighted in such a way that it is visible in black and white) and cross-referenced to the assignment.
- Copy of the Turnitin originality report (if available).
- Copy of the letter sent to the student informing them of the referral to the UDP.
- Copy of any previous outcome letter if a second allegation/offence.
- Profile of marks/transcript.
Turnitin allows the comparison of the work submitted for assessment with other pieces of work or publications stored on its database. The software detects whether there is any similarity in the work to the other sources and produces a report showing where the similarity exists, the amount of similarity, and a reference to the source.
Turnitin alone does not confirm the presence of malpractice; an academic judgement must be made to reach this conclusion.
Resources for staff:
- The University's Institute of Teaching and Learning has produced a Contract Cheating Toolkit for colleagues.
- Turnitin has produced guidance on interpreting similarity reports which may be useful.
- The University follows, for the most part, the OIA's Good Practice Framework. You can read the OIA's guidance on academic disciplinary procedures on its website here.
Resources for students:
- The Students' Union has produced a video for students about academic malpractice.
- The University of Manchester Library has a resource called Original thinking allowed: Avoiding plagiarism and a Referencing Guide.
- The Library also has an on-line skills programme called My Learning Essentials which has a number of resources, including some on writing skills which includes an on-line resource exploring the principles behind referencing, highlighting why it is good academic practice, outlining when and how students need to reference, and how to read a reference when following up a source listed on a reading list or bibliography.