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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.

Regulatory framework

The following documents are used in cases of alleged academic malpractice.

Regulation

Procedures

Guidance

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.

Detecting cases

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).

Assessing cases

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).

Case-handling

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).

Referring to the UDP

UDP referral paperwork should be sent to conductanddiscipline@manchester.ac.uk. 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.

Useful resources

Resources for staff:

Resources for students: